Ask The Inventress: How to Turn Your Idea Into an Invention

Every day, I am asked various questions about how to get started in the world of inventing. Here are a few of the questions I’m most commonly asked, along with answers.

Question: I have a great idea / invention in my head, but I don’t know how to get started with it. What do I do?


The first thing that you need to do is buy yourself a notebook just for your ideas, because you will have many, if you don’t already. You may want to label it My Book of Inventions.

I also recommend that you write down as much information about your product as possible, so that the description of your product is clear and concise. When I say clear, I mean be very specific about how it work and what it’s made of, including the shape, size, color, and materials used. The reason for this is because you will need specific information, in order to get a drawing or sketch of your product. You will need
drawings of your product to build a prototype or sample.

Question: How do I know my invention will sell in stores?


It’s important to know who your customers are. Who would buy your product? Are you your only customer?

It is always good to get a focus group together, so that you can get a few opinions. Please note, when you select your focus group, they must all sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).


Question: Do I need a patent for my idea?


Before you spend money on a patent, you must do your due diligence, when it comes to researching the market. Do some research on your own to see if there is already a product similar to yours already in existence.

I’m not suggesting that you stop the process, I’m suggesting you proceed with caution. Keep in mind that there are many products on the market that are similar, but you do want to make sure yours is different from what currently exists. You don’t want to infringe upon anyone else’s idea or patent.  Please note, a patent search is necessary, before proceeding with the patent process.

Also, it’s important for you to know that, when you patent a product, if there are any changes to the original patent design, you will incur new costs. I recommend that you always use a patent attorney, when executing a patent or patent search.


Lisa Ascolese, famously known as “The Inventress,” is a true mentor, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, inventor, and independent product agent. For many years, The Inventress has successfully invented, marketed and launched products on national television networks such as QVC, HSN, EVINE Live and ShopNBC and continues to bring products to national department stores daily.

She is the CEO and founder of Inventing A to Z, a product development company where she assists others who have the desire to create and develop their own products, from concept, to fruition. You may have seen her on major networks, such as Bravo TV, ABC with Sandra Bookman, New Jersey News 12 with Della Crews, heard her on Sirius XM, or read about her in major publications such as Black Enterprise, Ebony, and Essence.

Most recently, The Inventress launched a nonprofit, The Association of Women Inventors and Entrepreneurs, better known as AOWIE.  AOWIE is geared toward helping aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs. The mission statement is, “Bridging the gap between ambition and success.”

The Inventress is available to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to email her at or You may also visit her website at

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