Why do I need to scare the hell out of you?
Unfortunately, there is a hidden underbelly to the Inventing world. Thousands of would-be Inventors have lost millions of dollars, ruined families and destroyed careers in the pursuit of having their ideas made. And that’s sad because, not only is it unnecessary, as often the case, but many of these ideas could play a special role in elevating humanity. Perhaps creating enjoyment or removing frustration, OR, perhaps making LIFE better for needy people all over the world.
Today’s world is hyper-connected. For individuals with a product idea, this has lowered the bar for entry with reduced costs, opened access to suppliers and broke the sales chain (once held tight by the “Big Guys”) now giving us direct access to customers.
So what’s the problem?
Why does it still seem so difficult to get a product idea made and into consumer’s wanting hands, when all these new resources are available at a click?
The reasons might surprise you – unless you’ve run against some of the culprits:
The woods are filled with Bears.
The invention space has always had a large population of unethical service providers. Patent attorneys who file your patent, knowing full well it won’t happen. Invention help companies who take your money and fail to deliver. Product Brands who License your idea only to “squat” on it – never taking it to market. Developers who won’t relinquish engineering drawings or source files. Manufacturers who intentionally underquote the production costs to get you hooked.
These relationships all start out good, but as the process goes along, and obstacles arise, these type of “professionals” begin to make excuses and slowly fade away – with your money.
In days past, they were secluded to geographical boundaries. But now, they use the same open, Internet platform to expand their territory and catch more hikers. They don’t “steal” our money or commit fraud in the criminal sense. We gladly hand them our limited funds in trade for the promise of realized dreams. They feed on our ignorance and count on our inability to – Make. Good. Choices.
Beware of overcharges and hidden fees that only will be mentioned if you ask. And even then, they will sometimes be elusive or a flat out lie. I know… shocking right?!
The tactics of inventing are pretty straight forward, but the path is strewn with danger. I’ll demonstrate how to get expectations out on the table and avoid many of these situations.
We are knee-deep in “Experts”
Social media has exploded with so-called experts. It’s all to easy to develop a message, build a sales page and sell a course with the help of social media. These charlatans take advantage of your desire to see a brilliant idea come to life. Believe it or not, there are hundreds of training programs that teach people how to build a training course about ANY subject with “No Experience Necessary”. They leap over the doing and go straight to teaching. These are people who have no real experience and just want your money. You shouldn’t trust them. You shouldn’t trust me. Be skeptical.
It doesn’t take long to burn through your limited amount of start-up capital with just a few, incorrect pieces of advice.
Inventing is Fast Money. No wait, it’s NOT!
The fact is, most people in today’s society have been spoiled and want everything NOW. I can’t blame them, I’m one. We’re all looking for a quick return on our time investment. This is why get rich quick messages permeate the Internet (see above) because getting something for nothing is exactly what we want to hear. And this mentality has leeched into the product inventing world.
How long could it take? Just get on Alibaba, find a manufacturer, send him my sketches, get my pricing and start making the greenbacks. Right? If you choose this route, please let me know how it goes. I’ll want to interview you for my Podcast.
New inventors I work with are usually shocked when I reveal the estimated time it will take during the various phases of development.
- Patent – 2 to 4 years
- Product Prototype – 3 to 8 months
- Finished Product for Sale – 12 months
Of course these are timelines based on unknown parameters, so they are not accurate for all projects. They can swing up or down depending on the uniqueness and complexity of the product.
It is a New World for inventors. But beware and take your time to understand what’s waiting in the bushes.
Our lack of knowledge and inexperience is the main reason product inventing is so difficult. Most of the mistakes and wasted money stems from not asking the tough questions, not asking the right questions, lack of clear deliverables, not cross-referencing answers, getting multiple quotes and overall making poor choices. Gosh knows I made several by just being plain ignorant.
Fear is by far the #1 reason Inventors don’t pursue their idea. Fear of the unknown is held deep within our genetic makeup and used for survival. If we don’t understand something, we are fearful. When we are fearful, we stay away. This has kept us alive for a million years. And risking your money, time and potentially relationships with those around you, is scary. It should be.
Those who’ve overcome those fears and became successful Inventors did so by first understanding and learning more about the process and potential dangers, and then proceeded with caution and guidance. It reduces fear of the unknown and improves the chance for success.
So, why would I want to scare you about the dangers?
I want to share an honest interpretation about the invention journey in the attempt to decrease headaches, frustration and mistakes. I intend to increase your chance for success. I want to see your great product idea come to life – and I’ll bet you do to.
- Be Skeptical – Question everything.
- Be Smart – Work to reduce options down to 2 choices. Weigh the pros and cons of those options.
- Ask Tough Questions – Prepare questions before every meeting, phone call or email. Don’t be shy about looking stupid or ignorant.
- Find and Use Mentors – They don’t have to be Inventors. Successful business people have the same traits and can provide good advice.
- Plan for Time – I always adjust expected timelines up. It’s better to be happily surprise when something comes in early than the opposite.
- Look for Success – Work with others who have a track record of success.
- Fail Small – I no longer launch – I test. If I’m unsure of a strategy, I ease in with as little money as possible. This allows me to test more ideas without taking all my cash.