Hello Mark and Welcome to the board!!
There are a lot more (free) steps to take before you jump into the patent department. Make sure you do your preliminary patent search to insure you`re infringing on someone else`s IP (That`s free and should take you a few weeks)
I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head by the time it was all over!
Then, can you make a preliminary prototype inexpensively? What genre is your invention? I know you said you have "some" fantastic ideas and that`s well... fantastic, but brining an invention to market (or even licensing it) take tons of time and energy. I would learn the ropes the first time around with the simplest idea w/ the most mass market appeal. Then once you`ve got that one under your belt, the rest will be easy.... well.... easier! Very Best of Luck!
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