My Million-Dollar Idea

By Sarah Hardwick, an EO San Diego member and  founder of Zenzi Communications.

The most amazing thing happened to me last year— I made a million dollars overnight! Seriously. It all started with a creative idea. And like most good ideas, it struck like lightening. I knew instantly that it was really worth something.

The best ideas are often the simplest, and this was true when I came up with an extraordinary tagline for my marketing and public relations firm. It was unique, and had so many different meanings— it could transcend industries! Thinking about all of the ways I could use my new slogan made my head spin. To ensure my idea stayed original, I acquired the domain name and trademark.

As it happens, the demands of everyday business consumed my attention, and my idea eventually took a back seat. And then one day, an e-mail appeared from a mysterious e-mail address; someone was offering to purchase my domain name for US$500. What?! Not a chance! This wasn’t just a domain— it was a philosophy, a way of life! I refused to part with it.\

Over the next few days, the phone calls and offers continued to escalate. When it reached US$50,000, I asked my husband and Forum mates what they thought I should do. The decision was unanimous: The idea had too much potential for me to sell it. Although the thought of paying off my credit cards and student loans was tempting, I simply couldn’t let my idea go for less than what it was worth.

When the offer reached $250,000, my curiosity finally got the better of me. I agreed to a teleconference with the company’s CEO to find out more. I was not surprised to learn that a well-known global corporation also thought my idea was something special. When the CEO asked what price I would accept for the domain and trademark, I was honest and said the first number that came to mind … one-million dollars! Within 24 hours, the deal was done and my idea took wings (under new ownership) in the marketplace.

I wish I could tell you the name of my big idea, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy per the terms of the deal. I can tell you, however, that I’m heading into 2012 filled with a renewed sense of optimism and excitement, believing that anything is possible. Looking back, I’ve learned that when a good idea strikes, don’t let it slip away! Protect it with a trademark. And if you ever decide to sell it, have the faith and guts to ask for what you deserve. You never know, it could be worth a million dollars, or more….

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