02 May 2014

Learning from my mistakes

I'm just going to copy a post I made in a forum thread about running a business in Second Life. Just some advice given to someone else, coming from a hobbyist who didn't have any business experience when she started. I know a lot more about business now - some because I ran a store, which ultimately failed (= stopped being enjoyable; profitable doesn't even come into it), some because of my RL job experience which is now a lot more business-focused than it used to be.

Anyway, the forum post, unedited.

Please for your own sake listen to the advice given here.

A lot of us in SL had to let things go. For me it was my clothing store. Whose fault was this? Mine.

I started with a reasonably niche style : latex. It was technically challenging and I liked the look of it. Trouble is, I wasn't 100% into the lifestyle that's linked to it. I started developing an interest for historical clothes and costumes. That's when I did my best work, IMHO.

That's also when I made my biggest mistake. I should have shut down the latex side at that point and focused on the niche I loved... But I was still proud of my latex line. I didn't want to let go. Instead I branched out even more, and made a handful of casual clothes, because I thought that was where the money was.

You know what? It didn't work. I didn't have the time to run three businesses, on top of my day job. So eventually, I got fed up and overwhelmed. It stopped being fun. I closed the store.

I'm back onto my feet now, with a new store and a niche that is more solid. It's taken me a while. It's been a painful process.

Think. What's your core business? What do you really want to do? Importantly, are these two things the same? Then, prune that tree. Make it healthier.
I hope someone will find this useful.