Staying motivated. I believe it’s the biggest challenge inventors face. The journey is long – really long. And sometimes it’s pretty damn arduous too. It’s easy to get hung up, stuck, down and out, or just simply burnt out. It’s all too easy to let a project go, to let a goal or hope become a dream instead of reality. But, there are several tactics I use to keep myself inspired and determined!
First, pick the project that has the most potential. Not all ideas are created equal. You’re going to have to put in a ton of work to bring your idea to the marketplace – so why would you choose to devote yourself to an idea that is ultimately more challenging and less productive? Pick a product idea that has a large potential market and is easily manufactured. This is especially important if it’s your first time out.
Develop ideas for an industry you’re passionate about. If you like to cook, create kitchenware products. Whatever category it is – home improvement, self-improvement, toys, etc, – will help you stay excited.
Find a mentor/guide who will help you create a roadmap. You wouldn’t drive without one, would you? If you want to reach a destination, you need to know how to get there. Someone who has reached a similar goal can show you how. You might eventually reach your location without a map, but it’s going to take you so much longer. You might not have the energy to make it all the way! And furthermore, they’ll be able to help you get off that rock when you’re stuck.
Make sure this roadmap is broken down into manageable steps. The magnitude of the entire process as a whole will overwhelm and potentially even depress you. Take little bites. Being able to cross something off a list each week is important!
Find a community. I guarantee that there are other people who are doing what you’re trying to. Rely on them for support. It’s easier to talk to someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. Hearing about their successes will help keep you charged.
And finally, remember that nothing is ever perfect! Your provisional patent application will not be perfect. Your prototype will not be perfect. Your pitch won’t be perfect. You probably won’t sign a contact with the first company you submit your idea to. But don’t lose hope! If you keep your expectations realistic and follow this advice, staying motivated will ensure your success.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 25 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 ask questions and get advice on the inventRight forum, check out the resource center, and listen to the weekly radio show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media outlets find you for news stories.