Episode 185: Following Passion - Stephen Key and His Journey to Licensing IdeasJan 29, 2023
Stephen Key is the world’s leading expert on how to license a product idea and a 2018-2019 AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador. As an independent inventor, he achieved repeat success commercializing products ranging from simple novelty gifts to complex packaging innovations. He is currently the patent strategist for Fishbone Packaging, the environmentally-friendly solution for single-use plastic rings.
In 1999, he cofounded inventRight, the coaching program that has taught inventors from more than 65 countries how to harness the power of open innovation and the licensing business model to bring their ideas to market.
He is the author of One Simple Idea, Sell Your Ideas With or Without a Patent, Become a Professional Inventor, and Licensing Ideas using LinkedIn.
To help creative people become profitable inventors, he has written more than 1,000 articles for Forbes, Inc., and Entrepreneur magazines and published over 900 videos on his popular YouTube channel inventRightTV.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
- How Stephen Key overcame his learning disability to become a successful product developer and licenser.
- How Stephen Key successfully jumped into different industries applying the same principles of curiosity, persistence and relationships.
- How an accidental product idea changed Stephen Key's life and led to success in the packaging industry.
“If you can find something you truly love, you're going to be very lucky, and you're probably going to be successful at that."
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- Picked Cherries’ social podcasting app is the destination for the best podcast listening experience for all listeners. Download the app for FREE on Google Play and the App Store. Share podcasts like never before with Picked Cherries. Learn more at PickedCherries.com.
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Welcome back to your next stop. This is Juliet Hahn. In this episode, I speak with Stephen Key. He is an expert on how to license an idea. I can't even tell you how much I love this episode. We could have talked for hours and hours and hours. Stephen is one of the 100 most influenced figures working in the toy and game design. Today. He has a thousand articles written for Forbes Entrepreneurs, newer magazine. He's also a writer for he has four books and he has a YouTube channel. Invent Write is his company how to license product ideas. YouTube channel has over 900 videos that you can pull from. Stephen is such an awesome guy and the doors that open for him and the things that happened after he decided he didn't want to go to business school are just so amazing. Tim Farris was one of his first students. He's mentioned in the four hour work week. Stephen is you can find Stephen everywhere. YouTube, their website inventright.com YouTube invent right. You can also find Stephen on his website. Stephenkey.com, you can also find the you know, he's on Twitter, which is Stephen Key Media. You can find him on an Amazon. One simple idea for startups and entrepreneurs. That's a book. But he also has four other books. You do not want to miss this one. Such a great episode. As I said, I could speak with Stephen for days. He is doing some really amazing things and has done amazing things. Teddy Ruxman, do you remember that? Listen to the episode. And if you guys have not heard, I am a storytelling consultant. I help people articulate their story to be able to connect with audiences at a deeper level. If you're interested in learning more, please email me at info at imJuliet Hahn.com. One of the things I help my clients with is connect the dots. Connect the dots of their story to then be able to connect with audiences at, again, a deeper level. So whether you are a podcast host doing the podcast circuit, you're an inventor, you are an author, you are a small business, you're an entrepreneur. Whatever it is, I can help you really get that story out there and make it stronger to be able to connect. So again, I do a 30 minutes free consultation and that is again, email me at info at imJuliet Hahn.com. Enjoy this episode with Stephen Key. Have you ever been listening to your favorite podcast and that moment comes up and you think, oh my gosh, I need to share it? Well, now you can with picked cherries. What I love about Picked Cherries so much is that when I'm listening to my favorite podcast and that moment comes up that I want to share, I can take a Snippet, which is called the Picked Cherry, and I can send that to my friends and family so they can get involved in the podcasts that I love. It's almost like sending an IG or a TikTok. Available now. iOS and Android if you're not picking cherries. Are you really listening to podcasts? Welcome to your next stop. This is Juliet Hahn. You know, I say this every single time, but I love bringing you guys guests that have followed a passion and turned it to a business. So welcome. Stephen Key. How are you?
Well, thank you very much. It's a pleasure being here.
I'm excited for this because I know when we connected, all the things that you're doing, it was just like I kind of was like, oh, this is amazing. So Stephen has a company called Invent, right? It's a coaching business, basically how to license your personal product ideas. But the reason why Stephen started that, he's going to kind of dive into and tell us that. But he also is an author and he has written over 1000 articles for Forbe and Entrepreneur Magazine. I mean, this is going to be such a special interview. I cannot wait for us to dive in. Also, you can find Stephen, so you can find him really anywhere on the web. You can find him on his YouTube channel, which is invent right. You have over 900 videos there, is that correct?
Yes, unfortunately, yes, there's over 900.
Right. So he has that. You can also find Stephen Key on LinkedIn. You can find him at his website, his personal one, Stephen Key, and then he's got a ton of other ones that we will put in the show notes. And I've also, in the beginning of the episode, kind of queue those in. But, Stephen, I just want to get into a little bit about your background before we dive in and how you created this amazing business and amazing products that you have done, but give us a little background of kind. Of where you grew up and the path that you took if you went to university and then how you created all this amazing stuff we'll get into.
Well, first of all, thank you for that introduction. My story, I think, is maybe a little bit different, maybe it's not. I was a sophomore at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley and I was studying economics. My dad said that was a great thing for me to do, jump into business. And I did, and I didn't like it for some reason. It was something that just wasn't connecting with me. But I took an art class just to take the load off and it was off campus and it was in this small, dingy little room. But I loved it. I loved working with my hands. And I found this magical thing that when you create something and I went home and I told my dad I wanted to drop out of Santa Claus University and I wanted to be an artist. Now, if you're a parent, when your child says they want to do something, you know, it's probably not the right thing to do. You probably want to question that decision. But my dad didn't. He said, look, if you can find something you truly love, you're going to be very number one, you're going to be very lucky, and number two, you're probably going to be successful at that. So he he really wanted me to follow my passion. So I jumped off the ledge, and I wasn't an artist. I hadn't taKey any art class in high school, and I didn't draw, I didn't paint, I didn't do any of those things. But I wanted to be creative. So I just transferred over to San Jose State and enrolled in the art program and learned very quickly I wasn't going to be a great artist either. So I just ended up making things with my hands. It was soft sculpture at the time, and I was extremely passionate about creating things and that I would take those things that I made and sell them at art shows and state fairs, county fairs, anywhere I could set up a table and sell the things that I made. And I just loved it, and I thought I was the richest man in.
The world doing it well because you loved it. But I love that you had a father that was like, okay, I want to see you happy because there's so many people that go through life, and they stay on one path because they think that's what they have to do. Because either their parents said, this is the path that you should do, or they thought that that's what they wanted to do. So they went to university and studied it and then realized they hated it and didn't pivot. So I love that you have that support and that kind of bandwidth to be like, no, I do want to follow something else. I don't want to do this business.
Looking back, I was surprised that he gave me the freedom to do that. And I think he truly enjoyed what he was doing, that he found something he loved. So I think he knew that that was important to do because I think you're right. Most parents wouldn't do that. My wife's parents wouldn't let her do that. So she went down this path of something she really didn't want to do right well.
And I also think that as I'm a parent, I know you are as well, and I think that when you see certain kids, you see how they do have strengths in some things and maybe weaknesses in others. And so when you parent, it's like, okay, let's steer this child this way, but if they go left or right, how am I going to handle that? So I love that your father did that. Now, do you think as a kid, you kind of beat to your own drum? So he kind of knew that and was like, okay, this is not sticking. Let's let him kind of explore something else.
I don't know what he was thinking, to tell you the truth. Looking back, it was so easy for him to say, make a change. He didn't argue about it. He didn't even question it.
I think he was willing for me to fail or try things, and he probably knew that I wouldn't regret it. Let's put it this way. If I continued on that path and I regretted it, I'd probably be blaming him. So he thought, Why not just try it? And I'd let my kids kind of follow the same path. I gave them freedom, too. And I have to say, it's not the easiest thing to do, and it's going to take a little bit longer to find it. And my kids, it took a little bit long, but a little bit longer. But when they did find that thing, I think they're happier.
When people ask you, I don't know about yourself, but I know when people have asked me, and it is what I believe, what do you want for your kids? I truly just want them to be happy. Whatever path they go, I just want them to be happy. I don't care if they are these super uber successful people or not. I just want them to be happy because that is so important in life, and there's so many people that are not truly happy.
No, I think you're absolutely right. As I've gotten older, that's probably the most important thing, isn't it? To really enjoy what you're doing and enjoy life. It's fairly short. And find that thing that you get up every day and you're excited about. Find that thing that you're thinking about all the time. And the business that I'm in today, I'm still excited about it. I still wake up every Sunday. I'm waiting for Monday. I really like it. And so it was a great decision. And I remember early on when I was struggling a little bit, my best friend was watching me struggle, and he said, Are you sure you know what you're doing? I said yes. And he goes and I did tell him. I said, I think I'm the richest man in the world. And he looked at me like I was out of my mind, and I'm still good friends with him. Today, 40 years later, he said to me, Watching your path, he goes, I didn't understand when you had told me that, but I do now. You are the richest man in the world because you love what you do.
That's so cool. I absolutely love that. So, okay, so you're selling these sculptures at fairs, and then where did that take you?
I was in Sauce Alito, selling at an art an art show, selling my soft sculpture. Someone came up to me and they said, look, this is really amazing stuff. I know a person that can help you sell it around the world. And he gave me a card, and I followed up the next week, called this person on the card, and the person didn't know who I was and just said, Come down. Bring everything that you have. That person, Stephen Askin, is a very good friend of mine today. And I remember I took my father with me, and we drove down to Los Angeles, and he had a big showroom, and I brought all the things I was making, and he thought I was somebody else on the phone. So when I got there, he looked at everything I had, and he said, look, you're perfect. Your stuff is great for my audience. And he gave me the confidence to start to think, how do I how do I share my creativity with a larger audience? And Stephen asking and I remember asking him later, am I crazy? And he said, no, you're not. You're very good at what you do, and let me help you share your creativity with the world. And that's what he did.
Oh, I love that. Oh, that's amazing. The fact that you went to business school, right, and you're like, I don't want to do this. And then you really did follow something that you loved. But then what I always think is really cool, and especially speaking to people like yourself, is when those doors open and they keep opening, and then you realize, wait, I am on the right path. Whether you believe in God or the universe, it is very cool when it just continues to open and we all hit the wall, right? We all hit, oh, we should have went left instead of right. But when those doors open and then something else becomes bigger, it is just that kind of that feeling of, oh, my gosh, this is amazing.
Yeah, he understood what I was trying to do, and he had the business that could sell my product to all these retailers. And before you know it, the order started coming in. I started manufacturing. The funny thing about it, now I'm in business, okay? I ran from it, but now I'm in it. So it was really the combination of business and a little bit of art and combining them together. So the dots kind of connected. And working with him, he kind of showed me some of the basics. And then from that point on, I had the opportunity to work for a start up company called Worlds of Wonder. And that company we launched, Teddy Ruxpin, the first talking teddy bear and laser tag. And it changed my life. And the way that happened, I was in Fremont, and I read the local papers that the startup has a talking teddy bear, and it was an ugly prototype, and it didn't look right. So I read it on Sunday, knocked on their door on Monday, and said, you need me. And another door opened, and they looked at the work I was doing, and they said, yes, we do need you. And I started my first job, my first real job at 28 years old, my first paycheck at 28 years old. And that's when I was able to kind of look behind the scenes of what a real company was doing. And that knowledge really helped me on my next journey too.
Right. So I do want to go back for a second. So the sculptures that you were making, were they art sculptures? Give us a little background on that, because now I'm super curious.
They were silly things. I would take objects and just create smiles on them. So give me an example. I would take a nylon, green nylons, and I would sculpt make them round and put them in like peas in a pod, and I'd put smiley faces on them. They were just kind of whimsical. That's all they really were. And they weren't inventions. They were just things that would put a smile on your face. And I don't think I would call myself that creative, but they were easy to do, and they're quick to do, and I just kind of loved it. And I didn't take it. I wasn't a serious inventor or product developer. I just made things that I liked, and I thought other people would like, too. So they were called softies, and they were just soft sculpture, and people loved them. I guess the magic was when I made something, someone bought it, and I could see how much they enjoyed it.
That was the connection, right, to then bring you to what you're doing, because I was going to say, what gave you so you were creating these things. As you said, they were more just fun loving kind of things that made people happy. So what kind of gave you and I don't want to say the balls, but I'm going to say it the balls to be like, well, wait a second. I can create a better toy than what this company is doing.
Well, if I could sell something at an art festival or street corner, why couldn't I sell that anywhere and everywhere? That was the missing piece. How do I do that? How do I take these items and put them in stores? And when I met Stephen Askin that had a showroom that was selling products to all these retailers, that was that first step. And then working with Worlds of Wonder and seeing that success of Teddy Ruxpin and that inventor Key forSay collecting royalties, I started thinking, well, gee, do I actually have to make them myself? What if I were to find a company to make it for me? And that's when the light went on, the AHA moment. Why don't I license my creativity to companies? Because I didn't like the business again. It came down to business. I didn't like it again. So looking back, it made complete sense that I said, well, gee, if I could license or rent my ideas to companies and let them do all the work I don't want to do. I could stay down. I could keep on creating things that I love to do. So that's how I learned about product licensing.
That's brilliant. I love that. And I really want the listeners to take that and think about that, because you took something that you were good at and you just expanded on it. And I think a lot of people will have something they're good at, but they stay in that box where you were like, let me go out of that box. Let me go way out of the box and figure out how I can make this work and still do what I love. I think that's brilliant.
Well, you have to realize too, that and we had talked a little bit about this previously. I've been failing since the second grade, so failure was not something that I ran from. I was used to it. I didn't like it, but I was so used to failing at taking tests or whatever. So reaching out and knocking on doors, it was still scary, don't get me wrong. And I'm still worried, but I wasn't afraid. So I was able to knock on doors. Like, I took that job at Worlds of Wonder, and I knew nothing about the corporate world. I knew nothing about production or manufacturing. I knew nothing about it. But I was willing to learn. So looking back, it took courage, I have to say. My wife always asks me, where did you find that courage to jump off and do it again? Well, I just kind of realized I could figure it out. So the experience at Worlds will wonder I got to see a lot of products being submitted to license to this company, just like Teddy Ruxpin, and I realized they weren't that great. So then I thought, well, why don't I try to start to creating other ideas for companies? So that's when I quit Worlds of Wonder and started coming up with ideas and sending those ideas to companies. But I was terrible at this. You have to realize my ideas were just terrible and no one wanted them. I got rejection at the rejection, but finally a company took one. And that product, it was called the Michael Jordan Wallball. It was a little indoor basketball game, and the backboard was in the shape of Michael Jordan. And the company loved it. I sent it to him. Three days later, I had a contract and Michael Jordan was on TV. It was on every major retailer and sold for ten years. And that's when I knew I could do it right. So I went from street fairs to licensing ideas to companies, and now seeing my ideas everywhere and let them do the business part where I could do.
The creative part, which is so cool. And I think it's really important again for the listeners to hear because they know my story. I'm dyslexic so school was really tough for me. I, too, was failing all the time. But when you have that, as much as it's hard in the moment, the skills that you get are life changing because you really do. We have this tenacity of I'm not going to give up. Because you never had the choice to give up. Right. It was like, no, you had to keep going, keep going, keep going. And when you had the wins, they felt so good that you continued, but the failures were so much that it was just kind of like, okay, that sucked. Okay, that sucked, but, okay, let me just get back up and dust myself off, because what's next? What's next?
Yeah. Looking back, I didn't really understand my learning disability, but I did know how to overcome the obstacles. It taught me to overcome those obstacles, of how to take a test better or how to study harder or not get too down on myself. I pushed through it so when all the rejection letters and trust me, I can wallpaper my house with rejection letters, they irritated me, and I wanted to be better. But I learned that you have to find the thing that you really, truly love and don't give up too early. People usually give up a little too early, or they're looking for success too quick. And I'm like, no, don't do that. Just stay with it. Just stay with it for a while and find that support group. I think it's really important to find that community, find that support group that kind of sees your vision, or maybe they're doing something similar so you have a community that's behind you a little bit, and I found that, and with my mentor, Stephen Askin, and other people, they thought I wasn't crazy and that you'll be okay.
No, it's so smart, and I just love that. You're right. It's a journey, but life is an adventure, and it can be so amazing if you let it and just not give up too early. I think that's really important. With anything that I've ever started, I always give myself not a hard end date, but a little bit of an end date. Like, I'm not going to stop for a year. Let's see what happens. Okay. I've had these wins. Let's give it another number of years. And that's when things take off. And I think that people start way too early.
Yes. I tell everybody that in order to succeed, you have to fail. Okay, no big deal. And also, you never fail unless you quit. And if you really think of it that way, you'll be fine. It just takes a few people to kind of keep you on track a little bit. And when you see a door open, people talk about luck. I think that plays into it a little bit, but it also plays just being there at the right time that luck comes by. So if you're just there and it comes by, then grab it and don't be afraid of it. But I have to say, everybody's listening. I'm afraid just like everybody else. I'm still afraid, but I'm still going to try new things because I love knocking on doors. I love challenging myself. I love keep on just open the doors of opportunity and see where it leads, because you never really know. So I'm a person that says yes to everything. I just say, try it, try it, try it. And if it doesn't work, okay, no big deal, right?
Because it's about the curiosity. I always say that you have to stay curious. It doesn't matter if you stay curious and keep out there learning and exploring, things are going to come to you. But if you close yourself off and just, okay, this is my life, then it's going to be your life. And we only have one life. Might as well be as curious and as adventurous in certain aspects of your life that you can that are going to light you up and just bring these amazing things. So I love that you've done that.
Well, you're going to find other people that feel the same way, and you need to find those people, right? And you need to connect with them, because once you see this process work, that a door opens and you get to have a conversation. I was just happy that when I was submitting an idea to a company, they would even talk to me. That was a win. I was like, okay, I can do this. They're talking to me now. I just needed an idea that they want. So it really became quite exciting. And even today, I get to see so many products hit the store shelves, and I get to see people change from being maybe a little hesitant, maybe they show themselves to seeing that idea hit the store shelf and their whole world changes, the confidence changes, and they start to go another direction. So I have a front row seat to that experience, and I really enjoy.
That, which has to be amazing, right? So take us from after the Michael Jordan, as you said, that was sold for ten years on the shelf. Where did your journey lead you?
Well, I thought it was so easy after the Michael Jordan that I kept on submitting ideas for the same company and they rejected every single one. I realized, okay, it's not easy. But I stayed within one industry, and I kept on knocking on doors, knocking on doors because I made relationships and eventually those companies gave me a wish list. Makes it much easier. And I started to jump in other industries. And the next thing that kind of changed my life is that I took an idea that I had licensed. I was selling in all the Disney stores and theme parks around the world, and it was just a really fun way to fun way to tell a story on a drinking vessel. It was this rotating canteen and cups, but it's sold everywhere. And I was very proud of it and I was very excited about it. But I had read enough. I read an article where packaging didn't have enough information. So I took something in a different industry and brought it over to the packaging industry, and I created a product called Spinformation, and we sold hundreds of millions of these rotating labels. So I jumped in another industry and started to apply the same tools, same thing to learn, but in a different industry. And so that took me to a whole nother world where I had a product that was being endorsed by Alex Trebek. It was selling in Walmart, it was selling around the world. So it took me down a different path again. But the same principles really did exist, being curious, like you said, knocking on doors, being willing to accept rejection. Because that rotating label, when I started submitting, it came up with the idea. I got rejected 100 times. But the last company, Rex All Sundown, was the company said, yes, we'll take it. It just took one. And I realized that you just don't quit until you find that right company, and it just took one.
That's amazing. So then take us down. When did you start invent right. Your coaching business and the books, when did they come about?
Yeah, that was actually accident. That was a big accident. I went to an inventors group for the first time in Silicon Valley at Santa Clara University, in the same room I ran from. I'm there. A good friend of mine invited me, said, Stephen, all these inventors gather. Why don't we just go and bring some of the stuff that you have done? So I brought it to that event, and I realized very quickly people were struggling. And I pulled out a couple of things that I had licensed that were on the store shelves. And I could tell that people were amazed that I had figured something out. And so I didn't I didn't know that people gathered like this. And I didn't know inventors were struggling because I did not consider myself an inventor. And I started sharing what I had done with a group of people, and I started sharing that information to other people within other groups, and it led to this, why don't I start to teach it? And so I started to do these two days events in Santa Clara and started doing teaching people how to do the same thing I was doing. And one of my students became famous, tim Ferriss. He wrote The Four Hour Work Week.
Oh, I know. I know Tim very well.
Yeah. Tim was one of my first students, and he used to sit in the back of the room, and I told everybody if he ever came to one event, you can always come to another one for. Free. Tim always came, and he was fascinated with this process of licensing ideas to companies and letting them do all the work. And so Tim ended up moving to, I think, Argentina, and he sent me this book called The Four Hour Work Week, and he wrote about me, and and that's when I think the coaching program really changed, because, you know, I I just did it for fun, and it was just sharing the information. But once he wrote that book and became a national bestseller, the phone was ringing, right? I remember my wife said, Why is the phone ringing? I said, I don't know why? And it was because of Tim Ferris. Yeah. So that's when I said, well, maybe I should take this seriously and start to share that information with more people, right?
And so then is that when the books I mean, because you have four books, am I correct?
Well, Tim's book came out, and I started teaching it, and then McGraw Hill had contacted me and said, Stephen, you've got a pretty big audience, and you're teaching this process. Why don't you write a book on that process? And I was like, Why write a book? I didn't understand it. So I called Tim and I said, Tim, why should I write a book? He said Stephen two things. If you're going to write a book, write it like it's your last. Don't hold back. Give everything away. So I wrote this book called One Simple Idea, and it's been translated now in five different languages. We've sold a lot of copies around the world. And I just tell the story about how this journey of finding my passion, this journey of coming up with simple ideas and leveraging your creativity and let companies do all the work for you. So it just happened by mistake. There wasn't this great plan. It was something I just loved to do. And the doors opened. And now I've written other books, and I started writing for Forbes and Incentrepreneur. And I'm not a writer. And what's really amazing about this whole process, I can barely put two sentences together. So how do you write all these books, and how do you write all these articles? And I just do it with my phone. I talk into my phone. It transcribes it, and someone cleans it up. And now I'm a writer, so I'm a big believer. You can do anything if you want to.
Well, and also and if it's if it's meant to be your path, I mean, that's the other thing. You could put your mind into it, but if it's also meant to be your path and all of these doors that open for you. But the knowledge that you have and that is one of the things with dyslexia, you have these gifts or learning disabilities, and that's what people sometimes don't think about. And there's always a negative to those. But I always look at the positive because what I have learned through the struggle and what I know that I am so good at communicating, like, there's people that I talk to that they're like, gosh, you're such a good communicator. I don't have to work at it. It's something that I was just given. I read a little slower. I can't spell putting sentences together. Like you said, I have to do everything or I have to speak to it because if I have it in my head and I go to type it, it comes out completely different, which is super frustrating. However, I know it, so it's just, okay, I'm going to speak to I mean, the technology that we have now, compared to when I was young, is so different and really supports the different learning.
It's a game changer. And what I realized, I used to hide this disability, and I was ashamed of it until I wanted to go back. I had left San Jose State a few units shy from a degree, and I wanted to go back once my kids were getting ready to go to college to get my degree. And of course, it wasn't going to work out. And the Dean of San Jose State says, Stephen, have you ever been tested for your learning disability? I said no, I haven't. Why don't you go get tested? So I was tested at 45 years old, and they came back and they said, mr. Key, we don't know what you can possibly do because you've tested so poorly. That your job opportunities are very limited. And that's when I realized that I had figured it out. And I became very proud because I had figured it out, and I knew I had a problem. I just didn't know to what degree. I knew it was tough, but to have someone tell me, you have a problem, it was a freedom. Like this whole thing was lifted from my shoulders, and I started to talk about it, and I wasn't ashamed about it. I wasn't going to hide from it any longer. And I realized it was my superpower, that it was really something that was amazing, and it was something that I didn't understand. So I do believe that people that have some type of learning disability, it allows you to see things very differently.
And sometimes better than the next person because you're just not one sided. We have so many sides to us and so many strengths.
Looking back at all of it now, it all makes sense now, but it didn't at the time. But the one common thread through all of it was, I want to do something I love. I want to wake up every day excited. I wanted to be curious, and I wanted to keep learning. I realized very early on when I went down this art path, that artists never retire. And I thought, how great is that? Why work on something where you're planning to stop? Because you don't like it. I thought that was just crazy. So my dad was right. He was absolutely, 100% right. And I was fortunate that he kind of let me do what I wanted to do and find the right people that helped me along the way. Because today I'm more excited about what I do today than I ever happen. Has not changed. It has actually grown.
And you're helping so many people be able to follow their passions, which I think is also beautiful. The fact that you've lived it, you know, the avenues to go, you know, about the rejection. You can really talk to people. And I think that's what makes you such an expert. I mean, I know you were named one of the hundred most influential figures working in the toy and game design today, which is just incredible. I mean, the fact that, as you said, you struggled, but that doesn't matter. It gave you those things. It gave you the creativity that sometimes is not taught in not sometimes. A lot of times it's not taught in traditional school, which is such a shame, because the amount of people that are missed because of it, and also jobs, the amount of jobs that people don't get because there's an entrance exam or they have to do that, and they miss out on some spectacular minds. I mean, I think businesses have it wrong. A lot of businesses, in my opinion, don't do things the correct way because it's just like, okay, they want this one sided person when there's so much out there, and it's maybe just someone that doesn't test correctly or doesn't test well.
Well, I think my program at Invent Right is all about overcoming obstacles and the same obstacles that I had. And I think there's a lot of us that have the same obstacles. So it's all about breaking down barriers. It's all about do you need a patent? No, you need a patent. Do you need to start a company? No, you don't need to start a company. What do you really need? So that's why I think our program has done so well, because it taps into all those people that need a road map. They need to realize that they don't have to quit their job. They don't have to do something crazy. They can get in this this world of innovation, this world of being inventive, this world of sharing the creativity with the world. So I'm really proud to just say, look, these are barriers. Let's get rid of them. And I think having some of the barriers that I've had has helped me figure out how to get rid of the barriers for others, which is amazing.
Which is amazing. And again, and I know we're coming to an end here, and I could literally talk to you for days. We have so much that we could talk about. But is there anything right now that you're working on that you want to share that, you know, you're excited about that you want people to go I know Invent, right? They can go to Inventright.com. You can find Invent Right on YouTube again, 900 videos of just really kind of taking you through steps. There's also all of Stephen's books. You can find them on his website, Stephenkey.com, and then articles and forbid Entrepreneur Magazine. I mean, Stephen has so much knowledge to share, which is such a beautiful thing. And the fact that you're doing it and willing to share, I think it also shows who you are as a human, that you have a heart that is really gold, that you're like, I've done these things, but I also want to help others do it.
Well, thank you for saying that. I feel like I'm so fortunate that I found something, and I don't think I can ever repay that because I didn't know what I was going to do. But I found that thing. And we have free resources that Invent, right? There's a tab where we have more free resources on this particular topic probably, than anywhere in the world. It's absolutely free. We are going to do something brand new. I always like to try things out, and I want to bring people together. So at Invent right, we're going to have an area there where we're going to invite writers in all different fields, not just my field, but all different fields of being an entrepreneur and let them share their knowledge. And we're going to share that knowledge on all social media. So what I want to do is help other people share their knowledge now, too. So why don't we make this a big party? Why don't we just say, look, don't be afraid of what you're doing, what other people is doing. Let's bring this all together and bring an audience that can benefit from people that want to give.
And I love that. I just think that it is great. And I love what you're doing, again, helping so many people because of your experiences. So I just want to thank you, Stephen, for joining your next stop.
Well, thank you very much for letting me share my story. I think a mocky sky to be able to share that story as well. So thank you so much.
And stories connect us. I mean, so many people are going to listen to that and just be like, wow, I just need to go check this out, because everything that you've done is awesome. But then when you also look at the struggles, it also just makes you so much realer. I mean, I know that sounds silly, but it is like, okay, you see people in the world that are doing all these things, and when people don't struggle, they're not as relatable, in my opinion, but maybe that's because I also struggle. So I think that the ones that struggle are maybe better. You heard it here first, I think.
To find any type of success, you're going to probably overcome some things, right? So I think it's common and I think people need to see that struggle a little bit. I think they're going to see themselves and maybe that gives them the ability to push on and say, all right, I can do it too.
I agree. Well, thank you so much. You guys know what to do, like share, rate and review. Check out Stephen on all the socials. Again in ventrite.com. You can find him on YouTube. You can find Stephen Key, all his books. Go to entrepreneur magazine and Forbes. You can find his articles, but the fact that right now, what they're [email protected] with the articles, you might be one out there going, I have something to share. Reach out to Stephen, see where you guys can connect. And again, you might be listening to this episode and saying, oh, that's such a cool story, but you don't know who needs to hear this in your life. You don't know if a neighbor, a sister, a mom, a dad, an aunt, uncle right now are struggling and maybe need a little inspiration. So share this with as many people as you know because stories connect us. And thank you again for joining your next stop. I hope you liked this episode of your next stop. Please subscribe to my channel, share with your friends and join in each week.
My focus is entirely on helping you follow your passion, even when you feel like you've got stuck in crazy town. There is a way out, its me helping you. You don't have to ditch everything in your life that is making you feel overwhelmed and stuck, you just need some help to navigate it.
WHEN YOU FOLLOW YOUR PASSION YOU WILL NATURALLY ENRICH THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE