So you want to make a living either part or full time with your ideas but don’t know how to be a successful inventor? I won’t say it will be easy but can tell you that many people worldwide are making money every day designing products and simply selling them online.
Try to come up with invention ideas that people want to buy. The next steps are sketching, designing and building your products. Most of this work can be done from any computer. The internet now makes it possible for anyone to be a successful inventor.
And this is just a few of the skills needed. I know this may seem crazy and beyond some of your abilities but the truth is most of the work will be done by people who have experience in design and manufacturing. It is your job to learn how to do most of the work from your computer and then find the people needed to help accomplish your goals as a new inventer. When you think of it like this, it doesn’t sound so complicated after all.
Techniques used by successful inventors
- Being aware of opportunities.
- Looking for problems that can be solved.
- Having ideas for products that people will use.
- Thinking up ways to improve something.
- Following trends in markets.
- Constantly pursuing knowledge.
- Questioning everything.
- Seeking the advice of others.
- Leveraging technology.
- Knowing their limitations.
- Learning new skills.
- Following logical steps.
- Keeping focused on a goal.
- Maintaining realistic expectations.
All you have to do is be willing to learn the real techniques that famous inventors have been doing for centuries. If you want to be a successful inventer you will need to face the fact that it is a life’s journey. There are no get rich quick answers here. In order to learn how to be a successful inventer you just need to master a few techniques.
Don’t believe me? My name is Richard Haberkern and I am the inventor of many successful products that I personally designed and built over the years. In fact, one of my most successful products, the Trackstick is still the undisputed leader in GPS tracking solutions. I know how to be a successful inventor and have been doing it for over two decades.
Skills need to be a successful inventor
- Creating sketches of your invention ideas.
- Using CAD software to design your prototype.
- Some understanding of electronics circuits.
- Building fully functional working models.
- Ability to find money or investors for your ideas.
- Knowledge of manufacturing processes.
- Locate worldwide manufacturers for your products.
- Create websites with shopping carts.
- Shoot professional photos of your products.
- Advertise and market your products.
- Sell your products online and through distributors.
Before my first multi-million dollar success, the Trackstick, there were many just as successful but less technologically advanced products that I invented in my spare time.
Success as an inventor is a relative term that we really need to talk about. There is so much bad information out there in the world that I get frustrated with people’s thoughts on where they think their invention dreams will lead them.
Isn’t our goal here to make either a part-time or full-time career out of being an inventor? If so, then why are you in a rush to think that someone is just going to throw money at your ideas? We all have ideas but in reality, an inventer knows how to take those ideas and make them real products that people will want to purchase and use.
What’s that? You aren’t doing this for profit! You are doing this to save the world and make it a better place. OK, so how do you plan on building your product and shipping it around the world? It costs real money to manufacture products and shipping is not cheap. So now that we are back to reality, I have to ask: what is your real goal?
Saving the world is a great idea but as adults, we learn that it is a bit of an unrealistic goal. Let’s approach this maturely with an open mind so we can make a real difference. Once your products start selling and you make some profits, you can do whatever you want to that money to help others. For now, we are just trying to turn our invention idea into reality.
Coming up with new ideas and selling them around the world has been the most rewarding part of my career. I have been fortunate enough to always have worked in dream jobs from being a television producer at the NFL to working with many famous people in Hollywood, California where I have lived for over twenty years.
The life of an inventor is not always an easy path to take. What may seem like a great idea to you could, more often than not, fall on death ears when you try to explain the idea to friends and family. This is why I always say that it is your job to decide if a product has market potential. It is also your job to be willing to take the financial risks in order to reap the rewards. After all, without failure, there would be no such thing as success.
If you stay grounded in your ideas and keep within the boundaries of your skills and risk tolerance you will have a great chance at seeing your idea go from your head and into the hands of many happy customers for years to come.
It takes money to be an inventor
But not as much money as you think. Habbycam is an example of a line of camcorder accessories that I sold online in the early days of the internet.
Habbycam was a line of camcorder and camera accessories that I invented back in the year 2000. This was when the internet was new and video was shot on tape. The one interesting thing about this product line is that because they were all metal, machined parts these designs were timeless. Habbycam camera accessories are still in use today even as video technology changes. Eventually, I had to shut down this product line but we will get into that later.
Would you be surprised if I told you that I designed the first Habbycam shoulder brace over a weekend in my garage and invested less than $2000.00 for the first CNC run of one hundred units? These sold out quickly for $149.00 each so I made a profit of over $12,000.00 on the first run for a product that took me less than two days to invent! Now that is how to be a successful inventer.
As more products were added to the lineup and the internet grew, Habbycam went on to earn millions of dollars over its seven to eight-year lifetime.
The art of design
I never really thought of myself as an industrial designer but looking back at Habbycam, I can see the beauty in their form and function. I believe that this was one of the things that made this product line so successful. We will be addressing this topic many times on this website. Remember that style and design can add to the marketability of a product and oftentimes doesn’t cost you anything more than time. Now don’t get carried away here because products like the iPhone and Dyson vacuum cleaner uses very stylistic designs but with specialized materials and manufacturing. You have to be realistic in the styles, finishes and manufacturing techniques you choose. These decisions can comprise most of the expenses in bringing your product to market.
CNC machined products are some of the easiest and lowest cost products that any aspiring inventor can start designing and selling. In addition to the low barrier to entry, the perceived quality of the parts is much higher than that of plastic components.
Before you get excited and start thinking it is really easy, come back to reality and start learning from my mistakes over the years.
The first thing to remember is that if the invention or product idea is cheap and easy for you to manufacture, it is also cheap and easy for someone to copy. So the first thing to keep in mind is that once you go to market, be prepared to see knockoffs in a matter of months if your product is selling well and becoming popular. After all, if you are doing your job correctly, your product will be seen by people all over the world.
Here is one of my favorite videos about the “Art of Invention” that I shot in Florence, Italy. I spend a great deal of time there looking for inspiration.
How to keep others from stealing our inventions
The best thing you can do in the very likely event that your product is copied is to have a plan. That plan should include coming up with more product ideas almost immediately after the first one launches.
Forget about lawsuits or trying to stop people in your own state or even more commonly from other countries stealing your ideas. Since it is very unlikely that your product idea was truly original even if you have a patent, the chance of winning is very low and the legal costs will be very high. All your potential profits could be simply be washed down the drain.
So the only way to win here is to stay ahead of everyone else. Be innovative, original, stylish and price your products correctly. Establishing a brand name is another way to ensure longevity for your new career as an inventor.
Habbycam is an example of a product line that was eventually drowned out by competition. As the popularity of digital filmmaking and photography grew, more and more companies entered this market. With geopolitical changes and a newer connected world, even more companies began to enter the marketplace. China entered the picture and began copying Habbycam products almost exactly. This lead to similar products being sold for almost half of my retail price. The prices that these knockoffs were retailing for was pretty much what I was paying to manufacture them. There was no way for me to protect my products from being copied since there was nothing original about them. A design patent might of help but the cost of filing and going after patent infringement was never an option. Knowing when to get out of a market and move on to something else is always part of being an inventor.
On a personal note and reflecting back on this experience, it really wasn’t a product line that I felt fully passionate about. I live in Hollywood and have worked in the film industry almost my whole adult life but the simplicity of these products just bored me after I build them. And that brings us to another life’s lesson: Keeps things simple and you are more likely to succeed.
A word again about patenting your invention idea
By now, you should know that I am no fan of those invention help companies that tell you to apply for a cheap patent and companies will be out there fighting to license your idea. After all, if you just pay these help companies a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars they have lists of companies waiting to give you piles of cash.
The truth is that these licensing deals might happen every now and then but in this age of technology very few of those so-called “inventors” are seeing any real money from these deals.
There are very large costs associated with selling even the cheapest of products worldwide in the large volumes needed for a licensing deal to make the patent holder money. Unless you have a patent for the latest cure for cancer or some truly revolutionary piece of technology, don’t expect more than a few hundred dollars a month if you are one of those lucky few.
My FREE list of millions of companies waiting for your ideas!
We have many viewers on our Invention Therapy TV channel that have made these licensing deals and the largest amount of money we have ever heard was a $10,000.00 one time license payment from a toy company. This same viewer’s next license deal was for $1,000.00 for another toy to the same company. The idea and the patent process took almost a year for each deal so when you look at it that way, it would be easier to go get a full-time job and make more money that way.
Don’t get me wrong, its a good start but we are looking to make a living as inventors so we have to do much better than a few grand a year!
Complex products are much harder to sell
I must admit that I do have a habit of letting my ego get the best off me. They say a fool and his money will soon be parted and I definitely fall into this category from time to time.
Divebrite was one of those products where I had too much money and not enough common sense. To this day, it is one of the most technically advanced underwater LED movie lights ever made. This product was designed and built specifically to be used in a series of underwater movie productions by one of the most famous film directors of all time. That is where my ego got the best of me.
I don’t want to rant in a long post here about my failures but we all have them in life. By letting my ego take over my invention ideas, I came up with one of the best products on the market that nobody could afford to purchase other than a few famous underwater film directors. This is one of the biggest makes that all of us as inventors make from time to time.
Now I just look at Divebrite as one of those times in life that I learned many lessons including one big one that took $75,000.00 out of my pocket. I also try to remain positive a remember that I learned many complex manufacturing techniques during the design and got to work with some very interesting people along the way.
Keep your products simple
We all have a hard time simplifying things in life but I believe that the smartest people are the ones that come up with the easiest solutions for everything. If you stick with this advice, you will know how to be a successful inventor.
If you look at many of the products I have invented over the years, besides the fact that I love red and black, you will see that the easiest ones tended to be the most successful. Many inventors that I know have said the same thing. I believe that is because people who are innovative are doing so to embrace their own personal traits of being lazy! I am using this term in a positive way in trying to say that the fewer obstacles we place in front of ourselves, the more likely we will succeed.
How much money does it cost for your first invention?
I talked about how to get financing for your invention idea but realistically, this is something you can pay for on your own for your first product idea. That is because you should have learned by now how to come up with real ideas that people will want to buy. These should within that mid price range we also talked about on the Twelve Steps Of Invention.
So really we are talking about products that you can build the first hundred units as I have for only a few thousand dollars. Does that sound like a dream to you or more of a reality? If you start thinking like an inventor, you will become an inventor.
I hope you are excited about taking this journey as a new inventor. All the information that you need is here on this website and also make sure you subscribe to our Youtube Channel. Very little of this information has ever been revealed before. Most invention help companies wouldn’t want you to know the secrets of how to really launch a successful invention idea.
An overview of the skills you will learn
This may all seem impossible now but like a friend once told me: once you see behind the curtain, everything is easy. Just keep an open mind and know that there are many people around the world already doing this every day.
Creating sketches of your invention ideas
I talked about how you can first get started on the road to an invention by sketching your ideas. Sketching is one of the best ways to work your ideas through and be able to communicate how you envision your final product once it is made. You don’t have to be a great sketch artist to do this. You can use a piece of paper and pencil or computer software to get your thoughts down but you must start somewhere.
Using CAD software to design your prototype
This is actually not as hard as it sounds. One of my favorite software programs for designing prototypes is Solidworks. I have been teaching people to learn to use Solidworks in a matter of a few minutes.
Some understanding of electronics circuits
You won’t need to be a rocket scientist or anything but probably will be adding some sort of electrical parts to many of your inventions. Getting started in electronics is easy these days. You can get started by learning about the Arduino. The Arduino Starter Kit is a great way to learn about coding and electronics.
Building fully functional working models
Our definition of a prototype is much more stringent than what you are used to hearing about. Invention Therapy teaches you how to go from idea to manufacturing so you will need to build a prototype that is 99% ready for manufacturing. The good news is that with CAD and PCB design software, we will be doing most everything in the virtual world and then ordering our parts for testing via the internet. In most cases, you won’t even need to leave the house.
Ability to find money or investors for your ideas
If you read the top of this post, you know that we believe in keeping things very simple for your first inventions. If you follow this rule, you should be able to fund your entire product from idea to manufacturing out of money that you set aside on your own. With larger projects, we recommend partnering with a friend who has complementary skills and some money too. After all, two heads are better than one.
Knowledge of manufacturing processes
There are many different types of manufacturing processes and many more materials used in the making of parts. We will walk you through many of these and teach you which ones are the most durable, best looking and for the lowest costs.
Locate worldwide manufacturers for your products
This part is actually easier than it sounds. There are thousands of manufacturers waiting for your business and easy to reach via the internet. We will be discussing all the various methods used in the manufacturing and assembly of all kinds of products.
Create websites with shopping carts
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, you will be mainly selling your products via the internet. Your website will be your brand and should be your brand name that is easy to remember. We will walk you through the steps of the process of setting up a website like this one.
Shoot professional photos of your products
Like many of the original photos on this website, you will have to learn the fundamentals of product photography. In order to entice people to buy your inventions, you will need to shoot good photos. You don’t need fancy equipment and your cell phone should be good enough in most cases.
Advertise and market your products
This website is one big advertising platform for my products. You will learn the techniques people like me use to market products via the internet. It’s not as hard as you may think. It just takes a little trial and error.
Sell your products online and through distributors
This is the foundation for being a successful inventor. Without sales, you won’t be able to invent more amazing things. We will teach you how to get your first online order and how to grow your business from there.
It all starts with YOU!
This is the part where you may be feeling overwhelmed and ready to give up. That’s human nature and why those invention help companies are able to take millions of dollars out of the pockets of people like you. If you are not willing to lose your hard-earned money and want to really learn how to be successful as an inventor, then you made it this far so why not just keep going? You have nothing to lose here other than the time reading all this free information.