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    #88215 |

    Has anyone had success with self employment? After many “difficult paths” I’ve decided to try being my own boss. A success story from some one would sure make me feel more confident.

    #92453 |

    Can I get back to you next week? <vbg>

    Seriously – worked as an Editor for CTV National News for 3 years, but couldn’t stand being somewhere when there was no work to be done. So I’ve been pretty much self-employed since ’71. It was tough at first, but I had quite a successful career as a Screenwriter.

    Only problem was, I never knew if my ADD gift of hyper-focus would be there when I needed it, which meant I was either the fastest writer around, or undependable.

    That ended with my ADD diagnosis & meds. My hyper-focus is now there whenever I need it and I’ve gone from undependable to totally dependable!

    Right now, my partner & I have gambled everything we have on a new project that combines all of our various skills. It’s live online now, but our “Main Launch” is next Monday … so I’ll hold off telling you how wildly successful we are till I see the results. <vbg>

    (I’d tell you the url, but that’s too much like a commercial for a place like this … where “Swans” gather to help each other, not self-promote <g>.)

    Good luck & cheers till next time,


    #92454 |

    My suggestion would be that it’s fine to be your own boss, but have someone you have to report to. Best if it’s not your spouse.

    Maybe find someone in a similar but not competing business and be there for each other, calling once in the morning, at lunch and at the end of the day to report in.

    You cannot believe the difference it makes to have someone to report to. It forces you to assess what went right and what went wrong in the day, what worked and what didn’t. And if you get someone good they can help you see thepositives in a day that migh totherwise seem like a bad one.

    #92455 |

    Excellent points Mike.

    PS: Hope you’re not one of my partners, “Mike” <vbg>

    #92456 |

    Hi I have owned my own business for 5 yrs now and I don’t think I could work for someone else. I was diagnosed with adhd 7 months ago and medicated and what a difference it has made to my focusing, organizational etc skills needed to run a successful growing business. In the last 1.5 yrs though I have been working it full time because part time wasn’t cutting it anymore it was interfering with my steady pay cheque job and I had to make a decision. It wasn’t hard decision as I hated working for someone else. I have finally been able to take a larger wage now then last year and I’m feeling it is because I have been more attentive to what the business needs to do to grow. I have 2 office with an assistant in each of them I have one administrator who does all my marketing, newsletters or coorespondence out of thing I’ve ever done. I’ve also been aware that I need to reduce the time spent on unproductive activities so recently I have started (2 month now) to write down everything. That means, when I get to the office, go the bathroom, talk to a client, on the phone, personal or business. It has a start time and a finish…do I do it everyday no sometimes I forget half way in day or I miss a couple of activities. I still know more or less what happened that day and I have to tell you it normally is because I’m tired, over worked myself, didn’t get enough sleep, depressed, haven’t eaten, unhappy family members, unhappy client or doing something boring. So it helps me rethink what’s going on…I love it. A tool I learned from my doctor was to write all my ideas done and keep writing them and from there he said to move them to a “this year”, file “next year” file or “longer than that” file. I didn’t have the patience to move them into different files so I coloured coded them in my binder. Red is “longer than this year & next year” , Yellow is “next year” and Green is “this year”. I’ve already crossed off some of the this year and added a few more. I changed a few of the this years to next year and actually brought in a “longer than this year and next” because I had some assistance. for me so far it feels right and works at least for today…we’ll see what monday looks like and so forth.

    These are some of the habitsI’ve created and since then I’ve recognized bad habits that are important to work through and create better habits. However, I’ve also made more money, reduced my expenses, created more profit and added more happy clients. On a realistic note…I’m always working on myself and better ways of making money on a short time span…I still fail however, life without failure has no success. Hope this helps!!


    #92457 |


    I have owned a successful company for 15 years. I have never and could never work for anyone else. Because of my ADD it would never work for me. I try to surround myself with organized, kind people who make calculated decisions. I need them to help me trim my “spending at times’ and rash decisions. I also have them deal with the small stuff that would make me react (I would get frustrated with the simple things people did)

    After some time ,when I trusted them I could let them in on my situation and let them know when I rant , interrupt and finish their sentences etc (you know the rest), it wasn’t because I didn’t respect them or what the had to say but that I have this thing in my life. That being said, some of the ideas that “flood” me have made us successful. I just needed help deciphering them.

    One employee even had a great idea, when someone is speaking to me if I pinched myself or slightly bit my cheek every time I wanted to interrupt or blurt, it would remind to focus on their words and not interrupt. Being self employed also allows me to leave or walk out for a while if I am having a rough time so I dint react towards others. ADD is also a blessing to me. Sometimes it frustrates others I care about and some decisions made are a bit hasty but it makes me who I am.

    #92458 |

    The schedule I keep is Not Humanly Possible so I’ll be running my own operations

    wherever I end up. Fortunately for me my favourite things to do work just as well

    at any hour and there’s no such thing as a deadline.

    #92459 |

    Let me try to be very clear though, after reading my own post.

    I have made a bunch of “impulsive” decisions and mistakes also. Its ok to fail, try to fail forward, look ahead and learn.

    I still make some real doozies. Ones that risk the business and sometimes my family financially and thats not ok.

    I have to be accountable for these and forgive myself for them to just as I praise the good ones | make.

    If I had caught all this earlier, I sometimes wonder if I would have made the same ” bad” decisions and also the same “good” ones?

    #92460 |

    Mike is right, it is helpful to “report” to someone. I don’t have that anymore.

    I guess you could say I’m self-employed. It’s a family-owned software business, and it’s pretty much all mine now, and I do most of the work. I think I just outlasted everyone else. Or I don’t have anywhere else to go.

    A trick I implemented a few years ago–use a whiteboard. You can buy 4’x8′ sheets of that stuff at Home Depot or Lowe’s for $12 or $13 each. It helps get your thoughts organized because you can write stuff down, erase it, re-arrange it, make lists, reminders, deadlines, whatever. I have one big board and two small ones. I’d like to have 100 square feet of it but I don’t have the room.

    There are two reasons I think that this approach works:

    1) We are conditioned from early childhood that if something is written large on a wall (chalkboard) it either A) must be remembered, or B) must be accomplished. It annoys your subconscious to leave something like that unresolved.

    2) My brain works differently in the morning than in the afternoon. It’s almost as if my dreamer/planner brain comes to work in the morning, and my “worker bee” shows up in the afternoon. It’s kind of like writing messages to myself. I guess this is the communications media from one side of my brain to the other?

    Another thing that works is standing up and moving around as much as possible. I built some home-made “stand-up” workstations for computers scattered around my office. I have three or four going at all times monitoring something for somebody.

    #92461 |

    When we were making the documentary ADD & LOVING IT?!, we spoke with Thom Hartmann who has his own talk show on Air America and he was saying that his ADHD really was an asset in starting a business, and a deterement once it was up and running. Lemme see if I can find the transcript of it from his interview.


    That took way less time that I thought

    Here’s what he said:

    HARTMANN: “And in the early days when I was in my teens and early 20s, I built two very successful businesses and then managed to kill them. And looking back on it and I’ve seen this in so many entrepreneurs. In fact, I wrote a book just for adults with ADD on how to be a successful entrepreneur based on this kind of retrospective. What happens is that in the early stages of an entrepreneurial company, a brand new company, it’s entirely hunter driven, you know.

    You know, you’re the salesman, you’re the leader, you’re pulling people together, you’re making things happen, you’re developing the product, you’re testing the market, you’re figuring out the competition, you’re doing a little bit of everything. And it’s just you know, and you’re spinning 16 plates at the same time and just loving it. And then after two or three years and 10 or 20 employees, the company no longer needs leadership, it needs management.

    And I would try to be that manager and I would try to do the spreadsheets and the budgets and the books and the 12 hour or the 3 hour evening meetings, you know, with the staff and what not. I couldn’t do it. And I really harmed or diminished the potential of a couple of businesses by not being able do that and thinking that I had to. And so when I got this well, actually, the business before the two businesses before this, what had happened was I had reached that point and at that point I handed the business off to somebody who, you know, basically hired somebody to be the president of the business.

    In one case it was my wife, who is a very good manager, and in another case it was an external person we brought in that we ended up selling the business too. And, you know, I just said I can’t do everything, I can’t do this, you can do that. Now I know why. And that was, you know, kind of a relief and an empowerment actually.”

    #92462 |

    That’s it EXACTLY, Rick. Thanks for finding that and posting it here.

    #92463 |

    Wow hope that doesn’t happen to me ^_^. Been going for about 3 years my self. But I played it smart. I got a business partner. We complete each other. I Know for a fact I would of failed in business if it wasn’t for him and he wouldn’t be make no wear near the amount of money we make today thanks to me. Play it smart and get someone who can handle the other stuff that us adder’s can’t do.

    Dustin Knight

    #92464 |

    Rick (or Thom) has nailed it. As has Dustin.

    But I think ADD/ADHD or not, entrepreneurs need to be careful always to work ON their businesses and not succumb to the temptation of spending too much time working IN them. It seems to be universally true that it’s (much) harder to grow a business than start one. You have to shift gears. And it requires developing a different skill set.

    That said, I think more ADD people should consider some sort of entrepreneuring, including microentrepreneuring, as a career. As businesses continue to focus on increased productivity, companies are hiring fewer people in middle management; and those “lucky” few frequently need constantly to be on task , deadline oriented, and willing to work on tedious projects for long hours—not a recipe for ADD success. Several people on this site have said they feel “unemployable.” I don’t doubt that’s true, particularly in this economic climate.

    What ADDers CAN contribute is strategic vision and creative solutions to difficult problems. While there are a few job descriptions that list those bullet points as priorities, vision and creativity are both intangibles. It’s hard to convince a hiring manager you’re more “visionary” than some uninspired moron waiting in the next room—unless you’re Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, in which case you don’t need a job.

    Let’s face it: if you’re ADD and looking for a job, it can be dispiriting reading the job listings. You see “keen attention to detail” or “able to produce weekly reports,” then gulp, and hit delete.

    Entrepreneuring is not easy. And there’s always the problem of capital. But … if you know you’re smart and think you have a great idea, there are people out there who can help you with the details and offer helpful advice. You don’t have to be able to do everything–at least not for long. As long as you know your shortcomings, are willing to take ownership of them, and can find a way somehow to mitigate them, you’ve got a shot. Just remember to ask your spouse before you hang out a shingle!

    BTW: I suspect there are a number of ADD entrepreneurs on this site who would be more than happy to offer specific advice.

    #92465 |

    A few weeks a group of people wanted me to buy a shop. I sat there for an hour thinking about owning the store. What I came up was heartbreaking. It always ended up in debt, fire, theft, and floods. I explained that I could not buy the shop and my reasons. They were surprise I put that much thought into it. I stated that I do not want to buy it, but would be a great manager.

    #92466 |

    I’ve had over 20 different jobs since I was a teenager (I’m 55) and never held most of them for more than 2 years, the longest (2 jobs) for 5 years. However I was never fired, I always went to another job or took a break from work. I’ve also had many great ideas that did not get off the ground because they were impractical or I never did what needed to be done to promote them properly (I’m getting better at selling and talking with customers).

    I’m 55 and have been self-employed for 5 years now. I do everything from A to Z. It’s starting to get too big for me to handle alone now, so my husband (also ADD) helps out, in the ways that he can. I am learning the hard way that it may be appropriate for me to cap my business, not get larger, not hire others. I was a manager in previous jobs and I’m terrible at it.

    I also am resisting the idea of opening a retail outlet. It’s too much overhead. I would have to hire staff. I don’t like having to show up at a particular time – I have very little structure to my day and that suits me, although I do have the problem of when work begins and ends and home life starts (I work from home). So whenever someone asks me if I have a retail outlet I have to resist the urge to act on it. I much prefer the $$$ in my own pocket. I also have to resist the urge to add too many products, I am trying my best to simplify (my husband reminds me of that a lot). I mean, I have 30 books beside the couch that I’m in the process of reading and I have a million and one projects that I would like to do. Why should I consume my whole life with my business? It’s an ongoing challenge to cut back on things.

    On income? How much is enough? I’m learning how much. Too much is too much – I don’t want to work that hard. Too little is too little – I have to contribute to our household finances. But just because I’m in business doesn’t mean I need to make a lot of money. Some people just don’t get that, my banker brother, for example, who is thoroughly enmeshed in the business rat-race, the I-have-to-make-more-money-so-I-can-get-ahead-or-keep-up-with-my-colleagues mentality. That old barber down the street who’s been cutting hair for 60 years is successful, but he doesn’t need to open a hair-cutting chain to show it.

    Having said that, I try to support the little stores in my area, especially the bookstores. Big business has crowded out a lot of entrepeneurship and from my own experience, that’s where I belong, running my own business, doing my own thing, marching to the beat of my own drummer. There’s probably quite a few ADDers out there doing the same thing. Take that, WalMart! 8)

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