The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Creators...

We all started out somewhere. Maybe we were always "artistic", doodling and drawing any chance we got, maybe it's a side of ourselves we never fully explored due to life's other demands and constraints. Maybe we get satisfaction from creating something new and unique. Whatever the reasons you decided to get into creating products for IMVU, these are some of the right ones. Creating is and always should be primarily a means of artistic or creative expression. If that isn't your motivation, chances are you will not be successful as an IMVU creator.

Whether you're creating in IMVU for fun, as a creative outlet, or looking for a way to supplement your income, it's important to approach it with the right mindset.

1. Recognize that it's not "easy money".

Being a successful creator on IMVU is far from easy. That's why we've had all sorts of problems with creators trying to game the system in their favor, rather than earn that status. You have a lot of competition and some of it has had a considerably long head start. Creators who have been at it longer have already built a network of customers and friends who have helped them develop a reputation and a following. They did it at a time when there was far less competition than there is now. The playing field isn't always level for those just starting out. If you want to have real and lasting success, it requires a sustained effort over a long period of time. There is no such thing as "overnight success".

2. Remember the 3 P's: Patience, Perseverance and PRACTICE.

If you're new to graphic design, you may be pretty impressed with yourself when you smack that first texture on a mesh and see it as an item for sale in the catalog among the millions of items created by people of all skill levels and talents. For some that may be enough. But if you want to be successful, you can't stop there. Each time you create a new product, make it a point to try something new and different than what you did before. Ask yourself every time "How can I make this better?" Don't imitate or copycat. Always strive to make your products stand out, not blend in. There are literally millions of products in the catalog. A small catalog of a hundred products is less likely to have something turn up in a search than one with thousands of products.

3. Look closely at the work of successful creators.

Chances are you'll see things that set them apart. Attention to detail, artistic ability and vision. Perfectionism. Originality. What makes them successful is that they are rarely satisfied with what they've done, they are always looking for new ideas and learning new techniques to creating a stunning product. They are not merely content with "it's okay". Successful creators shoot for "WOW". That takes more time and effort than you might have, but it can be a very worthwhile investment if you have the desire and the talent.

4. Learn about branding.

When I see product icons in the catalog with a picture of the creator's avatar on it, or blinking "coming soon" I just skip right over them. If you can't be bothered to create an icon for your product that gives me some clue to what it is, I can't be bothered clicking on it to find out. If you do make icons, make sure your icons have a consistent brand on them, something that uniquely identifies them as yours. Spend some time developing a template for your icons and product pages that deliver a consistent look and feel that is uniquely your own. While it's perfectly ok to use your avatar image in your advertising, remember what you're selling. Some creators become so enamored with their avatars they put more emphasis on those images that they eclipse the product images. As a customer that leaves me to wonder what exactly are you trying to distract me from noticing? Don't use your avatar in your icons unless it's demonstrating a product feature. Otherwise it's irrelevant and off-putting to the customer.

5. Don't random gift, don't spam.

Even though creators can no longer manipulate page rankings by randomly gifting hundreds of people, some still do it and honestly, it's annoying. Our inventories are difficult enough to manage without unwanted items turning up. Likewise for inbox messages or inappropriate posting on personal Facebook pages and groups that have not invited you to peddle your wares. Create a more positive impression by inviting people to request a free product (for a limited time) or some other incentive to contact you. This gives a potential customer the opportunity to sample your work and also exposes them to other items in your catalog, plus generate some positive reviews. Be generous, but be considerate. 6. Be original.

Don't purchase textures unless you're just playing at creating. If you're serious about success, always make your own textures. With purchased textures, many of them consist of what has become a very typical formula. Put a shine on it with some pretty colors and patterns and call it a day. While this style has been fairly popular over the years, the market is burning out on it and looking for things that are a little less glossy. I see lots of creators experimenting with new techniques to add drama and depth to their textures and this is hopefully a trend that will continue.

7. Be respectful of other people's copyrights if you want yours to be respected.

I see so much copyrighted material in the catalog it shocks me. Particularly corporate brands that are highly protected copyrights. There was a time I might have argued that it's non-competitive free advertising for those companies. But on the other hand, it's also attempting to profit on a brand recognition the creator has been given no rights to. If Google is your go-to for textures, and you think it's there for the taking, think again.

Even if you heavily modify it almost beyond recognition, it's STILL copyright infringement if you used a protected image as a source for your work. Ask Shepard Fairey. His famous "HOPE" poster made for President Obama's first campaign was sourced from a copyright-protected AP photo. Doesn't look much like the original, but it's still infringement.

My hope is that if you read this far, you're serious about creating and looking for ways to become more successful at it. While I don't claim to be an authority on all things IMVU, I've been around for a while (8 years) and I've seen a lot of evolution in that time, some positive, some not. I don't pretend to have all the answers, all I can tell you is this is what has worked for me and for others who have achieved some measure of success doing this.


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