I have written frequently in this blog about the challenges of being an inventor including:
Now, I will write about a key challenge to inventors: ‘doubts and demons' that haunt your mind.
Beware the Doubts and Demons
Everyone has doubts and demons in their daily lives, but inventors are particularly plagued by such dark thoughts. Why?
Inventing is a continually creative endeavor. Designing a new product, developing prototypes, refining them, them figuring out how to market and what price points to use all require lots of creativity.
The doubts and demons appear because as an inventor, you never know if what you are doing and how you are using your time is right or wrong. You've got 5 prototypes done, do you really need to spend more money and time on a sixth prototype? You've met with 5 different companies about licensing your product and they all passed on it.
You think your product is a great innovative solution and your customers like it, but 5 potential licensees passed on it. They are the experts, not you. Should you put on your best ‘Edison' imitation and just press forward to the next meeting, then the next, somehow knowing you will be proved right in the end?
But, what if they are right and you are wrong? The demons are whispering in your ear now. How much more money are you going to sink into this thing? Didn't you just have an argument with your wife about the money last week? Yes, you did. The demons know just where to hit you, which doubts to sow.
The doubts and fears are compounded because inventing is front loaded with costs: patents, prototypes, packaging and many others and profits, if any, come only much later in the process.
How to Conquer the Doubts and Demons
What can you do to conquer the doubts and more especially, the demons?
Spend some time affirming the process that has gotten you this far.
You studied the market carefully, doing extensive research to validate that there was no other product with all the unique features as yours. Your patent attorney felt you could likely obtain a strong patent – that doesn't always happen. Your profit margins are solid and feedback from customers is strong – they love the product.
Your product fills a niche in the marketplace, has good profit margins and customers love it. Those are all characteristics of a winning product.
The inventing journey is a long, rocky one with lots of starts and stops, victories, and setbacks. No great product ever gets to market without a great deal of persistence and perspiration.
Sometimes, you just need to take a break. Take heart and don't give up. Tell the demons to take a hike.