A Guide for Entrepreneurs With ADHD: 5 Steps to the Top

A Guide for Entrepreneurs With ADHD: 5 Steps to the Top

Adapted from an article by David Giwec, MCC, posted on August 15, 2015 on the CHAAD blog

Entrepreneur trying to get the business started

“Adults with ADHD are 300% more likely to start their own businesses.”

Garret LoPorto in The DaVinci Method (Media for Your Mind, 2005).

Common characteristics of ADHD – creativity, multi-tasking and risk-taking – can be strengths when you know how to leverage them. Just look at entrepreneurs Richard Branson (the Virgin Group), Ingvar Kamprad (Ikea) and David Neeleman (JetBlue). All three have achieved huge success and all three have ADHD.

But don’t start picking out that private island yet. If you don’t understand how to put your strengths to work for you as well as manage you ADHD deficits, it could lead to dire consequences for your business. When you understand your unique brain wiring, however, the sky can be the limit.

Understanding Your Challenges. Harnessing Your Strengths.

Learning how to harness your strengths and create daily momentum while managing your challenges requires diligence, awareness, specific skills/strategies, and practice. These factors can make or break your ability to create, manage, and sustain a profitable business.

For many entrepreneurs, doing the engaging and interesting work that stimulates them is easy. Doing the tedious, high-detail, perhaps more administrative work, however, can be so averse that procrastination or complete avoidance becomes the norm. The result of ignoring the administrative or any important but tedious part of running a business is disastrous on many levels. The business suffers and so do to the people in the business.

When you work for an organization, many high-detail, tedious tasks are taken care of by support staff. The structure, systems and processes are in place that ease the burden of running a business. Once you go out on your own, however, this support is gone. It is on the entrepreneur to create a new support system. Here are five steps you can take to minimize your risks and play up your strengths.

Step #1: Learn your specific challenges.

 It’s important that you understand what your challenges are with respect to your ADHD deficits. Then and only then, will you be able to create a support system for your business.

Entrepreneurs with ADHD are full of creative, stimulating ideas, but they need to clearly identify their daily intentions. They must be conscious of how their attention and subsequent actions are closely aligned with those intentions. ADHD and entrepreneurship can be a cohesive team when strengths and weaknesses are understood and integrated into daily actions/behaviors.

Step #2: Identify how you process information and what energizes you.  

Select tools that can capture your strengths and maximize your productivity in the most efficient manner. Some examples are mind maps, to do lists, calendaring tools, timers, time-blocks, etc.

By recognizing your work rhythms and knowing when you are at your best you can schedule your day to maximize efficiency. For example, if you are at your best in the morning, that is when you want to do your high value work or work that requires more focus. As your energy and focus wanes, you may want to pepper in some low value work, or schedule an exercise break in order to provide you with an energy and focus boost.

Step #3: Pay attention to your strengths and Identify support for challenging tasks.

Identify what stimulates your brain and pursue it. Administrative tasks are necessary for the maintenance and profitability of your business. However, if completing admin tasks is not the best use of your strengths, you’re going to have a difficult time activating your brain and creating positive forward momentum towards completing them. Delegate tasks to those in your company who have the right skills and strengths.

Step #4: Create a success diary.

A success diary is a notebook, folder, box of pictures – anything that can contain records of your achievements and identifies what has worked well for you in the past. Keep it readily available and use it. Your success diary externalizes your memories by providing mental prompts to remind you to focus on your strengths. By revisiting your achievements, you will become energized and your enthusiasm will motivate your employees and customers.

Furthermore, a success diary can help you bypass negative patterns that immobilize you and impair your executive functions. Overcome negative thinking by revisiting successful experiences, which automatically evokes positive memories and emotions that provide positive energy to activate your brain.

Step #5: Hire an experienced, highly trained coach.

The positive effect on your career an ADHD coach can have is staggering. Adults with ADHD who employ a coach have a much greater chance of experiencing happiness and success. Hiring a business, career or leadership development coach with specific training with ADHD, will enhance every aspect of your life by providing you with feedback, resources, knowledge, advice, accountability and support throughout all aspects of your life.

Learn More So You Can Be More.

Do you want to know more about managing your ADHD? Do you desire to have more supportive resources like a professional ADHD Coach helping you achieve success? For a brief consultation about how ADHD coaching can help you, contact Kimberly via email at Kimberly@KimberlyPutmanCoaching.com or call (504) 261-1026.