If at all possible look around on the internet and join an inventing forum. There are plenty of free forums out there just find a couple and join. You don’t have to post anything just join and look through the topics to see if they make sense to you. Is the forum full of helpful people discussing topics of interest to you or are they not posting anything you can use. Once you find one that you feel is productive you can start posting questions and joining discussions. Just understand it is a public forum so make sure you don’t post information about your product/idea because if it is not protected by a patent you are publicly disclosing your product/idea and that can hurt your chances of getting a patent down the road. You are also giving out your idea to a group that may see it and build off of that idea to make a product of their own and compete or beat you to market.
Forums are a great way to network with Inventors around the world. You get to see inventing from multiple perspectives, instead of just one. Because inventing is not a one size fits all journey. What works for one person may not work for you. What you want out of your idea/product can be totally different than the next person.
The forums allow you to ask questions and hopefully get an answer that is useful. It also lets you see questions you may not have thought to ask. You can learn about a wide spectrum of areas you didn’t know existed in inventing.
It is inspiring to see a person come on a forum an amateur and see their growth learning the ropes and ultimately succeed. You will realize you are not alone in your struggles and frustration. There are people from all walks of life that want to see their dream become a reality and you get to share in their experiences.
There are certain rules you need to follow on forums, so they don’t get out of hand. First, realize not everyone has the same attitude or attachment to their idea, as you do. Some think of their idea/product like their child so how do you think they will react if you criticize their child? Others see it strictly as a business venture. You need to learn to have a thick skin to criticism whether you asked their opinion or not.
Remember you are on an open forum and everyone has an opinion. Some express it very vocally and others may have a more eloquent touch than others whether they are right or wrong. You have to learn what to filter out and what to keep.
Also, the person with the most posts doesn’t mean they are the most knowledgeable it just means they have more time to post than you do. Or they type faster than you. Take advice and check it out before using it. Make sure it is based in fact not just because they believe it.
Help keep the thread on the topic and don’t go on to many tangents. I see threads start out talking about licensing, patents, etc and someone will start discussing a movie they saw. Eight pages later they finally get back to discussing licensing or whatever was the original topic. This is very unproductive for the person hoping to get useful information on the thread topic.
Ask yourself would you read eight extra pages of text on a topic you don’t care about hoping you find something useful? Also consider most forums can have over a hundred topics if you ran into that same issue on every thread how frustrating would that be for you?
We have all heard the phrase “there are no stupid questions” That definitely applies to inventing. Some inventors are reluctant to post a question fearing they will look dumb asking something everyone else knows. Don’t let that stop you. You are asking the question because you need the answer. It only hurts you if you don’t ask. I would also bet your question was on someone else’s mind too they just didn’t have the nerve to post it. The only way a forum is going to help you and others is by networking and the sharing of knowledge.
A forum gives you a sense of community and a place where everyone has similar dreams. Help each other attain your goals.