You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Don't Have Great Ideas? Work With Someone Who Does. Creative people oftentimes aren't great at selling their ideas. That's where you come in.

By Stephen Key

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I recently wrote about how desperate companies are for new ideas, with open innovation changing the game. But what if you're not creative and don't have any ideas? You can still take advantage of this enormous opportunity even if innovation isn't your thing. How? By becoming a product scout. Talented product designers need help connecting their ideas to the companies who might want to buy them -- and vice-versa.

Related: Inventing Can Be Fun, and Profitable. Here's How to Get Started.

If you enjoy working with people -- talking on the phone and connecting friends -- this could be the right job for you. The reality is, top design schools are churning out product developers in all disciplines, from shoes to cars to toasters. These designers are truly talented -- I know because I've met them and seen their ideas. Unfortunately, many of their ideas will never see the light of day.

They need help getting these ideas into the right hands. That person could be you. I know it's cliché, but it's true that many creative people are uncomfortable selling themselves and don't want to deal with the business side of things. That's where you come in.

As a product scout, you'll connect designers with excellent ideas to the companies that can benefit from them. This is how it works. First, find top design students and establish relationships with them. Explain that you will represent them and their ideas in meetings with companies who are looking to license new products. Of course, you will need to draft a contract with an attorney, specifying how long your partnership will last and what its terms are. (A six-month deal seems appropriate.) Have them file a provisional patent application for their ideas. If you are able to cut a deal in the established timeframe, you share the royalties earned. If you aren't able to license their idea, you, in essence, return it to them. Nothing gained, nothing lost.

Related: How to Negotiate for What You Want

It's pretty simple. Yes, there's some risk. You may be thinking, "What if I'm unable to license any ideas?" Over time though, it will become easier. As you familiarize yourself with an industry and befriend the right people (by attending industry events such as trade shows), you'll be able to spot good ideas, because you'll have a better and better idea of what companies are looking for.

Remember, you're simply connecting people with ideas and companies that need them. My advice would be to stay in one category until you fully understand the marketplace. At that point, you may even be able to guide the designers you work with in the right direction.

This is another great example of how to make the multiplier effect work for you.

It's important to get good legal advice. Never sign a contract without consulting an attorney.

Related: Getting the Sale Without Being a Sleazeball

Stephen Key

Co-Founder of inventRight; Author of One Simple Idea Series

Stephen Key is an inventor, IP strategist, author, speaker and co-founder of inventRight, LLC, a Glenbrook, Nevada-based company that helps inventors design, patent and license their ideas for new products.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.


Save Big and Get This Pro Collage App for $39.99

Edit, adjust, and create collages in seconds.

Business News

This Fan-Favorite Masters 2024 Item Is Still $1.50 as Tournament Menu Appears Unscathed by Inflation

The pimento cheese sandwich is a tradition almost as big as the tournament itself.

Business Solutions

Handle In-House Projects More Efficiently with MS Project Pro — Just $24 Through April 16

It's designed to help teams stay on task with features like management templates, timesheets, generators, and more.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.