Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mistakes Inventors Make

By Roger Brown 

Below are things Inventors need to Stop Doing or Truly Understand when it comes to inventing if they want to succeed. 

1. Understand that inventing is a business. Treat it like one. How do you expect a multimillion dollar business to take you seriously if you don’t appear to understand how business works?

2. Actually research your idea before you send it to a company. Walking into your local Wal-Mart or not having that product at your house does not constitute a complete search.

3. Don’t tell them “There’s nothing out there like this!” When spending 2 minutes on the web they find several items exactly like yours.

4. Understand every company has a different method and time range for reviewing submissions. Don’t send a proposal on Monday via snail mail and call them Tuesday at 8:30am wanting to know when they will be sending you a contract. It is a simple task to ask the company you are submitting material for review “What is your normal turnaround time for reviewing submissions?”                                                                                                                                        For example Progressive International only looks at new submissions the first week of every month. So, using that example if you sent it the second week of the month they would have already locked in those items they were going to review. You would be on next months list for review. So calling would be useless because you will be waiting 3 weeks before they even review it.

I always ask what the companies’ normal protocol for reviewing submissions is. That way I am not being a pest calling every week and I now know what to expect. It saves you a lot of headaches and nerves’ wondering what is going on if you just ask up front. Plus, it makes the company reviewers job easier not having you call every couple of days for an update.

5. Don’t be married to your product and totally against changes to make it marketable.

6. Put your contact information on every item you send them. Don’t make them guess who sent it. Companies will send parts of your submission to various groups within the company to get their input. So, if your material/prototype does not have your contact info on it the chances of it getting lost are high.

7. Don’t send prototypes unsolicited. Let them know a prototype is available upon request. You can’t expect a company to pay shipping to return your prototype for every prototype they receive unsolicited.

8. Understand every idea is not a million dollar idea. Yes, there are million dollar ideas, but they are not the majority of ideas. Be realistic in your expectations.

9. Realize everyone that rejects your idea is not stupid. They have their reasons. It may not make sense to you, but it does to them. If they sent you any feedback with the rejection try and learn from it to make your next presentation to a company better.

10. Don’t send a 20 page explanation of your product. Be concise and clear on your sell sheet. If it takes more than two pages to explain your idea you have a problem.

11. Know who you are sending your submission to in the company. Don’t assume they will figure it out for you if you just send it in care of the company. Submissions sent to the bulk/general mail box of a company rarely make it to the person you intend.

12. Don’t assume the person reading your sell sheet will magically know all the selling points/benefits of your product that you left out. Example: What if your idea revolves around fishing and they don’t fish and know nothing on the topic?

13. Be patient and do not call every other day asking if they have reviewed your product. They can be on vacation, at trade shows, out sick, or very busy. They are not sitting around and only waiting for your package.

14. Make sure you have an idea/plan of who you are going to contact about licensing your product before you spend the money for a provisional patent. A large number of Inventors pay for a provisional, knowing they don’t have money for a full patent and have not done any research on who might be interested in licensing it. They spend 6 months of the one year looking for company contacts which means they only have 6 months to try and gain any interest before their time runs out. They didn’t have any intention of paying for a patent and now are forced to let it drop or pay for a patent. If you work it right you have all of your 12 months to find a company.

15. If you decide to bring in a partner on your project – make sure you have a clear WRITTEN and SIGNED understanding what is expected from both sides and what each party is to receive for their efforts. It doesn’t matter if it is your best friend in the world, your sibling or a parent, GET IT IN WRITING. You need to have clear guidelines or one of you will end up doing the majority or all of the work and the other partner still gets their share of the gains.

16. Keep a concise log of who you contacted in the company and what you sent them. A number of Inventors send out packages and two days later couldn’t tell you what they sent or to whom. The person from that company calls and they are floundering trying to remember who this person is while talking to them on the phone.

17. When contacting a company remember they own the company, not you. Write your letter to the company from a realistic perspective; give them actual facts, not what you wish them to be. Don’t write your letter in a threatening tone or from the aspect that they are nuts if they turn you down. Don’t fill your letter with information they really don’t need, such as how you came up with the idea, how long it took you to build your prototype, etc. They are only interested in will it make them money. DO NOT USE THE PHRASE “My idea is worth MILLIONS!!!" Let them decide for themselves what it is worth.

18. Don’t send prototypes to companies that don’t work and tell them “I am sure you can work the bugs out of this”.

19. Make sure you know the companies submission policy BEFORE you send them anything. Some companies list the method and documents required prior to submitting any ideas to them. Some companies also post that if you send them any submissions and they like the idea that they are not obligated to compensate you for the submission. You MUST READ every boring line of any document you sign so you know what you are agreeing too.

20. When you are writing your proposal don’t use phrases that only you may know the meaning of such as “They will sell like gangbusters, more than you can shake a stick at, more than you can imagine, like you have never seen before, or You will sell a butt-load of these. For those of you not familiar with a “butt-load” (it’s a lot) the Oxford English Dictionary has a citation for “butt-load” as a unit of measure equal to “about six seams”,(A nautical term) which amounts to roughly 450 gallons.

Who says you can’t learn something new every day! : )

To learn more about Roger Brown, his inventions and services please visit his websites at:


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homemade Millionaire is the Reason Womentorz was Born

It's hard to believe that it was over a year ago that I attended the casting call held in Chicago for a show being produced by Kelly Ripa and part of the TLC Channel now called Homemade Millionaire. At the time I was just at the prototype phase of my invention called the AttachaTray, which was a laptop tray that attached to a recumbent bike.  I had two weeks to prepare for my trip and finish my prototype.

You see, I'm not comfortable speaking in front of large crowds, so this was a terrifying concept for me to wrap my brain around, but something told me that I should go for it.  My invention was quite expensive to have manufactured, so having an avenue where this could be backed financially and instantly marketed was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

I was soon off to Chicago with recumbent bike and invention in tow.  In a way it was good that I didn't have a lot of time to prepare and over think the process.  The morning of the big day came and I felt pretty good besides the butterflies that wouldn't stop making me feel like I was going to lose my breakfast.  When  I got to the hotel where the auditions were being held I was immediately surrounded by amazing women who put my nerves at ease.  We all had a lot of time in line together and I was amazed at how far along they were in the inventing process.  Many of them had already had their product manufactured and were all over the web, but they were running into challenges getting exposure for their product.  This is why they were auditioning for the show.  I saw how much passion they had for their inventions and how much they had invested financially and emotionally.

It was finally my turn, which came and went so fast I'm not sure what I even said.  After being in line with so many fantastic women I new that my chances were slim to none to get on the show, but there was something in my gut that told me I was there for a different reason.  I couldn't help feeling at ease.  On the flight back form Chicago the concept of Womentorz came to me.  I thought, "How great would it be to use the group marketing concept where all of these inventions and inventors could be found in one location and use the power in numbers to their advantage."

The process of building Womentorz began soon after, which has been quite the roller coaster ride for the past year.  I have so many amazing women in my life now who, if it hadn't been for the audition for Homemade Millionaire, I would have never met.  This show will hold a very fond place in my heart because I know what the women on the show went through to get this opportunity.  Please tune in on November 19th at 10:00/9:00c.  I know I will!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Get Your Own Storefront For FREE in the Womentorz Inventor Marketplace!!!

Yes, it's true!  We are now opening up the Womentorz Inventor Marketplace to ALL women inventors who want to get exposure for their product.  There are absolutely no strings attached.  We have found how valuable building the community and network can be and beefing up our efforts for group marketing.  The larger the community the more opportunities each inventor has to save money when gaining exposure for their invention.

In just three easy steps you can get up on the site:

1. Register as an inventor (piece of cake)  Click here to register
2. Add a product (Please only 3 per inventor)
3. Fill out the editor completely following all directions and load your photos

You're up and running!!!

Please visit our "Inventor" page and read about our Signature Services and all of the perks your own website and product will automatically receive by simply getting up on the site.  For only $50 a month you can be on the homepage and receive even more traffic to your product.  This feature is prorated within your account and is something you can control within your own product page.  You have nothing to lose by getting on Womentorz!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Potty Spray Guard is Making Potty Training Easier!!!

For some time now I have struggled potty training my three year old son.  He is quite the stubborn one so it's important to make the process fun.  Unfortunately, potty training is a messy process, so I'm constantly finding myself cleaning floors, toilets and tons of clothes. 

I can't tell you how thrilled  I was to have Jody Brimhall and her Potty Spray Guard become a part of the Womentorz Community.  I felt like the potty training gods were shining down on me!   I ordered her product immediately and couldn't wait to give it  a try.  You see, my son is a little too big for the portable potty and its built in spray guard, but the mini toilet seats don't have any protection.  There would pee everywhere! 

My intention was to use the Potty Spray Guard on this inner seat, but wasn't sure it would work since it was built for the main toilet seat.  Little did I know, Jody had designed it so well it fits on virtually any size of toilet seat AND it can even be used on the back of the toilet seat for bigger boys who pee standing up to protect the back of your toilet.  Genius!!!

I am proud to say that the Potty Guard works perfectly.  My son may not be potty trained yet, but now that I have this essential tool we're well on our way to a diaper free world.  Thank you Jody!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Green Halloween is a HUGE hit in Downtown Edmonds

Colleen and I were so excited to be part of bringing Green Halloween to the Downtown Edmonds Halloween Festivities.  This was a joint effort between Womentorz.com, MyEdmondsNews.com, Sustainable Edmonds and the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce with Coldwell Banker Bain hosting the Costume Swap on October 9th, which was a huge hit.  We really appreciated the support during the entire process of introducing Green Halloween to Edmonds.  Our booth was so overwhelmingly popular that we could barely keep up and went through thousands of products that were handed out to literally tens of thousands of families.  We've never seen anything like it!!!  It looked like Woodstock! 

The most popular event at the booth was the Recycle Toss.  The kids LOVED it as much as if they were at a carnival.  We also had a candy buy back program with a chance to win a $60 gift card to Toys R Us.  There was something for everyone!

All of the business involved in sponsoring the booth received huge exposure and peace of mind that they were providing a healthy alternative to the massive candy normally passed out during Halloween.  It was quite the experience and very fulfilling.  We hope to get more businesses involved now that we know how popular the booth was.  It's nonstop activity and excitement!!!  

Here are some photos from the event. I apologize for the quality.  I forgot my camera through all of the craziness and could only use my camera phone.