Million-Dollar Ideas: How to Become an Inventor and Retire Early

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Dec 7, 2018

Dec 7, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Becoming a successful inventor may seem as likely as winning the lottery. With the number of products and tools available on the market today, how do you create something that stands out?

It turns out that inventing something useful for society and making a business out of it isn't as difficult as it once was. The internet now provides entrepreneurs with the ability to reach millions of people while marketing their product.

However, you still need to harness the gift of creativity. In addition, there are some other steps essential to success.

If you've been wondering how to become an inventor, keep reading. We're breaking down some key components of the process.

Come Up With an Idea That Solves a Problem

The obvious first step in becoming an inventor is to come up with an idea. This fundamental concept will determine your success, so it's crucial you put a lot of thought into it.

An invention must serve a purpose. It must make something more efficient or solve a current problem. If it doesn't, why would anyone want it?

Many inventors begin by creating something related to the industry they already work in. Think about what frustrates you about your job and how you can fix it. This train of thought is a great source of inspiration.

Keep in mind you don't have to come up with something that hasn't been tried before. You simply need to do it better.

Start brainstorming ideas and write down everything. Some ideas will fail and some won't. Remember, this is a process of exploration.

Make Sure Your Invention Doesn't Exist

There are plenty of new inventions that haven't reached the public yet. You need to make sure the idea you came up with doesn't exist already.

Once you've come up with an idea and drawn up basic schematics, you'll need to perform a patent search. You can do this by visiting the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. 

Trying to market an invention that already has a patent can get you into legal trouble. That's why there's no reason to move forward until you've confirmed your idea is original.

While searching for an existing patent, make sure you also search for any design artwork similar to your idea. If you find something similar, you can't patent yours.

Create a Prototype

Now it's time to get your hands dirty. Your next step is to build the prototype of your invention. This will be a single version of the design which you'll revise until it's perfect.

Depending on your invention, you make need financial backing to purchase the materials and resources needed to produce a prototype. You may also need experts to help you, so think about taking on partners.

You'll need to make a list of everything required to build the model. Try to find the most cost-effective solutions for getting this done.

Remember, you're not selling this one. You're just trying to form a foundation for mass production.

The design of your prototype needs to be top-notch. Make sure you learn as much as you can about the materials you're using. You should also refine your design thinking process.

Test Your Prototype

When you feel you've created a successful prototype, it's time to test it. It's crucial you're exhaustive during this process.

The testing process will pinpoint issues with the design and functionality. You can then make revisions and test again. The goal is to ensure your invention works in every way it should.

It helps to have people who would use your invention on a regular basis try it out. They can then give constructive feedback. Make sure you ask for suggestions on what needs alterations.

You need to ask yourself a few questions throughout the testing process. Is your invention solving the problem you set out to solve? Is it functioning the way you thought it would?

Keep in mind it's unlikely you'll have a successful test run the first time. Most inventions requiring tweaking in order to perfect them.

Patent Your Invention

Once you're satisfied your prototype works as well as it possibly can, it's time to patent your invention. This provides legal protection if someone tries to steal and sell your idea.

There are two primary patents. A utility patent is for machines or new processes. A design patent is for manufacturing new product designs.

You'll need to hire a patent attorney to help you out. While it's possible to complete the process on your own, it's better to ensure your patent is as strong as it can be.

If someone finds a legal loophole, they may be able to produce your idea.

Avoid hiring the first attorney you come across. Make sure they're registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You should also look into their background to ensure they've worked with inventors in the same industry as you.

When working with your patent attorney, make sure you provide them with all design notes along with the prototype. They need as much information about your idea as possible.

It's Time to Market Your Invention

Once you've patented your invention, you need to start thinking of ways to market it to the public. You'll also need to create a solid business plan that details how you'll manufacture your invention. This is important if you plan on getting a business loan to finance your endeavor.

There's a good chance you'll know who your target audience is. Once you begin the manufacturing process, you'll need to start advertising your invention.

Think about hiring a marketing professional to help you form a plan to get your invention in front of the right eyes. This is a smart investment when trying to get your idea off the ground.

Understanding How to Become an Inventor

Inventing something revolutionary is a great way to set yourself up for early retirement. However, you shouldn't start spending time, money, and effort on your idea until you fully understand the process.

Keep these tips on how to become an inventor in mind when setting off on your journey. If your idea is good, you may be able to quit your day job.

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