Did you know that 99.99% of the items in the catalog are made by users? That’s right, virtually anyone can become a creator, express themselves through unique and interesting products and also get paid for it!
What exactly can you create? Is it free? Is it worth it? Is it fun?
What are creators?
Creators, or previously known as developers (until the term started gaining more popularity for software developers), are IMVU users who have signed up for the Creator program and are able to create and submit product to the IMVU catalog: outfits, rooms, avatars, stickers etc. Creators can make whatever they want, as long as the products comply with IMVU’s Terms of Service and the Creator Agreement and Policy terms.
What is the Creator Program?
The Creator Program is a paid plan available through a monthly VIP subscription plan which offers users the possibility to create IMVU products such as outfits, avatars, poses, animations, rooms, furniture, stickers etc. Products submitted by a creator can be private or public. Private products are not available for other users to see and public products are available for everyone to buy and use.
Note: Not every active creator is VIP. IMVU staff members, as well as creators that have grandfathered accounts which signed up for the Creator Program before changes were implemented in 2012 can create without having a VIP subscription. More details about grandfathered accounts can be found here.
As any platform, IMVU cares about its users, therefore it imposes rules to make sure users can enjoy the platform without worrying about adult content (unless a user is over 18 and has Access Pass – click for more info), hate products, racism, discrimination etc.
After signing up and agreeing with IMVU’s creator TOS, a user can start creating.
Every product you would like to create has to be derived from another product – this chain process is how every single user made product has been added to the catalog. The easiest way to access derivation links from product pages is to use IMVU Classic Website (also called the index homepage).
The Classic Homepage is the first design of the website of IMVU, in other words, it’s the base for everything IMVU-related and the link looks like this – www.imvu.com/catalog/web_index.php
If you are using IMVU Next on your desktop or laptop, you can open your feed menu and check your profile for the Classic Homepage:
You can then browse the shop to look around and see what type of products you would like to make:
I went to female clothing, then selected the accessory section. Make sure you have the check “Show derivable products only”, as this will show only the products from which you can create.
After clicking the product, it will redirect me to the product page. This particular product has all the information I need: the UV maps which help me understand how the product unwraps itself (it’s exactly like a 3D box after you assemply/put it together).
Simple comparison to help you understand what UV maps are. As the products are 3D (the cube on the right), we need to draw them in 2D for IMVU (unwrapped cube on the left). Every product you derive from will work exactly like this, so don’t worry if you don’t understand UV maps at first.
Every product has a different UV map (or multiple UV maps). You will get the hang of understanding where to draw/edit in no time!
The product will be open in the IMVU client and you will work with the materials part:
I added textures and opacity maps to make the end product look nicer.
Textures are the style/design of the product, how it looks.
Opacity maps are the shape and opacity of the product.
You can think of textures and opacity maps like this: a base product (the product you are creating from), your product (the texture and opacity maps you add – second and third T-shirts below):
It’s not necessary to have an opacity map, but depending on what you want to create, you might want to add one to make the final product more interesting.
Guidance on opacity maps
After you are done with your design, you add the texture to the product derived and submit it to the catalog. You must set a profit and add a description for the product (catalog icons are mandatory, whereas product description and keywords are optional).
Because of the derivation process, creating will cost you credits and developer tokens (dev tokens).
Now you have a new product in your shop! You can wear it, take photos, do whatever you would like to.
Money and income – getting paid on IMVU
The original product from which we derived costs 395 IMVU credits. With a profit of 175 credits, the final price of the item is 587 credits. When a user buys the product, they will pay 587 credits (or 5% less if they have a VIP subscription) and 175 credits go to the creator of the product.
Whenever someone buys the product, you will earn the amount of profit you set.
You can earn either credits, or cash. You choose based on what you want, but you will have to choose a percentage:
To earn cash, you need to go to Creator center and fill in an application form that IMVU will review before allowing you to start earning money.
This verification process is mandatory:
- US taxpayers must submit Form W-9, including the creator’s correct SSN or other tax ID number
- W-8BEN form if the creator is a non-US taxpayer
- You must be over 18 to be able to cash out money.
- The information you fill in must be valid.
- Don’t lie when submitting these documents! These documents are reviewed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States. Providing false data is against the law.
- These documents are necessary for IMVU to legally operate and pay you in accordance with international laws.
In my case, the treaty between the US and my country takes a 10% cut from the money I withdraw. This is tax money and it’s different for each state/country. Please contact a legal advisor if you are unsure how to fill in the documents required by IMVU when applying to earn money.
You can skip providing the forms needed for tax, however you are still required to provide your information to IMVU and every payout request you make will be subject to a 30% cut.
As of 2020, the credit-money ratio is 4$ per 10,000 credits, which means 4 cents for 100 credits – that means that for a profit of 175 credits on my nail products, I earn 7 cents (0,07$).
A lot of people have asked themselves if working for hours at times to create a product that earns you a few cents is worth it and, honestly, if you think about this idea, it would be silly to work hours or days on a few products and earn just a few cents – but there’s a catch!
You don’t earn a lot of credits/money per item sold, but the item will always be available in the catalog (or until your VIP subscription expires) and you can continue to create other items.
Every product you create is going to help your shop/catalog in different ways:
- Sales – The product can become popular and it can bring you hundreds and thousands of dollars in a very short period of time (scenario A) – in which case sales will go up for other items from your shop, or it can bring you a couple of sales every week/month for an extended period of time (scenario B)
- Visibility – an average looking product could catch someone’s attention and it could bring sales through other products from your shop
- Diversity – the more products you create, the bigger the chance for someone to see your item and check out your shop
- Style – a series of products created for a particular theme/collection will help towards creating your brand, something you are known for
Creators that are working full time for IMVU are usually in scenario B – they have many items that sell modestly over an extended period of time (months, even years). You will reach this point after working on defining your style and creating a multitude of products.
How many products do I need to have to start earning money?
The minimum number of products you must have before earning money is 1 (with sales).
I asked staff for the exact number – you have to have at least one product submitted (that also has sales) – this is because IMVU verifies your catalog before you can earn money. They might consider “0 products” suspicious activity (although the information provided in the forms can be valid).
Not only this, but you need credits to create items, so even if you could start earning cash with 0 products, you should stick to earning credits for a while because they are needed for submitting new products.
There is also the scenario where you can create an alternative account (assuming you have enough credits on your main account) – in this case, well, you pretty much know your way around IMVU and you can submit a handful of products before applying to earn cash.
When do you start earning the “big” money?
Let’s talk about big. First payouts will be a maximum of 500$ due to MASA (Monthly Average Sales Amount), however this number will grow steadily. For more info on this, please read about MASA.
Someone asked years ago how long it would take for a brand new account to reach 300$. I remember most creators answered back then with 1 year. I was in this scenario myself and I can tell you about my own experience:
It took me exactly 12 months of working "for free" to earn my first check on IMVU: 66$.
Then everything changed. I had figured out what was hot and adapted my creating style, so the second payment was a bit over 500$ in a month.
Now, after years of experience, I can tell you that you will reach 500$ per month in about a year and a half (giving that you are a beginner with graphics programs and IMVU, you regularly create and try to improve your style).
How long is it going to take to make a steady income?
It might take anywhere between 6-12 months to reach 500$ per month if you are experienced with graphics programs and/or have worked before with textures for Second Life, Sims etc. and you create regularly on IMVU.
It might take anywhere between 2-8 months to reach 500$ per month if you have previous experience with IMVU and create regularly.
It might take you less than 2 months to reach 500$ per month if you know what you’re doing and you know how IMVU works. This scenario is more likely for meshers.
Please note that these numbers are estimates and take into account regular product submissions (over 15-20 products per week), as well as a lot of shop advertising.
If you’ve never created before, don’t know where to start, but would like to, it’s very likely that if you start now and create constantly, you will reach 500$ per month after ~ 12-18 months of work. This is the steady way.
There are situations where a product can become hot overnight, in which case that product alone will bring you 400-500$ per month – but this happens in real life too with people winning the lotto (although on IMVU it is more predictable than just guessing some numbers).
1 year might sound like a lot, but the more money you earn, the more money you CAN earn.
If you are already earning 500$ per month, it means that you already have some visibility and have established your brand. At this level, your income could double, triple, quadruple, quintuple in 2-3 months. Yes, that’s exactly how it works. There will be a boom if you work regularly AND improve your creations.
So, it may be that after 12 months of hard work you’ve made 500$ in total (a median of 42$ per month), but in two years’ time that number can change to 12,000$ (a median of 1000$ per month), and in another two years that number can be more than 75,000$ (a median of 6250$ per month).
It will pay off if you create constantly, improve yourself, stay updated with latest trends and, most importantly, have a lot of patience.
Yes, creating on IMVU is worth it.