Small Business and Structure

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    • #39913
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user LuckyGirl in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      Trying to find ways to maintain my retail business and all it entails — seemingly endless details,  organization, paperwork, the public, etc. I love what I do but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to handle.  Not sure if I’m doomed to failure, in over my head, or need another situation. It’s frustrating to say the least. I would love any suggestions, similar experiences, ideas. I have my phone lists,  calendars,  etc. and some hired help. Days off I struggle with motivation and getting things done.  A million great ideas, can’t push forward. Feels like a roller coaster of up and down.

    • #41094
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user ADD_Coach_Lynne in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I hope it helps, LuckyGirl, to hear you’re not alone! Adults with ADHD are something like 300% more likely to own their own business than the rest of the population. We are naturally great idea generators, risk-takers and entrepreneurs, but generally not naturally so great at the administrative and structure-related (more boring) stuff.

      But that’s actually good news! You can learn that administrative and structure – related stuff, but it’s hard to teach someone to be a great idea-generator and risk-taker. As a woman with ADD myself, an entrepreneur, and an ADHD Coach, that’s my personal and professional opinion!

      That entrepreneurial spirit is one of the up-sides to having ADHD. The trick to harnessing it is to learn how to do the things you need to do in your way—not necessarily the way they’re typically done. You may really benefit from working with an ADHD Coach.

      ADHD Coaches help clients develop and implement individualized systems, processes, tools and structures that will work with their ADHD tendencies, their individual strengths, and how they process information. Most also provide a source of support and accountability for clients to help them keep them moving and progressing in between coaching sessions. I have worked with hundreds of clients in a wide variety of professions from all over the world (from doctors to teachers to artists to entrepreneurs) to help them be more successful at work and at home. We typically work on setting up appropriate structure and systems at home and at work so that they can keep track of and get done what they need to do, get and stay organized, use and manage time more effectively, and improve their punctuality.

      You can learn more about coaching from ADDitude’s website. The ADHD Coaches Organization ( is our professional association that requires member coaches to provide proof of appropriate training to be listed in their directory, which you can search by specialty. Most of us work with clients from all over the world via the phone, Skype, etc. so you can find a coach that you click with, and you’re not limited to finding someone in your town. Most coaches will offer a complementary phone or Skype consultation so that you can get an idea for their style and how they work.

      I hope you find something in here that helps! You don’t need to give up your dream of owning your own business, and I promise it can get easier.

      Best of luck!

      Lynne Edris, ACG
      Life & ADHD Coach

    • #41095
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user Dr. Eric in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Although not specific to ADHD Time Ferriss and his 4-Hour Work Week book (or audiobook), blog, and podcast all address some key areas… he talk about how to automate using certain apps and settings more mundane tasks … as well as how to filter important emails versus ones to not waste your time.

      I have not listened to the book yet, but he has some good recommendations.

      Caution: you do need to filter through some more esoteric and philosophical stuff to get to the practical stuff. Some people also complain that he is a big self-promoter, and this turns them off.

      I would combine this David Allen’s Getting Things Done system… with a little ADD modification.

    • #41096
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user najn in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Hi Luckygirl!

      I used to own a business where I wore all the hats in the beginning but I had the same problem with all the paperwork and administrative tasks that needed to be done. I hired an assistant and gave her all the tasks that she could do based on her skills.

      She turned out to be better at errands than anything else, and there were lots of errands, so that was taken care of. Next I had to hire someone to help me do all the accounting and so on until I was able to actually focus in what I had to do.

      What I learned from the experience is that I could either run the business or do the creative stuff but not both.

      Later on I had another business where I only had to run the business and I wasn’t involved in the production. That was the best way to work for me. I could explain my idea to the production person and let them work and encourage them to be creative. We did great things.

    • #41097
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user LuckyGirl in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Thank you all. Do you ever find you also struggle with just getting going in the morning, day? Days off, a million things to do and here i am. I avoid it. Makes it all worse. Lack of structure is definitely a big issue for me. I don’t want to walk away from my business but feel overwhelmed and that I’ve set myself up in a situation that magnifies my weaknesses, leaving me drained and unfulfilled. I’m thinking of options,blog and online shop vs actual store or combination as the public is draining, and retail is just brutal for anyone. Partnerships not so much with us. :/

    • #41099
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Maybe some structure and routine for your days off would help, LuckyGirl. “Schedule” all that stuff you have to do consistently. For instance, Saturday afternoon is always laundry. Every Sunday at 7 pm, you pay bills… or whatever those tasks are. Structure and routine help to cross the motivation hurdle and also help to not make you feel so overwhelmed.

      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #41100
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user najn in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I tend to zone out in the mornings. Some 20 years ago, if I started reading an article in the newspaper or a magazine, I would be absorbed by it long enough to open my retail store late. Nowadays, I don’t read newspapers or magazines, but I get caught on things like email, computer games, pinterest or any other site of those with tons of pictures and tons of links to more and more cool stuff. If I want to have a productive morning, I have to skip that. It’s not always possible, but take it one day at a time.

    • #41101
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user Arthur in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Dear LuckyGirl,

      ADD with perhaps other (hidden) learning difficulties may mean (in my case will mean) that any task that involves writing documents (even as basic as a diary) will take an excessive amount of time and mental energy for less than minimum results.

      I would recommend NOT to spend your time & energy doing these types of academic tasks (reading, writing, memory work, linear sequencing etc); instead pay someone else to do them; even if it means a reduction in your own income; you will have more peace in you life instead of torment. There are no tricks or advice that will make these types of task quantifiable easier or quicker for an ADD brain.

      Best wishes,

      PS: Running you own business is a good choice of career for a person with ADD; but you will need help! Do not waste you time & energy in areas of weakness!

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