Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Work At Home Based Business Idea #1: Trade Virtual Loot

For my first work at home, home-based business idea, I have chosen the job Trading Virtual Loot. Virtual Loot? Yep. Or maybe I should call it a "Play" At Home Based Business Idea, but heh, the cash generated is real, and it can pay your bills.

Here is how it works -- You like to play games - like those massive multiplayer online role-playing games. So do lots of other people, and they all want to obtain status and virtual goods to increase their game playing fun. So the Virtual Loot Trader works at home playing these games and then selling his or her loot to other game players. It is a wonderful cottage industry and can make a lucrative home based business. There are whole new societies and economies blooming in the digital desert of the online gaming world. And in that world -- it is real world economics - supply and demand - that are making it possible for some virtual loot farmers to even make six-figure incomes, and a very rare few to make six figures per month! Not bad for a work at home job or home based business, eh?

Don't laugh - computer gaming is poised to eclipse all other entertainments in dollar volume. Hollywood and the movie industry? Soon they will be small potatoes relative to the on and off-line video game industries. In today's internet savvy world, the lines between play and work, and between real and virtual, are becoming increasingly blurry. What is play? What is work? And where can or do they overlap? In the future, this distinction between work and play may become even more blurry. This is great for people who want to work at home based busineses, as the line between telecommuting or working at home or working your home based business mostly from home versus working at a workplace is also blurring. But anyway, as written in the LA Times, this virtual loot home based business is indeed serious business:

Hail the rise of yet another strange creature of the Internet revolution--the professional online game hunter.

Ebaid played for hours, slaying every computer-generated monster on his screen. For his effort he figured he'd made a few hundred dollars--real dollars.

Ebaid is part of a growing wave of online game players who hunt down and collect weapons, equipment and other accessories from popular online computer games, then sell the booty to other players for up to thousands of dollars apiece.

"This is hilarious," said Ebaid, a Riverside County resident. "All it is, is data. . . . But when I turn off my computer, I see cash."

Ebaid and his hunting partner, Lee, who lives nearby, play the game as a team and have made more than $6,000 in the last month by selling their captured game equipment and accessories on EBay, an online auction firm.

The hunters, also known as "EBayers," have become some of the most reviled denizens of the online world. Their ranks just seem to keep growing because of the demand for game items, even though some games prohibit their sale.

Unlike traditional video or computer games that people play solo or with a few others in their homes, the new generation of online role-playing games uses the Internet to bring together thousands of players from around the world in computer-generated games that never stop.

"There's a reason people call 'EverQuest' 'Evercrack,' " Ebaid said. "It's an addiction. You just always want to find out what is going to happen next."

Massive multi-player online role-playing games began appearing in the mid-1990s and have been quickly growing as more people connect to the Internet.

Now, in reality, it takes some luck and a real "game plan" to make 6 figures at this Work at Home Based Business. There is a lot of competition, and the game makers themselves try to discourage the practice of selling game loot and status. But it can be done. For more information, try googling "Virtual Loot". Also, read "Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot" by Julian Dibbell. In this fascinating book Julian Dibbell goes thru his experiences trying to make money online working at home playing massive role playing games. He sells his goodies on ebay and to dealers in virtual loot, he makes some money, and gets the background for a very good read. He talks about the players and how it is done in depth, but the book is written more as entertainment and as an examination of the psychology of work versus play.

In Play Money, Dibbell takes an extended walk on the weird side. It is a vivid snapshot of a subculture whose participants are dedicated and rabid about their games and their work, and it is a fun read. To whet your appetite, read this excerpt that starts the book:

On Tuesday, March 11, 2003, I announced to my family, my friends, and anyone else who happened to look at my website that I was embarking on a new profession: I was going to start a business selling make-believe commodities, and I was going to get rich doing it.

That was the extent of what I could of told you about the plan. I didn't know then just how routinely surreal the year ahead would prove to be, or just how deep my fascination with the Internet's vast, densely populated virtual worlds would pull me into the half-illusory economy those worlds sustain. I could have sketched the general backdrop for you: a global exchange of fictional goods for very real currencies amounting, in total, to what is surely the most improbable half-billion-dollar-a-year industry on the planet. But the cast of characters remainded uncertain, the pivotal scenes unwritten. The powerful industry player I would come to think of as my professional mentor, Mr. Big; the elite Markee Dragon team of virtual gold brokers I would soon look up to and eventually ascend into the ranks of; and the murky underworld of gray-market gold farmers I would eventually know better than I was entirely comfortable with -- my acquaintance with them all is still remote, a hint, no more, of things to come.

Lots and lots of cool characters like Mr. Big and lizard men in this industry - by that I mean the people, not just the game characters - and one big plus of this home based work is that over time you will meet cool people who become customers and competitors and fellow gameplayers and allies - helping to keep you connected to the real world and avoid the loneliness sometimes associated with working at home in your home based business all the time.

But just because it is fun and games and is working at home, don't think it is easy. It takes a lot of hours, a lot of dedication, planning, and hard work - just like any other business, working at a home based business or not. To get a feel for that, read these excerpts:

So It Begins
I made by first eBay sale today: a runebook, mapping the best mining spots in the mysterious new land of Malas. It went for $1.99 to a person from Florida who said she would be online all day today. This is not a school holiday as far as I know, therefore I conclude my first customer was a grownup. This pleases me for reasons I can't quite determine. I'll give no further details as to the customer's identity. Bad for business.

After eBay and PayPal fees, I estimate my profit at about $1.05.

This, the first entry in my blog, marked the public commencement of the Play Money project. It was not only a beginning, however, but a culmination: the fruit of two weeks' prospecting for precious metals in the caves and mountains of Malas.

It had been tedious work, but I didn't have much choice. I needed startup cash, and having pissed away my first chunk of revenue, I saw no other way to get it but the hard way. A bolder entrepreneur, I suppose, might have gone the time-honored Internet start-up route and maxed out his credit cards for the money, but I had made it a rule not to risk a penny of my existing assets on this venture.

and facing a decision many people face who take their hobbies to the level of an actual work at home based business:

By Friday, April 11, I had sold a total of ten ore books on eBay, for a net profit, after fees, or about twenty-two bucks. Or to put it another way: My new line of business had earned me the dollar equivalent of a little over 1 million gold pieces.

And having made my first million, I found myself at a crossroads. Cash out or reinvest? I could move my $22 out of PayPal and into the family bank account, as I had done with my real-estate gains, or I could put it back into the UO economy - - find some undervalued item on eBay, say, and wring some more profit out of it, or even buy a million gp and do some reselling inside the game. It was a business decision, of course, but it was also, in a sense, and existential one: Was I still only playing the game, bringing home the occasional winnings by way of prize money, or was I finally going to take that first decisive step toward making the game my living?

He decided to reinvest, but you'll have to read the book to find out more about how his work at home based business adventures went from there. I am off to find more work at home based business ideas to tell you about.

Or check back here for my next detailed work at home based business idea.

Or read my previous post on Working At Home

Or you can goof off and declare your love for working from home here: I Love Working At Home



  1. Well,

    The idea of making money online business is attractive to many, particularly in the kind of economy we have today. While many companies are retrenching their operations, the businesses home based are expanding. Working from home is a great idea for many people and its main benefits include the lucrative potential of home base opportunity and the personal freedom one has.

  2. There are enough opportunities and ideas to start a home based business. The fact is that you just need to look around and see what best suits you.

    The Internet is full of opportunities today for online business. People from all walks of live have taken to it for their very bread and butter. With simpler ways to understand, reach and communicate, working from home is the biggest opportunity available.

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Please add an idea or comment that is useful to the home based business work from home reader.