SL Entrepreneur Profiles: Hehehehe Noarlunga: Second Life™ Entrepreneur

November 25th, 2008  |  Published in SL Entrepreneur Profiles  |  1 Comment

By Sigmund Leominster, News Editor
William Blake’s poem, “Auguries of Innocence,” was first published in 1863. The now-classic opening reads:
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

Hehehehe Noarlunga isn’t focusing on something as small as a grain of sand but he does work with very small prims and offers you eternity on your wrist. Hehehehe is a horologist: he makes watches.
I asked him what brought him into the Second Life™ virtual world.
“I was spending some time playing the various Battlefield releases and found myself unable to compete with people that seemed to have unlimited play time. With all of the cheats and exploits, my enjoyment fizzled. Then I read a news story about Ansche Chung making an insane amount of real money from SL. I was bored, and certainly not very serious (if my name is any sort of indication), but it seemed like an interesting place to visit. I haven’t been able to get away from here since the day I first signed in. My wife signed up within hours of seeing me having so much fun here.”

Second Life entrepreneur and watchmaker, Hehehehe Noarlunga
So what lead to your running a business here?
“It’s my wife’s fault. She started making this simple club and did surprisingly well with it. It was simple furniture but nice looking. A little bit of beginners luck was mixed in as well, because our later efforts didn’t prove as fruitful. We kept trying different ideas until I started finding success with my sounders and then watches. The watches transformed me into a businessman of sorts. I built my first real store and paid for classifieds and that’s how I’ve operated ever since.”
“I produce ambient sounds with scripting. My original sound products were bird and cricket sounds. I also have some SL wind-driven chimes that are pretty popular. I try to focus on scripting my sounds to life-like behavior. For example, my bird sounders use several calls for each bird that are randomly triggered. They go to sleep at night and the night creatures wake up.”
But you switched to watches, yes?
“After purchasing a new watch in RL, I came home and logged on to SL to continue my efforts to learn some basic SL scripting. I needed to make something in SL that I could use scripting in and a watch looked like a fun project. It took me a few days to get it right, but I was pleased with my ability to construct a working device. After putting one up for sale, I made a couple more in different colors. They sold and I was elated!”
What other items do you have other than watches and sounders?
“I have a color changing script called ‘Mood Scripting’ that I’d really like to implement in some future products. One of the areas this has proven useful for is jewelry. Each mood script coordinates to other nearby mood scripts. For example, your earrings, belly ring and boot straps could all smoothly transition together from one color to another. Another nearby avatar that has mood-scripted items on would match your color if right next to you and change as they move away. The problem is I haven’t actually put any of these items up for sale, although Wetz Katz Designs is licensed to use our mood scripting and has some jewelry and Neko items available now. “
I asked whether his SL business sustained his RL or whether it was more of a ‘hobby’ that sustains itself, i.e. he makes just enough to maintain a SL lifestyle?
“It’s better than a hobby, but not enough to quit my day job. It can be enough to make a difference, but I caution anyone from relying solely on SL income because the market can turn on a dime.”
What three pieces of advice would you offer anyone wanting to start a Second Life business?
“The number one most important thing you can do as an SL businessperson is provide top notch customer service. When someone has a question, problem or complaint, address it swiftly and effectively. Many times the problem will be of the customer’s own doing. No matter what, resolve the problem with the utmost courtesy and appreciation for their patronage. Give them something a little extra for their trouble and you’ll have a repeat customer for life.
Secondly, be prepared – expect the unexpected. A product you’ve put your heart and soul into may have lackluster sales, while something you never thought would work becomes your main product. Also, learn how to make your items visible to the various search methods on SL. For example, when you set up your store, make sure you are allowed to edit the land description and title for your lot. This is very important in getting into the search results. Read the forums and learn everything you can to improve your exposure and market positioning!
Finally, be aware of your market. For example, everyone buys clothes, but only certain people will buy a working ceiling fan (don’t ask how I know!). If you plan to make it big, you’ll have to produce products that the masses want. If you’re just in it for fun, go ahead and make those ceiling fans!”
In preparation for the Christmas season, Hehehehe has opened a new sim that combines his store with a theme-park winter wonderland, complete with free snowmobiles that avatars can ride around a huge tract of land. But he’s also a little apprehensive about sales in light of the current real life economic issues, and he’s also having to adjust to an increase in rental costs following the change in Openspace policy (he’s located on an Openspace). Yet he intends to work through this and continue doing what he does best; creating quality products and providing great customer service.

Key Points
• Provide top-notch customer service
• Expected the unexpected and be prepared
• Be aware of your market

Further information
• Britebling Watches: Fairfield (95, 222, 35)
• BriteSound Ambient Sounds: Fairfield (55, 190, 36)
• Christmas Decorations: Fairfield (81, 131, 34)


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