Running a business with ADHD

Running a business with ADHD

Recently a post popped up on my social media feed where someone was wondering how people manage to run a business or work for themselves with ADHD. The OP was curious about the prospect of self-employment, but they couldn’t see how it would work given their challenges with executive function and inability to focus etc. They knew it could work theoretically as they were aware of people with ADHD running businesses, but it felt out of the realm of possibility for them.

As a coach working with entrepreneurs with ADHD, I wanted to pass on best advice but also communicate to both the OP (and others who might read my comment), that it is possible to build a successful business with this amazing/frustrating brain, and the best way to do that is with your eyes wide open!

When I’d finished typing everything out and pushed go, I realised how long my reply was and thought it would make a great blog post, so I expanded on the main points I shared and here we are!

How to keep up as a solo operator with ADHD

This can be hard for sure, and it does create challenges for many of my clients (and myself!).

In my experience there are probably three core issues that cause problems for the self-employed person with ADHD:

  1. Lack of accountability/external pressure,
  2. Lack of structure, and
  3. Lack of clarity around what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing.

Here are some of my suggestions based on things that have worked, both for myself and my clients:

Get a body double

Use a service like Focusmate to create some accountability and also add structure to your day, especially for the boring stuff like paperwork or email.

Add structure with (early) appointments

Schedule appointments (with anyone really) as often as you can, especially when you’re just starting out, and ideally in the morning so you have to get up and get going. Afternoon appointments will kill your day because you’ll end up in waiting mode.

Find a buddy

Get a “business buddy” who you have regular check ins with, perhaps even daily to let each other know your plans for the day or week.

Work to your strengths

Get a good understanding of your core strengths and where your genius lies. If you don’t have a sense of this yet I highly recommend looking at the Extended-DISC or Gallup Strengths assessments to get you started.

Hire for the gaps

As soon as you can afford it, hire someone who has the strengths that you don’t to do the work you don’t want to do or can’t do well.

Look for the laziest way

While you’re waiting to hire someone (and even after that) you should try to systemise and automate as much as you can in your business.

Find a coach or mentor

Work with a coach (or mentor) who can help you clarify, plan, and prioritise what needs to happen and provide some additional accountability too.

Add novelty

Think about how you could add novelty and excitement to your workday (without just inventing new services or products!).

Get a support crew

Find a mastermind/group of other self-employed people who get it and who can provide support in the hard moments.

Charge more than you’re comfortable with

If your business is service based (or if you’re an artist), charging more than you think you’re worth can be an effective strategy for helping you get stuff done. It’s a potentially tricky one because it can be a disaster without the right support in place but charging more than your comfortable with can force you to “show up” in a different way and you otherwise might.

Join a program like Execute

Execute is a program I run for ADHD business owners which covers a lot of the elements I’ve listed above and is open to Australian-based business owners. It’s designed specifically for entrepreneurs who struggle with executive dysfunction and ADHD and provides lots of touch points and options that allow you to use it however you need as you build your ideal business.  

Visit to find out more.

Have you tried any of these suggestions? Do you have your own? Leave a comment below or let me know if you’d like a deeper dive into anything on the list!

Until next time,

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