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Have a bright idea? Don’t quit your job just yet.

Postby makeworldbetter » Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:00 am

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Have a bright idea? Don’t quit your job just yet. I have done it and it was foolish.

(This will be a series since I can't finish it all in one day)

After I started my inventing passion, quickly I had couple of good ideas at hand. It was 2005, I was at Cisco and newly wedded, have some saving and stock market was good. Due to couple of combined reasons, I and my wife wanted me to work from home. So I did, turn off the good stream of salary and stock option from Cisco, I decided to start my own company. The first thing I wanted to do is to learn how to write patent applications.

Well, I did well in that territory, I wrote 4 patent applications for my own ideas. And I started to develop one of them into a product, that’s XSHADE. In that year, I also started selling it.

So you see, I have been through everything on the path on invention. Although I was busy and learned many things. I started question myself that did I made the right decision to quit my job at Cisco? After one year of working at home and one new baby, I found a new job and started to work and invent at same time. It’s really not that hard.

Following are the reason why you shouldn’t quit you job.

Quitting you job means cutting your steady income stream.
No matter how much saving you have, cutting away your source of income puts more pressure on you. I was foolish to do so and I had near half of million in securities and saving. Although you quit your job, you don’t quit spending. I had a $2500 mortgage payment each month, and each month we spent at least another thousand on others things. After I quit my job, I had to pay my own insurance, that’s like two thousand dollars a year. Plus I have to pay the max out of pocket for having the new baby, that’s near four thousand dollars. I also have to pay for developing of my new product and miscellaneous stuffs for my new company. Another source of income/ (a job) would really help me, at least it would claim my nerves.

to be continue...

Part 2

Postby makeworldbetter » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:31 pm

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Part 2

Invention is a very slow process.
Maybe you have bright ideas every few days, but most of people have less than that. And invention is really a long process. First you file patent application. It typically takes up to a month or two to work with a patent agent to do patent searching, writing application. Even you can write your own application in two days, send it to USPTO and they will start response to you likely in 18 months; most of time you are just waiting for something to happen.
That’s patent application. Prototyping and contact manufacture are also very slow. It takes weeks to communicate with my manufacture, and I waited for months to just get my sample right. At first I just enjoyed my free time; later, all my free time is killing me. It wouldn’t be too bad if I had a side job (or a job) to do.
Marketing and selling products don’t take much time either. If calling or writing to people is what your idea of marketing, you don’t really have many people to write or to call to. And you don’t get immediately answer right away. So there is a lot waiting, too. For selling on line, it’s more than enough to check online orders twice a day. You can do most of above while you are working. Most of employers won’t mind if you make several personal phone calls or checking website couple times a day. If you have to spend couple of hours for just to process orders (packing, shipping…) Then that’s a sign you should consider quitting your day job, not before.

more to continue ..

You can do it at your limited free time.

Postby makeworldbetter » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:09 pm

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By just put in two hours a day, I can write a non-provisional application in few weeks. If you can go online at work like I do, you can spend a little time to browse here and there for hint for idea. If you can afford to close your eyes for resting, you can think and invent. Some of greatest ideas come to us while we are driving, laundering or doing other thing. Many good baby product ideas came from busy mommy. As of matter of fact, I think in order to have idea, you need to have a life first. And having a job out there is a great way to have a life.

However, there are couple of things will have conflict with work, and you need to sort them out yourself. Like attending a trade show, attending invention contest… As an inventor, you may have to use your off days wisely since you may also have family to take care of. You will figure out something, you are smart, right.

And you need control your spending since invention can be costly. Sometime your invention will compete on resources with need of your family. Patent application prosecution is expensive; we are talking about thousands of dollars unless you can DIY. Prototyping or making samples are also expensive. Yet you have to scarify for your invention, there is no such kind of thing as just offering a great idea and other people will do everything else for you. If someone told you that they are going to do it for you for a fee, be aware. What often happens is: they take lots of your money and you gain nothing at end.
True, there are TV shows like American inventor or Everyday Edison illustrates few examples that they made everything happen around you. However, what you didn’t see is the effort inventors has to come out in order to make it to the show, and thousands of inventors didn’t get chosen after they poured into their efforts. Well, that’s another topic.

Postby BurbankGal » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:35 pm

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I think in order to have idea, you need to have a life first.

Well, I think that says it all.

Its all in the setup!

Postby rougie » Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:57 pm

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Hello makeWorldBedtter,

I do sympathize with you, I see you have taken great risks. Sometimes inventing becomes an obsession. By the way, I also know a freind of mine that works for Cisco.

I think its all in the setup. If you want to be a full time entreprenurial inventor, the most important aspect is constant revenue. I guess you know about this one already. So how can you acheive constant revenue while inventing as your full time job?

I can share with you the way I invent full time. If you have lots of side money you don't have to do it the I did, but if you are like me, the (average consumer) I don't think we have many other choices.

I think that it takes a little planning and alot of hard work. And this is not acheived overnight either. Since having a constant stream of revenue is crutial to every day living and if its not comming from a full time job, to invent, you need an alternate source of revenue.... it can be real estate ($ from rental property perhaps), a side business or a part time job. The latter two options were probably impossible to do while you were at Cisco and therefore you would of had to quite Cisco. Note that securing your steady stream of revenue needs to be done before any inventing takes place. And very important you also need a business partner helping you with this alternate source of revenue venture(s) no matter what it is..... real estate, business ect....

Once you have a steady stream of revenue, you can then delegate the longest and most time consumming tasks to your partner as you start to invent. (Hoping your partner is okay with this.)

In my situation, I have an electrical controls company and my partner and I were able to build up a very good clientelle. However it took 8 out of the 13 years of business to accomplish this. We mostly have commercial clients. My partner and I worked very hard in order to establish a solid revenue stream with them. Since I always wanted to invent, I one day figured out what I should invent. My partner agreed that I persued this invention while he continues doing the most time consumming tasks. I did reserve accounting and governmental administrative tasks so to hang on to my company anyways. Also, it was very important to hire several employees in order to continue a high quality of service for our clients . This seems difficult to do, but realize that this was possible to acheive only once we were able to assure a steady stream of revenues or sales!!!!!!

This is my story, there can be other ways to do this which may be easier to accomplish and all is good as long as you can provide that innitial stream of revenue.

But to just quit everything and expect to survive on some money you stashed away is quite stressfull as you have experienced. Inventing takes drive, passion, support and money, lots of it for most of the reasons you have already outlined.

makeWorldBedtter, I still admire your courrage for doing what you believe in. I hope you will continue to invent.

with reagrds
rougie

Postby Michelle » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:44 pm

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Great posts here. Thanks so much for sharing this with everyone. Invaluable insights.

Michelle

reply to Michellllleee

Postby rougie » Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:57 pm

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Feel better Michelle?

It would have been so easy to avoid those mistakes

Postby Mr Invention » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:08 am

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If you had contacted me, I could have saved you a lot of time, money and foolish mistakes. Believe it or not but some people such as myself with over 60 years of private and corporate business experience can save you kids from making many expensive mistakes.

Postby makeworldbetter » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:03 am

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Some of you may know my work place closed down about two weeks ago, but I already find a new job. Praise the Lord. Now I am going back to work this Wednesday; yet I will not giving up inventing.
I call what I would like to be doing: “sustainable inventing.â€

Postby Michelle » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:23 pm

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Congrats on your new job. :o

Hope you love it...or at least, it keeps you and your family fed.

Michelle
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