How to Patent an Idea

Think you’ve come up with the next best idea? That’s great! 

We are guessing you’re reading this because you think that idea has some serious potential to make money and you want to patent it before someone else can claim the idea as their own. 

Well, we have some good news and some bad news. 

We will give the bad news first. You can’t patent an idea

According to LegalZoom, “the invention itself has to be produced or a patent application containing the invention has to be filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).” 

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, here is the good news: you can create a prototype or model that allows you to move forward with your patent application. 

But that’s just one step in the process. In order to help you through the journey of patenting, we have created this guide. 

Follow along to get the ball rolling on your idea.

The Easy Parts of Patenting an Idea

The idea of patenting something can seem like a daunting process. How do you even go about claiming an idea is legally yours so that no one else can take it? 

Thankfully, when it comes to patents, the entire process isn’t complicated. And when it does get complicated, you can hire an attorney to guide you. Or, you can get a trusted book to help you with the process. 

If you opt to do it on your own, we recommend the “Patent It Yourself” book by Nolo

This book walks you through the steps of preparing and filing your patent application including: 

  • Information about patent laws
  • Information about the latest USPTO filing rules
  • How to perform a patent search
  • How to file a regular or provisional…

Continue reading

High Blood Pressure: One Fun Activity That Treats Hypertension

High blood pressure — known to doctors as hypertension — is a risk factor for heart disease.

Single women who take part in regular social activities have lower blood pressure, research finds.

However, social isolation and loneliness increase the risk of high blood pressure in women.

High blood pressure — known to doctors as hypertension — is a risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among women.

The study found that widowed, socially inactive women living on their own were at the highest risk of hypertension.

Dr Annalijn Conklin, study co-author, said:

“Among older adults, social isolation is the largest known risk factor for mortality, equal only to smoking.

Less well known is how social isolation affects men and women differently, or how it affects biomarkers of longevity.

Our research indicates that women, in particular, are more likely to be hypertensive when they experience isolation in middle and older age.”

The study included data from almost 30,000 people aged 45 to 85 in Canada.

The results showed that women without a partner who had fewer than three social activities per month were at the highest risk of hypertension.

Dr Conklin said:

“Among women, the increase in blood pressure that was associated with the lack of social ties was similar to that seen with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use, increased sodium diets pollution or weight gain.

This represents a significant women-specific risk factor for heart disease or stroke.”

Among men, the results were quite different.

Those who had a large social network and shared their home with others had higher blood pressure.

Men who lived alone and had fewer social ties had lower blood pressure.

Dr Conklin said:

“Taken with our previous research, our new findings underline how social isolation affects health in men and women differently.

At a time when COVID-19 is forcing us to limit our social interactions, it’s important for those working in health care and public health to encourage older women, in particular, to find new ways to be socially active.”

The study was published in the Journal of Hypertension (Zeinab et al., 2020).

Keep reading here

The Beginner’s Guide to Trademarks

Branding is vital for businesses. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and puts you at the forefront of potential customers’ minds.

Therefore, you should protect your brand with a trademark.

But if you’re a newbie to this kind of thing, then you probably don’t know what kind of protection you need or even what you can protect. Plus, when it comes to actually applying for a trademark, the process can be lengthy and complex.

So in this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about trademarks and help simplify the process.

What Is a Trademark?

A trademark is usually a word, phrase, symbol, or design that represents your brand. It belongs to you legally and differentiates your products or services from those of other companies. This means that other companies can’t use similar assets to sell their goods.

The Basics of Trademarks

If you want to apply for a trademark, you need to be equipped with the right knowledge. It’ll make the process clearer and you’ll be less likely to get rejected. So here we’ll explain the ins and outs of trademarks and the trademark application process. 

What Can You Trademark?

You may have assets that you didn’t realize you could trademark. It would be a shame if you didn’t protect them simply through a lack of knowledge. So let’s take a look at what you can and can’t trademark.

The most common trademarks, as mentioned above, are words and elements of design. More often than not, these are business names, product names, and/or logos. Think of the Nike swoosh or Amazon’s logo with the arrow under the name–not only are the names “Nike” and “Amazon” trademarked, but the visual elements of their logos are, too.

But you can trademark a number of things that distinguish your…

Continue reading

How to Think Like a Leader when Your Brain Drags You Down

How to Think Like a Leader when Your Brain Drags You Down

Ruminant animals chew their food, swallow it, regurgitate it, and chew it some more*. Humans are mental cud chewers.

Research shows that you aren’t thinking about what you’re doing about half the time**. An unfocused brain mulls over things that happened in the past, things that might happen in the future, or imagined things that likely won’t happen at all.

Matthew A. Gilbert and Daniel T. Gilbert discovered that mind-wandering tends toward unhappiness, even when your mind wanders to good things**.

Image of dairy cow looking at you. When the same thoughts keep dragging you down, it's time to do something.


Mind-wandering often leads to worry, frustration, resentment.

Persistent rumination combined with inaction leads to helplessness. Helplessness justifies inaction and blaming. Inaction increases mental rumination. And so it goes.

When the same thoughts keep dragging you down, it’s time to do something.

How to think like a leader:

Mental rumination is most useful when it distills into decisions or results in actions.

You experience recurring worry about a team, for example. Intentionally explore options. Make a decision or take action. You might…

  1. Get an update from the team leader.
  2. Learn to trust competent others.
  3. Develop a plan of action to address your concerns.
  4. Make a list of things you can control and things you can influence.
  5. Establish checkpoints when you delegate.
  6. Train incompetent team members.
  7. Delegate to high performers when stakes are high.

Reflecting on the past or dreaming about the future is useful when it informs decisions or actions. But mind-wandering without action is harmful.

The next time you catch yourself daydreaming ask:

  1. How important is this to me?
  2. Can I do something about this? If yes…
  3. What do I want to do about this today?

The difference between success and failure is responsibility.

How might leaders deal with passive mind-wandering or negative rumination?

*What is a Ruminant Animal (

**A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind (

Continue reading

This Sign Of High IQ Is A Unique And Rebellious Trait

This behaviour is a sign of higher intelligence.

Being a non-conformist is a sign of high IQ, research finds.

It means that people with higher intelligence are less likely to follow others.

While most people copy each other from time-to-time, those with higher IQs only do so strategically.

Smarter people prefer to make their own decisions rather than following others.

Dr Michael Muthukrishna, who led the study, said there is nothing wrong with conformity:

“People are conformist – and that’s a good thing for cultural evolution.

By being conformist, we copy the things that are popular in the world.

And those things are often good and useful.”

The conclusions come from a study of 101 people who did a simple task that involved comparing the lengths of various lines.

Before deciding which line was longest, people were told what other people thought.

The results showed that most preferred to follow others.

More intelligent people, though, were surer of the answer and not as influenced by other views.

However, when unsure which line was longest, people with higher IQs were more likely to go with the majority.

The classic study on conformity was carried out by Solomon Asch just after WWII.

It revealed that people would deny unambiguous information from their own senses just to conform with other people.

Dr Muthukrishna said conformity is often no bad thing:

“Our whole world is made up of things that we do that are good for us, but we don’t know why.

And we don’t need to know why.

We just need to know that most people do those things.”

Dr Muthukrishna said:

“These mathematical theories and experiments contribute to a greater understanding of what it is that makes our species so unique — culture.

Our smarts are acquired, not hardwired.”

The study was published in the journal Evolution and Behavior (Muthukrishna et al., 2015).

Keep reading here

How Netflix Creates Immersive Experiences with Exceptional Design and UX

Netflix began in 1997 as a video rental competitor to Blockbuster. Now, the streaming service has as many users worldwide as the entire population of Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan combined.

Today, the platform remains the most popular of all global streaming services—and its customers continue to renew their subscription, month after month and year after year. We’ll explore their retention statistics soon.

So, how does a behemoth like Netflix create immersive experiences so captivating that the platform cannot be dethroned by its sea of competition? In this post, we’ll break down the elements of Netflix’s design and user experience (UX).

Why Netflix’s user journey is so effective at keeping new users hooked

Unlike other platforms, where the “wow” comes after inputting your credit card information, Netflix reels in new users right from their homepage. The design and copy are minimal, with one goal—signups.

The homepage presents a clean visual hierarchy and is free of clutter, reducing friction between the visitor and the single, straightforward call-to-action to enter an email to get started. 

Their unique selling proposition also explicitly describes the biggest benefits and preempts two common FAQs: “Unlimited movies, TV shows, and more. Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime.” 

The goal is obvious, the ask is clear, the task is simple.

Together, the USP and UI makeup a value proposition that is optimized for conversions. They are incredibly specific about what they do, include relevant images in the background that support the “unlimited” claim, and feature a value prop booster (i.e. “cancel any time”).

Other elements below the fold that add value include:

  • Mention of the numerous platforms Netflix is compatible with, such as game consoles and connected TV devices
  • An example of how to download streaming content to watch offline, as well as the ability to stream unlimited movies across all devices
  • The provision of child-friendly programming options
  • A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section placed directly above a second opt-in form

Here, Netflix has chosen to emphasize its flexibility. Their homepage isn’t offensively long. They use minimal copy to communicate their offering, features, benefits, and FAQs to combat obstacles and sway hesitant buyers.

From there, the user embarks on a short personalized journey. Netflix highlights that there are only three steps, which work to increase motivation to complete the task at hand. 

The expectancy-value theory postulates that if the expectation of completing a task is high, and the subjective value is also high, people will be more motivated to follow through. In other words, motivation = expectancy x value. If either one of these factors is missing, motivation easily disintegrates.

By centering “Step 1 of 3”, it dictates that the task will take a short amount of time, thus increasing expectancy. By this stage, the value should already be high (given their strong value proposition, USP, and UX). 

On the second screen, they ask you to choose a plan. They again answer the biggest objection upfront to combat hesitancy: “No commitments, cancel anytime.” 

Continue reading here

The 8 Best HR Outsourcing Services – 2021 Review

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best HR outsourcing services for most people are definitely Paychex, Insperity, and ADP.

Human resources is a critical aspect of any business.

Historically, HR departments were reserved for larger organizations. Small businesses might just have a bookkeeper handle HR responsibilities.

But today, businesses of all shapes and sizes can leverage HR outsourcing to perform crucial tasks. Large businesses can use HR outsourcing to reduce operational costs. Outsourcing tasks and roles is much more cost-effective than in-house employees.

What’s the best HR outsourcing service? Find out below.

The 8 Best HR Outsourcing Services of 2021

Lots of companies offer some form of HR outsourcing, including most of the best PEO service providers on the market.

After researching dozens of HR firms and outsourcing services, I’ve narrowed them down to the top eight for you to consider.

  1. Paychex — Best HR outsourcing for complex payment cycles
  2. Insperity — Best HR outsourcing service to set it and forget it
  3. ADP — Best HR outsourcing to handle some (or all) of your HR needs
  4. TriNet — Best for big business benefits on small business budgets
  5. Zenefits — Best HR platform to wrangle your current HR systems together
  6. Engage PEO — Best HR outsourcing for unique compliance needs
  7. G&A Partners — Best HR outsourcing for employee training and development
  8. Tandem HR — Best HR outsourcing for minimizing your risk liability

Below, I give in-depth reviews of each, covering their features, benefits, and other key considerations.

Best HR Outsourcing Services Reviews

#1 – Paychex — Best HR Outsourcing for Complex Payment Cycles

  • Wide range of HR services
  • Pricing based on # of employees
  • Great for smaller organizations
  • Knowledgeable HR professionals

Continue reading

4 Ways to Be Present that Anyone Can Practice

4 Ways to Be Present that Anyone Can Practice

People tend to choose ruminating on the past or worrying about the future over being present.

Being present is being engaged in the moment.

But how much should you think about the past and the future?

Two finger hugging each other in fear. You're thinking about the future too much when you're filled with anxiety and fear.

Powerless or powerful:

You are never at your best when you’re ruminating on the past or worrying about the future.

Nothing is created in the past or the future.

Power to make a difference is the ability to do something now.

“Remember then: there is only one time that is important—now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.” Leo Tolstoy

How leaders think about the past:

Over-thinking failure leads to fear and regret.

Regret blocks learning.

Lack of regret for harmful mistakes is callused. Learning from harmful mistakes is responsibility.

Learn from past mistakes but ruminate on success as well.

  1. What worked?
  2. How did relationships impact success or failure?
  3. What do you want to repeat? Not repeat?
  4. Why did you succeed? Fail?
  5. What aspects of success were the result of good fortune?

Learning from past mistakes is power to contribute effectively today.

How leaders think about the future:

Over-thinking the future is destructive.

You’re thinking about the future too much when you’re filled with anxiety and worry.

Stress and anxiety come from feeling powerless.

Vision for the future is a beacon whose only purpose is guidance for today’s action.

4 ways to be present:

Being present is bringing your best self to what you’re doing now.

  1. Just for a moment, forget about the next thing and focus on this thing.
  2. Stay on task. Turn off notifications during one-on-ones, for example.
  3. Set one simple goal that you must complete in the morning and one in the afternoon.
  4. Chunk time into useable blocks. A deadline increases focus.

How much should we think about the past or the future?

How might leaders be present more frequently?

Continue reading