By now you may have heard of the amazing 8-year-old boy who reviews toys on YouTube and was just named the platform’s highest earner for 2019. His channel “Ryan’s World” has 23.2 million subscribers and earned $26 million this past year. We’re not sure that Ryan’s parents saw this level of potential when they helped Ryan start the channel back in 2015, but they did what many of us fail to do – they acted on their idea.
There are things that all inventors have in common: an idea they’re passionate about, the resourcefulness to put it to life, and the organizational skills to put it on the market. These skills aren’t always easy to come by, but to the skeptical idea holder, they can seem unattainable. One may hear success stories about the light bulb, the telephone or even the personal computer. All of these individuals made fortunes that cannot typically be fathomed by the average human being. And, many inventors are often doubtful or lack the confidence it takes to pursue an idea. They might feel it’s too difficult to patent and pursue an idea and thus it’s out of their reach.
However, this is just not true. Today, average everyday people are coming up with new products and inventions (called consumer innovators) and patenting and licensing their ideas. Patenting and taking products to market are within reach of anyone who wants to pursue their ideas.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
– Thomas Edison
Although there are some obstacles to overcome, getting your first patent can also be a very rewarding and satisfying achievement. Think of the pride and sense of accomplishment you’ll feel if you convince the gurus of patent law – the US Patent and Trademark Office – that you, yourself created something that might be beneficial to the lives of people today and for years to come. When you see your product in use, in society, you can enjoy the feeling of knowing that you did something to make this world better.
The best way to attack the job of coming up with a patentable idea is to have focus and to be dedicated to your idea, giving it the attention it deserves. You may have conjured up a mixture of chemicals that clean your bathroom better than any other product you have tried. You may have dreamt about a toy that you would have loved to play with as a child, but it still doesn’t exist. Or, you may have watched someone struggle with a product for the umpteenth time, knowing in the back of your mind just how you would change the product so that it worked better. You may consider these thoughts to be fleeting invention-related epiphanies; however you have to dedicate time and attention to the idea in order to make it a reality.
You also have to have a tangible plan. It is wise to draw out a schedule and estimate just how much money and time this will cost you. If this idea of yours requires materials or time that you can’t obtain, then it may be that you’ll have to reconsider whether to build upon the idea yourself or license it to another company. Also, be sure to have reasonable expectations on how quickly it takes to succeed with an idea. It is likely that it will take some time to put your idea into motion including filing a patent and preparing it for market. Although you need to be realistic, with the advent of product licensing you do not have to be the next Thomas Edison. Great companies are already out there waiting to discover innovative products and ideas from everyday inventors like yourself and these companies will develop, manufacture and take the product to market for you (paying you a royalty). As opposed to when Thomas Edison and other great inventors of the past were developing their inventions and building them into companies, today’s inventors are relying heavily on product licensing.
Getting started with an idea is within reach and can be achieved; you just have to have the confidence to take the first steps.