You may know my work history, you may not. Real quickly: I taught English for half a decade, became an editor for another half, and have been self-employed for a full decade. More or less. The last decade has been the best by far, and I owe it to a clear understanding of intellectual property.
In this picture I’m holding the cover proof for the 5th edition of my textbook, Jeub’s Guide to Speech & Debate. It’s off to press this week. It has been 12 years since I came out with the 1st edition. The idea of the text is fairly simple: guide people through the world of speech and debate competition. I credit the success of the book to a lot of things, but without a fundamental understanding of intellectual property, it would have flopped on day one.
According to Wikipedia, intellectual property (IP) is “a legal concept which refers to creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognized.” That could be anything, really. Figuring out how to turn your intellectual idea into a profit is the ticket to self-employment.
You can think of IP as a game-changing discovery in your life, like a lottery jackpot or a big inheritance that drops into your bank account. Some of us dream about the “ship that’s come in” and what we’d do to get on it. Intellectual property has the ability to do that – be a game-changer.
I’m sure there are more, but I’ve come up with three game-changing aspects of IP. If you have the desire to make a living at that which you love, you should spend some serious time meditating on these three game-changers.
IP capitalizes on your greatest strengths and passions
Unlike a lottery or just plain good luck, intellectual property is a culmination of your passions, interests and personal giftings. The bright idea that will turn you some income is most likely centered in what you already love to do. How cool is that? I encourage you to spend ample time analyzing what you truly love because somewhere in the market of your love is the idea that can create a living.
IP turns your career income into personal wealth
There is a bit of a difference between the money someone pays you in a 9-5 job and the money you make from your intellectual property. Much like rent compares to ownership. You work for the company and the company owns your creations. When you keep and sell your own intellect, you are building equity. After years of creating and doing what you love to do, you end up with a pile of intellectual property that no one can take away from you.
IP makes your dreams come true
There are people who wait till they retire to write a book. You know, when they finally have the time. If they would have started creating intellectual property at a young age, they would have had the wealth built up enough to enjoy the royalties of their work. They’d be in retirement writing their umpteenth book with a healthy royalty check keeping them sustained.
Think on these things for a while. If you spend some ample time reflecting on these three game-changing concepts, you’ll begin to wonder some things about your life. Like…
- Am I really utilizing my full strength in my job? Do I love the work that I do?
- Is my contribution to my company worth the time I’d put into my own intellectual property?
- Is retiring from my job really my dream? Do I have greater ambitions for my life?
You see, when you ask these questions, you realize that your ship isn’t coming and going. It’s sitting there on the bay waiting for you to board.
Do you have ideas that could make some money? Even make a living?