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February 2023

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ADHD enterpreneur

Starting a Successful Business With ADHD: Choosing a Niche and Doing Market Research

When you want to start an online business, you may already have some ideas on your mind. But perhaps you don’t have anything specific yet. You just want a business of your own and are searching for what you can do (and earn money from it). So first, you need to find a niche.

A niche is born from an idea and in the first part of this series, I was talking about how to manage the many, many ideas that this amazing ADHD brain of yours has and how to choose the best ones to work on:How (Not) To Start a Business When You Have ADHD
A practical way to keep track of your

Well, now, you have an idea. You are sure that it’s a great idea and a good fit for you. But don’t try to start a business without determining a niche and doing market research to see if there really is interest in your product! You could end up wasting a lot of time. I speak from my own experience here. I jumped into a project that I didn’t do the research for, just because I had the idea one day and it seemed neat, just to find out after a few months of work that I’m not really that interested in doing it day to day, and most importantly, that there isn’t enough demand for it anyways.

Your ideal niche — what do you want to create?

So, how to find a good niche for you?

Your ideal niche should be where these 3 areas intersect: Your passions, your skills, and potential buyers’ interest — which means there are people who need the thing you want to offer and are willing to pay for it.

How to determine the first two? Write a list of everything you like to do. Write a second list of everything you are good at. You may not know yet what people will be interested in — but that’s where the market research comes in. We will be talking about that later.

Look at your two lists and find intersections. You can use the ADHD idea planner to determine what ideas are the most viable for you right now. This may evolve over time. Don’t worry if you need to take a different direction in your business later or start in a completely different niche. The thing that matters is that you are happy and excited about what you are doing.

Start with a minimum viable product

You want to start small. That way you won’t get overwhelmed and lose interest quickly. It also gives you the possibility to switch the niche if the first one didn’t work out for you.

Always build a minimum viable product first! This is a product that has the bare necessities to function and give people value. You put only a minimal amount of effort into creating it. Leave the polishing and special functions for later. The idea is to make it quickly and test if it works quickly.

By using the minimum viable product, or the MVP for short, you can test the interest of the market. I must admit did the mistake of doing the exact opposite and trying to build the maximum possible product. It was a behavior born from perfectionism and fear that I’m not good enough, so what I create must be PERFECT, so no one is able to criticize it. But let’s face it — even if you have the most perfect product in the history of the whole world, there will always be some people with critical opinions of it. You need to focus on what good you can do with your product and how can you help people with it.

Always do your basic market research

You should always, always, always do market research before you run off to start a product or a business. I can’t stress that enough. I learned this the hard way, creating a product for which there wasn’t enough interest and wasting months of my time.

Because we are ADHD, we are prone to buying a ton of books and courses on the subject of market research and spending the next months procrastinating by (not) going through them. Don’t do that — at least in the beginning! (Later on, you may want to go deeper into the area of market research, but for now, we are just establishing your area of interest.)

Do just those two simple things instead:

  • Google your potential competitors
  • Do market research on social media

Market research 1: Google your competitors

Google if there are any similar products to what you want to create. You want to find some, which indicates that there is interest, but not too much, which means that the market is already oversaturated. The second option isn’t as bad as it seems though — it just means you have to take a unique approach when creating your products.

Is the market saturated? Good!

If there already are a lot of similar products, don’t let it discourage you! It means people want what you offer. Just keep in mind it will be harder to break through. Have a good look at your competitors and think about how could you do what they do, but better. Brainstorm ways how to do it in a different way, with a different twist.

What do you think their product is missing? How could you improve it? You have a fresh perspective that you can bring into the field. Every person is an original and you can put your original twist on what you are trying to create. Don’t just blindly copy what everyone else in the field is doing. Do it your way.

Yes, look at the competitors to find inspiration and especially to determine what works for them. That is a treasure trove of information you want to tap into. But don’t become a copycat. Find your own innovative approach.

For example, I chose to create a marketing guide — but for people with ADHD. That’s my unique twist. If you have ADHD, you know that it comes with a pretty big set of challenges, and who better than one of your own to guide you through it?

Market research 2: Finding your niche on social media

There are many ways to find your niche. I will tell you about mine. I started writing on Medium. It was really that simple. I was in burnout at the time and gave myself permission to write about whatever gives me joy for one month.

During that time, I wrote about whatever piqued my interest. I tried different kinds of articles. And then I started to see a pattern. My stories about neurodivergence, especially about being AuDHD, were picking up much more traction than the others. I have actually started earning money on Medium for the very first time. I was getting rewarded for finding my niche! Sweet.

Create what you wish existed

I was writing about the thing I wanted to read about. I have searched for a book on AuDHD and there wasn’t any single one! And this is such an important topic because we AuDHDers don’t feel like we fit completely in the autistic box or the ADHD box. We are something different and there is a war raging inside our heads between those two sides of our brains.

I believe that AuDHD is a special category of neurodivergence on its own and should be treated as such.

Blogging about it, I didn’t do anything that I wouldn’t have been doing otherwise. If you love what you are doing, if you would do it even for free — there is a strong indicator of your ideal niche.

Medium is great for this kind of research. I recommend blogging for a month or more about all your passions and seeing which one gets the most interest. This method is really good for people who do a lot of writing and are aiming at clients that like reading. If you plan to sell ebooks, for example, Medium is the best way to test the waters (and to promote your ebook or email course, etc. later on.)

I’m very text-oriented, so Medium serves me the best, but you can do this kind of research on any other social network you prefer. Create posts about different areas of your interest and observe how many people react. Find out where the interest is. And there you have your potential niche.

How to actually stick with your niche — despite the ADHD brain!

But here comes the age-long ADHD problem: How do I STICK to just one passion for a sufficient length of time? How do I keep doing this thing day after day, without getting bored and skipping to the next shiny thing?

Well, I don’t have a perfect solution yet, but I know of a few things that help me:

  1. Don’t hyperfocus just on your chosen niche. Keep your interests diversified. Take regular breaks from the subject of your business and make sure you devote your time to other interests as well.
  2. If you are in a rut, take a few days off. Then start again slowly. Work on your business for 20 minutes a day. Set a timer. Finish when it runs out. 20 minutes is a sufficiently short time so that you won’t grow tired of whatever you are doing. After that time passes, go do something else. This means you won’t get just as quickly burnt out from your chosen niche.
  3. And, most importantly: Focus on the process, not on the end goal! I’m guilty of doing just that — I have the goal already pictured in my mind and then any work I do feels like I’m just catching up to that idea. It feels like I’m working from a state of a deficit just to get just to zero. That is completely putting me off work! 
    When you make sure you enjoy the process, you are building up from zero to something. You are always accomplishing something. This will give you the dopamine bursts that will keep you going.

How to Accomplish Long-Term Projects with ADHD

I also found several great pieces of advice in the video How to Accomplish Long Term Projects with ADHD. I recommend you watch the whole video, but here are some key points:

  • Try to break a long-term project into multiple short-term projects.
  • Put aside some time for planning.
  • Find a way to build in some accountability.
  • Work on the part of a project that your brain is the most excited about at the moment (if possible.)
  • Guard the time when you work on your project. (But don’t sacrifice health, sleep, hobbies, and friends! Tend to your well-being first.)
  • “Even when I was doubting myself, I kept going. Even when I thought I was failing, I kept going”.

Final thoughts

I hope you found this article useful and that it can help you to start the business of your dreams. Remember, having ADHD isn’t an obstacle to starting your own business — it just means you need to find your own way of doing things. And I will be here to help you along the way. (If some other shiny object doesn’t catch my attention in the meanwhile;)) Until next time!


Did you like this article? Check my other projects and freebies on Linktree.

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My Autistic Self Has Friends, but My ADHD Self Is So Lonely.

Since my autistic burnout, my ADHD side terribly misses people of her own kind.

During my life, I always had two kinds of friends, even if I didn’t realize that. When I got the diagnosis, the distinction became much clearer. One group is friends of my autistic side, and the other is friends of my ADHD side. These are very much different groups. But the second one isn’t really safe for me right now, so I don’t have them in my life anymore – and I miss them so much that it hurts.

Autistic burnout and social phobia left me unable to make connections

Five years ago, I had an autistic burnout that left me completely socially crippled and unable to take care of myself. But even before that, I developed a social phobia. It was during my college studies. I couldn’t cope with the academic demands. Well, not exactly the academic demands, but every other aspect of the college experience, especially the social ones.

I can learn well when I’m not all stressed out, but I learn best by reading quietly, by myself. I gained nothing from the lectures as I don’t process information in an auditory way. And being present for the group work… that was my kryptonite. It always took all of my strength just to endure it. As a result, I didn’t really learn anything there. And that kept backfiring on me during my master’s thesis. I was lacking crucial skills, and I felt like a fraud. It got worse and worse. And lo and behold, a social phobia was born.

I didn’t have any academic accommodations, because I was not diagnosed by then, and because even if I was, in my country people don’t really know a thing about autism. Or ADHD. Also, I couldn’t cope with living in a dorm room with another person that I didn’t know, that kept changing every year or even more often. I cracked, and kept cracking, and started hiding, and kept hiding… until I couldn’t be among people almost at all anymore. It continued after school and got only worse and worse. Hence, the burnout. And social phobia.

Social situations overwhelm me immensely

It isn’t just a social phobia, though. As an autistic person, I have always needed a lot of time by myself. And what I feel isn’t a fear of social situations, as would the social phobia diagnosis suggest. It’s more of an anticipation of the immense overwhelm that they will cause me. And then the actual overwhelm. And then the rumination over what I have said or done wrong for hours after I leave the situation.

When I’m among people now, whether I know them or don’t, I always get overwhelmed. I sometimes hide it even from myself, until I collapse and I’m unable to do anything but hide in my bed for a day or two, crumbling inside.

I need only safe people around me right now

My mental health is really bad and I’m terribly fragile right now. Have been for years, since the burnout. This has led me to keep only safe people around me. And guess what? Those safe people are mostly the ones who are autistic. They are always calm and rational. They don’t show many emotions. They speak softly. They don’t argue but talk things out in a rational manner. They have a quiet, dry sense of humor. They are not prone to outbursts of emotions. They won’t hurt me. They are safe to me as I am now.

I don’t mean to stereotype, because every autistic person is different, and I’m sure there are those who don’t fit into this description. But this is how my autistic friends are.

But my ADHD side yearns for the people who are everything but safe for me right now

My ADHD side, on the other handShe needs wildness. She needs unpredictability. She needs laughter. She needs silliness. She needs adventures. She needs freedom.

But being AuDHD, I will always need two different kinds of things. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe I can have both. Eventually.

Don’t take me wrong – I love all of my autistic friends dearly. They are all amazing people and I’m grateful for them. I value them so much. I wouldn’t want them to change in any way. And I feel like I’m betraying them somehow by the fact that I need something more.

The people who fit the needs of my ADHD side don’t have to have ADHD themselves, but they are generally wilder, more impulsive, more spontaneous, more playful. They can can go with me on unplanned trips and adventures. They create whole imaginary worlds with me. They always do silly things, and I LOVE that more than anything. I love being silly with my friends so, so much. They create imaginary worlds with me.

They can do really amazingly crazy stuff and make amazing crazy plans… And now I can’t participate in those plans anymore, because I would fall apart. That’s one of the worst things about my current life. I can’t do things that I want with my friends anymore. Those are the things I miss terribly in my friendships right now. And my friends are leaving me behind. They go on without me. And it breaks my heart. I feel kind of betrayed, even if it’s just the way of life.

I can’t deal with those of my friends who aren’t careful with my emotions

But the same people who fulfill the needs of my ADHD side are also highly emotional. Unpredictable. Dangerous. Dangerous to the mentally fragile being that I turned into after the burnout. They could easily shatter me. They wouldn’t even know.

They will argue with me or among themselves. They create drama. (I HATE drama.) They sometimes can be hurtful, mostly unintentionally, but because of carelessness. And even if they later apologize, it still hurts. They don’t always get my quieter, autistic ways and needs – they don’t understand me as I am, and I need to be understood. That’s the basis for any intimate friendship I have. (And my autistic friends, on the contrary, don’t understand the wild ADHD side of me, the one that wants to run with the wind.)

But who am I really? Even I don’t understand how can I exist as two completely different people in one brain, each of them with a different set of needs and wants.

So I have slowly let those people go. It wasn’t even my intention, just my way of avoiding pain. They gradually disappeared from my life, because I didn’t have the strength to cope with them. But I miss them. I miss them a lot. I think about them often. But I can’t let them back into my life, not yet.

When I’m who I want to be again, I can have the relationships I need – and more.

First, I need back the capacity to be hurt. To bear the unpredictability, the heightened emotions. The occasional careless words that cut deeply. Because when I will be able to accept all those things again, I will get in return all the amazingness (is that even a word?) of these people in my life once more. And I will be so happy when that time comes!

I will finally be able to have friends for my autistic side for quiet times and dry jokes, and friends for my ADHD side for wild adventures and spontaneous silliness again. 

I miss the friends of my ADHD side deeply. I miss them so much that it hurts. But most of all, I miss myself. I miss who I used to be. What I used to be able to do. The freedom. My wild, unpredictable, silly, authentic self. Not only the quiet, careful one.

I need the kind of friendships that help my ADHD side thrive. I need them so much.

But most of all, I need myself back.

I hope this dream will come true one day.

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I Created a Facebook Group For AuDHD People

There is almost no information on being both autistic and ADHD and it’s time we changed it.

When I got my autistic and ADHD diagnosis, I went to search for information about both of them. It inevitably led me to a question — what happens when autism and ADHD coexist in the same brain? How do they influence each other? Do they enhance some traits? Do they mask some traits? I learned that AuDHD people often don’t identify with the experiences of just autistic people, or people with just ADHD. We are different, but how?

Being the bookworm I am, I turned to Amazon. But I was disappointed. To the date of writing this article, there doesn’t exist any single book about AuDHD that I could find. I hope some neuropsychologist will see this lack of relevant information and rectifies the situation soon. But in the meanwhile, we have only each other to learn from. To compare our experiences and try to work out what makes us tick. Find solutions to our specific problems. Find out what those problems even are.

We often suffer without even knowing that we have stressors in our life that we could mitigate or remove completely, that we can adapt our life to suit our needs and not the other way around, because we look at neurotypical people and try to be like them. And when we get our diagnosis, we look at autistic people and try to be like them. And the same with people who have ADHD. We can learn something from both of these groups, but we don’t fit among them. We are something slightly different. And nobody helps us understand ourselves as we are.

Nobody helps us to understand how to make our lives easier for us. What helps with autism can go against our ADHD needs and vice versa. ADHD medication can bring out the autistic traits. Autism can mask ADHD, or ADHD can mask autism. How to find some sense in this puzzle that is our neurotype? And yet I believe that if we understood our brains more, we would find the way.

The biggest problem for me is that we don’t understand ourselves enough. Especially those of us who are late diagnosed. There is no one to tell us how being autistic and having ADHD at the same time work. Autism can pull us in one direction, and ADHD in the exactly opposite one. The autistic side of us gets overstimulated, while the ADHD side is understimulated. They fight each other inside our brains.

We don’t fit in the autistic box. We don’t fit in the ADHD box. We barely have psychiatrists that are educated in one of those conditions, but both? No chance. 

So we look for information on autism. We look for information on ADHD. We experiment and try and discard solutions and find new ones. We record our experiences to help others like us make sense of their brain. And we try, try, try.

Did you know that there is only one Facebook group for people who are autistic and have ADHD? A single one in the sea of all the neurodivergent groups that crop out like mushrooms after rain. And don’t take me wrong, those groups are useful. I visit a lot of them. But there is only ONE group for AuDHD people. And one with very strict rules about what could be posted there.

I learn about myself by seeking information. But every single question I asked in that group was declined. “Research” questions are not allowed, even if that is the only way how I can understand myself better. I don’t want to talk badly about this group, I’m glad that it exists. But it isn’t one I can feel at home at. So I decided to create another one. Yes, now they are two AuDHD groups in the whole wide Facebook lands! 😀

You can find it here: Exploring AuDHD.

All AuDHDers are welcome in this group!
Please, join only if you are BOTH autistic and have ADHD. I apologize to all autistic and ADHD and other neurodivergent people — but we need a space where we can connect with people like us, so we don’t have to search for the lonely voices amidst the sea of neurodivergent people. 

The group is meant primarily for education, so feel free to share your blog posts, Facebook pages, Youtube videos, and any other forms of information about AuDHD and life with it. But even if education is the focus of the group, seeking support is allowed too. You can come here to talk about every aspect of life with AuDHD. Come, and make yourself at home!

I will be waiting for you there.