20 Successful Inventors offer their Advice to Aspiring Inventors

by Tara

success inventor

Over the last few months it has been great to hear the stories of successful inventors. I thought it would be a good idea to put together all their advice for aspiring inventors in one place. There will be more interviews coming soon, so if you would like to be kept updated of new posts please subscribe by email or if you would like to take part please let me know

What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?

Claire: Life’s too short and you only get one chance at life, so just do it! Get your free half hour with a patent attorney, research and see if your idea is a good one, then go from there.
Claire Mitchell Inventor of Chillipeeps teets
Read the full inventor interview here

Jason: Have fun!!  If you think you are going to come up with a million dollar idea, you’re likely to fail.  There are little products out there that we need to survive. It is our nature to fall in love with our ideas and think everyone will want one, that’s not always the case.  Also, I know a lot of inventors who don’t know when to let an idea die.  They’ll spend money and time on an idea that shouldn’t ever see the light of day.
Jason Garcia, inventor of the “Chug Racer” Drinking Game
Read the full inventor interview here

Bill: Keep the day job, have patience. Don’t get into this if you cannot handle rejection. It’s part of the process for everyone
Bill Ward, Toy Inventor
Read the full inventor interview here

Johnny: Patent search & protection first. Do a lot of researching on the internet, about licensing, inventing, getting your idea to the market. What to do! / What not to do! etc. Beware of those company’s who ask for money up front to help get your idea to the market.
Johnny Smith, inventor of the Hammer Bumper
Read the full inventor interview here

Ian: Seek advice from fellow inventors first as they won’t charge you, before you do talk to anyone get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement first. If they refuse to sign one don’t tell them anything. One book serial inventors should read is The Hypercreative Personality, it helped me understand how I keep thinking things up. An important piece of advice I was given, “If it’s to be it’s up to me”.
Ian Davies, inventor of the Plugster
Read the full inventor interview here

Lucas: Pick your simplest idea and make a prototype. Don’t work on any other ideas, regardless of how exciting they are. Once you have a prototype, find a person who is good at marketing. Work with that person to create a compelling story about the product and create a very simple business plan. Use those materials to sell your idea to people who are good at running a business. Let the business people and the marketing people run the business, so you can get back to all those other great ideas. Debra adds that if you want to market and sell your product yourself, don’t underestimate how much work it is! It takes a lot more time, money, and work than you think it will!
Lucas Jordan, Inventor of the PadBracket
Read the full inventor interview here

Andrew: We all love our own ideas, you have to determine if there is a market for the product.
Here are some of my key decision factors:
1. Is the product Protectable? (Patent, Trademark, Copyright…)
2. Is the product Revolutionary?
3. Can be manufactured “one at a time” until you have volume orders?
Andrew Spriegel, patent attorney and co-owner of pizza cutting invention Portion PadL
Read the full inventor interview here

Philip: Protection of your idea and testing of your concept are paramount. Test and test again. Let others play the game without you being around and incorporate feedback into future developments. I had to be much more open to others idea than I had expected to be. One person will struggle to come up with everything needed for a game to be successful so embrace the feedback. Also, there is plenty of free expert help out there by organisations such as Business Link and Oxfordshire Business Enterprise.
Philip Annets, inventor of Whirred Play Board Game
Read the full inventor interview here

Tony: Make a working prototype. There are bound to be lots of knocks/rejections along the way, but try to hang in there. I could have given up lots of times in the early days, but every knock just made me more determined to succeed!
Tony Ellis, Conceptioneering toy inventor and creator of cube world
Read the full inventor interview here

Norm: Have a burning desire to bring it to market….this is very hard to do with any product….the AirCut is so unique, there is nothing like it in the marketplace, the reason it is so successful…
Norm Yerke inventor of the Aircut
Read the full inventor interview here

Nandu: First and foremost quality for an inventor with an idea is to truly believe in it. This does not mean put blinders on and simply believe that your idea is “Good”! You have to peruse the market with a sharp eye and mind to get a sense of where your idea stacks up? Is it just an “incremental technology” or “idea” or is it “me too” idea, or is it a “breakthrough” idea, or is it a “disruptive technology”? The inventor has to be able to size up his/her idea against this yard stick. Ideas do not have to be complex to be successful; they have to be positioned right in the market domain the inventor wishes to put out a product. Remember, there are thousands of ideas that go begging and end up failed ventures because of lack of total commitment, proper understanding of the marketplace, and poor execution.
Nandu Marketkar, electronics inventor
Read the full inventor interview here

Mark: Dream ‘what if’ and then make it happen. Never expect anyone else to turn an unrefined ‘idea’ into something more tangible – it just wont happen ..or.. it will cost you a lot. You don’t need degrees in engineering and design (although they do help), but using ‘The Zulu Principle’ [ As prescribed by James Dyson .. if anyone focus’s narrowly enough on a problem, they can quite easily become a world expert on it and its solution ..... as in Zulus are a narrow field of study – research a few books, ‘googles’ and visits to museums etc. and you can be an expert in Zulus ]… I hope this does not offend any Zulu inventors …. it’s just a name for a creative technique.
Mark Sanders, inventor of the Strida Folding Bike plus many more products
Read the full inventor interview here

In the podcast interview I did with John D Smith from “Don’t file a Patent” John offers advice for the best ways to protect your idea and market your product without spending a fortune on patents.
John D Smith, inventor of Storm Stoppers and author of Don’t file a Patent
Listen to the podcast inventor interview here

Bernie: You can put on my grave stone…”KEEP ON PLUGGIN!”
You have to have drive and a strong belief you can make things happen. If you don’t succeed, and the reality is that the odds are stacked against the grass roots inventor, you at least you gave your all. Don’t waste your time on negative people they likely have accomplished little in their lives and offer little to our world.
Bernie Graham, inventor of VacPan and Padpivot
Read the full inventor interview here

In the podcast I did with Lyndsey Young, Lyndsey advises inventors to seek impartial advice on their invention and be wary of companies that say they can help, but really just want to sell you expensive services. She also advises inventors to be careful who they disclose their idea to, and if possible see if there are any government funded schemes that can help you. Above all else Lyndsey says Go for it!
Lyndsey Young, inventor and Queen of Easy Green
Listen to the complete podcast inventor interview here

Trevor: Never, never, never, never give up, keep going, you can always go broke tomorrow. Work hard, no one is going to give you money, you need to be creative in coming up with solutions to move the project forward. Use all the minds around you, be humble, everyone has opinions on how and what, but remember you are the one in the driver’s seat, and you steer in the direction you want to go..Proceed with your idea responsibly, do not put you or your family’s financial future in jeopardy…calculated well thought out risks are great to take. Be patient, and remember that the odds are against you, less than 1% of patents that get filed get issued, and less that 1% of the issued patents get to become commercialized products. Daunting but definitely doable, and have fun, you get to meet some awesome people along the way. Familiarize yourself with real business, very, very important; learn as much as you can about gross margins, profit, logistics, sales and marketing and brand building.
Trevor Theriault, inventor of the Divers Communication Torch ( DCT )
Read the full inventor interview here

In the podcast I did with Jim Polster, Jim advises inventors to make a prototype first, to see if it works and see if people would be interested in buying it.
Jim Polster, inventor of the Polester
Listen to he complete podcast inventor interview here

Audrey: Protect your idea if it is possible, and ascertain commercial possibilities before investing money. For help with sourcing items or finding a manufacturer, Alibaba.com is a fantastic resource!
European trade fairs provide an easy and really useful way to meet a large number of manufacturers from around the world.  You can make valuable contacts and glean a huge amount of useful information in this way.
Audrey Buck, inventor of Easy Blackout Blinds
Read the full inventor interview here

In the podcast interview I did with Roger Brown much of the interview concentrates on Roger’s advice of how to license one of your invention ideas by spending less that $100. Roger also advises joining an inventors group if there is one near you. Roger advises inventors to be careful with invention submission companies, check their success rate and the price they intend to charge you for their services as they are often cheaper elsewhere.
Roger Brown, a successful inventor who licenses his ideas for less that $100
Listen to the podcast inventor interview here

Dorota: Start small. Do a product that seems easy first since you will learn so much from the process. You don’t want to design a product that takes a huge engineering investment to develop because there are so many other costs associated. Also expect that it will cost much more and take much more time than you expect. So make sure you’re prepared to be in it for the long haul (years). Finally, don’t quit your day job unless you absolutely have to. It’s a lot less stressful to still have income coming in while you’re trying to get the business off the ground.
Dorota Shortell, inventor of the  Zip ‘n Hang
Read the full inventor interview here

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Irina Saveliev November 19, 2012 at 1:27 am

In today’s competitive world the most important one can do is to differentiate by creating a different perception angle, ask others what they think of the the product, come up with professional prototype, and network a lot.

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