If ideas are a dime-a-dozen:
Where can I find lots of people with lots of dimes?
The only question I get asked more than “how do I come up with more ideas?” is “where can I sell my ideas?” -- and these two questions couldn’t be further apart.
The answer to the first questions is all about efforts and exercises to produce creative concepts in large quantities, whereas the most successful and profitable answer to the second question is more about access, influence, and creating solutions to very specific problems.
For the first time ever, I’ve assembled a collection of some favorite resources for showcasing and selling your creativity, and finding problems for you to solve (at a profit!)
The typical Five Buck Brainstorm includes at least 12 ideas, but this one has TWENTY!
Some of these resources may be new to you, some may be familiar, but all hold potential for you to profit from your ability to put creative and innovative ideas into action and into a marketplace of people willing to trade you some dimes (lots and lots of them!) for your best ideas.
Let’s get started...
20 Ideas for Places You Can Submit & Sell Your Ideas
When someone asks me about selling ideas, I tell them to start simple. Go make a buck off one of your ideas today, and then go out tomorrow and make two dollars. Keep increasing the profit you make by just one dollar everyday for a year, and at the end of the year you will have generated $66,673.00 ($67,039.00 if it’s a Leap Year!).Entrepreneur and fellow idea guy, Jason Zook, rode this business model like a pro when he launched iwearyourshirt.com. He wore and socially amplified the promotion of a different brand’s t-shirt every single day of the year. The business model charged just one dollar to do this on January 1st, but if a company waited too long to reserve a campaign date they’d likely end up paying $365 on December 31st.
The model proved so popular that Jason created a website which automated the process to allow others to use this same pricing structure. BumpSale.co allows you to set a start price and raise it by a preset amount with every subsequent purchase. Check it out a bumpsale.co or get it and a ton of other stuff as part of Jason’s BuyMyFuture project.
People sell some really odd things on eBay. Images of messiah(s) on toast and grilled cheese sandwiches, pop-star hair clippings, celebrity toothbrushes, ad space on a guy’s forehead, etc. Why not package up your ideas into “top-secret sealed envelopes” and sell them to the highest bidder?
One of the easiest places to offer your innovative idea, product, or service and earn a minimum of $5.00 per sale is a website called Fiverr.com. Fiverr allows you to post and/or buy offers of products and services called “Gigs” ranging from $5.00 and up.
Braineet offers creative challenges to the public from brands like Nespresso, Dove, Taco Bell, and Axe offering rewards for the best contributions. Braineet also allows the public and brand consumers to post their own ideas for open review by peers and product manufacturers. The site isn’t that old, so challenges aren’t posted as frequently as you’d hope -- but you can sign-up to be alerted when new challenges are posted.
This is another site which allows users to contribute and comment on ideas posted by users, but also allows users to post “Idea Hunts” on a specific brand or goal and collect ideas with the promise of rewards. IdeaHunt allows campaign creators to invite specific community members via social media or leave it open to the general public.
This site follows much of the same format as the two previous sites, but it has been around a lot longer and has a more proven track record with idea sellers as well as the idea buyers. This is a great place to contribute to innovation challenges and they tend to be more specific and targeted in their campaign goals (and the challenges seem to lean toward the more technical side). Campaigns for categories like Biotech, Medical, Automotive, Chemical, Engineering, and Energy are common. You should consider ideaconnection.com if your ideas tend to be process driven or you hold rights to patents and intellectual property.
Another source for finding online innovation challenges is Innocentive.com. This site allows users to either post a challenge (Seekers) or to participate by contributing ideas (Solvers).Their categories include scientific challenges for engineering and chemistry and agriculture, as well as business and entrepreneurship, and social innovations. Rewards range across the board, and I’ve seen $20,000 and $30,0000 prizes in some categories.
Who says the government doesn’t pay attention to the little guy? This government program in the United States not only listens to your suggestions, they’ve paid out over $220 million dollars in prize money to people contributing their solutions to posted government challenges. More than 250,000 people have participated from countries around the world and in every state in the Union. In the five years since its launch, they’ve posted 260+ innovation challenges. Check the latest problems that need your solution at Challenge.gov.
This company provides the platform for companies interested in running their own innovation challenges and was founded by veterans of the XPRIZE Foundation. Pay special attention to their Customer Stories page for links to clients running challenges, and it may be worth your while to follow their social media feeds and sign-up for their email list for possible early alerts of client challenges. Visit Skild.com for details.
10. Cisco Innovation Grand Challenge
This is an annual competition started in 2014 by Cisco. Prizes include a mix of funding and mentorship to help the award winners make their ideas a reality. Visit http://innovationgrandchallenge.cisco.com for details.
11. Associations and Trade Organizations
I mentioned the strategy of creating solutions to existing problems during my Idea Summit interview with Beck Power. The best places to find problems you can solve for a profit is by becoming involved in industry associations organizations. Read their publications, visit their websites, monitor their social media, and start connecting with them on Linkedin. The American Society of Association Executives is another good place to get started.
You know what books and CDs and DVDs and MP3 files and MPEG files are?
Idea Delivery Devices. The largest distributor of IDDs is inarguably Amazon.com, and the easiest mechanism for getting your IDDs into the world’s largest marketplace is CreateSpace.com where you can upload your valuable ideas into one of these easy to consume (ans easy to buy!) formats, approve a mock-up, and have it for sale on Amazon.com within a matter of days.
GumRoad.com is one of my favorite places to package and sell my ideas. GumRoad is super easy to use and you can get a product posted and for sale within minutes. GumRoad also features a free user level that doesn’t cost you a thing unless you sell something. They have an unmatched combination of features which allow you to sell products as diverse as digital file downloads and physical copies of DVDs or apparel individually or all within the same product bundle. You can also create your own affiliate programs and get others to promote and sell your ideas in exchange for a commission.
14. Virtual Summits
Assemble a virtual audience based on industry, interest, or brand and propose a solution or product you have that matches their need or market. Here's a good ebook on the topic to get you started.