A drawing of flowers in soft pastel tones, with the words "My Business Idea Garden" written above them in the same shade of green that the flower stems are.

How (Not) To Start a Business When You Have ADHD

Like most people with ADHD, I have no problem coming up with an idea (or a few hundred) for a business. I come up with a new idea every few days. But the problem is how to choose the right one that I want to stick with in the long run – which is definitely not easy for someone with ADHD. 

I want to start an online business. It’s my dream, even if I have a long way to go yet. But I wasnt able to finish anything. I started to work on dozens of ideas, then abandoned them as I realized they aren’t something that I really want to do. Or I just got bored with working on them. It doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist and I try every product I work on be the maximum possible product, not the minimum viable product. I had to realize this and force myself to change my approach. But it still wasn’t enough.

You need to keep all the ideas in the same place

After a year or so flailing around the internets and attempting to do ten things at once, I’ve finally realized that I need to write all of these ideas down, not on a million little sticky notes that I file away somewhere and never find again. Otherwise, I will 1) forget about them soon, and 2) my mind will be overflowing with new ones, stopping my brain from functioning properly. There goes the last shred of my concentration! 

Later, I realized that I also need to write down (and follow) a process by which I can implement the ideas, step by step. And no, I really can’t skip researching if an idea is viable before I jump into it with enthusiasm. 

Tonight I came back from a friend’s place, where I got my mind off this topic for a few hours and obviously it gave my brain some space to process. Suddenly, it dawned on me. I picked up one page of notes filled with various ideas, and a second page on how to go about implementing the ideas. I put a third, blank page on the top and I simply wrote: 

You don’t have to do things just because they’re possible!

Heureka! ADHD Heureka. It’s kind of obvious to other people, I guess.

How to choose a good idea to work on

I wrote a note to myself:

“Consider every idea: Do I enjoy it? Does it make me happy? Is it meaningful to me?”

I opened Google spreadsheets, and I wrote down a list of my bazillion of ideas for different projects and businesses in the first column named “WHAT”. I named the second column simply: “WHY”.

This was a game-changer for me.

I have eliminated all the things I didn’t have enough reasons to create, which means I would run out of motivation after the initial spurt of excitement. On the other hand, the spreadsheet helped me to clarify what makes the most sense for me and pick one thing to work on

You need to let go of some ideas – to create space for even better ones!

Some of the projects I’ve discarded include:

  • Selling low content – specifically journals – on KDP. My “Why” was “Because it’s trendy right now and it’s easy to do, but I don’t actually use a journal myself and I wouldn’t enjoy creating them very much. Also, I wouldn’t probably make much money because everyone and their dog does it”. (The second thing wouldn’t discourage me if I loved the idea – but creating something for an overcrowded market and not even enjoying the process? Hard pass.
  • A long article about 7 good habits under 15 minutes that can help you be happier.  This was supposed to be a freebie on Gumroad. I wanted to list 7 things that helped me in my daily life, but I quickly became too bored to write about them. Too blinded by all the other shiny new ideas. 
  • AI-generated coloring pages books. It seemed a good idea at first, but I have tried it and the results were underwhelming. It would take too much time to get it to create something that I could use, so it really isn’t as quick a way to make a product as I thought. 

What I chose instead:

For now, I started polishing the idea spreadsheet itself, adding more functions to help sort the ideas, and making it into a product – and I DID finish it! You can find it as the Cultivating Success: Your Business Idea Garden 🌼 (Not Only) For People With ADHD . It’s a mouthful, so you can use “BIG” for short. It’s available on my Gumroad. And it’s completely free to download! I realized that if it helps me, it can also help others. So here you go!

(And, of course, you can use it even if you don’t have ADHD. It can be a useful tool for everyone who has a lot of ideas or a tendency to run towards the Shiny Next Thing at top speed.)

As a second idea, I chose to write this article. And the third idea I will work on might be a short book! The topic is secret for now 😉

Your Business Idea Garden will help you pick the best ideas for you

If you want to use this tool, don’t think too much about what you write in the “Why” box. Write whatever comes to mind first. Your brain usually knows your deepest thoughts you haven’t even formulated yet and is just looking for a way to bring them to the surface.

You want to pick an idea that makes the most sense to you right now. You can put your energy into it and if it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to your neat list of ideas. Keep writing down everything that comes to mind and you’ll have an inexhaustible well of ideas for business over time. 

Then you fill in a few Yes/No answers about the idea and the BIG helps you to automatically sort the ideas from the best to the worst! Important note: Pick just ONE of the best ideas to focus on right now. You have a much better chance of finishing it now when it’s an idea that fits you well!

Final thoughts 

By getting clearer on what is most practical, meaningful, and valuable to me, I hope there is a better chance that I will finally stick with something for more than a few days. I will keep you updated! (That is, if I don’t find a new, better, shinier project to work on… 😉)

Are you an entrepreneur with ADHD? Share your experience in the comments! 

🌼🌻🌼 ➡️ Download the Business Idea Garden here ⬅️ 🌼🌻🌼

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