Episode Thirty Three Features April Mitchell Talking About Inventing And Licensing Her Products
My Key Takeaways:
April was another inventor who invented a product to solve an issue that she herself was having. By her own admission she probably put too ...
Episode Thirty Three Features April Mitchell Talking About Inventing And Licensing Her Products My Key Takeaways:
April was another inventor who invented a product to solve an issue that she herself was having. By her own admission she probably put too much time and money into her first invention but her subsequent products, along with her involvement with inventRight taught her how to license her ideas.
In this episode April shares:
To learn more about April, her website is 4A's Creations (4ascreations.com) and she can be found on LinkedIn, FaceBook, and YouTube as well. Next week we'll have on La'Quita Monley talking about being a Christian entrepreneur and tools to improve our mindset. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that you will continue to have a safe and Happy New Year. Be sure to hit Subscribe in your podcast app so that you don't miss it or any other episodes.
[00:00:00] Greg Mills: Our guest today is married to a Lieutenant Colonel in the us Marine Corps and as a homeschooling mother of four, but she doesn't let those labels alone define her. She was also a successful inventor, an entrepreneur. She invented the right height over the door hook and those licensed five new products in the toy and game industry.
[00:00:21] She is a two time patent holder and coaches, new inventors on license. Inventing for her as a family affairs, she involves her four children and her husband and the process without further ado, April Mitchell.
[00:00:36] April Mitchell: Hi, thank you for having me, Greg.
[00:00:38] Greg Mills: Well thank you for being on. It's great to have you here. Can you take a few moments, kind of fill in the gaps from that intro and bring us up to speed with what's going on in your world today.
[00:00:49] April Mitchell: Sure. Sure. So I'm a teacher by trade. My background is in education and when we started having kids, I started staying home with them. I had the honor privilege to do that. And they're all back at school. Now we did homeschooling last year for a couple of them and everyone's in school now, enjoying school.
[00:01:09] So that's allowing me to work a little bit more on my projects, which has been a lot of fun. And we do, like you said, we invent as. We do a lot of invented together. Prototyping. The kids are in videos and all kinds of fun stuff. They help with a lot. I also invent and partner with other inventors as well, and we've, just trying to solve problems and have fun with making new games and products as well.
[00:01:35] So it's been, , quite a journey to get.
[00:01:39] Greg Mills: Okay. Now, did you come from an entrepreneurial or an vendors background? Did anyone in your family invent anything while you were growing up?
[00:01:51] April Mitchell: Yes actually. My dad invented a few things, for his trade, which is the drywall business. As well as for a fishing, he made some fishing, tools. I guess you could say, , did products for fishing. , but that was all just for us and for him to use, to make his work easier and for us , to make fishing easier, more fun.
[00:02:11] Then his father, my dad's father, had invented as well. He had patented a few products, actually. A game I know for sure. And he had patented a product for the healthcare system, to help with something, with having to do with a foot. And then. Uh, great grandfather had invented as well.
[00:02:29] His house was full of inventions. It was always neat going over there when I was a really, really little kid, but, he didn't do anything with his inventions. He just used them for himself and made different things. So I've had the privilege of growing up with, if you needed something, you made it, you created it.
[00:02:46] And so it didn't seem abnormal to just come up with something, whether it was in the classroom for the kids. Making new teacher resources or games to help them learn. And then when we had kids to do that for our own kids. So that was just something we did. And we still do so that was just kind of part of life.
[00:03:05] And I hadn't thought about it in venting until I had come up with, a product for the housewares industry. Right.
[00:03:12] Greg Mills: I kind of find it fascinating how different themes will repeat themselves throughout a family's, cycle like the theme of inventing sometimes the themes aren't always positive, but this is a good one.
[00:03:24] April Mitchell: Right. Right. And then both my father and his father were business owners. They were small business owners, so they had their own business that they ran and, nothing huge, but enough to keep them busy themselves. So now I'm doing that with my own inventing. So yeah, it is interesting to see sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, huh?
[00:03:46] Greg Mills: So tell us about your first invention. I believe that was the towel belt.
[00:03:50] April Mitchell: Yes. That was the towel belt. That was my first product. I had that patented that took a few years to patent. It's been a little too much money on that patent. , the product did get licensed, however, it never actually made it to the market. The licensee just kind of sat on it. Good thing. It was a short term contract.
[00:04:13] And while I was waiting for that contract , to run its course, I started working on my second product, the right height. Now back to the teller belt, I do think that product will have a day sometime. There are products on the market now trying to solve the same problem. They're just not doing it as well.
[00:04:31] So my patent and product I think will definitely have its day in the near future.
[00:04:35] Greg Mills: What did you learn between your first and second product? The right height, adjustable towel holder.
[00:04:42] April Mitchell: Yeah. So I learned a lot of what not to do, which helped me know what to do. One of the, those things is I do not need to spend a ton of money on, patents. What I learned. I can file a provisional patent, which is a PPA, and that can buy me a year, to pitch that product and see if it has some legs to stand on, to see what companies are interested in it before I decide to go further with a utility patent.
[00:05:11] So I have filed now probably a good couple dozen P PA's and the majority of them, I just let them kind of trickle out because if a company is not. In licensing that product, then there's no sense in me trying to patent it. Also even when I have gotten other licenses, a lot of the companies aren't.
[00:05:32] Necessarily in need of a patent. They don't feel that there's a need for the patent, because one thing is, if you're going to have a patent, you'll often hear people say you've got to have the money to back it up to actually fight it in court. So a lot of times it's just not worth it, unless it's something so novel that they don't want anyone to make anything similar to it at all.
[00:05:54] I have since then, I've received another patent, on my right height hook, as well. And I've again, tried to get a few other, patents, but it hasn't worked out so I'm definitely spending less money. And then the other thing too, that I've learned is. I'm the person who can sell my product the best in the sense of getting it out there in front of companies to get license.
[00:06:17] When I first started with the tall belt, I tried to hire a company that said they do all the things, right. They get it a licensing deal. They do the marketing, they do all the things for me. I realized that they didn't care as much as I do. There's all different kinds of companies out there.
[00:06:34] And so we have to really be careful as an inventor of who you trust and whatnot. So what I found was best for me is to learn the process myself. So that I could repeat the process over and over and over. So whenever I have an idea, I know, Okay. Now, I need to research. Then I'm working on the prototype.
[00:06:52] Then I'm making my marketing material, whether it's associate or video or both. And then I'm pitching it to companies. I'm finding out what companies are the best fit for it, and I'm reaching out to them and I'm pitching it. So I found that I am the person who cares the most about it and is going to work the hardest and.
[00:07:08] So those are two big ones, that you can really do this with a very minimal amount of money. You can really license a product just with spending a few hundred dollars with filing the PPA and getting yourself some marketing material after you prototype it yourself or hire some , very inexpensive.
[00:07:28] Greg Mills: Now, how did you learn the process?
[00:07:30] April Mitchell: Good question. So I, was thankful that I found on YouTube, Stephen ki and the vet rights, or I had watched some of their videos. And then I bought the book called one simple idea written by Steven Key. And after I went through the process, With the right hook. And I followed this book to the exact, and by doing that, I had interest from several companies, for my product.
[00:08:00] And I thought, oh my gosh, I don't want to mess this up. I don't want to screw things up this time. So I joined them at right program and I had help with the back and forth of the interest and the emails and things like that with the right height hook. And then they ultimately helped me negotiate my deal, which was fantastic.
[00:08:18] And now I just repeat that process?
[00:08:21] over and over and over. It's definitely, become, just ingrained in me when I have a new idea of what to do.
[00:08:27] Greg Mills: Now, are you handling the negotiations at this point on your own? Or are you still involving in bent ride or how does that work?
[00:08:35] April Mitchell: Good question. So I'm one of their coaches currently. And so I do still have help with negotiations. I'm feeling really comfortable. I will definitely have them look at something , if I have questions or would like some help, like with that, but, I'm pretty close to that to doing it on my own, but it doesn't hurt to have someone take a look at something.
[00:08:54] It definitely doesn't no matter where you're at with things.
[00:08:57] Greg Mills: So you're in the toy and game industry, as well as housewares,
[00:09:03] April Mitchell: Yes. Housewares and then also party, and, novelty.
[00:09:08] Greg Mills: Okay. Now, what's the process that you've learned, how you create a product and approximately how long does it take.
[00:09:17] April Mitchell: Yeah, good question. So when I first come up with an idea or, a brainstorm to come up with one, because I'm not always just waiting for the idea to just pop in my head. Sometimes I'm doing exercises to jog those ideas. But when I first think of an idea that I think, oh, this could be something, I do some research.
[00:09:34] I go on Google image search. I may shop on Amazon. , and see if this product. Or it's similar products exist like it. And just because there's something similar doesn't mean, oh man, I can't work on my idea. It means, okay, maybe there's a need for this product. And so I just have to find a good point of difference of why mine is better.
[00:09:54] Why my work's better? Why would someone want to buy a mine, over somebody else's so first establishing that the product doesn't exist or that you at least have a point of difference from products that are currently on the mark. And then once you do that, then I will work on prototypes. I'll also try to rework things because especially if I'm inventing in the game and toy industry, you'll test play something in your wise. Oh, it just doesn't work as good. That way we gotta change the rules or now we've got to do this or now, there should be more of these cards or something like that. So there's a lot of tests being involved in Victorian game ministry.
[00:10:31] So you're changing things, the games evolving, A lot of that comes , with the prototyping. And of course the test plane, but with any product, whether it's for the house wearers or toys and games, albums, or whatnot, you're really figuring things out as you're prototyping. And I think that's why prototype is really important because you can see where maybe there are some problems or how can we make this?
[00:10:52] So. The, in a smaller package so that people can maybe put it together and it's not going to take up shelf space. Things like that are really important to, to think about when you're your prototype. So prototyping of course then is a big key, whether it's, making a, a physical prototype or a virtual prototype or both, oftentimes they'll do both a physical prototype really needs to get the idea across, right?
[00:11:17] So like a looks like works like prototypes and people can say, okay, this is what this should look like. For example, I have my right height prototype here. So with this one I knew I would want it to come in a box and not be. So we knew we'd prototype it in a few pieces. So that way the, the bar, let me put this down would just click in here. And this is for the prototype side. Um, and so I needed to show.
[00:11:49] Companies that, Hey, this works right. So it'll snaps in you turn the knobs and this more poles down. And so after had the prototype made, I hired someone to 3d print those pieces to do the CAD and 3d print the pieces, but then you need your marketing material.
[00:12:03] And so I use the prototype in a video to show. , first a problem of like kids not being able to reach a regular hook and then solving the problem. Oh, look, now they can use this product. And this one works really, really well. Then I had a sell sheet made as well, but for this product specifically, I knew I needed to show it in action.
[00:12:22] I had to show it moving and working so that companies would say, oh wow. Yes, this does work. And so I sent that video to companies that were already making. Over the door hooks. So instead of trying to send it to a company who wasn't in the industry, you want to send the marketing material to, with permission, of course, to companies that are already in that space.
[00:12:46] So you're saying, okay, you're already make hooks. You do a great job, but here's a new version. You pitch that. And then you keep pitching it until you sign a licensing deal. So even when there's several companies interested, you all got to keep pitching it You've got follow up with them, keep following up with them, until you signed that deal. And I would say in any product, I would say, the prototype takes some time. I could be pitching a new product within a week of an idea.
[00:13:11] This one, because I needed the prototype made, it took a few months to get all that squared away and then I was pitching it and I pitched it for a good almost year before I signed a contract. That timeline is what you see very often. I mean, I I've signed a deal after pitching a product to the first person.
[00:13:29] And I've signed several
[00:13:31] pitching for a year. And that's even with interests, that's with companies trying to go to, their manufacturers and get samples and also get costing and things like that. So sometimes it can take quite a bit of time. And then other times, You can sign the deal quicker, but they still have to, get the manufacturing.
[00:13:52] So it could take a year to two years to get it on the market. Even after you sign a deal. So from idea to on the market, I would say you're looking at, ,
[00:14:01] approximate of a year and a half to two years.
[00:14:05] You gotta be in it for the long haul. You've got to think long game with inventors.
[00:14:09] Greg Mills: Now, have you been knocked off yet?
[00:14:13] April Mitchell: I have not, not that I know of.
[00:14:16] Greg Mills: I did some research. I didn't find anything either. So knock on wood.
[00:14:21] April Mitchell: That's good to hear
[00:14:22] Greg Mills: You talked about how you identify companies, but who should somebody target within those companies and how would you find that information out?
[00:14:33] April Mitchell: Yeah, LinkedIn is a great resource because you can type in the company and the search bar and everyone who was on LinkedIn, the company shows up now, some industries will have in some companies within those industries will have inventor related. People set aside specifically to talk to inventors. That's really a big in the toy and game engines. I've not seen it as much in the other industries, but as a general rule of thumb, looking to speak to people in the heads of marketing or even sales would be good. We want to focus on marketing first and then sales. A lot of companies have their own insights. Developers or, design team.
[00:15:14] Those would be your next resort, but of course they're working on their own design. So they're concentrating on those designs. So you want to go to somebody else, like someone in marketing or sales, if they say, oh, this is a fantastic idea. Oh my goodness. We got to show everybody else in the company.
[00:15:28] That's what you want. And then they can meet with their designers and their team to say, Hey, is this something we can do? ,
[00:15:33] and then you can work with them to help get that.
[00:15:37] Greg Mills: I guess going back just a little bit, how have you come up with some of the good ideas for your products? It sounds like right height towel holder or the, excuse me, the towel hook. And , let me just slaughter the name of your product. I'm sorry. But it sounds like that was born out of necessity.
[00:15:54] April Mitchell: Yes. A couple of them were born out of necessity.
[00:15:57] and that's why I came up with them a lot of times, what I've found is companies will be. Looking for certain things. And now that's helpful is when you've got either like a wishlist or you're getting to know a company really well, you're building these relationships and they say, oh, we're looking for something that does X, Y, or Z or something in this special category.
[00:16:18] And that's helpful. From a conversation with one person, I have come up with an idea that ended up not being the right fit for them, but it was a great fit for another company. And then I licensed it. So a lot of times it's just jogging ideas from all kinds of things. And then also just watching my kids interact and play.
[00:16:39] A couple of the ideas we've come up with they were already doing these things and then we develop them further, like, oh my gosh, you're doing this. And this looks like a lot of fun. How can we bring this into the home of other people? We have to change a few things, tweak a few things.
[00:16:52] So we also do that to. And then also just looking at what's something that you use often that you can put a fun twist to it and maybe make it a novelty kind of kitchen gadget or things like that. I enjoy inventing in a few of the different spaces and a few different industries, and it's just kinda depends on where I'm going.
[00:17:11] Sometimes I focus in one area and then I focus in another more. When you're building relationships in these areas, is nice and easy to kind of go back because you have these relationships and you know who to pitch to, and who to contact and ask for a meeting or send things on over for them to take a look at it.
[00:17:27] So it, really lends itself well, to stay in a few different industries, but not to say I won't go in other industries because like, I'll be working on a fishing product with my dad. Soon. We already have the idea. We just, need a prototype and I don't have any contacts really in the fishing industry, but I will, I will, by the time I need to, and I'll be, excited to reach out to.
[00:17:50] Greg Mills: Well, that kind of speaks to my next question. What kind of mindset do you need to have when you're reaching out to the companies and you're pitching your product?
[00:17:59] April Mitchell: Well, you definitely have to be positive. We are in the rejection business. That's what I say. It can get hard and it could be a rollercoaster. If you let every know, get to you or if your day is determined by whether you get a guest or a no or interest or not, or something doesn't happen.
[00:18:16] So we have to be very level headed and we have to be positive. I do a lot of. Mindset work on myself. I do a lot of, visualization techniques and, I am statements and just really helped myself believe in myself and what I'm doing in my project. So that's something. That, is very important because we need to stay persistent and we need to say positive in this industry and it can get weary.
[00:18:45] We don't want to let ourselves go down there and give up because, so often ideas are given up on just too soon, which is really unfortunate to see.
[00:18:56] Greg Mills: It sounds like your family has evolved in their roles of helping you in this process. Can you go over that?
[00:19:03] April Mitchell: Sure, sure. So, Everybody has plays different roles and sometimes they're all playing the same role. One of the boys had helped prototype a game that we, had licensed. So we went to the, local home improvement store, and we bought different, Items materials to make this product.
[00:19:22] And he helped me build it. And I guided him on what I needed and things. One of the boys is quite the artist. So if I draw something then I have him draw it way better. And then I can give it to a designer to actually understand what I'm trying to do. And he's actually, drew something that now is very close to a deal where I drew it on and I gave him an items that, Okay. this is what I need it to look like, but you also have to incorporate this and this and that. He did that and we're really close on something with that. And that was just from his drawing because
[00:19:57] he does quite well withdrawing. So we have that. And then of course they all do the test plane and they all help with ideation. So we might be driving in the car and I said, okay, so I've got this idea and here's how it works. And then they'll say, no, this would work better. Or what about this or this theme? And so we talk about things, and then they all test play and then there were videos.
[00:20:20] So they all help with different things. And then they're all inspiring. So they're all creative. My daughter's a very, very creative. So sometimes we'll pay attention. What is she doing? What else can we do from what she's doing and feed off of that imagination, which is key because, we all think differently.
[00:20:37] So if we've got, a few people that were working on ideas together, it makes a big difference. You know, hearing the different input and things like that. And sometimes I need to be told no, that this is not fun, mom. No, that does not sound fun. And we work on something else and we'd go a different way because I might think that was fun, but they were like, no, that's not.
[00:20:57] And then we were going to sell them, then they're like, okay. Yeah, this is good. This is good. We like this one. So it's really helpful.
[00:21:03] Greg Mills: Going back to your kids was there like the first time that mom asks them.
[00:21:08] Okay. I want to know about this game that you're playing. How did they respond? I know, I thought I was in trouble.
[00:21:18] April Mitchell: I remember the first time. They were outside and they were doing some, and there's this stuff happening and it's all crazy. I'm like, what do you guys do it like, kinda like what in the world is happening? And they're like, oh, we're playing in blah, blah, blah, blah.
[00:21:29] And I'm like, okay, well, how do you play? So I was really curious of how you play this game and what are the rules and what's the goal and everything. And then that just became normal. Tell me about what you're playing and tell me what you're doing. And then, another game we licensed, I walked out of my office and something flew across the room and I'm like, what just happened?
[00:21:52] What are we doing? They're like, oh, you gotta try it, mom here. See? And I'm like, oh, and I did it. I'm like, that is fun. Okay. We need to go do this outside now where there's more room for flying. We've licensed a couple concepts that way already because of. Kids being kids being silly, being crazy.
[00:22:07] And then we tone it down a little bit. But I think they're kind of used to it now. There might be a day where they start doing stuff in secret. So I don't know everything they're doing and ask them all the questions, but so far we're doing okay where they don't mind sharing because they know it could lead to something. And the two younger kids have entered young inventor challenges. So they've seen the process. So now they're working on their own projects and being creative and they've actually filed PPS. I've helped them obviously with, filed their own PPS. And I'm currently could gene.
[00:22:42] My son's a toy that I think is fantastic. It's got a killer video. It's awesome. I helped him with with the whole process. I think if nothing else it's opening up their imaginations and just the possibilities of all these different things, it just doesn't have to be just this one idea.
[00:22:59] It can be more than I can go from where it started. And so I'm really excited for them to see that.
[00:23:07] Greg Mills: How did you get, involved with invent right after going through the course and becoming a coach?
[00:23:13] April Mitchell: So, after the course, I just, was excited to share my product right. And get 'em out there helping market it and get on videos and share about it. I was asked to, interview with them to be a coach. And usually what I've learned now is being a coach that your coach has to recommend you.
[00:23:34] And there's people from in the company already, that, think you've got the skills to be a coach. Again, my background is education, so it's just natural for me to teach others what I've learned. And just to teach in general. And he asked me to interview with them.
[00:23:50] And then I was offered a position. So I had been with them for over two years now as an infant, right coach?
[00:23:57] So it's been great. The more you're working with people and coaching, you're learning too it's a neat give and take where I'm able to share my experiences, not just inventing.
[00:24:07] What we call in the game, which is that back and forth when there's interest in when there's questions and, do I send a prototype now or they want to see this, they want to see that I'm now signing several deals just in the last, 14 months have a lot of experience to share with people for that.
[00:24:24] As well as the process to get to where you're pitching. It's really neat to share that with other people. And I enjoy it. So when people want to listen and soak it all in and some people don't and, we do the best we can. one thing I will say is, and I tell this to all my students is there's this big divide.
[00:24:43] And I think it's important to know, because as an adventure, you really have to decide what side of this divide you're going to be get. And I think that oftentimes you can have people with any kind of idea. Whether anyone would think it's good or bad, it doesn't matter. It really always depends on what the licensing company thinks about it.
[00:25:02] But so you can have all people of all different range of ideas, different industries, and then it comes to, you can have you already and have your pitching materials set and it could look beautiful. You have a beautiful video, everything's all set. And then when you start pitching this divide is created and you have the people who are putting your assistant.
[00:25:22] And they follow up and they are very diligent. And their follow-up and then adding to their hit list as they go along. And then the other half are people who've reached out a little bit and they do it when they feel like it. And life is just too busy. Cause it always is. I know how busy life is.
[00:25:41] But there's always something that gets in the way or they let fear either fear of failure or fear of success, overcome them, like just take over. I like to mention this and let people know that, okay, when we get to this spot here, you've got to make a choice. What side are you going to be on?
[00:25:57] Who are you going to be? Are you going to be the one who's giving it your all, no matter what, until you get either a yes, from a company and sign a deal, or until you get a note from every company on your hit list, and then, okay. It's time to move on to another project. It doesn't mean no forever.
[00:26:12] It might just be no for right now. Let me put this product on the back burner. Or maybe I use the feedback and changed up a little bit. So that's really important to know whether you're going at this alone or you're, they're inventors student or in this industry at all is to really give it your all and to be mindful of how often you are reaching out to companies and you're following up and persistence. Persistence pays off and you need to be persistent and consistent, to get a licensing agreement because I've seen so many amazing products not get licensed because the person just didn't pitch it enough. And that's too bad. It's really too bad. I know. And I couldn't do a forum, that's not my job.
[00:26:59] I'm not doing that for them. They have to do it. So that's why we teach the steps in this process. So you learn it and you can do it over and over and over again. So everyone listening just know that you can do it. You just got to put in the time and it's hard work. It is, it is, but it's definitely worth it.
[00:27:17] Greg Mills: Oh, the right height. How many tabs would you estimate that you got reduced?
[00:27:22] April Mitchell: Oh, gosh, I know I pitched to over 50 companies. I don't know the number. I feel like it was way more than that.
[00:27:31] Definitely well over 50.
[00:27:33] Greg Mills: Do you think there's anything that you could say to somebody that saw on the wrong side of the divide initially, that would help them to get over that halt?
[00:27:43] April Mitchell: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:27:44] I think one is you need to identify, what's holding you back because usually it's something. In, like I mentioned before, sometimes it's the fear of failure and sometimes it's the fear of success in the fewer failures to say, well, if you don't give it your all you could say, well, I didn't try that hard, or I didn't have time or I didn't, whatever.
[00:28:04] And you have an excuse of why you fail. Right. For me, mine was a fear of success when I first started out because, my first product didn't go so well. So I had to prove that, yes, I could do this. And I worked extremely hard on my second product, but then also felt like I was held back by the fear of success because I guess I was afraid of what if I would change if I became this millionaire or when I become this millionaire, that somehow what would change and not be a nice person.
[00:28:34] And I don't know what would happen to me. So that's what held me back. So I have these conversations with my students
[00:28:42] Let's identify. What this fear is, and then let's attack it and let's learn some tools on how to help with that. I just recently did a post on LinkedIn about this, about different tools I use, to help me with these things.
[00:28:59] Like I mentioned before, I do visualization techniques daily. I see myself. And my family around the table and we're opening up checks and everyone's yelling how much one is, oh, this one's 19,000, this one's 37, this one's 58. Whatever they may be. And then we also, we are in the store and I see every product of mine where it should be on what shelf, on the aisle.
[00:29:24] Nat is something that I can do. And so I do that several times. But also you need to feel the feelings of joy and love and creativity. You have to feel those and when you're stuck in. Like down zone because you're getting these nos or in so hard, it's hard to get your, your frequency, your vibrations up for those feelings, because all those feelings are high-frequency feelings.
[00:29:50] And so I will make sure I do. Is, I will go to the beach a few times a day, in my mind. And so I visualize, but I'm also feeling those feelings. I feel the gratitude is also very huge. High-frequency, feeling. So if you're feeling the gratitude and the joy and the love, and you can raise your frequency up from what it was just down very easily on your own.
[00:30:14] And then I also use essential oils to help with that, I journal, I do all these kinds of. But the important thing is trying different things to find out what works for you. So that was, there was a long explanation, but kind of recapping and going back was, find out what's holding you back and then learn some tools to help with them. And go from there, and it's always good to have someone to speak to about these things, someone to chat with that knows how it feels, because when you're inventing for the first time in your family or friends are. You kind of feel like you're this island and they have no idea what you're talking about.
[00:30:53] They don't get it. So you need to find a community of people who do, and that doesn't mean go talk about your product with a bunch of people, but find community, and vendors, groups, and things. Do you know how you feel and they're there in the trenches with you at the same time. And you can talk about these different things and then find a friend to maybe talk about product ideas with there, that you are comfortable with sharing where you're at.
[00:31:20] Maybe not exactly what you're working on, but okay. I had these highs and these lows this week. And how are you doing and where are you at with your project you're prototyping or your sales material, things like that. So it's nice when you can have someone hold you accountable. In this industry
[00:31:35] because if you're going to edit your own, it gets lonely and then I don't think you'll do as well. If you don't have someone or a community to go through it, to get.
[00:31:46] When I first came up with my first idea, I, I didn't know anybody else who invented. I didn't have any friends who were working on a project. Like I was. My family was really supportive. My husband always so supportive, even of all the things I wanted to do, all of the money we spend on the patents and he's been extremely supportive through all of this.
[00:32:08] My outer family, two sisters, parents, my kids. And I did have a few friends that helped, I was trying to do a sell sheet and I had a friend who was really great at computers, had done some marketing and we were living in Hawaii and I just didn't even know where to start. It was awful.
[00:32:26] Like I could barely get a photo on a page. So she helped, with that. And I'll always remember that, And we're good friends to this day. And actually now we live together or by each other again, after all these years of moving around in the military. I have had a few good supportive friends that I can share some things with, but the reality is nobody wants to hear it all when they don't understand it and they're not as into it.
[00:32:52] I started, leaving myself as voice memos, about just exciting things and major exciting things I do share with the family. But that way I can just kind of keep track of things that way as well, because there's a lot that happens in a week, to keep track of, and then sharing the big wins with the family
[00:33:10] Greg Mills: okay. Now, is there anything I haven't asked you that you'd like to go over or that you feel like we need to talk about?
[00:33:21] April Mitchell: My background is not in design. It's not in, engineering or anything like that. But I've been able to. Invent, even without all that background. So something, I think that would be important for listeners to know is you don't have to have a specialized background to become an inventor or a product developer or designer.
[00:33:41] I can easily hire people, to do the things that I can to fill in the gaps where I'm not skilled or trained because we can't do it all. I've also done is, partnering with people who help fill in those gaps where I can do things. And we really lift each other up and highlight each other because they're, specialized in certain things and I'm in specialized certain things.
[00:34:05] I really enjoy inventing with other people. And I think a lot of people find that that's really enjoyable because when you find people that you click with you could take a product or an idea often further because you're going back and forth. You're brainstorming you try sending out.
[00:34:23] And if my families play testing something and my partner's family is playing testing, they're going to get different results than we will. And so then we come together and then we go through that and we could do it again, where if it's just my family and then I play testing with neighbors or friends, it's going to be different.
[00:34:37] Yeah. My, my other thought would be to be open to working with other people. That doesn't mean just go ask a random stranger, right? Hey, go, come do this project with me. But get to know people in the community and you might find that there's people that, you may want to work with.
[00:34:53] It's a lot of fun to work with other people. And of course, you've got to find the right partner to, I would say, when working with someone you don't want to work with them. Just so you don't have to pay that person to do it. They're just doing one thing and you're doing everything else, it makes more sense to pay them for that.
[00:35:10] And then you get all the royalty when the time comes. But if it's something where you're really would work on it together in the, everything would be pretty split equally. Then it makes sense to me anyway, to partner up on something. I do some things on my own sometimes, I'll partner.
[00:35:29] So it really depends on the project. If it's something my kids came up with or I'm working on with my kids, then I'm not going to partner with somebody else because I'm already in a sense partnering with my kids and things that they heavily work on. I want to be able to, to give back more than just feeding them and clothing them.
[00:35:46] So. definitely no that anyone can do this and be open. I would say to, to working with other people, because it can be a lot of fun. It can make your product without much better in some circumstances.
[00:35:59] Greg Mills: Let's get ready to wrap this up. Is there a book that you currently recommend to move somebody to the next level and they're inventing process or to help them get started?
[00:36:10] April Mitchell: I definitely recommend one simple idea by Stephen Key, which got me to where I, know the process really well. Another book is, licensing ideas using LinkedIn, which is by Benjamin Harrison and Stevens. Um, that really teaches you how to use LinkedIn, to connect with people and reach out to with people.
[00:36:32] It gives you some ideas of what to say, , in the protocol, if you will, for actually connecting and reaching out, to people with companies. So those would be really great tools, for anyone getting stuck.
[00:36:46] Greg Mills: Okay. What's the best way for somebody to contact you or to check you out?
[00:36:50] April Mitchell: Yeah, definitely LinkedIn, April Mitchell on LinkedIn. My company's name is four A's creations, LLC, but yeah, LinkedIn is the bias. Then you can see, you know what I'm about. You can see some featured articles or posts and things like that. And then you can send me a message and I can get back to you that.
[00:37:12] Greg Mills: I can verify that she is very easy to connect with on LinkedIn. So lastly, I guess what's the number one piece of advice that you could give for our listeners?
[00:37:23] April Mitchell: Don't give up. I know that sounds easier. It might seem cliche, but don't give up because if I would have given up the first 50 times or more than I wanted to give up, , I wouldn't be sitting here talking to Greg. I wouldn't have licensed. I wouldn't have two patents. I wouldn't be, on webinars and giving speeches.
[00:37:46] I just wouldn't be where I am today if I wanted to give up, because it's very easy to give up. Um, but it's in, the, the forward movement and keep going that really, I think, sets us apart, from everybody else. So don't get.
[00:38:04] Greg Mills: All right. That's a wrap. Thank you April for being a guest on entreprenuers over 40.
[00:38:09] April Mitchell: Thank you.