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Bob Serling – Reverse Inventing


Published on: December 10, 2020
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Course Content


People tell me I have the best business in the world.

Why? Just take a look at one of my typical days…

I wake up in the morning, read the sports page and comics while having tea and some fruit, then walk into my office at home and make a phone call. Immediately, my top engineer is dispatched to China for a month to work out the manufacturing specifications for my toy.

At the same time, my industrial engineer – one of the top engineers in the business – is working on a chemical compound for a component of my toy that will make a brilliant, glowing ball of sparks that’s both cold and safe.

My patent attorney? She’s making sure that all the proper protections are in place so no one tries to create a competing product. She’s also closing deals with six of the top celebrities in this field to feature their names and companies on my toy.

Then there’s my graphic design team. They’re hard at work creating an attractive, eye-popping package that kids will love. And a collection of full-page, full-color ads that will run in kids magazines. Oh… and another team of creatives is working up story boards for the television commercials that will spread the word to millions of kids every morning during cartoon shows.

Once all that work is complete, hundreds of other employees roll into action for me. A team of sales people spreads out all over the world – some in person, some on the phone – to make sure that Toys-R-Us, Wal-Mart, Kaybee Toys, Target, CVS, Walgreens and dozens of smaller drug store chains, department stores and gift shops are stocking their shelves with my toy.

Behind the scenes, the production line is rolling, cranking out hundreds of thousands of copies of my toy, all featuring the six celebrities whose popularity makes this toy sell like hot cakes. More employees are working the production line assembling my toy, inserting the toys into their packaging, loading the packages into boxes, putting the boxes onto pallets, and then shipping them around the world to the stores that will sell them.

I use the term “my” employees, and they are, because they’re all devoted to making my toy successful. BUT – I’m not in charge of any of them, I don’t pay a penny of their salaries, they don’t report to me and I’m not responsible for seeing that any of the tasks I’ve listed here get done.

That’s because I’ve licensed my toy idea to a major toy company and all these employees are working on my behalf… but I don’t have to pay their salaries or lift a finger!

This is how I make my living. By inventing ideas for products, carefully test marketing to prove in advance that there’s a large market of customers hungry to buy my products, and then licensing them to other companies for a sizable advance plus a percentage of the profits.

In addition, because of the experience I’ve accumulated, other companies pay me substantial fees and royalties to handle licensing their products for them. Just this week, one of the most highly regarded training organizations in the world agreed to give me the exclusive worldwide licensing rights to a group of their products. Actually, I shouldn’t say “give me”, because they paid me a hefty retainer to represent them.

Because most of my licensing deals are done over the phone, I work out of my home and easily get everything done with just one assistant. So you’ll never catch me in a suit and tie (which I hate). Instead, I’m wearing a pair of jeans and a comfortable shirt.

Frankly, I couldn’t imagine a better “job”. I get to think up ideas for all kinds of products and companies pay me su


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