In a world of entrepreneurs launching products and services daily, there are certain characteristics that will separate those inspired to “take no prisoners,” and those who fall off the wagon before the wagon even begins to roll.
This article targets the ADD or ADHD entrepreneur.
Did you know that 4% of the population of the U.S. is diagnosed with ADD – over 1.5 million individuals in California alone? Although there are few conducted on adults with ADHD over the age of 30, studies have shown that one-third of ADHD adults become entrepreneurs before the age of 30. And, here’s an interesting kicker, 300% of all ADHDers are likely to become entrepreneurs!
As a proud member of the tribe, we are the true movers and shakers of the world. Sparked by sheer inspiration, less risk-averse than most, more willing to dive in and just do it when we get the bug, the world’s population benefits from our brain chemistry.
We move on it when inspired, take action and don’t look back. No one can ever accuse many of us of over-analyzing an opportunity. But when it comes to the details, it is time to delegate or down we go.
Although I was not diagnosed until much later in life, the profile fits me to a tee. I started my own career counseling business at the age of 38 and founded an international children’s art franchise at 42. Once I got the bug, there was no going back for me. And I am very clear that my ADHD was the catalyst for creating, building and launching this business. That is what I love about it.
My goal has been to stay boss free and inspired by the work I do while remaining purpose-driven. This is not a goal, it is a necessity. Some degree of independence and a career we love are not a luxury, but a necessity. We must love what we do to succeed, at least enough to pay the bills. As an ADHD entrepreneur, the bills may not go paid too, but that’s another article. That is the good, bad and ugly of being an ADHD Entrepreneur. We all need some form of support so that our “characteristics” don’t derail our efforts.
My success is based on how I feel about what I am doing approximately 80% of the time. This is another key and clue as to why many like me who take the entrepreneurial route fail. Our motto is “we gotta like it or we lose focus.” Question why you are in a career or business you don’t enjoy.
My story is not unlike many. I was undiagnosed after I left my franchise, at my lowest point. I created a business that crumbled for me yet still exists today, ended a marriage, lost a best friend and stake in a business I founded all in the same time frame. My story is not uncommon.
Needlesstosay, there are perhaps millions of entrepreneurs in our tribe who remain undiagnosed, while only 20% are aware they even have ADD/ADHD.
As a child, I got lost between the cracks in school and spent most of my time doodling. I was mostly overlooked but got by. As an adult, my ADHD took on an entirely new proportion. My finances suffered, papers piled and were lost, and my house and home office was disorganized. I was and am still, a non-planner. A few characteristics that I continue to work on include procrastination and impatience. Staying on top of finances remains a challenge, but improves yearly.
There are numerous articles and websites and apps that can help you determine if you have ADHD tendencies, as well as help you manage them.
The great news is that we do make great entrepreneurs. I am sure that many of you reading this will recognize yourselves here. Many of us love to work alone.
Going it alone, as tempting as that may be for many of us, is not really a viable option if we want a sustainable livelihood.
Here are a few tips for celebrating and understanding how to stay focused on your business as an ADHD Entrepreneur:
- Get a diagnosis from a qualified professional such as a psychologist, nurse practitioner or psychiatrist who specializes in ADD/ADHD. The purpose of taking this step is not to label you as ADD/ADHD, but to open you to possibilities.
- Don’t go it alone! Find partners such as a virtual assistant to take care of the tasks you don’t enjoy performing. Focus on spending the majority of your time on those tasks you truly enjoy. This is essential for sustainability.
- Get an ADD coach who specializes in small business development. We ADHDers tend to do our best work with structure and accountability. I get far more accomplished with deadlines than left to my own devices.
- Use Apps that are geared toward ADHDers for time management, organizing, deadlines, changing activities etc. There are many available from StayOnTask to a wide variety of meditation apps designed to help you focus on what is important.
I could give a thousand tips here. However, once you open the doors via a diagnosis or by simply recognizing that you may need help to keep your business on track, a whole new world awaits.