InvENting 101: Fear and Inventing

InvENting 101: Fear and Inventing

In this InvENting 101 post, we’re going to dive into our psyches and look at something we often feel but rarely talk about… FEAR.


A survey conducted by Edison Nation asked approximately 500 participants if they ever had a great idea and if so, if they had shared it. Results showed that while 56% of people surveyed indicated they had at least one great idea, only 2% of the audience had ever shared it with a company like Edison Nation.

That sparked us to dig a little deeper.

Why are people afraid to share ideas? What’s holding them back? Answer: It’s how they think about sharing.

Here are some key reasons preventing ideas from being shared…

Idea pilfering

“What if my idea is a total flop or gets rejected?”

“What if someone steals it and makes millions?”

As these thoughts race through the brain, the choice to share becomes personal instead of just an action. But the truth is, an idea will always remain just an idea unless someone executes it and executes it successfully. 

At Edison Nation, particularly in sponsored innovation searches, we often see themes emerge where a similar problem is consistently identified. What is the deciding factor to get that idea from a G3 through our evaluation process to a G7? The proposed execution of that idea. This is why it is SO imperative that you outline what sets your idea apart from competitors and effectively answer the question, “What is innovative?”


“I’m a afraid you’ll tell me my idea is no good.”

When people have an idea they value, it can be a huge challenge to open it up to critique. Keeping an idea “close to the vest” keeps it safe, it also keeps it just an idea.

The idea of sharing an idea can kill the fantasy of its potential, leaving you feeling vulnerable or defensive trying to prove its value. However, when this fear of judgment wins, you could miss out on collecting feedback that can bring an idea to the next level, possibly making it a success.

One of the best pieces of advice we can give after evaluating tens of thousands of ideas is to be open to share ideas, and then flexible to potentially make changes based on feedback you receive, whether it is from the EN team (if you are an Insider) or from a peer.

Lack of confidence

“I’ve run out of good ideas.”

When you believe in your own abilities, you also believe in your ideas. Having this confidence quells concerns over whether people will approve. On the other side, a lack of confidence in your ability to generate new, quality ideas on a regular basis can also be a challenge and prevent you from sharing future ideas.

Just because you receive a red X on your first, second or even tenth idea does not mean you are a bad inventor or that you should no longer bother sharing new ideas with us. We want you to succeed more than anyone, and our process is designed to help you achieve that success, whether that means updating an idea that has been declined based on feedback or applying what you learned to your next idea.


“What if my idea is rejected?”

While it is an obvious cause of fear, it is still worth mentioning. To avoid fear of failing, walk yourself through the worst case scenario. When you can clearly answer the question, “What’s the worst that can happen?” you put fear and anxiety in the forefront and give yourself the chance to work through it.

At Edison Nation, the answer to this question is that an idea can be declined, and that doesn’t have to be the end. You can always update the idea and submit again.

As the Community Manager at Edison Nation, I am asked the same question almost daily:

“How do I know my idea will be protected?”

At Edison Nation, we understand the fear and anxiety that comes with sharing an idea. We understand that inventing can be a scary business and that people can get “taken.” I’ve spoken to many innovators that have spent a huge amount of money with nothing to show for it, and my heart breaks every time. It’s easy to see how that can breed fear. I’m proud to say that that’s not how we operate.

While we cannot guarantee an idea will be commercialized, we can guarantee that ideas are evaluated in a safe, secure environment. It was recently said in the forums that one of the best things you can do is educate yourself about the inventing process, and that is why we have the Blog, answer questions in the Forums and provide guidance through the Help Page.

We cannot stop your fear, but we’ll do everything in our power to provide you with an arsenal of information to make an educated decision on whether or not to share your idea.


Ready to share? Check out our current searches and submit when ready!

Learn more about Edison NationJoin Edison Nation for free


4 Comments InvENting 101: Fear and Inventing

  1. Derrick James

    Great article Michelle. I have no concerns about the security of my ideas within EN platform. I do, however, sometimes fall into the mode of thinking that I’ve run out of good ideas. So to combat that, I try to submit to some of the searches that take me out of my self-perceived wheelhouse. The latest such opportunity is the Swiss Krono Group search…..what…………flooring innovations…………..really???…………..hey why not……….you never know…………I might just come up with something innovative to offer.

  2. Derrick James

    Thanks Michelle, I’ve got the gears spinning as we speak with regard to flooring and wall covering ideas.

  3. Raf

    Great piece. Fear paralysis kills more dreams than anything! Even successful people often say things like, “if I knew the challenges in the beginning I would never have gotten started.” Live fearlessly!

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