How To Invent Something That Makes You $1 Million (The Easy Way)

How many times have you watched Shark Tank, or gone to the store and seen a product on the shelf that made you scratch your head and say, “DAMMIT! WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?!”

Or worse yet — you go to the store, and see something that you’d already thought of, in some form or fashion, but never executed on.

Hey! That’s my idea!!!!

It’s literally like someone is STEALING money from you. It sucks. Of course, the barriers to getting our ideas out of our heads and onto store shelves is usually a combination of factors:

  • We don’t know if our idea is any good
  • We think we need a lot of money to get it made
  • We’re scared to share it with people or companies because they might “steal” it
  • We get overwhelmed by things we don’t know (“Do I need a patent, business plan, investors, etc?!”)

The reality is that oftentimes, these barriers are very easy to overcome with just a little guidance from the right person. That’s why I’m thrilled to introduce you to my friend, Stephen Key.

Stephen Key Stephen is the New York Times Bestselling author of One Simple Idea: Turn Your Idea into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do The Work.

What is licensing, you ask?

Licensing is the process by which you (the inventor) come up with an idea or concept for a product, then simply sell that idea to a company and collect the royalties every single time they sell one.


Whenever I think about inventors, I always picture Edison toiling in his lab for 25 years trying to create a lightbulb.

You’re telling me there’s a way to invent something by simply selling an idea without doing any of the other hard stuff….and make money?

Ok, you have my attention.

Now, let’s back it up…

When I first heard about Stephen’s concepts — and the ideas behind licensing ideas, even I was skeptical. Could it really be that easy?

(Don’t worry, i’ll address that concern within the first 30 seconds of the interview!)

The truth is, Stephen has spent nearly 30 years creating a step-by-step system for coming up with great product ideas and selling them to companies that’s easy to understand, repeatable, and (when you get it right) insanely profitable.

Along the way, he’s invented and licensed a ton of cool ideas. Oh, you know, little things like Lazer Tag and Teddy Ruxpin.

Basically, my entire childhood.

Watch today’s interview courtesy of my partnership with The Lip TV, where Stephen and I dig deep into how he’s made MILLIONS over the years by coming up with simple ideas, selling them and collecting huge royalties.  Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • 1:46 — Why you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to come up with a profitable idea
  • 3:20 — The biggest mistakes that beginning entrepreneurs make (which ones are you making?)
  • 6:39 — How to find “sleeping dinosaur” ideas for new products by simply going to the store
  • 9:30 — How Stephen made one simple “tweak” to an existing idea and earned millions
  • 14:01 — How to determine which companies to call, and who to talk to
  • 4:44 — The real reason why companies don’t want to steal your ideas
  • 18:43 — The exact cost you’ll incur to create a new idea, from beginning to end (it’s way lower than you think)
  • Much, much more on how to invent something that makes you money

I’m really excited for you to see this interview. It was one of my favorites I’ve ever done.

Daniel DiPiazza

Daniel is the founder and CEO of Rich20Something. A millennial business mastermind, he has successfully started three consecutive freelance businesses and scaled them to over $100K in revenue with zero startup capital. His work is regularly featured in Time Magazine, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fox News, and Yahoo! Business. His debut book, Rich20Something, publishes on May 2, 2017.

  • Talk about getting the creative juices flowing! Better than a cup of coffee!
    Speaking of coffee… watching Stephen here, and thought, “Man, I should make a coffee mug with brass knuckles. It’d be a knockout!”
    …Apparently I need to hone my creative side a little more :/

  • dean phillips

    Wow this was amazing!
    I couldn’t believe how much you guys dived in and gave away.
    Absolutely loved the show Daniel!

  • Rbn

    Reminds me of a time some guys idea got stolen by a company, the guy told them to make a hole in their “biscuits” so you could easily take it out of the package with one finger, got robbed off his idea by company, sued company, win courtcase and walked away with millions of compensation. 

    Question for you people: how much of you have worked for an employer and came up with ideas to improve their business  just to get told by your boss to F. off because the managers know better blablabla ? 
    Most people dont realise this but apart from improving products as shown in the video above you dan also sell improvements of a PROCESS that for example will speed up paperwork or a way they can employ less people (yes I know the last one is nasty but its business and they will fire people at one point maybe even if they find out your idea themself in 1 year or whenever). the payouts for that work different as far as I know and most bosses wont listen to their OWN employees but it worth a shot to try it with different companies.

    @Daniel I expected better of you lol 😀 ” Know somebody who’s completely lost
    working on a project or developing an idea? If you think this might help
    them, share it with them. Thanks”

    REALLY ?! Well ok I agree it is good for your blog but we might make more money if we would help people stuck on a project for a small share of their profit depending on how good their project is. 
    And yes I know that might sound maybe evil or selfish but it isnt very likely they will offer you any money themselves + after all they only will pay you if they make money.

  • Rich20Something

    @dean phillips Thanks Dean! I appreciate it 🙂

    Have you ever invented an idea “in your head” — then been upset when you saw it in real life?

  • Rich20Something

    Q The LostCyclingDude Actually…I kind of think that’s a good idea.

    Race you?

  • Rich20Something

    @Rbn Good insight! The point I’m trying to make here is that most people aren’t even AWARE that you can actually make money by selling their ideas — so just sharing this with them, and helping them to see the “other side” is often a good first step 🙂

  • Eric_Mac

    Awesome interview, Daniel. Really glad I was able to take the time and watch. You put out some rich content…part of that rich20something url methinks.

  • Rich20Something

    Eric_Mac Thanks, Eric_Mac 🙂 Have you ever seen an idea in the store and thought, “Hey, that’s my idea!!”

    What was it?

    (BTW – I owe you a text!)

  • Eric_Mac

    Rich20Something Eric_Mac Absolutely: scented garbage bags. Came up with that idea at the end of 1986 working as a part-time manager at a grocery store. Have to admit it stung a little seeing it in the stores much later.

  • Rich20Something


  • ChristinaCC

    Excellent interview Daniel, your great & consistent content is helping me twerk my thinking about what is possible.

  • TheDarkLlama

    Ha, this is fantastic!  I have a guilty pleasure and it’s dorky toys.  Star wars, halo megabloks… the works.  But there are usually a few that I see and think: “couldn’t they have had x feature, or done it this way?”  

    Now i have a framework to actually go to those companies and get them to do it.  Awesome.  Thanks so much!  I have no ideas right now but I know something will come up.  I’m excited to go and call some of these companies too.  Awesome vid.

  • ksan

    Can you license apps and if so where is the best place to do that????

  • LolaB

    Hi Daniel — another great interview!  You’re a real natural at these interviews.  I’ve read Steven’s book and seen him online before, and he’s always so inspiring.  My question is, how developed does your idea have to be?  I’ve got an idea for an improvement to a pet collar, but it involves electronics (no, I am not going to electrocute anything), and I have no electronics background.  Do i just tell them  my idea and let them figure out the details?


  • Nice share Daniel! So key to gain confidence in our ideas, and to meet a ton of folks as we share our story and idea. Thanks!

  • rbwilliams

    That was cool. OK,how was this set up? Are you actually talking to Stephen live in this?

  • Nathan Chaney

    Along the same lines, I’ve had the idea to make scented face masks, while sitting in the dentist chair and picturing what it must be like to wear one day in and day out…

  • Tom1157

    Great interview! I have known Stephen for 4+ years and studied his program for years! I still do to this day. He taught me how to play the game and I licensed my first idea in 4 months. It went through the process and was ready to hit the market after 2 years of waiting and then I got a call from the company and they filed for bankruptcy. Bummer. Long story short…….. I am negotiating with a company (third deal in 4 years) and we are signing documents next week! Stephen teaches the numbers game. Don’t give up! I have failed my way to a licensing deal! I still listen to InventRight CD’s in the car and have made 100’s of calls to companies looking for ideas. This interview with Stephen hit the nail on the head when it comes to the licensing game. Well done!

  • JulietAnnerino

    Very smart guy to interview, Daniel. So many valid points made here. Great work with him! Lots of info that I was wondering about myself for my own endeavors. Thank you so much for another inspiring interview!

  • Rich20Something

    JulietAnnerino My pleasure, as always. And thanks for being a wonderful part of the community!

  • Rich20Something

    Tom1157 Wow, this is EXCELLENT!!!! Can you give us a little insight into what you’re working on? Or is it still hush-hush?

  • Rich20Something

    RyanKBiddulph Totally! Are you working on anything right now?

  • Rich20Something

    LolaB Thanks so much for the compliment and great question. I’m not an expert on this — but I think that you should develop it as far as YOU can, then take it to the big boys:)

    How far along are you?

  • Rich20Something

    ksan Hmm, good question. I don’t see why not…but I’m not sure if that’s been done before. Tom1157, what do you think?

  • Rich20Something

    TheDarkLlama Same here, man. 

    What’s a simple change that you think would make a cool product?

  • Rich20Something

    ChristinaCC That means SOO much — thanks 🙂

    What are you working on now?

  • Rich20Something

    Nathan Chaney Have you ever spoken to any dentist? Is this a common problem?

  • Rich20Something

    rbwilliams Yes, it was live in studio. We beamed him in via skype 🙂

  • Tom1157

    I will ink the contract within a week and will be happy to discuss it with you. I have recently received a utility patent from the USPTO for the product. Very exciting! Highly recommend Stephens book One Simple Idea. Great stuff, easy reading and lots of reference material.

  • LolaB

    Rich20Something LolaB It’s in my head and a sketch on paper.  It combines 2 components from existing products into one, so I’m thinking maybe just a sketch, and a board, similar to a Polyvore board, showing the components.  If any of your readers have any suggestions/feedback, I’d be grateful!

  • LolaB

    Thanks so much, Tom — if it works out, I’ll be sure to come back and post.  So many ideas, so little time  . . . . .

  • JasonHader

    LolaB My instinct is that, yes, you should let them work out the details.  I think that they would tell you up front if they were unable, or didn’t have the expertise…in which case you’d simply have to move on to pitch to a different manufacturer.  It’s the idea that’s of primary importance.

  • JasonHader

    ksan I’d love to have some apps created myself.  I’ve even conceived of a new, and simplified way to make passwords work.  I’m hoping that Stephen’s book has something about pitching to tech industries.

  • LolaB

    JasonHader LolaB Thanks for weighing in, Jason.  Looks like a trip to the pet store is the next step to find out who to pitch it to!

  • ksan  Some suggestions: 
    You can license your app source codes like on or on Or buy and sell apps on

  • ksan Some suggestions: 
    You can license your app source codes like on or on Or buy and sell apps on

  • ksan Some suggestions: 
    Places to license your app source codes – &
    Or sell your app on

  • Guest14231412

    Great video! I just cold-called my first company, after browsing some shelves at a local store in a niche that interests me, and asked what the product submission process was.

    I was given a name and email of somebody to contact. I’m very excited!

  • KyleBuchbach

    My name is Kyle Buchbach and I am currently a senior at the University of Illinois in Champaign. Daniel, I cannot even begin to tell you how many countless hours I’ve spent brainstorming and trying to find that “perfect/new” product. I only wish I would have stumbled upon your website sooner. I feel like a new man and as if a 1,000 lbs. was just lifted off my chest! Thank you again, and honestly just keep doing you, you’re amazing man! Also, I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my future endeavors.

  • Rich20Something

    KyleBuchbach Thanks, amgio 🙂 Keep working!!

  • Iamthejeff

    I’m doing this. Called a manufacturer this afternoon, they said it would be best to have a PPA at minimum. Playing patent lawyer this week and filing PPA on Monday.
    Never thought it could be this EASY to develop a product that could be so helpful, and have it basically pay for the patent itself!
    Thanks Daniel, for an awesome post, and an invaluable wealth of information!!!

  • A lot of sweat equity goes into developing an invention

  • Noah

    I’m in a contest where kids ages 14-16 make and present a product. After that I compete ( with my group) in an international competition and hope I succeed. If you’re not putting you’re idea into action maybe I can!

  • David

    An absolutely fantastic method! Although, I’m wondering if it would work in the UK?

  • Cloudfall

    I appreciate your interview very much! I have always been an “ideas guy” but never had an outlet for my thoughts besides talking “what if?” with friends and family. Currently working on a sell sheet to (hopefully) turn in later this week!

  • Alex

    Great questions Danny. Awsome vid, and thanks to Stephen Key.

  • brent palmer

    ive invented loads of currently usable products ive found that ive to fork out 8 g from my attorney blaaaaaah thats torn it


    so helpfull and i am going to start now!

  • jus_chillin303  Have you pitched your idea yet?  Reach out to me at and we will put a non-compete, non-disclosure agreement together to discuss.

  • AmritangshaDey

    I have an idea to invent a shoe that conserves the energy howmuch & we can use that energy for various things like generating electricity etc

  • Henry Pellerton

    yhwh777px what is your point?

  • seandavis419

    I have invented something to change every house in the world but don’t have the money to build, or resorces to get it out there, please help me

  • ffa

    it was the best video and interview I ever watched. thank you so much.

  • Joshua Ackam

    Joshua Ackam is my name and i am from Ghana i am trying to event something no one has ever invented

  • Gustavo Braga – O Aprendedor

    Am I the only one who’s super excited about this? haha
    I’m reading the 4 hour work week and licensing was one of the ways Tim suggested to find my muse.
    I actually did a 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge last year and now I can really see that they could actually be profitable.
    I would be a dream to live off my ideas.
    I’m kinda on the hype right now, I know I’m gonna fail a dozen times, but gosh would that be great…
    Thanks for the amazing interview, Daniel.

  • louise edwards

    i have to admit i have been worried about submitting ideas, but watching this i feel a lot more confident and am very excited to start. thank you so much