The metaverse has become a key point of discussion over the last several weeks. Though the concept of a metaverse is certainly not an entirely new part of our culture, it is seeing fresh focus. Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that Meta — the company formerly known as Facebook — would be placing investment and focus on virtual landscapes has driven attention to the space. This has resulted in the potential for business opportunities.
There is certainly some benefit to engaging with a new market on what is essentially the ground floor. But it’s also important to understand there are risks involved with driving headlong into largely unexplored areas. You can be a pioneer but it could just as easily cost you everything.
Let’s take a closer look at some areas of consideration when building a business in the metaverse.
One of the benefits of building a business early on is there’s a certain freedom. Your interactions are not necessarily based on rigid structures developed by others who have been there longer. At the moment, the potential for all types of opportunities is being explored by entrepreneurs, from live concerts to digital fashion. Your first focus is to hone in on those best suited to you.
If you’re having a little trouble establishing where you might fit into this burgeoning space, why not begin with your primary skillsets? Digital media skills have become particularly valuable in the last couple of decades. Whether your expertise is geared toward graphic design, content marketing, or video production, the internet needs you. These are similarly transferable to the virtual space of the metaverse. Look at how your skills could meet the evolving needs of consumers and other businesses.
You should then start to explore niche areas of the metaverse related to these skills and the types of needs you want your business to address. Much like the early days of the internet, this arena has rooms and spaces dedicated to specific interests and ideas. Build an avatar that represents you as an expert and start connecting with people in these areas. Learn from other users and let this inform your business decisions.
Establishing a Model
Your business in the metaverse is likely to be quite unlike almost any other in the physical world or elsewhere online. As a new platform, you can experiment with novel approaches to business. However, to make certain operations remain organized and impactful, it’s important to establish a structured model for your approach.
This might be an adaptation of traditional methods. If you provide a language learning service, it may be making a space to enable interactions between virtual students and capitalize on immersive teaching practices. It may be building and selling items for use within the metaverse space itself. Users can purchase parcels of “land” for themselves, which has led to demand for third-party metaverse construction.
However, one of the aspects of your business model you need to consider is the use of currency. Most metaverse platforms only allow exchanges using cryptocurrencies. Indeed, each platform has a preference for a specific or even proprietary currency. It is wise to work with online financial experts to understand how you can price your services for cryptocurrency and the process for transferring this to centralized currencies in the real world.
As with any burgeoning technology or marketplace, it’s important to use caution when engaging with the metaverse. There’s a certain online wild west element to it alongside the freedom to explore. There is also little tangible regulation to speak of. Indeed, as with many activities that are cryptocurrency adjacent, decentralized processes are the order of the day.
You must therefore tread carefully as you explore the vast potential for everything from virtual robotics training to sales. Consider how each of your interactions and operational elements might put you at risk of cybercrime. Indeed, it can be wise to seek out professionals that are specialists in metaverse security as they have a greater grasp of the unique risks involved.
Your caution here should extend to your business practices. You don’t want to invest in areas or practices that could damage your business or lead nowhere. This is difficult without experience in the field, but it’s worth learning from past similar platforms like Second Life. It can give you key insights into key problem areas like copyright infringements and the struggle to appeal to some demographics.
While the metaverse has a certain amount of promise to it, there’s no guarantee of success. It may be the case you notice a downturn in the platform and need to disengage with it. Alternatively, you may find it’s not right for you or your target demographic. Part of your approach to engaging with the metaverse is to also plan how you can disengage if you need to.
If you’ve built up a certain amount of equity in the space, you don’t want to discard the value by just abandoning it. You need to plan how to safely and responsibly sell your business so you can see a return and make sure any creditors are paid. Businesses in virtual space are no less legitimate enterprises, and it’s wise to liquidate your metaverse assets correctly. You can then distribute the proceeds as you would in physical spaces.
You should also make a checklist of all the steps you need to attend to for a full and safe withdrawal from the metaverse space. This includes the handling and disposal of consumer data. You should also plan the most appropriate venue to cash out your cryptocurrency. While there is no limit on how much cryptocurrency you can transfer, you will find different selling rates at each vendor. Research these well in advance so you don’t suffer from last-minute panic selling.
The metaverse offers some exciting opportunities to build businesses. It’s a new and underexplored environment, so there’s a certain amount of freedom to experiment with business models and seek entrepreneurial opportunities. However, as with any new platform you need to remain cautious and make plans for withdrawal if it becomes necessary. It’s an interesting time to operate in virtual space and with a little careful consideration, you can find success with early engagement.