As an inventRight student for almost 1 year, and bestowed the Rockstar member award by my Coach, Courtney Laschkewitsch, I am honored to share the ways I have eagerly engaged with my incredibly helpful coach, the inventRight community, and my own strengths to take my inventing and licensing journey to the next level. Whether you are just joining the inventRight coaching program, or a longtime member—I know these tips will enhance your ability to be a Best-in-Class inventRight student, and land a coveted licensing deal!
This is Part 1: Practical Strategies, in a 3-part series. The upcoming topics are Part 2: Motivational Strategies, and Part 3: Relationship-Building Strategies. In this topic of practical strategies, we will be discussing straightforward actions that you can immediately take to be effective in your process.
Just to greatly emphasize these tips, I’ve made the choice to type the subheadings in ALL CAPS, with an exclamation mark following…so, please, get ready to GREATLY AMPLIFY your inventing abilities as an inventRight student.
TIP #1: CREATE A COACHING CALL AGENDA!
One very simple and powerful way for you to stay organized on your inventing priorities is to write a coaching call agenda to share with your coach prior to the meeting. For me, I categorize my agenda by priorities of projects, and topics per project. Preparing my agenda before the coaching session is one of my favorite ways to focus on what is most important for me in order to land my next deal. Additionally, our calls are always orderly because the basic outline is a great reference, enabling us to discuss point-by-point, addressing all pressing concerns and, of course, questions. Furthermore, I number my list in order of priority. Therefore, the most important tasks and projects are my top priority to discuss, and work on for the week.
With priorities set like this, you can successfully avoid “shiny object syndrome” and follow through with your longest-running projects. Courtney often mentions that she wishes all her students would prepare a simple agenda for their coaching calls. Inventing with a coach is a mutual relationship, please do your part to make coaching you towards success as easy and pain-free as possible! Another bonus tip taught to me by my Coach is to leave an open topic section in the beginning of the agenda as an opportunity where your coach may add their own suggested teachings. In her own words, “Licensing is all about big picture and long road thinking.” Furthermore, this open section adds a great opportunity for catching up on any conversation not immediately related to work!
Tip #2: TAKE NOTES DURING YOUR INVENTRIGHT COACHING CALLS
During a coaching call, you will definitely hear the sound of my fingers tapping away at the keys. Below is a copy of the coaching call agenda pulled-up on my text document, I’m capturing the most important points of the conversation with Coach, recording the answers to questions on various topics regarding my product ideas. Topics range from pitching to a company via telephone, to filing a provisional patent, to designing the best sell sheet, etc. In between the weekly coaching calls, I often refer to those notes, using keywords to search and to find vital points that will guide me on the path towards a licensing deal. The notes are ready, on-hand, right when I need to reference them. Take notes to protect yourself from the burden of grasping at conversation topics you may or may not remember well otherwise.
TIP #3: DO THE HOMEWORK BEFORE YOUR NEXT INVENTRIGHT COACHING CALL
In school, you will likely not pass a test if you fail to do the homework! Except, in the case of licensing, there is no teacher giving you points on your homework, and this will not be a test for a final grade… It is, in reality, an ongoing test for your life and inventing capabilities! You told yourself that you have the ideas and the tenacity to become an inventor—now it’s time to prove it! As a reminder, please do not simply breeze through without intention to actually LEARN and APPLY the coursework. You must take it all in, in order for the benefits to be apparent. Please be disciplined and do the homework, with intention, so that you can be proud once you take those skills to achieve your way to a licensing deal.
TIP #4: KEEP A TASK LIST!
If you want to take your task list to the next level, try the Eisenhower Matrix (described in Courtney’s Serial Inventing Podcast) to prioritize and categorize tasks. By setting tasks to “delegate,” “pending,” or “delete,” this strategy shields you from being overwhelmed by a deluge of lesser tasks. Furthermore, by positioning the most important tasks, front and center, in the “urgent” category—you can focus on the bottom-line. Secondly, please use technology to your advantage. Use a task list app that allows you to schedule tasks for the day and calendar, categorize tasks in folders, and delay the due-date for non-urgent tasks. I personally utilize a cloud-based app that has many lists which nest into groups in order to keep the UI clean and stress-free, while keeping on file the details of what needs to be taken care of. Both iOS and Android have native task list apps ready to be installed and utilized.
TIP #5: DEVELOP A PROCESS!
Each of us has our own tendencies and preferences: ways we like to do things. Combining one’s unique perspective and the tried-and-true strategies from invention coaching, both together can help you develop a custom process to bring your ideas to reality. But please remember that you HAVE A COACH! Ask your coach how to improve your process, so that there is a channel for their wealth of knowledge to get to you. Your coach has mentored many different students with many different working styles, they will definitely be able to help you find a way that plays to your strengths.
The reason I started writing coaching call agendas was because I simply asked my Coach if there was anything I could do to make the calls more productive. After being informed of the agenda strategy that one of her other students also employs—“voila!” I picked up the technique, adjusted to my preference, and haven’t looked back since! The positive habits towards building a process are learned, ingrained, and then improved upon in your own custom-tailored way. Learn how you like to build, and simultaneously innovate to keep improving those strategies. Seek answers by applying and testing your learnings in a systematic, but spontaneous and evolving process!
BONUS TIP – MY INVENTRIGHT PROCESS: WEEKLY CYCLE!
Now that you know some great ways to attack the work week, I would like to peel back the curtain and show you how I like to structure my own ideal weekly cycle with my inventRight Coach. This is also a great way to review all the tips in this article.
My weekly cycle begins a bit before the coaching call, at the time I write the coaching call agenda. I lead with an open topic for discussion, and then list my projects by priorities and topics. If a status update is pending, I will keep it in there as a quick reminder for homework. Next, the actual coaching call will take place, which is the perfect opportunity to: gain motivation, get unstuck, build a relationship with your coach, and resolve questions. I like to prioritize the most important topics for the call, as we have the ability to discuss in-depth during this time. Also, the call usually sets the tone and tasks for the week.
As mentioned before, I will take many notes which will be a great reference for my plan of action. In the next few days, I will push to follow the set priorities in the task list, and accomplish as many of these tasks as possible on my own. After this first round of tasks, ideally, at the very least, I will send a mid-week check-in email, if not multiple separate emails. These mid-week check-ins allow me to keep my flow and momentum going, not letting any concerns hold up my actions. In the last few days before the next call, I will push for a round 2 of completing tasks. In a perfect week, I will have completed my homework for the week, or at least have made significant progress on my top priorities. Then, the weekly cycle begins again!
I hope these practical tips have helped give some structure to your own inventRight process. Please feel free to use any of these strategies as your own. Together, sharing our learnings and strategies—we are more equipped than ever to go out there and land the deal of our dreams! Stay tuned for Part 2: Relationship-Building Strategies!