I have observed that engineers, accountants, architects and other professionals who put many long, hard hours not only into their profession, but into continuing educations to maintain their skills in the marketplace. Makes perfect sense: to succeed and advance in today's workplace you must maintain and hone your skills and knowledge.
Why do these same professionals think that inventing, as a profession, would be any less demanding and challenging? But they do!
I frequently encounter new inventors who ask questions like:
- Do I really need to file a patent? – You do if you are serious about your product.
- Is one prototype enough? – No, why do you even ask?
- How soon can I get paid if I submit my idea? – Never!
They always seem rather disappointed that they cannot simply sketch out an idea on a piece of paper, make one or two phone calls and have people knocking at their door wanting to buy their idea. Then, when they hear of an inventor who achieves great success after many years of hard work and persistence, they say the inventor was just so lucky.
It's Not Luck
I applaud anyone who wants to be an inventor. Inventors are creative people who, when they are successful, make money, create jobs for themselves and others and move the economy forward.
But like any other worthwhile endeavor, invention takes a lot of persistence, hard work and education.
What is the formula for success for an inventor?
Become a curious observer. Observe yourself and others around you and study their behaviors and habits and ask three key questions:
- Why does everyone seem to do it in this way?
- Is there a better way to do it?
- What if…….?
For example, many people, rushing to work, set their cell phones, purses, notebooks and other items on the passenger seat. Someone pulls in front of them suddenly, they throw on the brakes, and all those items tumble off the seat onto the floor or, worse, fall into the crack between seats. Sounds like a problem that needs a solution.
In this case, three problems with three solutions.
Gadget Grab holds cell phones easily, Purse Pouch holds purses and other items and Catch Caddy catches items falling between the seat and console. Three problems, three big ASOTV product solutions. I met the inventor of the Catch Caddy when I was at QVC.