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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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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.

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5 Simple ADHD Hacks for Getting Chores Done

When you have ADHD, it can be insanely hard to get anything done, ever. That goes for keeping your house clean and organized too. It can be hard when you need to adult every day, but your brain just won’t have it. So I found some methods to work with the quirks my brain has. I adapt my daily tasks according to what I know about myself and it shows some results. I hope some of this will help you too.

1. Know your priorities

My energy is very limited right now, so I did some thinking about what is the most important to do and what can wait. I decided that feeding myself, drinking enough water, and sleeping enough come absolutely first, as they are biological needs, and I would break down if I don’t take care of them. The same applies to my mental health care. After that comes personal hygiene. Then comes work. Then comes cleaning and organizing the space where I live. Etc. etc.

Because of that, things like cooking and eating lunch are the highest priority tasks, as is taking time to lie in my bed, tune out the world, and rest. For example, if I have to decide between cooking lunch and washing my hair, I cook the lunch and simply make peace with the fact that my hair isn’t washed. But if I’m deciding between sweeping the floor and washing my hair, my hair gets washed and the floor can wait. I’m in long-term burnout right now and I have very low energy and executive functioning, so I just had to accept that not everything gets done

I work from home part-time, and obviously, work is very important, but it always comes after my biological needs. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do much work anyways. I set a rule for myself:  first rest, then work, not the other way around. Rest gives me the energy to do the work. (And yes, I realize that not everyone can afford to do it like this, and I’m privileged. But I also think not being able to take care of yourself leads to burnout, and then your body and mind stop you from working anyways. It is worth it to try to find ways to care for yourself before that happens.)

2. Do one chore for 15 minutes a day

I set a timer for 15 minutes and during that time, do whichever unpleasant task that needs doing – like washing the dishes. If I told myself I will wash dishes and clean the kitchen for an hour, I couldn’t find the motivation to begin. But I can bear doing it for just 15 minutes.

It’s much easier to finish a short task. And if you do this every day, you clean most of the things that need to get cleaned and do most of what needs to be done. Also, I like to listen to energetic music while doing household chores and other low-concentration tasks and it helps me keep my energy up.

3. Task switching

This point is a bit similar to the previous one – with a twist. I set a timer for 15 – 20 minutes and work on one chore during that time. But after that time passes, I switch to another task. After another 20 minutes, I can go back to the first thing, or pick a totally different one. I alter between several chores this way until I run out of energy – but by then, even if the tasks aren’t completely finished, a significant portion of the work is done. This rapid task-switching ensures that my brain won’t get bored. I discovered that sometimes I can work for hours, as long it’s something different every 20 minutes. Who would have thought?

4. One step at a time

I was always postponing things like putting the dishes in the dishwasher or hanging the clothes to dry. Sometimes I had to rewash the clothes three or four times because I couldn’t myself wash them. I didn’t know how to make myself just DO the damn thing.

And then it dawned on me.

I don’t hang up the clothes because there are still clothes hanging from the previous washing. It feels like too long and difficult a task to first put them down, fold them and put them where they belong, and then put the newly washed clothes up. So I only do one thing at a time.

I put the dry clothes down. Sometime after, I fold them and put them away. And another time, I do the laundry and I’m able to hang the freshly washed clothes because it’s just one task instead of two or three.

Now, I don’t even start the washing machine if the clothes hanger isn’t empty. Much better! The same with the dishwasher. First, the clean dishes go out. That’s doable. Later, I can add the dirty ones as I go and put them to wash. 

5. Sort-of-a-routine

As a person with ADHD, I’m bad at routines. Seriously bad. But as an autistic person, I crave them. So I make a compromise: I observe what I’m inclined to do during my day, experiment, and think about any small tweaks that I could implement.

I try to insert various tasks at various times of my day or attach them to other routines I have already down. I keep what works and discard what doesn’t. I try to do things in a way that feels easy for me

For example, I decided to add writing of my morning pages directly after my usual morning relaxation over a cup of tea. The morning pages are a method of creating a writing habit and tackling the writer’s block that is described in The Artist’s Way. It’s pretty easy –  you just write whatever comes to mind and let your thoughts flow on the paper. It helps me with my mental health – I can sort my thoughts and feelings on paper, realize what makes me tick, and find solutions to problems.

I observed I’m getting very stressed and unsettled when I finish my morning tea because I feel I should get to work right away. But I never feel like it yet, and I wanted to create some gentle transition. It worked. Now I finish my tea and breakfast, write a few pages, ride the stationary bike for a few minutes and then I can start work calmer and more refreshed.


These are the things that help me to manage my daily load. I’m still disorganized, messy, and nowhere close to where I would like to be, but at least I can keep the explosion that is my life somewhat in control. Yay!

Do you know any useful hacks and tips for ADHD/neurodivergent housekeeping? Help others out and write them in the comments! I would love to hear more advice to add to my repertoire! 🙂

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I Love My ADHD Side but Hate the Autistic One

I didn’t know I was autistic or had ADHD until adulthood. Then I was diagnosed with both at once. I went for the assessment for autism and got two diagnoses for the price of one.

The autism I kind of expected, even if I debated with myself for years if I can be really autistic, or if I’m just making it all up. Ironically, It didn’t occur to me that I could have ADHD – but when I got the diagnosis, I thought “Huh. Of course. That totally makes sense.

I accepted my ADHD side immediately. I still haven’t found my peace with the autistic side. I have a problem identifying with it because of my internalized ableism and outdated stereotypes of what autism looks like that still somehow live in my unconscious mind. I have autistic imposter syndrome. I’m having trouble accepting autism as a part of my identity.

The ADHD side wants to live to the fullest… and the autistic side is holding her back

For me, the ADHD side represents my ideal self – adventurous, bold, friendly, outgoing. She is the person I want to be. She longs to live the life I yearn for: having adventures, cherishing new experiences, connecting to all kinds of people and making friends, and living every moment of life to the fullest.

I feel that my autistic side is keeping me back from this all. She is easily overwhelmed. She has problems with new environments and new things. She is easily exhausted by human contact. She craves routine and is unsettled by the lack of it. No matter how adventurous I feel, I have to always, always keep in mind my limitations. And that rankles. I despise them. I want to be free.

I follow the adventures of various people who travel a lot, hike in nature a lot, do new and interesting things a lot, and I feel like they are somehow living MY life, the life that should belong to me, the life I always imagined I would have. This is one of the most terrible feelings I know.

And now I know I would probably never have that kind of life. But I can’t make myself let go of that dream – not yet. So I just silently suffer and feel like I’m not really myself. I haven’t felt like myself for years.

Oh, the adventures I had… Until I didn’t.

When I was a teenager, I happily jumped on whatever opportunity for a new adventure that came by. I went on a skiing trip designed to bring together able-bodied and disabled children and I got lost in a snowstorm with two of the other girls. I went planting trees with an ecological organization. I was the youngest one there and had to be helped home by one of the older guys because I got a fever.

I went on a horse camp that went terribly wrong (read: exciting) as we had to move from the campsite that somehow wasn’t paid for into an old house that was falling apart. We smuggled food leftovers to a scrappy dog that lived there and were enjoying ourselves. At another horse camp, they just sat me on a horse and started galloping – so I learned how to ride a galloping horse while doing it. At first, I clung to him for my dear life, but by the end of the camp, I was riding with my back straight and a smile on my face.

One summer, I went to a Shaolin-themed camp (by another ecological organization) which was one of the best experiences of my life. They did things like gather us in the middle of the afternoon to tell us that we are to go away for a weekend in groups of two or three, and we can bring only 5 items for a group in addition to what we had on our person. No money was allowed. We had to complete a list of tasks in various villages and towns around the campsite. I went with two of my friends.  We hitchhiked, we slept on a train station bench and ate fruit that fell from trees. I had the time of my life. 

When I came home from one of the weekends spent in such a fashion, my friend from school remarked that I somehow seem taller. I felt taller. The world was my oyster.

I don’t feel like myself anymore

And all that time, I was suppressing terrible anxiety and wondering why I’m always more tired than everyone around me. As the years went by, my reserve of strength and willpower ran out, and suddenly, I couldn’t go on adventures anymore. And I stopped feeling like myself.

I have yet to go backpacking in a foreign country. I have yet to go on the pilgrimage to Santiago do Compostella. I have never seen the total eclipse of the sun, never been on another continent, never slept in a desert with a sky full of stars. I have so many dreams that I’m not any closer to fulfilling and I’m so frustrated, so sad because of it.

The autistic side and the ADHD side of me are in a constant battle over the way I should live.

Other people can prefer their autistic side

I know of some people that have it the other way around. They want nothing to do with their ADHD side and feel much more comfortable in the autistic one. One person said to me that he got into so much trouble because of ADHD. He was on the verge of big legal and financial problems when he started being treated for ADHD, and it felt liberating for him. His autistic side is the one that keeps things in order and organized. He likes it a lot.

I’m learning to love and accept autism as a part of myself

When I was speaking about this to my therapist, she suggested that I make a list of the positive qualities my autistic side has. And I found quite a few. For example, she helps me to get enough rest. I would never stop and be still without her. I would burn out so quickly! She can keep my things organized. (Well, mostly.) She grounds me. She is the one that loves reading and immersing herself in imaginary worlds for hours, which is my favorite activity.

Of course, the attributes I assign to my autistic and ADHD side aren’t necessarily directly caused by autism or ADHD. That is just my interpretation of them. My autism and ADHD both live in the same neurodivergent brain and are so intertangled that there is no separating them.

I can’t change who I am – but I can change if I love myself or not

I have come to realize that I’m ALL of this – ADHD, autistic, a woman who wants to live an adventurous life and who fears it at the same time, someone who is a passionate bookworm, who goes for walks daily, who likes writing, and who thinks poodles are the best dogs ever. All of this is me.

I now strive to accept all my sides. After all, I can’t be anyone else than whom I really am. I don’t want to struggle for the rest of my life with things that I find difficult to accept about myself and miss out on how they can enrich my life.

I want to love who I really am.


What about you? If you are AuDHD, do you prefer your autistic side or your ADHD side? Or do you like both of them? Neither? Share it in the comments!

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! 

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A woman in pink glasses with a surprised expression on her face, pointing to her right. Image by sheikh86295328 from Pixabay.

Surprise! You Are Autistic… and ADHD!

It hurts. The stream of water hits my small body and I shrink in myself. I hear the other children, shrieking with laughter. Are they having fun? I’m suffering. But I must endure it. It doesn’t occur to me to just step aside, to run away, as the teacher in the pre-kindergarten sprays us with water from the hose in the hot summer. 

It blinds. The light is too bright, too much. I squint, trying to see, my eyes full of tears. I stand rooted in place, blinded. Mercifully, one of the teachers notices my struggle and lends me a pair of sunglasses from a kid younger than me. The brightness stops. I breathe out with relief.

It calms me. I’m standing alone, facing the corner, in a room full of children. I’m dancing with my imaginary friend. I’m not interested in the children. I’m content. 

The signs were there from the beginning

In retrospect, it should have been clear. I was a quiet, bookish child, but I often had what my parents called “tantrums”. I was at the same time too adult and too childish for my age. I was too obedient, taking things too literally. 

I was so picky with food that when my mum asked me, slightly desperately, to write down my own meal plan for the weak, I wrote “eggs” and “potatoes” over and over for every day.

I walked through the preschool with my hands balled in fists, a gesture that nobody at the time recognized as a sign of deep anxiety. I didn’t talk much to the other children. I think I was afraid of them. I never picked the “good” toys. Instead, I was waiting for what would be left.

Everybody remarked how similarly I behaved as a child as later my little autistic cousin did. But in my childhood, in a newly democratic country that was still recuperating from long decades of communism, “women couldn’t be autistic.”

The psychiatrists didn’t find out I’m autistic. My aunt did.

The first person who had any suspicion was my aunt, who has an autistic child and is autistic herself. Not a single one of the small army of doctors and therapists that surrounded me from my early teen years when my mental illness broke out of control and nearly killed me had a clue.

They showered me with psychiatric diagnoses, but they weren’t the right kind of diagnoses. I went through two months-long psychiatric hospitalizations, and still, the person who “diagnosed” me with autism was my aunt. She sent me an article about how autism can manifest differently in women and how it often goes unrecognized.

At first, I was hesitant about the whole idea. I was very, very careful of thinking that I could be autistic because I discovered that in a corner of my soul, I was scared by how much I wanted it. 

It would mean that it wasn’t my fault. That I could stop blaming myself for the many things I lived in shame of for my whole life. That my social awkwardness, lack of understanding, all of the cringey moments weren’t my fault. That many of my psychiatric conditions may simply result from an environment that doesn’t accommodate differences

I could forgive myself for being different

Autism is invisible, but it isn’t intangible, like anxiety and depression. It’s a physical handicap, a physical difference in my brain from the brains of other people. At the time, I thought of it as a disability that in my eyes was not much different than someone missing an arm or a foot. If I knew I had a real, physical handicap, I could go much easier on myself. Now I realize that my brain isn’t disabled, just different – with its advantages and disadvantages.

Because I wanted that convenient label so much, I was very hesitant about claiming it. To me, for my whole life, I was “normal”. Yes, different from the others, but normal for me. Now I had to dive into a deep rabbit hole of my oddities and try to see things that I would rather not. I didn’t want to think of myself as “weird”.

Autistic imposter syndrome

I didn’t think autism really belonged to me. I didn’t want to appropriate the condition. I thought that perhaps I just wanted to be autistic because it would absolve me of my many shortcomings. This kind of thinking is called “Autistic imposter syndrome”.

I was also afraid that from the moment I was diagnosed, if I was diagnosed, I would try to avoid things that hurt, uncomfortable things, “because I’m disabled”. I was scared of losing my drive for overcoming. 

And there was also a dream to mourn. A dream that one day, in the future, I would be cured and as healthy and able as anybody around me. Because if I was autistic, there would be no cure.

A surprise ADHD diagnosis

It took me years to finally decide to get diagnosed. I applied to the best institution in our country. I was lucky that I have been able to pay for it then. They sent a lot of questionnaires, and interviewed my parents, my boyfriend, and finally myself. And then the verdict came: Not only I’m autistic, but I also have ADHD.

38 years of my life and I was finally holding the beginning of the answers in my hands.

But… people don’t really know what autism is

The diagnosis hasn’t been the all-absolving solution I hoped for. Shortly after finally getting diagnosed, I realized that telling people that I’m autistic won’t help me much. Because pretty much nobody around me understands what that word really means.

One of my friends said to me, hesitantly: “But I thought autistic people lack empathy, and you are the most empathetic person I know.” Contrary to popular opinion, autistic people are empathetic – in fact, we can even be hyperemphathetic, which is my case. I can’t even watch a sitcom because the humor is based on the premise of unpleasant things happening to people.

I decided that when I need to communicate something related to my autism, I will concentrate just on the relevant part.

“The music is too loud for me. Could you please turn it down?

“I need to be alone right now for a moment.”

“I can’t recognize and remember faces very well, so it’s very likely that we will introduce ourselves to each other several times until it sticks.”

I reveal the whole picture only to the people I trust – and to the people I fear. People who could make my life harder if they didn’t know there is an actual reason behind my odd behavior, however skillfully masked.

The benefits of being diagnosed

But am I glad I got diagnosed? Definitely. I found a community in various Facebook groups – and information. Coping strategies, advice, the feeling I’m not alone in this – all amazingly valuable things.

A few of the Facebook groups that I love are Autism Late Diagnosis/Self-Identification Support and Education, Neurodivergent Cleaning Crew, and Neurodivergent Cooking Crew. I also like to read Facebook pages like Diary of a Mom, who has an autistic daughter and is one of the gentlest beings that walked this Earth, Neurodivergent Rebel, NeuroWild, or young autistic advocate Summer Farrelly. Youtube videos, for example How to ADHD or Purple Ella’s videos on having both autism and ADHD are also very helpful.

The unexpected diagnosis of ADHD that I got along with the autistic one helped a lot too. Being autistic with ADHD can be a complicated thing, because the traits of both diagnoses often clash, making you a study of contradictions. The advice that helps just autistic people or just ADHD people may not suit you very well. But I could see now how much of my behavior is influenced by ADHD and I learned to understand myself much better.

I also got much better at forgiving myself. It turned out that while there isn’t a cure for autism or ADHD, the diagnosis itself can be a cure for self-hate. For the pressure that I was always putting on myself, for all the things that didn’t allow me to relax and just be myself. I didn’t lose my drive – the drive just got a different direction. I got a lot better at accepting myself as I am. And that’s what really matters.

fire and water clashing on a black background
Mental Health, Neurodivergence

If You Are Autistic with ADHD, You Are a Living Contradiction 

Ever since I remember, I have always wanted two totally opposite things at the same time – both with equally great passion. To go out with friends and to be alone, to travel and to stay at the places I know, to attend various events, and to stay at home and read.

Whatever I decided, there was a part of me that was always unsettled. As an adult, I realized that other people around me aren’t such a mess of contradictory desires. But it was only after watching this video by Yo Samdy Sam that it dawned on me – this is happening to me because the “autistic part” of me and the “ADHD part” always want – or need – completely different things.

“The inner conflict is maddening”

It’s estimated that at least 30% of autistic people also have ADHD. It’s so common that the neurodivergent community began to create abbreviations for the combination of both conditions: AuDHD, AutDHD, and others. Yet there is so little information out there about people who are autistic and have ADHD – and it’s so necessary for us to understand our contradictory nature.

There are some traits that autism and ADHD share – like executive dysfunction. But there are a lot of traits that are complete opposites. The opposing traits can mask each other, so it can be a problem to get a diagnosis at all.

For example, ADHD demands constant stimulation. On the other hand, autism means you can get easily overstimulated, so you avoid it. You can even get overstimulated and understimulated at the same time.

The first comment on the video really resonates with me. And, apparently, with a lot of others. Vinnie S. wrote: 

“The inner conflict is maddening. All the things that make me feel most alive quickly burn me out. Yet, living a quiet little life that avoids burnout triggers depressive episodes through understimulation. When making major life decisions it’s like deciding which kind of breakdown I’d rather have. Heh.”

When one side is “satisfied”, the other becomes more visible

There is also an interesting thing that Yo Samdy Sam noticed. When she goes out and her ADHD needs are more fulfilled, her autistic traits become more prominent. But when she stays at home, where her autistic side can have what she needs, the ADHD traits become more prominent instead. When I thought about it, I noticed that the same thing is happening to me. 

Which side was winning was different throughout various periods of my life. As a child, I usually liked to stay in my room and read, as my autistic side preferred. As a teen, I almost always did what the ADHD side wanted. I hopped on any action that was happening around – be it a skiing trip, camping, or a summer camp spent planting trees or repairing an old castle. And as an adult, my mental strength to overcome the anxiety that being active triggers in me had run out and I had to return to my quiet ways – even if the passion for movement and action never ceased. I still yearn for it. I desperately miss it.

Which one I really am?

I have always identified more with my ADHD side, long before I knew I had these two diagnoses. I consider her desires the “right” ones, the ones that make me who I am. But I haven’t been who I feel I am – or should be – for more than 15 years. When I stopped being able to go on camping trips and summer camps, to simply take a backpack and head to nature for days, it felt like a part of me had gone missing. That I’m not really being myself. And I miss that part of me terribly. When I lost my ability to travel abroad, it only pronounced this loss. I’m always hoping that this will all come back to me, that I will feel whole again.

But when I’m writing these words, I realize that my autistic side and her desires – like reading for hours on end – are just as much “me” and as valuable as the part who is always ready to go on an adventure. I’m both. And that realization finally brings me some measure of inner peace.