A common question I’m asked is, “What’s the best way to build a career as an inventor?” As the CEO and Founder of LifeWave, I’m fortunate to be working daily immersed in the fruits of my inventions. Thanks to the phototherapy patches I’ve invented, I’ve been able to build my company from scratch into a major player in the health and wellness field. I don’t say that to be boastful, but rather to establish that I know a bit on the topic of innovation. So, to help would-be inventors in their own pursuits, I’ve gathered some of the hard-won advice I’ve amassed over the years.
All inventors want to be the wunderkind that creates their first product and guides it to massive success. I won’t say that that can’t happen, there are certainly cases of it working out that way, but I will say that this path to success is the exception rather than the rule. What’s far more common is a career that’s built incrementally, with many smaller successes building upon each other. Though it may seem slow-moving for some, that level of persistence is key to long term success.
Of course, success isn’t the only thing a person finds as they set out on the path of becoming an inventor. Failure is a necessary part of succeeding in life. It teaches us so many valuable lessons about where we can improve and the need for resilience. If you can’t handle failure right now, I recommend setting that as a goal first and foremost. To quote Winston Churchill — “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Success is a numbers game
In the same vein as recognizing the power of persistence and failure, it’s important to understand the need for incessant creativity if you want to make it as an inventor. I have something like 100 patents to my name, and each one means something special to me. While I see the value in each innovation I’ve created over the years, I also know that finding success in the market is dependent on more than just an invention’s value. Oftentimes, forces outside our control, for better or worse, can play a big role in the success of a single creation.
That’s why it’s important to always be innovating and bringing new ideas to market if you want to succeed as an inventor. While each idea should represent your best work and should be something that you truly believe in, you should also be prepared to have another idea on deck once you’ve set the entrepreneurial wheels in motion. One need look no further than the great Thomas Edison, a hero of mine, to see this idea in action. Edison accrued over 1000 patents during his prolific career. Take a tip from the greats and know that even the creator of the lightbulb understood the importance of always having another idea waiting in the wings.
Focus your efforts
It’s not uncommon to see a new inventor jump from industry to industry, trying to capture lightning in a bottle through a range of different concepts. While I understand the need to find one’s footing in the world, a process that requires a bit of trial and error, it’s usually best to focus in a concentrated area to really hone your expertise. In this way, every innovation, regardless of whether it’s a success, can build your relevant skillset for your next project.
While I have a large number of patents, more than 70 of them are in the field of regenerative science. By focusing my efforts in this manner, I’ve been able to build a depth of understanding for improving human health and wellness that would have been otherwise impossible to achieve. It’s that depth of understanding that has ultimately helped to contribute to my success with LifeWave with the innovations that we’ve brought to a global market.
I look back fondly on my journey to date through the trial and tribulations of making my way as an inventor. While I still have plenty to learn, and much farther to go on this journey, hopefully the above reflections will be useful to those just starting out. Though the path can be difficult at times, it can also be so worth it! Stay true to your strengths and interests, learn from both success and failure, and always keep creating. With that in mind, I believe you’ll go far.