Mom Adds 'Inventor' to Her Title Stacy Dallman is proof that a good idea, hard work and determination are the keys to success as an inventor.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There are a variety of reasons moms find themselves inventing a product. Some are looking to generate money and stay home with the children, while others have struggled with a problem and created a solution that benefits others as well. For Stacy Dallman, inventor of Paci-Plushies, a small stuffed animal that attaches to a baby's pacifier, it was a combination of both.
"Being a stay-at-home mom is fulfilling in many ways, but after a few years of constant cartoon watching and toddler activities, it's easy to lose sight of your former self," Dallman says. "I felt like there was this whole other person locked away inside of me, just waiting for a chance to resurface." That's when the idea for the Paci-Plushies came to mind.
Dallman says she didn't set out to create a business. "I basically had this idea and continued to move forward with it because it brought forth a new sense of serenity and achievement in my life," she says.
Dallman quickly realized that developing a business has many challenges, and bringing a product to market adds an extra facet to these obstacles. "After applying for a patent, I had two options," Dallman says. "I could sit back and wait for the Patent Office to approve my patent -- or I could move out of my comfort zone, start a business and begin to manufacture the Paci-Plushies right away. I decided on option No. 2 and have been moving full force ahead ever since."
A big challenge for new business owners is developing a budget. Without a well-defined budget, a great product idea can quickly become a disaster. Inventors can find themselves out of money in mid-development. "Initially, I had a dollar amount in my head that I considered my budget," Dallman says. "This was a substantial amount of money, but it was an amount that I wouldn't lose any sleep over had my idea turned out to be a complete flop. Fast forward a year and a half later, and I realize my original budget was almost laughable. Add on $100,000; that's what my original budget should have been."
Dallman has learned a lot on the road to developing the Paci-Plushies. As she explains, "Developing the Paci-Plushies has been a journey about self-discovery, the quest to further one's knowledge and the realization of innate ability. The lessons I've learned and the people I've met along the way are irreplaceable."
She acknowledges that there were days when she wanted to give up, "but every low point in the journey has taught me something about myself and has made me a better person in one way or another. Even with all the negatives I experienced, I can honestly say I would do it all over again in a heartbeat."
It took Dallman 12 months from having the vision for her product to getting it to market. If you ever thought you had the perfect idea for a product, Dahlman is proof that, with a lot of hard work and determination, it can be done.
If you have a great idea, do your research and see what else is on the market. You can check out the following websites for guidance on inventions and starting a business: