ADHD Entrepreneurs do business differently, and ADHD can be your entrepreneurial superpower or your businesses kryptonite. To find success as an ADHD Entrepreneur, you need to follow a blueprint that is proven to work specifically for your ADHD brain. With that in mind (pun intended), here are the 5 best ADHD Entrepreneur tips to make your first 6 figures!
📝 Don't skip the planning stage
ADHD minds prefer a zigzag through the forest of ideas, often enjoying a route that is off the beaten path to reach their destination. While this whimsical thinking fosters creativity, one of the ADHD advantages for entrepreneurs, in some business building processes it can be a detriment.
Business planning is a perfect example of this.
A business plan demands a bucket of executive functioning skills - a hallmark challenge for those with an ADHD diagnosis. It is connecting thoughts cohesively and conveying them within the rigid structure of a plan. Which feels like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole for an ADHD brain. The consequence of this, is that ADHD Entrepreneurs often skip vital steps in the planning process, which ultimately brings a cacophony of consequences further down the line.
The good news is that, unless your business requires a bank loan or you are pitching for investment, your business doesn't need a full blown business plan - That begin said, it does need a plan. A plan that specifically covers the foundations on which your business can't be built without. Those non-negotiable planning elements can be whittled down under 6 headings:
What problem/unmet need does your business solve/meet?
👋 Target Market
Define the group of people who have that problem/unmet need, identify their demographics, psychographics and the major pain points that are a consequence of having that problem/unmet need.
What notable change/transformation happens for those people when they have that problem solved or that need met?
What additional benefits will they gain on top of that change/transformation from having that problem solved/need met?
What features make up that solution and, combined, how do they solve that problem/ meet that need to create that result?
What is different about how you solve that problem/meet that need comparatively to other businesses solving/meeting it?
Until you can confidently answer these 6 questions, I highly recommend you don't move forward. Without these answers, you don't have a great business idea - you simple have an idea.
🧠 Always be aware of The Dopamine Trap™️
Of all the ADHD Entrepreneur tips I could give you, this one is by far the most important.
The Dopamine Trap is when the fear of failure takes over and convinces your ADHD brain to chase something new rather than take a risk could lead to that perceived failure - essentially the reality of what you are doing sets in.
This can make the Dopamine leave your brain building quicker than an Elvis Impersonator who forgot his lyrics - meaning your brain desperately tries to convince you to do something to replenish its supply. This, coupled with the overwhelming number of online ‘gurus’ berating you with endless conflicting advice on how to navigate marketing serves only to intensify the desire to hit the escape button.
Oh, and to make matters worse, this is usually the time that those pesky consequences from not planning (building your foundations) pop up to.
In "real time" The Dopamine Trap™️ goes something like this.
An ADHD Entrepreneur launches a product or service, filled with excitement and big dreams of the future to come.
They market it for 2-3 days and then...nothing.
Panic sets in. Then, in a flurry of stress & fear of failure, they make a classic ADHD entrepreneur mistake...
Desperate for the reassurance that their business was a good decision, they stop marketing that offering to create a new one (often at a lower price point)
That is The Dopamine Trap™️. Your ADHD brain, sparked by novelty, is flooded with dopamine from this decision, which justifies your choice to abandon your previous offer.
The trap is that this cycle continues because ADHD entrepreneurs would rather chase dopamine than profit - I even entitled my soon-to-be-released book Dopamine Doesn't Pay The Bills for this very reason.
To truly know whether a product or service is in demand, it needs to be marketed daily for a minimum of 3 months. Learning to manage the vulnerability and rejection-based invalidation in that period is what separates a successful adhd entrepreneur from one who fails.
🔋 Energy management is a non-negotiable
ADHD burnout is a term used to describe the state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion that many individuals with ADHD experience. It occurs when the demands of daily life, including work, relationships, and personal responsibilities, become overwhelming for someone with ADHD. In fact, 93% of adults who have ADHD experience symptoms of burnout.
Symptoms of ADHD Burnout ⤵️
Extreme Fatigue: Individuals may feel physically and mentally drained, making it challenging to engage in even basic activities.
Irritability and Mood Swings: Burnout can lead to increased irritability, mood swings, and emotional dysregulation.
Reduced Cognitive Function: Cognitive functions such as decision-making, memory, and concentration can deteriorate during burnout.
Loss of Interest: Individuals may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, which can contribute to feelings of emptiness and depression.
Building a business demands a huge amount of energy.
The problem is that often much of that high energy input is wasted. Meaning that often ADHD entrepreneurs are sacrificing it in service of doing the wrong thing.
This happens because ADHD brains are idea generating machines (it's worth noting that in many scenarios this is a huge business advantage), which means they find it difficult to identify clarity, then craft a clear strategy and the implement effectively - again, this misaligns with the ADHD challenges with executive functioning.
The key is to find something that works and stick to it. It sounds simple because it is. But simple never means easy. When I do this with Clients, we use a system I created called The Energy ADHD-Proof Management Framework™️. I'm currently offering free Energy Management Assessment calls for ADHD Entrepreneurs to find out how to implement this themselves - if that free strategy call is something you feel you'd benefit from, you can apply for one here.
💸 Selling will trigger your ADHD-driven rejection sensitivity: Here's how to beat it
Sales is often a tough hurdle to jump for an ADHD entrepreneur. Challenges with emotional regulation mean that those with an ADHD diagnosis are often highly sensitive to rejection. Naturally, this often means ADHD brains try to avoid sales because it links to a perceived risk of rejection.
Beating this requires following a simple sales structure that doesn't rewuire you to sell at all. I call it '3 why's and a what™️'.
This system works because it reveals the intentions of your potential customer - which is the basis of any (well executed) sales pitch. The goal of a sales conversation is simple. You are connecting to discover if this person has the problem you solve/unmet need you fulfil to discuss whether your solution will provide the outcome they desire.
3 why's and a what™️
Why did you book this call? What challenges are you facing the prompted you to reach out?
Why is now the time you decided to seek support to overcome those challenges?
Why was it my business in particular you chose to reach out to overcome those challenges?
If you overcame all those challenges, how would things be different for you?
Following this structure will help you to quickly identify how to pitch your service or product to meet their needs.
🤝 Align your business to work with your ADHD brain
Identifying how your ADHD is impacting building your business, both positively and otherwise, is the ultimate key to the success of your ADHD-owned business. To do this requires intentional self-awareness and reflection.
Start by identifying which of your ADHD characteristics are advantageous and in which business building operations those advantages are the most significant.
For example - ADHD brains are often highly creative. This is a major strength in marketing, as it requires you to create stand-out, attention grabbing ideas that appeal to your target market.
Then, the same process for your challenges - follow-up for example.
If you know your executive functioning challenges impact your ability to follow-up with potential customers then you know you need to create a process to mitigate that challenge. Writing down the names of potential customer and using a highlighter on the names of the ones you need to follow up with is a simple solution. Then, template to copy and paste to send to each mitigates much of the workload.
The Key Takeaways
🧠 Don't skip the planning stage: Although ADHD minds prefer a zigzag through ideas, it's important to have a plan that covers the foundations of your business.
🧠 Be aware of The Dopamine Trap™️: The fear of failure can lead ADHD brains to chase something new instead of taking risks.
🧠 Energy management is crucial: ADHD burnout is common, so it's important to optimize your energy input.
🧠 Follow the "3 why's and a what™️" sales structure to connect with potential customers effectively and manage risk rejection
🧠 Align your business with your ADHD brain: Identify how your ADHD characteristics can be leveraged and mitigated in your business operations
The Action Points
🚀 Develop a business plan that covers the essential elements mentioned above.
🚀 Stay focused on marketing efforts and manage vulnerability to avoid falling into The Dopamine Trap™️.
🚀 Prioritise energy management to avoid burnout and optimize productivity.
🚀 Implement the "3 why's and a what™️" sales structure to connect with potential customers effectively.
🚀 Embrace your ADHD traits and find ways to leverage your strengths while mitigating challenges in your business.
👋 Hi, I’m Ari || The ADHD Entrepreneur
ADHD Business Coach and Consultant
If you're looking to build your business in alignment with your ADHD brain to grow it 10X faster and without burnout, you need to check out the ADHD In Biz 1:1 Program!