Coming up with the money needed to file a patent or build your invention idea can seem like a difficult task. The fact is that all inventors have this same problem no matter what their financial situation happens to be. There are many ways to start an invention with no money.
Here are a few ways to start your invention without money
- Sketch your invention idea
- Research patents
- Create a business plan
- Start writing your Utility Patent
- Design your product in CAD software
- Test the market by building a website
- Look for a partner or investor
All of these steps can get you started on your invention without any money. It just takes a little of your time each week to work on your idea and start moving in the direction of turning your idea into reality.
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed“Theodore Roosevelt
Sketch your invention idea
The first step in getting your invention idea started is to do a few simple sketches. Now if you have never sketched before, I can tell you that it just takes practice. You can even take a few classes if you really want to learn the right way to sketch.
One thing I can say is that you are never too old to learn something new. Before I went to industrial design school in Florence, Italy, I couldn’t even draw stickmen. Over time, with some practice, I have learned to use sketching as a valuable tool to develop my products.
It may take you many sketches to flesh out your ideas. That’s the great thing about sketching your invention first. They don’t cost you anything other than time. Sketching is the perfect way to plan what to do next.
The design of your invention will dictate many things so you really do need to think it through before moving on to the next step. You need to ask yourself the following questions.
- What materials will my invention be made of?
- How will it be used?
- What functions will it perform?
- What styles will I choose in the design?
- How much will it cost?
One important part of the invention process is to come up with products that don’t infringe on other people’s ideas. While we do recommend seeking legal advice from a professional, much of this work can be done simply by conducting a few Google Patent Searches.
Look for patents that are similar to your idea and then begin reviewing the claims within the patent. You should start to understand ways in which you can change your invention design to make sure you aren’t violating the patent. If you have a hard time with this part of the process, don’t worry because you can usually avoid any issues just by spending some time rethinking your idea.
Avoid infringing on other people’s ideas.
We discussed how to protect your idea and avoid infringement in other posts but most of the time, it’s not that hard to avoid violating a patent. You just have to make sure that your design is different than the claims in similar patents. As engineers and inventors, we have to be aware of patents and work to avoid any legal obstacles. If there is still a concern, you can always seek legal advice with an experienced patent attorney.
You may notice many things similar to your idea but do not get discouraged. If you read the patents in detail, you will start focusing on the claims and notice that very little is actually protected in most cases. It’s usually just the “way” (method) a product works or the types of technologies that were combined to make a product or invention. You can learn more by reading this post on how to protect your idea and also search for other people’s patents.
Create a business plan
There is plenty of information on the internet that will teach you how to write a business plan. The great thing about this part of the process is that it is another step closer to creating your product that doesn’t cost you anything other than time.
Things to include in your business plan.
- Research of the marketplace.
- The purpose of your business.
- Product description(s).
- Overview of the brands identity.
- Marketing strategies.
- Estimated sales revenue.
Start writing your Utility Patent
While we are not big fans of patents for new inventors, you can take the time to start learning how to write a patent application on your own. Keep in mind that the patent process is expensive and very few ever earn back their costs.
Writing a patent for your invention is actually a great way to improve your design and think about its functions in new ways. Even if you decide to release your product to the public without a patent, knowing how the application process works will be a very valuable skill for you as an inventor.
Here at Invention Therapy we believe the best way to protect your idea is to pick the right ideas, lower your start-up costs as much as possible, and be the first to market. While having a patent in your own name may sound like a dream come true, defending it against infringement is a very time consuming and expensive undertaking with no guarantees that you will be victorious. If you do decide to pursue a patent, just be prepared to spend lots of money on the application and defending it if it is approved. If you do have to spend money on legal fees, you could see your profits quickly go away.
Design your product in CAD software
There are many software packages available to the inventor to help them describe their invention ideas visually. Some of the two and three-dimensional drawing software systems used by inventors are listed below and a great place to start learning the process of modeling your design.
Free Online Drawing Apps
Invention Therapy wants to teach you how to become a professional inventor. It is important that you learn how to use the right tools to correctly describe your invention ideas. Most two-dimensional drawing and sketching programs are a good start for basic concepts but you will need to step up your game and move up to more professional product design software in most cases.
Eventually you will need to move on to well known 3D modeling software programs like Solidworks or Fusion 360. They have longer learning curves but offer an inventor the opportunity to design their entire product within the virtual world.
While there are some free CAD programs available online, we don’t recommend using them other than to learn. They aren’t widely used by manufacturers and you will have a hard time sharing your designs if you don’t use widely recognized design software.
While Solidworks and Fusion 360 licenses can be expensive, there are more reasonably priced alternatives for a few hundred dollars.
Turbocad is the first 3D CAD program that I learned and it allowed me to design my original products with ease. As I began to improve my industrial design skills, moving to Solidworks was easy due to the experience gained from Turbocad.
Test the market by building a website
Building your website is one of the first steps needed when it comes to marketing your products. The sooner you start working on building your brand, the more likely you will succeed. It takes time and practice to develop a group of interested followers who may buy your product so don’t wait until the last minute to launch your website.
- Pick a domain name
- Host your domain with Bluehost
- Install WordPress
- Pick a theme
- Start writing your blog
- Generate traffic and followers
- Create a webstore
- Sell your products
Look for a partner or investor
If you get this far, you are basically half way through the invention process without spending any real money. You also started to establish your brand and product line before risking the funds needed to build your first product. If you have done your job correctly, you can now start thinking about using your own money or talking to others about investing in what is now a business idea with potential.