Less than 5% of all patent holders profit from their invention. Almost everyone knows someone who invented something, but never got any traction or success from their concept or idea. It seems that the chances for success for the independent inventor are extremely slim. So, this begs the question:
Why Be an Inventor?
Even with all the risks and the low probability of big success, there are some valid, rewarding reasons for being an inventor:
- You will learn a new and entirely different set of skills
- Creating your own new product and marketing it has its own rewards
- You have the ability to use your creativity to solve societal problems, large or small
- You can potentially earn a passive income that comes in whether you work or not
Inventing like other careers requires a unique set of skills that most people probably have not developed – until they become an inventor. Applied creativity is perhaps the chief new skill. Creativity is generally a bit amorphous: taking the form of a vague idea or concept that is often difficult to enunciate. Inventing requires you to shape your creativity into something real and tangible: a functioning product or service. This is what I call applied creativity and it is a very valuable skill because you create something from nothing.
Whether or not you invention succeeds in a big way, it is rewarding to turn an idea into a prototype, then a working product and, finally, to see the finished product. When you are able to market the product and buyers love the product and want to buy more, that is a great feeling that is unlike anything most people experience in the work world.
Once you have developed an inventing process that works for you, your thinking changes from merely inventing “something” to solving a societal problem with an invention. The latter can be very exciting. A common cause of death in African villages is asphyxiation and death from carbon monoxide caused by cooking indoors with a fire that is not well ventilated. An inventor created a simple stove that could be used indoors without electricity that had no poisonous fumes – allowing village women to cook meals without health dangers. Perhaps you may be the next inventor to solve a problem that could positively affect millions of lives.
Lastly, you could earn a passive income if you are able to license your product. As long as the product sells in the marketplace, you will be paid a percentage of all sales. As sales increase, so do your royalties. Best of all, once you have successfully licensed the product and it is being produced and sold, you do not have to work in order to get paid. It is like an inventor's pension. Just the possibility of accomplishing that makes it worth seriously considering inventing something new.