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What to do if you have no
money for your invention

By Ronald J. Riley

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Dear Mr. Riley,

I have a question for you but, first let me explain my situation to you. I am a 26yr.old father of two who works full time at Wal-mart. I don't make allot of money, and I'm lucky just to make enough to pay my bills! My question to you is, what does a person like me do when they don't have money to make money? If you are as poor as I am? Its a waste when a person is financially challenged, and has allot of good ideas that they can't do nothing with!!!!

                                       p.s. please e-mail me at:
                                         name deleted


I had a similar problem as a young man.  I was also dirt poor. My solution was to keep inventing, learn as much about as many disciplines as possible, and build assets.  This meant that I did not start filing patents until the mid 1980's, but I had been inventing from the mid 1960's.  

It is an unfortunate reality that it takes money to make money.  The cost of a patent is peanuts in comparison to the costs of engineering, prototyping, and marketing.  

There are several ways a person in your situation might break into the business with minimal capital.  

First, start networking with your local business organizations, political leaders, institutes of higher learning, and SCORE.  You may find a partner with the money.  

Second, read my web page  Get David Pressman's book "Patent It Yourself" and study the book.  Consider writing your own patent and getting it professionally reviewed.  Bear in mind that writing a patent is a great deal of work and that a self drafted patent may not be worth anywhere near as much as one done by a pro.  But the income from such may be the way to generate the cash for the next invention.  

Third, consider another job, or launching a part time business.  Stay away from the get rich quick deals, because they are all about making someone else rich.  But selling someone else's products is a low overhead way to start in comparison to developing and selling your own invention.  And this is a good way to get business experience which is useful when you are ready to start pursuing patents.  

In my case I build assets by remodeling a real dump of a house which was in a nice neighborhood.  It took seven years but I was completely free of debt.  At the same time I sold computers and better quality imported tools out of the back of my truck.  I also took orders for Foremost and Bush furniture, 50% payment with the order, and placed such orders every few months.  It was grueling but it set the stage for later.  

Another aspect of this was that I never purchased new vehicles.  Instead I bought clunkers, fixer-uppers early in my career and later on, as my finances improved I bought vehicles about two years old.   Also, my wife and I limited our vacations to one every five years or so.  As a result of such measures we are financially comfortable today.  Still not rolling in money, not anywhere near enough money to file patents on all my inventions, but enough money that I can afford to do pretty much what I want.  

My point is that sacrifice and good planning, coupled with hard work and never passing up an opportunity to learn new skills, willingness to plan for the long haul, are all factors which lead to success.

Related pages: Funding Sources

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