You've seen the scams. Forget those, and move on: real people can and do make money from their inventions. Let's see who and how.
Who succeeds with their inventions? Just about anyone, and at just about any age. Here are a few ways.
If samples of the inventive product are available, then the quickest route can often involve first rate department stores and consignment sales. It's easy if you know how, and it's easy to try even if you don't know how. One successful person just went to their favorite department store, bringing their product, and talked to a manager about it.
For some inventions, it may be better to go through distributors. That is not hard, but it is not always easy either. Some distributors will help with the manufacturing costs, and some won't. Your best deals come when you can provide the goods.
Sometimes, it helps to get investors to provide funding and expertise, so you can make and sell the invention. The best ways to get investors involve one important first step: finding the manufacturing cost of a prototype. That part isn't difficult if you know how, and can often be done in just a few days. Most inventors are surpised by the low costs, and of course investors like seeing low costs since it means higher profits.
There are ways to find and meet investors. I recommend e-press releases as a very low cost way to attract investors. I can also recommend viral marketing, which is also a relatively low cost way. There are even investor clubs in many areas, if you look for them.
Another point: it is not necessary to have a patent. It helps to have a patent application on file even if it does not issue as a patent, since that documents your invention as a trade secret. And, trade secrets themselves have great value and offer a form of protection.
Speaking of secrets, if and when a large company sees your successful product and wants to buy it, they often prefer a “patent pending” situation to an issued patent – they can expand the product line by filing continuation-in-part patent applications only if there is a patent pending status. Once a patent issues, that right is cut off.
I plan to explore each of the above situations in greater detail in their own future articles. I hope you will be there and read them!