Frustrated with how long it’s taking to profit from your invention? Disappointed your product has yet to appear on a market shelf? It’s natural to be impatient but extremely important to have realistic expectations about the inventing process. If the inventor of the Super Soaker, Lonnie Johnson, had to wait seven years before his idea was finally produced and sold, you can too. It’s estimated that he’s now made over 20 million dollars to date. Not bad…. Check out this inspirational video. All from a squirt gun!
That isn’t to say that you should focus solely on that one idea or quit your day job. The inventing process is a bit of a cycle, complete with periods of highs and lows. I’ve been working on the same product, Spinformation, for over 20 years. Timing is critical for a product’s success. And the timing for Spinformation has been off as much as it’s been on. I’ve had to wait for the right licensees, the right technology, and the right market. I’ve enjoyed periods of success and periods of stagnation. Is this the only invention I’ve been working on? Of course not. Throughout the past two decades, I’ve tabled my rotating label technology in favor of a new idea or field at different times. And I’ve also come back to the idea again and again.
And this is exactly what Lonnie Johnson knew. Although he admits he had no idea the toy would become as popular as it eventually did (it was the best selling toy two years in a row in the early 1990s!), he kept trying. Is everyone who thinks they have a great idea going to earn millions of dollars? No. But if an idea is a great one, I do believe it’s worth pursuing.
Try, try again right?
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight,
a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas
and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio
show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media
outlets find you for news stories.