Having ADHD can be both a blessing and a curse. Before I knew that I had it, I really struggled to get things together in my business. It wasn’t until I hired a team that I felt like things weren’t always resting on me and whatever my brain wanted to focus on that day.
But I also know that hiring a team (including an ops manager, designer, copywriter, etc.) isn’t accessible to every entrepreneur with ADHD. So I wanted to talk about what life as an entrepreneur with ADHD is really like because I know that it can really affect how we feel about our successes.
ADHD can be hard to explain sometimes — how do you tell someone sending a simple email feels like climbing Everest? You work twice as hard and still struggle to keep up. It can be disheartening.
Since my ADHD diagnosis, I’ve leaned into my strengths as an entrepreneur with ADHD and found ways to work around the challenges.
I know no two people have the same experience — but if there’s anyone out there that can benefit from my story, I’m good with that!
In 2020, things were going great (ya know…all things considered). We had just hit a huge milestone in The Contract Shop®, but like I said, I hit a wall. I was worried that the type of success we saw would never come again. Or that people wouldn’t be happy with their product and want a refund, or that we were a one-hit wonder destined for a decline.
I was spiraling.
So, I decided to go see a therapist.
Over the next few sessions we had together, she started noticing some attention deficit challenges, and even some obsessive-compulsive behaviors. She then referred me to a psychiatrist. After running through a different medical process and diagnosis, we found the cause of said spiral…ADHD.
I don’t want to get into the full details of my diagnosis and symptoms because I don’t want anyone to self-diagnose (and with that being said — this blog is purely educational and not meant to help anyone do that. Seriously. Go see a professional).
The biggest takeaway here is that an ADHD diagnosis changed my business because it changed the way I saw myself.
I learned that ADHD isn’t a lack of attention — it’s a dysregulation of dopamine. Which means, that happy chemical is the chemical released in the feedback loop when you commit a task.
And it drops when you can’t focus. Or ramps up when your attention is siloed on a single task to an obsessive degree (that’s known as hyperfocus!)
Accepting that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, allowed me to stop trying to fit someone else’s mold and instead find the tools I needed to make my business successful. I found the tools I need in my life and business to help me be successful.
I also learned a lot about asking for help — especially how important it is to have a team behind you that can back you up when you can’t seem to focus.
Owning my own business has helped turn all my “wild ideas” into products and services that actually fulfill me and support my lifestyle.
Today, I’m in a much happier and healthier place — one that helps me lead my business with confidence and thrive as an entrepreneur.
There are so many things I’ve learned in the last few years that help me stay focused and consistent. The secret is not to dull what makes you different but work with it. You have to find things that work for you to succeed.
That being said, feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt. What works for me may not work for anyone else!
When you’re growing your business, most of your attention is focused on work. That means other important, seemingly insignificant tasks get pushed to the wayside and before you know it you have no food in the pantry and are behind on household chores. Yes, I’ve been there — it’s how I know!
One thing that helped significantly was hiring some “life help.” I hired a wonderful lady who came over a couple times a week to help me keep things clean and organized, as well as help me complete small tasks like a grocery store run or taking the dog for a walk.
It was a true lifesaver because I was free to focus on work during the day instead of letting my attention slip because of the 500 things I needed to do at home.
I encourage you to tap into what’s a trigger for you and find some help that can support your focus. Is it a business coach? A project manager? A housekeeper?
That answer won’t look the same for everyone, but when resources become available to you, hiring help that can help you get more done is priceless.
I always make sure I have some sort of ritual, so if it’s a really hard day and I’m feeling overwhelmed or distracted, I know I have a simple process to center me for the workday. But I DON’T stick to one schedule. I structure a few days of the week so I know what to expect — like keeping client calls to Tuesday only or reserving Mondays and Fridays for catching up.
It’s important that I notice my own behavioral patterns and take note of what’s going on in my personal life so I can plan around.
I like to reserve Mondays for catching up on calls, emails, and making personal appointments. Monday seems to be the day that everyone reaches out — business or not. It helps to know I have this day every week for responding to clients, and also things like dentist appointments or calling in a home repair.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my call days, and that includes clients and my team. Obviously, there is some flexibility because life happens, but there isn’t so much that I’m drained from calls every single day.
Thursdays are filing days! I record any videos for my courses or on my YouTube videos. And Fridays are for playing catch up and doing any leftover filming. If there isn’t anything to film, I take these days to do the big-picture brainstorming and planning.
Some days, I’m hyper-focused and my brain is churning out creative ideas at a million miles an hour, and I feel l like I”m finally on top of everything. And then others…not so much.
While “helpful” suggestions like getting a planner, slowing down a little, and planning out your time aren’t bad suggestions, they’re not always the most effective for someone with ADHD.
Like you, I was sick of Google searching for something more than the same ol annoying tips on how to manage my time effectively. After years of trial and error figuring out something — anything — that worked, I knew I couldn’t be alone in this.
So I made a video about it!
If you want some inspo on how to manage your schedule as a business owner with ADHD, check it out!