Do you think you've come up with the latest and greatest invention consumers never knew they couldn't live without? Your innovation may be unique, but do you know what it takes to make your dreams of success a reality?
Sites like Quirky are inviting potential creators to get their product or service to the masses, but even with a click of a mouse, the process isn't quick or easy, not to say that it can't be done by the right person with the right idea.
Here, 5 folks who have already been down the road you're about to embark upon share some useful tips, words of wisdom and advice, and share their own experiences for people who are serious about turning their concept into something tangible and marketable.
It takes perseverance, but if you are determined, passionate, and a true go-getter, anything is possible!
Joey Lauren, Founder, Kissamint
"I would advise someone to do their homework. Conduct as much market research as possible, talk to people. Talk to people who work in the industry. Have them sign an NDA or don't give all the details but collect as much information as possible.
There are going to be many obstacles. But you have to commit once you've decided to go for it.
Lastly, I would say, make sure you have the stomach for it, being an entrepreneur means loving the roller coaster of wins but there are lots of dips along the way."
Justin Mandel, DOM AP LAC, COO at Global Medical Innovations, LLC, Co-Developer, Freedom Belt™
"The first step one should do is survey the market to be sure the invention is needed. Many times product creators will get far down the road investing time and money into something that consumers don't need or want. When it's time to sell that finished product or bring investors on board, there's limited or no difference, meaning one's time and resources were wasted.
Taking time to make sure consumers will actually purchase what you invent could make all the difference in having a successful product right out of the gate. This can be done a few ways, but what might be best is with a simple $100 pay per click ad spend. Create a one-page website with a free survey to get answers to those burning questions that you need to know. Offer visitors something in exchange for their email address like a discount on the finished product once it comes to market in exchange for their answers. Try Survey Monkey or another free survey software. Create 5 to 10 questions to prove the concept and even improve on it in case you really do have a hot item that the public wants.
In the case of Freedom Belt™, we investigated way before it ever hit the market. We spoke with doctors, nurses, and surgical technicians to make sure the need was there. Prior to that, the Freedom Belt™ inventor Dr. Mario Torres-Leon worked with thousands of patients who had catheters so he knew there was a desperate need for a better solution than rubber or Velcro bands patients were using to strap their drainage bags to their body. If after all of our research it was determined that Freedom Belt™ was not needed, then it never would've reached this point and we would've invested our time differently."
Lori Barzvi, Creator, My Solemate
"Never, ever, ever give up. (Clearly this is not my original quote, but if I had given up I never would have made my product a success after many failures with it).
You can be, do, or have anything you want you just have to believe.
If something doesn't work one way that doesn't mean that it won't work another way. Sometimes you have to try a few different things to make something work."
Jake Bernstein, CEO and Co-Founder, Ignite Mind and Body
"Don't be afraid to go out and get feedback on your creation. Feedback from potential users is the difference between knowing you're building out something people need and the realization that you're creating something you thought people SHOULD need, but that they don't.
Talking to potential users early will help you make sure you're building something that solves a real problem and that people are willing to pay for."
Tricia Scribner, Creator, Knotty Tamer
"Don't overthink it, strive for 'done,' over perfection! There is no perfect in entrepreneurship, adapt and conquer!
Replace fear with resourcefulness, know your worst case scenario and be OK with it. Entrepreneurship is the wildest ride and I wouldn't change the thrill!
Cook or learn to cook!
Don't try this at home, that being said... go for it with everything you have!"
Follow your heart, gut, and dreams like these successful inventors have. Soon, you could be the one offering advice to the next up-and-comers!
As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.