Speaking of Products!

The creation of simple, profitable products not only give you an additional steam of income when you are booking speeches or developing your business, but they give you much needed copyright and trademark protection. I think we all agree we want products . . . and we want them NOW! The questions I get are usually “How do it create a product?” Which products? Where do I start?  How much will it cost?  How can I get a trademark?

I can’t teach you the whole process here, let’s start at the beginning. First identify your key words and phrases, memorable concepts and signature stories. You are sitting on gold! In this valuable intellectual property it is your sole (or soul) focus and  job to sort through them to find the one or two or three nuggets. These are words or phrases that are distinctive and memorable. I encourage you to have a “garage sale of the mind” and get rid of the piles of boringly ordinary materials and just keep sifting through until you are left with only THE BEST. Use your audiences and clients and even your friends to help you identify your most creative and memorable material.  It’s ok to jump in with both feet, but this is about putting your BEST foot forward.

Now do a bit of homework to see if your words or phrases are available. I use three quick methods. First, I go to www.uspto,gov (US Patent and Trademark online site) and do a quick trademark search. Go to #2 in the middle column headed Trademarks to do a search. I suggest the simple search. It will show me quickly what has been trademarked or has been filed. Second, I google the phrase and see what I find and if there is something confusingly similar. Third, I go to www.dogpile.com and do a more broad search. All of this will give you a good idea of what is out in the marketplace. In order to be more sure your can hire the appropriate legal help, but this basic research will give me usually a 80 – 90% reading of if I should proceed. One great and handy tool is to sign up for Google Alerts. Simple to do and each time there is a mention on the entire internet of the key word or phrase you will get an email. I keep track of all my intellectual property this way.

Next take the first step in protecting your best properties, if you haven’t already, is by putting a very small TM to the right of the word or phrase. This puts others on notice that you are staking your claim. There is more to filing for a register trademark which allows you to eventually put a circle R in place of the TM. More on that another day.

A lot of people will now take their nuggets of gold and launch into the big task of writing a book and hoping for millions. That’s ok if that’s what you want to do, but I highly recommend taking a quick and much simpler first step. Design a bookmark. Not a cheesy, sales, look at me type approach, but a content driven, artistic and inspirational piece that captures your key words and the essence of what you have to share with people. A concise piece that when you hand this to people they receive it as a gift. And the meeting planner would also see this as a nice add on that is worth $2.50 and you can presell for $1. to your 2000 people in your eagerly awaiting audience. Let’s say the heading of your bookmark is “Five Best Tips in Turning Your Cold Calls into Hot Leads!” Put a TM to the right of it. List your five tips, put on some attractive graphics on the front and only on the BACK put in small letter you contact info, copyright and logo. It is all about content and the sales will follow. It is much easier to sell useful content than a sales or promo piece for your business.

Well there you have it. It’s not the whole story, but hopefully a good start. Come to the Colorado Chapter of the National Speakers Association  May 7 at the Denver Athletic Club from 1:30 – 5:30 for a content rich program on products, trademarks and licensing.

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