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!

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.