99: Ideas are Worthless? Nate Earned $300,000 in Passive Income From His (An Intro to Product Licensing)

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In the entrepreneurial world, there’s a common mentality that ideas on their own are practically worthless. Execution, on the other hand, is what counts.

Derek Sivers even has a handy little conversion chart that explains the relationship:

——– ———
GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000

But in today’s show my guest, Nate Dallas, shares how your ideas DO have value — if you can get them in the right hands.

He and his brother earned $300,000 in passive income by licensing one of their ideas to Mattel. They didn’t have to design it, produce it, or sell it. But they found someone who could, and they cashed the checks.

And to be fair, Nate will be the first to tell you these kind of results aren’t typical — but he’s proof they ARE possible.

Nate’s actually a dentist by day, but a pretty serious side hustler by night, and on this call we take a deep dive into the world of product licensing.

It’s the perfect side hustle for people who are constantly coming up with ideas but not knowing what exactly to do next. Don’t worry about the next step! Let someone else deal with it — but do it in such a way that you get paid for your creativity.

Free Bonus: Download Nate’s Top Product Licensing Tips

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  • The story behind his deal with Mattell, that eventually earned $300,000 passive income.
  • Why he turned down a 7% royalty deal for a 3% one.
  • How to protect ideas from being ripped off.
  • How to go hunting for leads on LinkedIn.
  • The pros and cons of using a licensing agent, and how to find one.
  • Why Nate likes to side hustle, even though he has a successful career and dental practice.
  • The myth of the completely original idea.
  • Nat’s tips for brainstorming and capturing product ideas.
  • Suggestions on how to quickly and cheaply prototype your product idea.
  • The game he decided NOT to license and sell directly — and the innovative way he went to market.
  • Nate’s #1 tip for Side Hustle Nation.


What do you think? Any side hustle ideas rattling around in your head that some big company might be interested in?

If you want to learn more about product licensing, I sat down with Stephen Key in an example-filled episode. Later, I met one of his students to learn about how an inventor can manufacture creativity.

Download the Free PDF "Highlight Reel" from this Episode

With all of my guest's top tips and resources included.

Enter your email to access it now:

You'll also receive my best side hustle tips and weekly-ish newsletter. Opt-out anytime.

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Stock photo by AnemStyle via Shutterstock

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

11 thoughts on “99: Ideas are Worthless? Nate Earned $300,000 in Passive Income From His (An Intro to Product Licensing)”

  1. Love this interview! Knowing that you know or knowing that you don’t know is optimal to this conversation.

  2. This episode really hit home with me and is perfect timing! I think have the same condition as both Nate and Nick and cant just lay on the beach all day without being a little bit productive with something. I have a product idea that i think could be at least work 6 figures and I was getting pulled in so many different directions on next steps. After hearing Nate talk about the prototype process, I have a clear path! Thanks a million!

  3. Hey Nick,

    Amazing podcast as always! I’m really interested in finding a licensing agency to start working with. My prototype has been made for sometime, I use it myself, and I’ve been searching for way to see it in a market. This podcast just unscattered my brain! How do you go about looking for licensing agencies?

    • Well it sounds like Nate was referred by the actual company he intended to pitch, but barring that, I’d probably just turn to Google to see if there are any who specialize in the niche/industry you’re targeting.

  4. Hi, my name is milon kumar. I
    saw your ad online about
    product licensing, I have a idea/
    invention. Can you help me with

  5. I really enjoyed this episode. I also listen to episode 173 I belive with Stephen Key, I had no idea people pay you for your creative ideas. I have one, and if its successful maybe Ill tell your listeners about my journey some day. Thank you Nick for all you do..

    Dan Ferber.

    Ps: I also enjoy the Don the Idea Guy episodes too.

  6. Hi Nick,
    Thanks for a great interview – I really enjoyed it.
    It’s given me a few aha moments and has inspired me to try again to connect with a manufacturing company here in the UK. I will ring them this afternoon. :))

    This was the first episode I’ve heard, looking forward to another soon.


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