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MAKE A PRODUCT. MAKE MONEY.

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DIY INVENTOR KIT
VOLUME 1
ALL ON YOUR OWN
AT YOUR OWN PACE
FROM BEGINNING
THROUGH LAUNCH
diyinventorkit.com
All the necessary tools to
launch a product on your
own. Having an idea is
one thing, making money
from it is another.
This is not a feel good
motivational kit. These
are real-world steps to get
it done.
It's the ultimate side
hustle. No pitching to
investors, no hiring staup
teams, just you, a com-
puter and a garage. The
diy inventor's kit will take
you through the entire
process, even how to
come up with an invention.
NOW
ANYONE
CAN BE AN
INVENTOR.
DESIGNED &
WRITTEN BY
HANS DOSE
Page 1
A
JOURNEY
THROUGH INVENT-
REPRENEURSHIP
1 - 2
3 - 10
11 - 20
21 - 26
27 - 30
31 - 32
33 - 36
37 - 38
39 - 40
41 - 48
49 - 50
CONTENTS
CONCEPTING
DESIGNING
PATENTING
PROTOTYPING
TESTING
SOURCING
FUNDING
BRANDING
LAUNCH
NUTSHELL
Page 2
First,
pick a
problem
Coming up with an invention is about
finding a solution to a problem. If you
follow these guidelines, you should be
able to think up something clever. After
you read each section, it would be a
good exercise to try it on your own.
In this part, we’re actually going to
come up with an entirely new invention
together. I will be writing the conception
process down on the fly to better
illustrate the technique of critical
creative conception.
Page 3
Before you get started on this adven-
ture, ask yourself why you’ve decided
to bring an invention to market. Is it a
passion to help others? Is it an obses-
sion that you can’t shake out of your
head? Is it to make heaps of money? It
should be all of the above because
when the going gets tough, which it
will, the possibility of money won’t be
enough to push yourself through.
The more personal the problem, the
easier it will be to see the project
through. Think of something that bugs
you. What have you complained
about? What has someone you know
complained about? It’s like that movie
Envy with Jack Black and Ben Stiller
where JB's character realized how
everyone hates picking up dog poo, so
he came up with a spray can that
makes all dog poo disappear.
VaPOOrize might be a little far fetched
but it shows a perfect example of how
breakthrough inventions are discov-
ered.
Sometimes it helps to think of a cate-
gory where problems may exist first.
You can pick any category from pets to
entertainment, to cooking, to fishing.
Picking a category and getting your
mind lost in all the potential problems
people could face within them is a sure
way to discover an invention.
Let’s invent
something
together
Now think
of some
solutions
This part if fun. Brainstorm by
yourself or with others and start
jotting down and sketching
what comes in mind. Figure out
the most effective way to solve
any of those problems that you
wrote down in the previous
section. Remember that no idea
bad, yet...
Ask yourself: How will it work? Is
it feasible? Have I seen it work
elsewhere? Look at some other
products on the market. You
can take all the best parts of
different products and mash
them together into a Franken-
stein of awesome- but don’t
forget the problem you’re trying
to solve.
Here’s an example of finding a
solution to our laundry prob-
lem:
What can make laundry faster
and more fun? A robot with
arms that is programmed to
fold laundry? A device that
guides you while you fold it? An
Uber app for laundry where
someone comes to your door
and picks it up? How about
turning folding laundry into a
game? Or what if there was an
automatic wash and fold laun-
dry basket?
Ok, these are all pretty good
ideas. TBH I wish I we could all
actually be in a room together
to brainstorm these ideas would
be real fun.
The category we’re going to focus on
together is CHORES. What part of
doing chores could be made easier?
Folding laundry. Everyone HATES
folding laundry, even mom’s who
pretend to like doing it for their sons.
So if folding laundry sucks, what
problems do we hate about it? It takes
too long and it’s really boring. OK! We
just picked a problem to fix, make
folding laundry faster and more fun.
Pretty simple right? It’s a good exer-
cise and a fun way to think of prob-
lems to solve. Grab a piece of paper
and a pencil and start brainstorming
and writing down some problems.
There’s no problem too small, every
tiny annoyance is relevant. It could be
something as simple as not having
something in your pocket to blow your
nose on, BOOM! that’s how Kleenex
became an invention!
Page 4
Pick a
path
Find the
Demographic
this would be super tight,
except Fluff-n-Fold already
exists and the amount of
funding and people a
start-up like this would take
is out of our DIY goals
range. Remember, we are
trying to keep our costs and
overhead low and not chase
investors.
Laundry folding game -
This actually sounds like a
pretty good solution to
making laundry more fun.
Perhaps it could be com-
bined with another idea to
make something really
unique. Let’s hold this idea
in our back pocket.
Automatic wash and fold
basket - So this idea
sounds like another mas-
sive undertaking. The
amount of engineering it
would require would be very
expensive to hire, and the
end price tag to the
consumer would probably
a brand new invention. And
instead of just picking one
of our ideas, we combined
two of the best ones into the
ultimate invention.
be too high for people to
want to spend their hard
earned money on. Not a
bad idea, but not an easy
thing to DIY.
Now we’re left with the
Folding Guide Device and
the Laundry Folding Game
ideas. Both of these ideas
could be great on their own,
but we know that the shirt
folding device already exists
in clothing stores and the
laundry folding game would
be a pretty weird app to
make on its own. So why
don’t we combine them?
That’s it! A game that helps
you fold laundry! We’ll think
of a name soon.
After objectively thinking of
some solutions to some
problems, we came up with
Now that you have picked a
problem, and thought of
some solutions, it’s time to
be critical of your ideas and
pick which direction you
want to go with your inven-
tion project. It’s important to
be objective at this stage
because it could save you a
lot of time and money that
you would otherwise spend
on a project that you end up
abandoning. So just be
careful not to bite off more
than you can chew.
Ok, let’s take a look at our
list of solutions.
Laundry folding robot -
This might be too difficult on
time and money to figure
out yourself in the garage,
(Unless you’re a mad
genius and up for the
challenge. Actually, please
will someone invent a
laundry folding robot for
me?)
Folding guide device -Ok
this sounds pretty feasible,
in fact, it might already be a
thing, like those shirt folders
that clothing stores have.
Ok well that sort of exists,
but maybe it can be
improved and maybe it can
be marketed more for
average people at home.
We’ll keep this Idea in mind.
Uber for laundry app - Ya
Page 5
PHASE 1:
CONTINUED
Find the
Demographic
The final portion of concept-
ing a new invention is
figuring out who you should
market it to. This part is
really really important and
often overlooked. You may
have invented something
you think is really cool, but if
the only person who will buy
it is you, then it’s worthless.
You need to figure out what
demographic will be using
your product the most, then
you can figure out who you
are going to design it for
(which is phase 2).
Do some market research.
You chose a problem to
solve first, so go to the
source and ask the people
who face that problem if
your idea would be some-
thing that they might use.
Sometimes there is more
than one demographic that
faces the same problem.
Regardless, reach out to as
many people you think may
be a good candidate for
using your product as
possible. Friends and family
are usually a good start. If
your idea is an industry
thing, like a type of product
that a business might use,
then it would be good to
approach those businesses
with an NDA first (which you
will learn more about in
phase 3).
Page 6
“The aim of mar-
keting is to know
and understand
the customer so
well the product
or service fits him
and sells itself.”
-Peter F. Drucker
Do some
market
research.
how you can make it better
either through design,
picking a different demo-
graphic, or added features.
We’ll learn a few tricks on
how to get around patents
in Phase 3.
Let’s do an exercise with
our invention on how to find
the best demographic to
focus on. Let’s start by
asking ourselves who does
laundry the most. Well,
typically the mother of the
household and young adults
without children. We have
two options to pick from.
Thinking objectively, we
would say that most moms
would probably just want to
get the laundry done as
opposed to making a game
out of it. Young adults
without children might be a
better option to choose
since they are probably
millennials born after 1985
and might appreciate the
game aspect more.
To get a better hold on how
to design and market our
new product, let’s list some
characteristics that we know
of about millennial adults
age 18-30 that don’t have
children: They have relative-
ly short attention spans,
they are social and active
on social media, 98% own a
smartphone, their average
income is $65,000 a year,
they are evenly male and
You don’t want to copy
something that already
exists. If your idea is really
great, there may be some-
thing already out there like
it. Make sure that you don’t
impose an another patented
product. Go to a store that
might carry your product
and ask around, sometimes
it’s more effective than
Googling because you can’t
describe how something
works to Google and ask if
it exists. If something
already does exist, think of
Page 7
PHASE 1:
CONTINUED
M
a
k
e
s
o
m
e
t
h
i
n
g
r
a
d
!
female, they appreciate
references to pop-culture,
and lastly they enjoy finer
things like aesthetics and
the emotional connection to
a brand. This paragraph will
pop up later in the other
phases such as branding,
design, and marketing, but
it’s important to have the
demographic in mind really
early on to think about
through the life of the
project.
After concepting a new
invention with a target
demographic in mind, we
have come up with this: A
laundry folding game for
young adults without
children.
Page 8
“ To invent, you need
a good imagination
and a pile of junk.”
- Thomas Edison.
M
a
k
e
s
o
m
e
t
h
i
n
g
r
a
d
!
The names above are
extreme examples, but
how do you think most
rich people are able to
buy that McMansion on
the water or have 3
Lambos sitting in their
driveway. Unless you're
talking to Dan Bilzerian
(who made his money
gambling his fathers
foune), majority would
say they made something.
Money flows like water,
and some people will see
more of it in their lifetime
than others. There are 2
options to have money
flow your way:
Most people think that
option 1 is the only option,
so they look for the
highest paying job they
can find (rarely exceeding
$150,000 a year). The
remaining sma ones get
working on that product
for option 2.
“You can either
a.) sell your time
b.) sell a product”
Page 9
Page 10
design for
real
people
into 5 steps: Rough sketch-
es, soft engineering, design
rendering, CAD drawing,
and hard engineering.
Just take each step one at a
time and at the end you will
find something that you can
be really proud of. At this
point, there are no right
This is the most
overlooked part of the
invention process. Your
napkin drawing of that
holdy-contraption thingy is
gonna look like crap if you
just make the first thing you
draw. Think of who your
audience is, what products
out there do you think look
cool, and how can you
make people want yours.
There are some great
programs to learn and
great concepts to follow.
Designing your invention
should be broken down
Page 11
Some people tinker for a bit and just jump into it with what they got. Not me, I’m a perfection-
ist and I want people to see a product I can be super proud of.
“Good design is innovative. Good design must be useful.
Good design is aesthetic design. Good design makes a
product understandable. Good design is honest. Good
design is unobtrusive. Good design is long-lasting. Good
design is consistent in every detail. Good design is envi-
ronmentally friendly. And last but not least, good design is
as little design as possible.”
Dieter Rams
Less but better.
answers to what the final
outcome could be. Don’t
be daunted by any of the
processes if you feel it is not
your strong suit. Anyone
can learn to design and
make something work
mechanically, it’s just about
spending the time to learn
it and figure it out.
PHASE 2: Designing
Step 1:
Rough
Sketches
Step 2:
soft
engineer-
ing
deeper into it and draw
some 3D shapes but need
help figuring out how
perspectives work, watch
some quick Youtube tutori-
als here, here, and here. It’s
best to draw multiple
angles of your design
including 2D cross sections,
top view, side view and ¾
view. If you can, try to draw
a see-through version so
you can start to sketch out
the internal mechanics as
well.
The sketches really aren’t
for anyone else but you.
The purpose is only to help
you envision a product and
sketch some different
possibilities. Once you start
seeing some shapes and
ideas that resemble a
product, you’ll start noticing
what things may or may not
work for your particular idea
and make adjustments
accordingly. Okay, this
section may not be rocket
science, but to those that
find it difficult to draw and
let their creative side out
how will see that anyone
can do it and hopefully
appreciate how amazing it
is that the human mind can
create something from
nothing.
This is the part where you
start piecing together how
your idea will actually work.
It’s also the hardest part if
you're not mechanically
inclined. If you don't have a
Grab some paper and a
pencil or, if you want to be
more organized and have a
nice keepsake to look back
on at the end of your
project, grab a Moleskin or
Field Notes sketchbook.
Start sketching down some
simple lines of the product
you are trying to make. You
really shouldn't try to be
artistic about this, just make
some quick scrappy sketch-
es, you’ll be amazed how it
helps you visualize the
actual invention you are
making, even if it looks
terrible. If you want to get
Page 12
Sketch by Philo- Wycoff, Edwin Brit.
The Teen Who Invented Television
Tenikle
Page 13
product is different and will
require different processes
and techniques but refer-
encing some other products
out there will really help.
When you have some idea
of what you are trying to
accomplish with the moving
parts of your idea, go back
to your sketchbook and
redraw your best sketches
to include some of the soft
engineering. You don’t to be
too detailed, though, if
there’s a moving part, just
draw arrows of how it
moves. If the moving part is
internal, just draw over the
design to show it as being
see-through.
Once you start getting
somewhere with the
mechanics of your design,
try to come up with some
worst-case-scenario prob-
lems that may arise in your
product. Such as where
could something break
easily, how will materials
interact when they come in
doesn't with each other like
metal and soft plastic, how
will the leverage of one part
affect another part, and how
can you change the design
to accommodate. It’s a
process of testing in your
head what will work and
what won’t. But, as sure as
you are about how some-
thing will work, you will
probably still need to alter
the design after you’ve
made a prototype and
tested it.
clear concept in your head
of how it will work, then
without sitting down and
hashing it out, it probably
won't work. Maybe do this
part with a friend, especially
someone who is good with
fixing stuff, chances are
they can also make stuff,
plus if someone else can
understand how it works
then you’ve got a winner.
During the engineering
phase, think of how it might
be made both in a garage
and at a manufacturing
scale. If you don’t design it
with a manufacturer in
mind, things will get super
difficult down the line.
Google is a huge help for
finding manufacturing
techniques such as mold-
ing, extruding, CNC
machining, wire bending
and so on. Go look at some
other products to see how
they are made as well, the
construction of some parts
will literally show you how
to make something. Every
PHASE 2:
CONTINUED
Step 3:
Design
Rendering
trash, you aren’t giving it
serious thought. Be
hyper-critical of your
designs, and never forget
that you are making some-
thing to sell to other human
beings.
Rendering a design after
you’ve put together the
basics of how the product
will work requires a bit more
of artistic talent than the
sketches. Again, anyone
can do it, though, it just
depends if you are willing
to spend some hours
chipping away at the design
or not. If you feel like you
The purpose of a design
rendering is to have a much
more clear vision of the
final product, but this time
for other people as well as
yourself. This rendering
shouldn’t be a
one-shot-and-done
process, take some serious
time and come up with
something great. You are
designing a product that
someone is going to spend
money on, so make some-
thing that people will want
to buy. Be objective here
and don’t get hung up on
one design, if you haven’t
tossed at least 5 in the
At this point, you
are designing the
aesthetic of your
product. Take
some serious time
to design some-
thing that will
resonate with your
target demographic.
If your product is
going to be tough
then look at rugged
bold designs like
hardware tools and
military equipment. If
it’s going to be futuristic
then look at some ski
boots and racecars. If it’s
going to be trendy then
shop at some hip clothing
stores. If it’s going to be
generic then walk the aisles
of Target to
get some inspiration of well-designed
everyday items. Look at other products out there that are
purchased often by the demographic you are aiming for. Get
inspiration from products both in the same category as yours
and other categories that are unrelated like shoes, cars, and
sporting equipment. Professional designers are never purely
original, they will always take bits and pieces of things that
inspire them and apply it to their design.
are way out of your element
drawing this thing, then
finding some help is always
an option too. You can hire
some help on websites like
Craigslist, Upwork, Fiverr,
Behance or you could reach
out to some more artistic
friends. Remember, you
aren’t designing a Ferrari, it
doesn’t need to be a piece
of art that you hang on your
wall, just a better represen-
tation of what you are
making. You can employ a
professional to render a
concept drawing further
down the line to hang on
your wall later.
Page 14
PHASE 2:
CONTINUED
everything, just enough to
do what you need to. I
strongly recommend spend-
ing some of your
hard-earned cash on the
Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s a
suite of programs that you
will absolutely need to use
down the line, and if you
learn a little extra, you might
be able to make some side
money doing odd job
freelance work. It includes
Photoshop and Illustrator,
as well as a multitude of
creative programs for video
editing, web design, photog-
raphy and so much more.
The Adobe Creative Cloud
is a subscription that costs
$50.00/month or
$20.00/month if you’re a
student. There’s always the
option to go halfsies with a
friend since you can down-
load the suite on up to 2
computers at a time but
ssshhhh… I didn’t tell you
that.
Some great computer-aid-
ed tools to help you render
your concept are Photo-
shop, Illustrator, or if you
have an iPad, Adobe
Sketch. I know I just listed
some programs that require
some knowledge to use but
remember, you are a DIY
inventor. Anyone can learn
anything, just google away
and you will find some
fantastic tutorials and tips
to get around any program.
You don’t need to know
Step 3: CAD DRAWING
download free trial versions but don’t forget about the limitations that
come with the trial versions. Some have limited saves, some have a
time restraint, but all of the trial versions can only be downloaded
once, after that you need to buy the program.
A CAD is a Computer Aided
Design. This step is often
better to complete after you
have made and tested a
rough prototype, but
sometimes to make the
prototype you will need to
do some 3D printing, in
which case you do need
the CAD. So after you’ve
completed sketching, soft
engineering and rendering,
it’s time to get a working 3D
model of your product. Yet
again, DIY is the way to go
here, but you WILL need to
take some serious time
learn a new program. It will
be easier to hire someone
to do this part but expect to
pay from $300- a few
thousand for this type of
work to be done. Some-
times the costs of these
programs can get pretty
high, so do what you can to
Page 15
The most powerful 3D CAD
program is called Solid-
works which is what all the
professionals use, it’s made
to design and engineer
moving parts all in one
program -but there’s a
drawback, it is extremely
difficult to learn. Expect to
be floundering for at least
a month before you get it
figured out. Oh, and if you
can’t get the trial version, it
is very expensive. Hiring
outside help here is an
option that you shouldn’t
rule out. You will find that
most manufacturers require
a Solidworks format file of
your CAD which many
other programs will export
to a Solidworks file format.
A fantastic program
option for building a 3D
modeled CAD is Rhino
3D. It’s one of the best for
making what they call a
“solid surface model” and
it’s one of the easiest
programs to learn. Rhino
is great for creating
complex and organic
structures and it allows
you to easily export many
different file types. It does
not offer the ability to
create moving parts,
however. Be careful to
stay away from making
“meshes” as they are
extremely difficult to export
into workable files for
programs such as Solid-
works. You can find some
great tutorials online and
information in the web
forums for this program.
Another fantastic option is
Autodesk. Autodesk has a
suite of programs such as
AutoCAD, 3DS MAX,
Maya, Inventor and a
plethora of easy DIY apps.
Autodesk combines solid
surface design software
and engineering software
and includes many side
option plugins for render-
ing, materials testing and
more.
Whether you decide to pick up a valuable new skill in
learning how to use new software or you decide to
outsource some help, remember the ultimate goal
here is to make a 3D drawing of your product that can
be brought to a manufacturer and be easily under-
stood, quoted and eventually produced. And once
you have the 3D drawing, you can render some nice
video or images of your product to showcase without
actually making one.
Page 16
MAKE IT
WORK, BUT
NOT UGLY.
ning on using and help
change your design to
accommodate those
processes. Hard engineer-
ing will include all of the
changes that must be made
to the design for it to work,
such as choosing the
correct materials to use,
determining the manufactur-
ing processes, and chang-
ing the design to accommo-
date for any manufacturing
processes.
To complete this step you
WILL need to communicate
with other engineers, and
manufacturers, so make
sure to have anyone you
work with to sign an NDA
(explained in Phase 3).
Also keep in mind that you
will need to push back on
some of the changes the
manufacturers want to
make to your product.
Ensure that you aren’t
compromising your design.
Many times a manufacturer
will want to change your
design too much and will be
too stubborn to work around
what your vision is, if this is
the case, move on to
another vendor. Chances
are you will need to make
some revisions to the
design so pick your battles
on which changes are really
going to affect a consumer
from buying the product or
not.
Hard engineering must be
done AFTER you have
made and tested some
prototypes, built the 3D
CAD and found a manufac-
turer that is willing to take
the on project. It could also
be good to reach out to a
3rd party engineer that is
unbiased to either you or
the manufacturer you will be
working with. A 3rd party
engineer can help you keep
the cost of manufacturing
down, audit the processes
the manufacturer is plan-
PHASE 2:
CONTINUED
Page 17
Page 18
“If you go back a few hundred years, what we take
for granted today would seem like magic – being
able to talk to people over long distances, to trans-
mit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data
like an oracle. These are all things that would have
been considered magic a few hundred years ago.
So engineering is, for all intents and purposes, magic,
and who wouldn’t want to be a magician?”
– Elon Musk
Some thoughts for
practicing
capitalism ethically.
The idea of wealth can be
as much of a hindrance to
a person’s ambitions as it
is a motivation. If wealth
is something you seek,
then equally must be the
progress of humanity.
Obtaining wealth is the
act of obtaining the tools
necessary for the oppou-
nity of progression. If one
has wealth, one has the
obligation of using such
wealth for the progress of
humanity, since now his
fight for more wealth isn't
for necessity but rather
for an easier lifestyle.
Life shouldn't be a breeze,
because progress is not a
breeze. If power is what
someone seeks, their
power should be focused
on how he can make the
future better. What is
more poweul than
changing the course of
history for the better?
Leaving a positive legacy
behind that will aect the
lives of generations ahead
is the ultimate form of
power, and more easily
attainable with wealth.
So seek wealth to impact
the future, not your own
selfish experiences.
Page 19
Page 20
Phase 3: Patenting
Diy Patent
Only $730
NDA
Page 21
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and do
not have the authority to give legal
advice. This section is a reference to
my own experiences in dealing with
intellectual property.
cost of attorney fees. Using the follow-
ing techniques you will be able to save
tens of thousands of dollars on filing
intellectual property.
There are 4 main tools you can use to
protect yourself during the DIY inven-
tion process. They include a Non-Dis-
closure Agreement, Provisional Patent,
Utility Patent and Design Patent. Each
has unique protection qualities, but all
can be acquired without a lawyer.
You don’t need a lawyer to obtain
intellectual property rights.
An NDA is a non-disclosure agree-
ment. It’s a short legal document that
gives you the freedom to show your
intellectual property to people who
you may work with. An NDA is a
document that protects your idea from
another person or business. Once
signed, they cannot legally copy or
share the idea of your invention with
anyone. Get it signed by whoever you
work with. I've included a basic
template under the folder. Do not
show any business what you are
working on without having them sign
the NDA first. It’s risky to show individ-
uals what you are working on but to
get feedback and gain momentum for
your product, you will need to show it
off.
The average cost of attorney fees for
getting a patent is $10,000 - $20,000.
Some people end up paying hundreds
of thousands of dollars on a patent.
For a DIY inventor, it costs $730.
When I decided to go through the
process of filing for a patent, I reached
out to a good friend who's a lawyer. He
told me an extremely valuable piece of
information that you will not hear from
anyone who practices law because it is
not in their best interests. He said, “If
you can write an essay, you can write a
patent.” No one will tell you that you
can write your own patent mainly
because of the taboo of complexity
that surrounds the legal system and a
general perception that only a lawyer
can navigate it. I can tell you first hand
as the proud owner of a granted
patent that was written and filed on my
own, that you do not need any legal
experience. All of the tools are given
to the public through the USPTO
website, it’s just a matter of jumping
through the hoops.
To practice law on another person’s
behalf (aka a lawyer), you must have a
license requiring years of schooling
and lofty student loans driving up the
Phase 3: Patenting
Pro Se &
Pro Bono
Patent
Search
time to go through them. This
process should take you at least
a week or two.
To scan through each patent
quickly, take a look at the
images first. If the image
doesn't remotely resemble
anything like your idea and you
know for a fact it’s not what
you’re making, you can move
on. If you have no idea what to
make of the image or it does
slightly resemble your idea,
then take a look at the “claims”
section of the patent to see
what they claimed as their idea.
Every time you come across
something that is similar or has
similar properties, save it in a
bookmarks folder so you can
refer back to it when writing
your own patent.
If you haven’t found anything
yet, broaden your search. It
would totally suck to find out
your idea is not patentable.
If you do find that someone has
already patented your idea,
there is still hope. It all comes
down to the “claims” section.
The claims determine what
makes the invention unique. All
you need to be able to patent
an idea is to include at least
one claim that is unique from
another idea and it must be
non-obvious. So if something
already exists, get creative and
add something important or
change your invention to be
unique from the pre-existing
patents.
Pro Bono is the fancy legal term for
"free attorney". It’s worth looking into
to see if you qualify. It could be huge
to have free help through the patent
process. You can find free Pro Bono
help through the USPTO website here.
Pro Se is the fancy legal term for "I’ll
file on my own". So if you don’t have
an attorney through this process, make
sure to file the patent as Pro Se. Also,
you’ll find that when you speak with
USPTO representatives, they tend to
be much more helpful when you
mention that you are filing Pro Se.
To make sure that a patent of your
idea doesn’t already exist. You need to
conduct a patent search. This means
searching through the USPTO library
of patents to see what similarities
come up.
You can do this through Goo-
gle.com/patents where you can easily
see every patent that has ever been
published. To do this, make a list of
every keyword or phrase that can be
associated with your idea, and enter
them individually into the search bar.
There will be thousands of patents that
pop-up and you’ll need to take your
Page 22
A design patent is used to
patent how a functional
product looks. You can
patent the ornamental
aesthetics of your product
so that no one else could
mimic the look you're going
for. This is especially useful
for getting protection on a
product that already exists.
No that doesn’t mean you
can bite someone else’s
patent and file for a different
look. But you can patent a
specific look of something
that is “obvious” in function.
Such as a different shaped
paper clip. You can’t patent
a paper clip because no one
can own the patent for a
paper clip, but you can
patent the ornamental
design of a variation.
This is the big cheese. This
is what you need to obtain
exclusive rights to sell your
idea. It seems like a big
undertaking to write yourself
but if you break it down, it’s
not too hard.
It’s best to file a utility patent
after you’ve tinkered with
some prototypes. That way
you have a better under-
standing of how your
invention is really going to
be made. You should file the
provisional patent first to
buy you some time to tinker
on your prototype. But
remember, you only have a
year from the date you file
your provisional patent!
Make sure that you file
everything under “Micro
Entity” status. This means
you will get a 75% decrease
in cost. To qualify for Micro
Entity, you must not make
more than $150,000 a year
(this number could change
so read up on it), and must
not have more than 4 prior
applications filed. Filing
Micro Entity is going to save
you a ton of money.
You should file for this now.
Under micro entity status, it
will cost you $65 bucks. Not
too bad for what you get.
A provisional patent is not a
full patent but instead
allows you to say “Patent
Pending”. More importantly,
it secures a first to file date.
This means anyone else
who files for the same
patent after you’ve filed for
your provisional patent will
receive a rejection letter. No
matter if they filed provision-
al or Utility.
You only have 1 year from
the date you file to follow up
with filing a utility patent or
else it’s abandoned! So get
on it!
Page 23
Phase 3:
Continued
Provisional
Patent
Micro
Entity
Utility
Patent
Design
Patent
Patent drawing from
my personal patent
for Tenikle.
LOOK AT
OR PATENTS
6 Parts Of
A Patent
Dissecting other patents is a
great way to learn how to
write your own. Reference
existing patents to learn the
language of how to write
your patent and how to
break down each section.
A patent has 6 parts: A summary page, the drawings,
background, brief summary, detailed description, and
claims. Here’s what each section is used for.
1. Summary page
The summary page is created by the examiner, so don’t worry
about that part when you file. It includes:
1) Patent Number
2) Name(s) of Inventor(s)
3) Serial Number
4) Abstract- used to indicate the general nature of the patent
5) Prior Art References – all the similar references selected
by the examiner
6) Representative Drawing – selected by the examiner to
illustrate the invention
2. Drawings
Used to illustrate invention to get a better understanding.
The written part of the patent will refer to each feature in the
drawings by referencing the feature number. The drawings
must also show all the claims.
4. Brief summary
A condensed version of the detailed description of the invention.
6. Claims
The most important part of the patent, this section defines the scope of patent protection to be given.
It usually starts with a phrase like “The invention claimed is”. It must distinctly point out exactly what
specific feature(s) you claim as your invention.
If you’re having trouble writing some of the sections, refer back to other patents to cherry pick phras-
es and ways to word your intended text. Obviously, don’t just copy and paste a whole section of
someone else’s patent, but it’s not plagiarism to use text as a reference, for the documents are of
legal purpose and are used to describe something. Patents aren’t intended as creative literature.
3. Background
Describes the general nature of the problem to be solved by
the invention and the state of the existing technologies.
5. Detailed description
A detailed description of the invention to allow a reader of
ordinary skill to be able to understand the invention without
experimentation.
Page 24
“Good artists copy;
great artists steal.”
-Pablo Picasso
(not kanye)
PRODUCT
AND
LAN-
GUAGE
The main criteria that
interest people are
useful products and
services. If you can
design a useful prod-
uct or service, the
ability to brand it
becomes conversely
easier. Branding is the
process of having a
compelling conversa-
tion with a consumer
based on problem and
solution.
However, there is an
art to branding that is
subtle. It's a language
that not all can speak
but everyone can
understand. If you tap
into that code, your
brand can become
very impactful.
Page 25
Page 26
Page 27
MAKE A
WORKING
PROTOTYPE
This is where you start to
get your hands really dirty
and when DIY starts feeling
really DIY. The ultimate goal
for creating a prototype is to
make a physical represen-
tation of your idea to test
and show proof of concept.
At this stage, you have an
idea, a design and have
filed at least a provisional
patent. It’s important to get
as close to the final product
with your prototype as
possible but it’s ok to make
some bad ones first as it’s
part of the process.
One of the most valuable
advantages of making a
prototype is the ability to
show your design to poten-
tial partners, manufacturers
and team members. So
making something with a
high enough quality to look
good and be understand-
able in photographs is pretty
important.
This phase is unique to
every project and you will
need to learn most of the
building techniques on your
own. Luckily there are so
many resources online that
teach you how to make
Find a good place to work
safely and organized.
Obviously, a garage or
workshop would be best for
building a prototype, but
many inventors, including
me, have started in their
bedrooms. Be sure to keep
track of every step you are
taking when building the
prototype by writing down
and photographing it. That
way you can refer back to
different processes, materi-
als, and designs. This
absolutely will come in
handy when you are work-
ing with a manufacturer. Not
only will it show that you
have done your homework
in testing different varia-
tions, but it will give you a
much greater understanding
of your own invention.
Page 28
BUY TOOLS
AS
NEEDED
DETERMINE
PROPERTIES
Depending on the proper-
ties of your invention,
obtaining an arsenal of tools
might be one of those “buy
as you need” scenarios.
Chances are you will need
some unique tools that you
don't yet own. Just buy the
ones you absolutely need
and remind yourself that it
will pay itself back when
you are rolling in dough. Be
sure to keep a receipt of
every single tool and
material you buy for the
project, though, they will be
a nice little tax write off and
you can use the receipts of
what you spend on your
project to help with a down
payment for a business loan
down the line.
ing, molding, metal forming,
CNC machining, stamping
or laser cutting. Wikipedia
has a great list of manufac-
turing processes you can
check out to learn other
techniques. Keep in mind
that most manufacturing
practices are meant to
shorten production cycle
times, reduce cost and
mass produce which proba-
bly won’t be best for making
yourself in the garage.
Figure out what kind of
materials and components
are included in your inven-
tion, that way you can have
a better idea of how to plan
on building it. Is it rigid or
soft? Is it metal or plastic?
Does it include any elec-
tronic components? Deter-
mine how your product will
be manufactured first so
that you can mimic the
process on your own. These
manufacturing techniques
may include sewing, cast-
3D
pRINTING
3D printing is a fantastic
way to build a quick proto-
type, especially if the final
material is a hard plastic. If
the final material of your
product is something else,
such as a rubber or cast
aluminum, then 3D printing
offers a perfect base to
build a mold from. If you
want to save money and
don’t want to spend
$1,000+ on a 3D printer,
there are plenty of busi-
nesses online that will send
you a 3D print of your
design. All you have to do is
submit your 3D drawing or
CAD file and they will send
the print through the mail a
couple days later.
molding
If your product is plastic or rubber, you will need to look into molding. Molding is how every plastic
product on this planet is made. There are a few different types of molding techniques used in manufac-
turing, but the easiest way to make a mold on your own is cast molding. Think of molding like an ice
tray, you pour the liquid material into the mold and after it hardens you get a part. Start by making a
key of the part you are trying to mold. A key is a physical model of the final part made out of any
material. You can choose to 3D print a
key, sculpt it out of clay, carve it out of
wood or shape it out of styrofoam. It’s
really up to you to decide which
medium you feel most comfortable
working with, just remember that the
mold will pick up every tiny detail of the
key, including the surface texture. A
silicone mold can pick up details as fine
as a fingerprint. Silicone is the most
common mold making material when
working with plastics and rubbers and
can be found at most art supply stores.
Page 29
PHASE 4:
CONTINUED
electronic
hardware
metalworking
If your invention includes metal,
you may want to look into some
metal manufacturing tech-
niques on how your part will be
made. Keep in mind that
welding and CNC machining is
expensive to mass produce, so
if it can be formed, stamped or
cast, you will save on your
production costs. Once you’ve
figured out how to make your
design, you can bring drawings
of what you need to be made to
any local machine shop like a
custom motorcycle or metal-
working shop.
If your invention includes electronic hardware components and you do not have electronic engineer-
ing experience, I would advise outsourcing an engineer. It will save you eons of time and probably
money. An experienced engineer will get the job done right so that you don’t have hundreds of
customer returns when your product fails. When you approach a freelance engineer, make sure you
have a clear plan of what the electronic components will do. You don’t want to go down a rabbit hole
paying an engineer by the hour only to change the design.
Page 30
ing, molding, metal forming,
CNC machining, stamping
or laser cutting. Wikipedia
has a great list of manufac-
turing processes you can
check out to learn other
techniques. Keep in mind
that most manufacturing
practices are meant to
shorten production cycle
times, reduce cost and
mass produce which proba-
bly won’t be best for making
yourself in the garage.
PHASE 5: TESTING
FUNCTIONALITY
Page 31
The heart of your invention is how it
works. If it looks pretty but doesn't
work, success will be short lived, if at
all. Take the time to test the prototype
and make appropriate design changes.
Be sure to test every scenario that the
product will encounter. Make sure the
tests are somewhat similar to the
intended uses, you don’t need to test
how a surfboard will hold up in a -30°
degree blizzard. Some of the scenarios
to include are environments, user input
stress, enduring shipping and transit,
user safety, extreme unit cost, material
breakage, and properly working
intended functions.
There are 3 things you are trying to
figure out when testing your prototype:
functionality, aesthetic, and marketabil-
ity. Your tests should be calculated,
thorough and methodical. Make sure
to record any information you gather
so you can refer back to it when you
need to make design changes. Don’t
freak out if it’s not perfect and don’t
take too long to make design changes,
sometimes it’s better to do the testing
in the market so that you get real
feedback from actual customers. The
first iPhone sure wasn’t perfect but
there’s always room to improve.
Give some prototypes to potential
users or even friends and family. Ask
how their experience with the invention
is, sometimes they will provide a
unique unbiased perception. Keep an
open mind but don’t get too wrapped
up in every detail, stay true to your gut
feeling because at the end of the day,
it is your idea and you are the best
decision maker for your own product.
Aesthetics
MARKETABILITY
product and take notes so you can
compare them to what other people
think of it.
Make calculated design changes, even
if as minor as color and texture, that
are catered to the targeted demo-
graphic. If there is an eyesore in a
manufacturing process, try to address
it in the design changes and find an
alternative solution. Not every manu-
facturing blemish can be solved, but
reducing the number and severity of
blemishes as much as possible will
ensure a more quality feeling product.
Testing the marketability of a product
combines the results from both the
functionality and the aesthetics tests
and adds an additional element: the
story. The story of the product can
sometimes feel elusive, but remember
what you did in the concept phase?
You took a problem and you made a
solution. That's all a story needs to be.
Hopefully, your problem resonates
deeply enough to a large enough
demographic of people that the
marketability is more secure, but if it
doesn’t, you may still find great
success within a niche.
If your product solves a problem, works, and looks good doing it, then you’ve got a winner
as far as marketability goes. Use the test chart to determine if you’ve got all your bases
covered.
The best way to tell if your product is
marketable is to ask people within the
target demographic if the problem you
are trying to fix speaks to them. You
really don’t even need to show them
the product to do this, just ask how
much of a problem it is to them. You
won’t get the same response from
everyone, and it’s ok if the product
doesn’t really affect some people.
Sometimes people don’t realize how
much they are affected by a problem
until they are showed a solution, just
as no one knew they needed a com-
puter before apple showed the first
Mac.
Page 32
Since the beginning of your design
process, aesthetics should have been
somewhat of a priority. Especially if it is
intended to be sold to an average
consumer as opposed to a business.
How a product looks has a huge effect
on its saleability. Test the aesthetics of
your product by showing it to people
and looking at their initial reaction. If
within the first 2 seconds of seeing it
they say “that’s cool”, then either they
understand how it works right away, or
they like the look of the product. Either
way is really good. Follow up by asking
what exactly speaks to them about the
Finding a manufacturer to produce your invention will
give you the key to open the door to an actual
business. Because at the end of the process, you will
actually have a product to sell. But it’s not all easy,
now you are relying on other businesses to do their
part in hustling to get your product made. You will
need to get out of your comfort zone and make
some cold calls. Don’t be discouraged if this part
takes a few months, the average time it takes to
source a manufacturer for a new product is about 3
months depending on what your product is, and you
may need to source more than one manufacturer to
produce it.
Page 33
who’s gonna
make your
product?
Among many other key factors in
deciding who will make your product,
the 3 main objectives in finding a
manufacturer is: 1, finding an organiza-
tion who is willing take the time to
develop the techniques to create your
product. 2, finding the right balance of
low cost and high quality. And 3,
developing a relationship with a
vendor you can trust in a 2-way busi-
ness partnership.
Phase 6:
Manufacturer
Sourcing
If you are planning on making your
product in another country such as
Taiwan or China, it is a good idea to
factor in 10%-15% of the product into
your margin as a loss due to merchan-
dise flaws and lost or broken in transit
scenarios. You may find that manufac-
turing in countries like China to get
lower per-unit cost could end up
costing more because of freight, duty,
taxes and other fees. Not to mention
the headache of attempting to return
flawed product, and communicating to
another country altogether, especially
when trying new develop a brand new
product. Sometimes it’s a good idea to
manufacture your product more locally
first so you don’t add the stress of
possibly getting your design ripped off,
miscommunication, freight and faulty
merchandise to the already stressful job
of developing the product.
Firstly, you need to decide what is
important to you in a manufacturer.
Will you be producing mass quantities
above 500,000 units? Maybe not out
the gate. Are you planning on growing
to that point? Is this product sold
based on quality or price? Will it be
important to your consumer base if
your product says “made in America”?
Is it important that you can quickly fill
orders with a fast supply chain? All of
these questions are super important to
ask yourself because you will need to
decide where your product is made.
Page 34
WHERE TO
MANUFACTURE
?
ings of your product sign
your NDA before they see
anything as a precaution to
not getting ripped off.
For manufacturing over-
seas, you might use a
sourcing agent to find a
vendor. A sourcing agent
will have a network of
manufacturers within their
arsenal that they can
contact for you. This can
make dealing with offshore
vendors much easier but it
will add cost since a sourc-
ing agent is really a middle-
man and they will take a cut
adding to your overall unit
cost. I say unit cost because
they typically take a
percentage from every unit
made as opposed to a flat
rate.
Another source for finding
an overseas manufacturer
is alibaba.com. Alibaba is
the world’s largest sourcing
network of overseas
vendors. It’s like the eBay of
manufacturing and it’s super
easy to use. You just need
to type in the manufacturing
process you will require or
enter the name of a product
similar to yours. There will
be a huge list of matches
that pop up with vague
representations of quotes, if
you’re not careful, you can
get swindled. There are a
few things you can do to
prevent this. First take a
look at what kind of supplier
rating, this will be a good
way to judge if they've
worked well with other
businesses in the past.
Next, have them send you
some samples of some
products they carry, this way
you can see what kind of
quality they uphold and
make sure they are a
legitimate business.
After you’ve decided what
country you wish to have
your product manufactured
in, it’s time to start digging.
Start with the type of
manufacturing your product
will require, you should
have a good understanding
of this by now from what
you determined in the
designing and prototyping
phases. When you
approach a manufacturer
you will ask for a “request
for quotation” or “RFQ”. Use
the table chart to keep track
of who’s who and what their
price quotes are to compare
during the process.
For manufacturing in the US
check out thomasnet.com
or if you’d like to be very
local with your manufacturer
which makes meeting very
very easy, you can even
type in the manufacturing
process in google maps and
see what comes up. When
you are working with US
manufacturers, you may
find it best to actually get on
the phone and cold call
these businesses. It’s a
great way to introduce
yourself to the right people
within their business and to
ensure that your inquiry
gets in the hands of a
physical person rather than
getting lost in emails,
people get stuff done emails
don’t. Remember to have
anyone that will see draw-
Page 35
Phase 1:
Continued
How to find
manufacturers
Among many other key factors in
deciding who will make your product,
the 3 main objectives in finding a
manufacturer is: 1, finding an organiza-
tion who is willing take the time to
develop the techniques to create your
product. 2, finding the right balance of
low cost and high quality. And 3,
developing a relationship with a
vendor you can trust in a 2-way busi-
ness partnership.
Page 36
PRODUCT
SAMPLING
this process can take
months, but as long as you
are persistent, you will find
someone that is excited to
work with you. Maybe
consider making a design
concept flyer as well to
better illustrate what the
product does to the manu-
facturer. Things will go
smoother if you have done
your homework in the
design and prototyping
phase, you can explain the
product easily to them, and
you have a more clear
handle on how it will be
made. The closer you can
get to a perfect CAD file to
hand over to them the
better.
It’s time to start the arduous
process of product sam-
pling. I say arduous
because you could end up
spending a good chunk of
capital to get a sample only
to find out it’s not correct.
Don’t be discouraged, this is
how it goes. All you can do
is be a problem solver and
make changes that don’t
require too much added
cost. Come up with multiple
solutions to every issue and
weigh your options before
you make any decisions to
change the product. Expen-
sive changes may be
necessary to make your
product the best it can be,
just remember why you are
making them. If the change
makes the product work and
reduces malfunctions or
damages, then it is abso-
lutely necessary. One thing
you can do to prevent costly
changes is dial in your
prototype to perfection.
There are even some
companies out there that
will make a working proto-
type almost as perfect as it
will be made in production,
but they could cost upwards
of $4,000, depending on the
product.
The end goal for a product
sample is to get a perfect
working product in your
hands exactly as it will be
made in production. This, in
turn, will not only give you
something you can launch
with and sell but also will
show you exactly how it will
be made so there are no
questions or gaps in your
product.
Using the chart provided,
keep track of which manu-
facturers are quoting what
prices then you can start
chipping away at what
manufacturers will be better
than others. Some of the
quote costs may be over-
whelming if you need to
purchase things like mold
tooling. If you are planning
on manufacturing in the US,
one thing that will bring the
mold tooling cost down is if
you have the molds made
overseas. Do not settle with
a manufacturer if you aren’t
comfortable with working
with them. This is a relation-
ship and so many things
can go wrong if you start
working with a manufacturer
that is too abrasive or
unwilling to make compro-
mises. Again,
Congrats!
To get funding you have a
few options: investor
funding, crowdfunding,
personal savings, friends
and family, and a business
loan. Since this is the DIY
Inventor kit, we are going
to skip the investor part.
If you are interested in
getting an investor to
back your product and
you are willing to give up
a good portion of your
business as well as the
ability to make 100% of
the decisions on your
own, then go ahead and
do some research to learn
how to make a great pitch
to investors. There are
some awesome tools you
If
you’re
already in the
funding phase,
then you are so close
to launching your inven-
tion. At this point, you
have a product, legal
protection, a working
prototype, and a manufac-
turer. Now all you need is
to get your product and
moving into a real busi-
ness. To do this you may
need some capital. Here
are some ways to get the
money needed.
can find through Google.
First, find out exactly how
much money you need to
be able to make your first
run of products. You have
the quotes (RFQ’s) from
your manufacturer on how
much each unit will cost,
but make sure you have
any other costs from the
manufacturer like special
tools, molds, materials
and any shipping costs
that may apply to them. If
you think you might apply
for a business loan, you
should add some other
costs such as launch
campaign costs, but we’ll
get into that later.
PHASE 7
FUNDING
Equity capital is expensive. Every
time you do a raise, you dilute.
-Fred Wilson
Page 37
personal
savings
Friends &
Family
crowd
funding
Tapping into your person-
al savings is the riskiest
way to fund your first run
of products. However, if
you don’t need that much
money, it will be the
quickest way to pay for
what you need. Really try
not to throw any large
costs on your personal
credit card. I’m not a
financial advisor but it’s
not smart to pay 18-25%
APR on something that
business
loan
Many great inventions out
there were funded by
friends and family. But
many unsuccessful ones
were too. Friends and
family may be a huge
support in getting the
capital you need to start
your dream. Keep in mind,
though, it may not work
out, and if it doesn’t you
won’t be able to pay
these people back. If you
do receive money from
people you are close with,
make sure they under-
stand that possibility so if
it does go south you
This is the lowest risk way
to get your product
funded because you are
making sales without first
needing inventory. It’s
also great because you
will build up a following
and gather feedback to
tweak your product to
perfection. However, if
you launch too early
without a refined proto-
type or sample, you will
miss out on higher sales
potential.
Check ahead to Phase 9
to read more on crowd-
funding
PHASE 7
FUNDING
A business loan is a smart
way to maintain 100%
ownership of your inven-
tion and get the capital
you need to start. It has a
bonus too, it forces you to
get on top of it and start
hashing out all the
technical sides of
turning your invention into
a real business. Not every
business can get a loan.
Lenders are pretty strict
when it comes to qualify-
ing and it’s important to
have your ducks aligned to
get the lowest APR possi-
ble. Some of the things a
business loan requires are:
A solid business plan, a 2
year projection of costs
and revenue (to see that
you will make enough to
pay the loan), business
legal entity tax ID or EIN
(this means you gotta file
for an LLC to make your
business legit), business
bank account, business
license, personal
income/equity and expens-
es, and some other random
paperwork. As you can
see, a business loan is a
lot of work, but it’s
necessary when
you’re trying to
gather tens of thousands
of dollars to make your
business a real thing.
Besides, it will get
you all set up to
be a legal operat-
ing business.
Page 38
Page 39
Brand
Perception
Brand
Perception
You can find loads of books and material on this section. Trillions of
dollars of wealth in businesses can be credited to branding. Branding is
the art of tapping into a consumer’s emotions to sell your product. This is
how people quickly identify what exactly you are selling and subcon-
sciously come to desire it. It’s the core of how companies are marketed.
Think of some of your favorite brands and
how they are perceived. What immediately
comes to mind when you think of
Coca-Cola? Probably the color red, that
nice classic white script, fizzling
refreshing cola and the command to
“enjoy”. They have fantastic
branding with a clear message:
“enjoy our refreshing drink”. Or
how about Nike? The swoosh,
lightweight and fast athletic
performance, the “just do it”
mantra, and the best athletes in
the world. Their unwritten mes-
sage is also clear: “wear our shoes
to be the best”. You can do this with
any successful brand. Apple’s “think
different” sells high-end computers
built for design. Taco Bell’s “think
outside the bun” sells a fun alternative to
Mcdonald's. The list goes on.
Any great company has great
branding behind it, but sadly some
great products don’t see their full
potential because the way they are
branded is not consistent with what
their targeted demographic needs.
A brand message is like a “story”
that you are telling to a consumer.
Everything you create for your
brand should be consis-
tent with that
story.
8
8
Page 40
Brand
Story
Visual
Aesthetics
Brand
Story
Visual
Aesthetics
This is super important to how the
consumer responds to your brand.
Its all the visible touchpoints
including logos, colors, typography,
patterns, textures, photography, the
website, and social media. Basically
anything visual. There are a few
ways to determine what type of
aesthetics you should go for. Check
out the design guide to figure out
how you should make your brand
look.
To learn more about branding, there
are two masters that you should
follow. Seth Godin and Sasha
Strauss. Google their names, watch
their videos and read their books.
Its like taking the red pill and falling
down the rabbit hole into an unseen
world where you gain a powerful
ability to tap into the mind of the
consumer.
First determine what your invention
is going to be used for and by who,
then you can start to build a story
behind it. Its important to be really
critical here because sometimes
your invention is used by a demo-
graphic or purpose you didn’t
intend to make it for, but that’s okay!
At this point, you don’t have any
actual sales so it may be hard to
find out who is using it and what for.
You can do a little market research
by showing people your product in
real life and straight up asking them
what they think. Look at products
similar to yours and see who they
market it to. Give yourself an edge,
though, don’t brand it directly for
the same people as your competi-
tor, then you can find your own
chunk of the market to strategically
capture.
Once you’ve determined who you're
selling to, you can start to develop a
story geared to that demographic.
But guess what? You’ve already
done this part :) Remember way
back in the beginning when you
were concepting your invention?
You found a problem and you came
up with a solution. That is your main
story and how you are going to
brand this thing. Stick to the simple
basics of why you made your inven-
tion and the message will be clear
and impactful to the consumer.
Write a short and simple sentence
down to sum up what solution your
product provides. That’s your
brands story.
The word
“brand” comes
from cattle
farmers who
would burn
their cattle
with an insignia
to determine
where the
cattle came
from.
The trick to a wholesale launch is getting
a foot in the door. This type of launch
can be pretty frustrating because you
will get a lot of “no’s”. But all you need
is that one yes. Consider adopting
wholesale after you’ve run a crowdfund-
ing campaign because beyond raising
capital, crowdfunding will act as a proof
of concept showing that people will buy
your product which makes it much easier
to get those “yes’s”. If crowdfunding
isn’t your style, then it’s time to make
some phone calls and do it the old
school way -the pitch.
You did it. You have a something to sell
now. You have a patented invention, a
manufacturer ready to produce your
product, working product samples, and
the capital to launch. Now it’s time to
make some money.
There are a few options on how to start
selling your product. Wholesale,
distributor, or a crowdfunding launch.
wholesale
The goal here is to get a larger retailer
to sell your products in their stores.
You may need to start at smaller mom
and pop shops and work your way up
to the larger ones, just to prove to
the retailer that your product
will sell. Retail buyers want
to see as much proof
that your product
will be
purchased
as they
can.
Selling a product at wholesale typically
means 50% or “keystone” of the retail
price. This is because the store needs
to make a profit as well. Figure out
what is the lowest price you can sell
your product at and still make enough
profit. Then multiply by 2, now take
that number and compare with similar
products the store already sells. Can
you be competitive? Or are the other
products way out-pricing you? If your
price is too high, then you may need
to sell through e-commerce until you
can figure out how to lower your
cost-per-unit through your supply
chain.
Re-
mem-
ber, shelf
space is limited
and you are compet-
ing against products that
are already on them, so make
sure your product checks all the
boxes to be a better fit.
LAUNCH
Page 41
Distributor
A distributor is a good partner to have
when it comes to selling wholesale.
They take away much of the transit
and supply burden. They will often be
the ones working with the retailers on
sales. And they can allow you to get
into larger retailers. This is because
most retailers don’t want to write
product orders and checks to every
single company that sells in their store.
So many retailers will only choose to
buy from the product lists that their
distributor partners provide.
The downside of a distributor is that
they are yet another middleman that
cuts into your margin. However, If you
are selling 100X the amount you
would if you didn’t use a distributor,
then who cares about them cutting
another 10%?
LAUNCH
Packaging is pretty important for retail.
If you are approaching a larger retailer,
you may not need to worry about
designing it yet as they could have
their own guidelines and requirements.
If you’re approaching some smaller
shops, then you will want to have it
squared away. Things to think about
when deciding how your product
should be packaged: make it tough
enough to withstand abuse in ship-
ping. Make it small enough to be
easily handled and not take up
precious shelf space. Make it stackable
for easy stock-ability. Make it attractive
and nicely designed to catch consum-
er’s eye. Make the advertising on it
clear and concise to what the product
is.
Page 42
It’s incredibly important to
be able to show the
consumer a final product.
People do not buy some-
thing if they don’t see
exactly what the product is,
so working samples are a
must. Furthermore, if you
launch too early without a
refined prototype or
sample, you will miss out on
higher sales potential.
So again, the three things
you need to be able to start
crowdfunding are:
A product or prototype.
Ability to deliver the
product to backers.
Established costs of
production and launch
assets.
Crowdfunding is your first
real-world test to see how
people will respond to your
invention, so make it count.
Remember that you are
making a direct interaction
with real people to ask
them for their money. This
interaction needs to be
done with honesty, trans-
parency, and sincerity,
otherwise, people will not
invest in you or your prod-
uct. Crowdfunding is not a
get rich quick scheme. It’s
hard work and should be
taken just as seriously as the
rest of the work you have
done so far. You can get
pretty deep into each
aspect of the campaign,
depending on how high
you want to aim.
Crowdfunding through
platforms such as Kickstart-
er and Indiegogo should
absolutely be considered
for funding. As stated in
Phase 7: Funding, This is
the lowest risk way to get
your product funded
because you are making
sales without first needing
inventory. In other words,
you can wait to order each
unit from your manufacturer
after you’ve already sold
them, like a pre-order. It’s
also great because you will
build up a following and
gather feedback to tweak
your product to perfection.
You should only consider
crowdfunding after you’ve
completed the sampling
phase and have been
working with a manufactur-
er.
There are three reasons for
this:
So you know how much it
will cost you to produce.
To understand how feasible
it is to manufacture.
To acquire a refined prod-
uct sample.
Page 43
PHASE 1:
CONTINUED
CROWD-
FUNDING
Heres a list of things you will need to
figure out before launching a crowdfunding
campaign:
-A campaign video
-Product photos
-Any imagery or charts to explain the
product
-Reward tiers
-A launch date and campaign length
-Campaign minimum funding goal
-Fulfillment
-Promotion strategy
Page 44
Clarity is more important
than flashy. Keep it simple
and to the point. 5-minute
videos don’t often get
watched all the way
through. Make your narra-
tion clear and easy to
understand without being
too long or too wordy.
Sometimes saying less is
more. It’s also good to
include subtitles, that way
people will be able to read if
they don’t have their sound
on as well as foreign
language speakers.
Do try to have some unique
eye-catching aspects,
talking into the camera for
longer than 45 seconds
straight will get very boring.
You can achieve this
through b-roll of designing
or making the product,
imagery of your inspiration,
scene transitions and shots
of the product being used in
its environment. Watch
some other videos, even
non-crowdfunding videos, to
pick up some good ideas to
spice it up.
Your campaign video will be
the most important thing
people will see to decide if
they want to back your
product. It’s super important
to get a clear depiction of
your product early on. So
many campaign videos start
with a lengthy and dramatic
intro, only to be skipped by
the viewer. So get on with it
and show your product.
After you’ve shown the
product, real it back and tell
a quick story behind why
you made it, the problem it
solves, the inspiration and
how it’s unique compared to
similar products.
Page 45
PHASE 2:
CONTINUED
CAMPAIGN
VIDEO
Just as important as the
visuals of your video is
sound. This is often over-
looked. Next time you watch
TV or some youtube videos,
pay attention to the sound.
You will find that what
makes a video feel profes-
sional is in the sound
effects, recording environ-
ment sounds, the narration
quality, and above all, the
music. Get a good sound
recorder and the rights to a
good song to use. Check
out Shutterstock.com for
royalty free music, sound
effects, and even stock
video.
These images are the first
things anyone will see about
your product. In a ½
second, the viewer will
subconsciously decide if
they want to invest more
time into looking at your
product. Making it extremely
clear and eye catching will
really help. Look at other
brand’s product images, like
Apple and Nike, to get some
inspiration. You can hire a
photographer through sites
like craigslist or fiverr.com
or take the photos yourself.
Page 46
PRODUCT
IMAGERY
Nobody will
ever notice
that. Film-
making is not
about the
tiny details.
It's about the
big picture.
-Ed Wood
Page 47
Do not set your goal too
high!!! If you do, the
campaign won’t be
successful and you won’t
receive ANY money. Plus,
if you set a lower goal, you
will see a rocket boost in
backers after it becomes
successful since it will be
featured under the “recent-
ly funded” sections.
Further, much more will
choose to become a
backer after they will
certainly receive the
product.
Pick a time of year to
launch that is associated
with your product -selling
surfboards in the dead of
winter won’t be as fruitful
as in summer. Keep in
mind that crowdfunding
sites tend to not be as
active during the holiday
months. Statistically, the
best months for
a crowdfund-
ing launch
are Feb-Apr.
After you’ve had a success-
ful launch, you’re going to
need to get them shipped to
your backers. If you have
more than 1000 orders, It’s
a lot easier to have some-
one else to fulfill all the
orders. This would be a
fulfillment center. There are
some great fulfillment
companies that specialize in
getting your crowdfunding
rewards shipped to backers.
Check out ShipBob and
Fulfillrite as some options.
You will need to decide
what rewards to offer to
your backers. It’s good to
price the campaign rewards
cheaper than what they will
retail for, as an incentive to
waiting for the product. For
a boost, you can offer a
limited amount “early bird”
reward. Try to stick with just
offering your product- sadly
no one really cares about a
t-shirt or tote bag. You
should offer a $1 dollar
reward for those “undecid-
ed” backers so that you can
reach out later through
email. When you get to
higher tier rewards you can
offer further discounted
prices or special interest
tiers such as meetups.
PHASE 2:
CONTINUED
REWARD
TIERS
CAMPAIGN
GOAL
FULFILLMENT
LAUNCH
DATE &
TIME
File for an LLC in your own
state. This could be expen-
sive in some states (i.e.
CA), but it’s better to pay
the man the correct way
than have the IRS knocking
on your door for an audit.
(Trust me, I know). When
you file for your Limited
Liability Company (LLC),
you will be given an (EIN)
Employer Identification
Number. It’s a nine-digit
code assigned by the
Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) to identify your busi-
ness when you file your
taxes and other government
documents.
Before you can make
money from selling your-
product, you need to set it
up in compliance with the
state. Uncle Sam needs to
know where you got your
money from and how much
to take from you. It’s also
good to set it up legally so
you don’t take a personal
burden of all the financial
liability. In fact, you should
do this before you receive
any sort of money, loan or
other
You need a seller’s license
to legally sell anything. And
you need a business permit
from your city to do busi-
ness in your city. This
means even working from
your home. The cool thing is
you will get a tax write off
when you register your
home as your place of
business.
Trademark your business
name through the USPTO
website. You must do a prior
search to see if anyone else
has already trademarked
that name for your specific
business. If not, you will be
able to secure a name that
only you are allowed to use
for your industry. You’ve
already filed for a patent, so
filing for a trademark should
be a breeze.
LEGAL
SET UP
Here’s the things
you need to set up
to operate legally:
-File for LLC in
your state.
-Obtain a seller’s
license.
-Get a CITY business
permit.
-Trademark name.
TRADE
MARK
Be Legit
Page 48