Sep 25, 2008

Inventor Moms

An unspoken prerequisite of being a mother is problem solving skills. Moms problem solve every single day. Let’s also not forget that there are many wonderful inventor dads out there as well though too! Inventor moms seem to target the problems other moms face, so they therefore become more well known amongst other mothers, the women who happen to be making the majority of purchases for their households.

I have a folder chockfull of ideas that I have written down for inventions that I would like to bring to market – products that solve problems, issues, or frustrations I have experienced as a mother and problems that friends experienced before I had children of my own. The one problem I faced in my dream of seeing my ideas available on the shelves for purchase by others is the daunting expense of it all. Not only is the patenting process extremely expensive, prototyping and just getting set up for manufacturing can be double to triple the expense of a patent. It just depends on your idea.

Being a mother running a service-based business around the needs of my family and my husband’s erratic and unpredictable schedule, I knew that I was unwilling to risk it all, my home, my credit rating, etc. to take a chance. There had to be a way to achieve my dreams while minimizing the risks for my family and their futures.

While I pondered how I could get from point A, an idea in a folder, to point B, a product on the shelves, I started saving money. As I researched each idea and figured out what help I would need in designing a prototype, the manufacturing, etc., there just wasn’t anything reasonable. By the time my latest idea, the one I am pursuing a patent on currently came to me, I had enough money to move ahead on this idea. Since I was able to prototype this idea myself, this alone made this idea my starter idea and saved me upwards of around $30,000 for some and more for other ideas paying specialists and engineers to help me.

My husband wanted nothing more than to support me, but the whole risk of it all scared him silly. Once I was able to discuss my estimates with him and explain to him that the expense would be somewhere around the amount of a new car, a new car that never appreciates in value and actually depreciates the moment you drive it off the lot, with no potential for return whatsoever, he caved. It was simple, sacrifice a couple of new cars over the next, oh, 15 years to compensate for the loss should it fail. It wasn’t that he would tell me no, but it was important that he have as little anxiety about the process as possible. He knows that only 1% of inventions actually make enough money to cover the costs of getting it on the market – not good odds.

The whole process that I’ve been through so far led to me to the realization that someday my children may be working for a living, a slave to something that doesn’t make them happy, only to discover in their late 20s or somewhere in their 30s or 40s they want to take a chance on a dream, a dream that often doesn’t reveal itself to people until they have some time and experience under their belts…..I am starting a dream fund for each of them, just as I did for myself. If you don’t have one now, start one for yourself. Somewhere along the line start one for each of your children. How many people go to college for one field of study because they think it is what they want to only discover they want to change, and how many change a few years to halfway through the job they landed as a result? Too many. Too many people wind up locked into a job and life they can only wish they could change. Something in the dream fund is better than nothing, and it is a start! Neither you nor they will ever be failures because they gave it a shot! If my product idea failed, I know I could lie on my deathbed with no regrets because I gave it my best! Sooo much better than wondering “What if I had only…..”

Do you feel your dreams are just out of reach, or are they attainable?

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