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SHINE: The Entrepreneur’s Journey

May 21st, 2011 by Markus Lefkovits

Last week, I saw a movie called SHINE sponsored by Biznik, a local community of entrepreneurs and small businesses dedicated to helping each other succeed. (Really… “Shine” and “Shine Your Strengths” — I knew there had to be some kindred spirits involved!) Let me tell you about the film and how it can help to inform individuals with ADHD who want to work for themselves.

SHINE: The Entrepreneur’s Journey is a 30-minute film about the challenges, thrills and satisfaction of following your passion and working for yourself. It highlights the experience of up-and-coming entrepreneurs and business “starter-uppers”.  The movie’s theme is basically “if you do what you love, you’ll shine and be successful”.  I’m here to tell you:  that’s great, but running your own business takes more than just love—especially when you have ADHD.

Here are FOUR THINGS I learned — from the film that entrepreneurs have  in common:

Accomplished entrepreneurs share the following traits:

1.       They’re highly motivated and excited about self-employment.

2.       They know they’ll have successes and failures—no matter how optimistic they may be.

3.       They hold a high sense of reality and practicality in their decision-making process and work ethic.

4.       They begin their businesses with a certain degree of naïveté—and pay a price for it.

Here are FOUR  THINGS I know – from life and from working with individuals with ADHD:  

1. Being your own boss is not a fairy tale.

Lots of ADHD adolescents want to work for themselves. They want the freedom it affords and the flexibility it offers. They all start with the best intentions and they all think they know how to accomplish their goals, but they do not. They may NOT want to work under someone else’s rules. Yet at the same time, they may not know HOW to be their own boss.

2. To be a boss takes a certain level of maturity.

Maturity level in general is problematic for people with ADHD. It takes you a little longer to catch up with your peers.  Unless you have the ingredients that can save you:

  • Strong intelligence and reasoning skills
  • Specific skills in the endeavor you want to accomplish.

You can get both. You just need to do the work.

I was a camp counselor for many summers without pay. My parents thought I was crazy. I told them that some day this experience would pay off. It did. It was the special edge that got me into graduate school because all the other applicants had 10 to 20 years of experience on me.

But even when you have intelligence, reasoning skills, and specific skills in your area of expertise, you need organizational skills to make a business roll smoothly.3.

3. You MUST know your strengths and weaknesses.

Do you want to be an entrepreneur?  First, you must get to know yourself. If you need help discovering your strengths and weaknesses, contact me and I can do an assessment to help you see clearly where your strong points and weak points are.

You may have a drive to do something well. But is that “something” necessarily running a company?

  • You may be good at graphic design, but not able to organize a project.
  • You may have strong intelligence, but be unable to meet a deadline.
  • You may come up with creative ideas, but have trouble following through with them.
  • You may think people would buy your product or your service, but not know how to reach them. 

4. Wherever you’re lacking,  you can bring in HELP.

You can’t run a business on your own. And if you ARE running a business, you can HIRE those people who can help you run it BETTER.

  • Professional business coaches can teach entrepreneurs skills to run their business better.
  • Operational experts can be hired to actually run your business.
  • Accountants can handle your billing and finances.
  • Marketing consultants can help connect you with your audience.

The list goes on… 

My message to you is this: Don’t go it alone. 

It’s better to have someone as part of your business plan from the start than  to go around solo for 10 years making mistakes and hoping against hope that you will be successful some day.

I call this realization “getting a grip on reality”:

  • Realize where your strengths and weaknesses are.
  • And take steps to assemble a team to complete the required ingredients for a well-run business.

Here are TWO WAYS to start to connect with the help you need to make your dream a reality:

1. Get a tribe

In addition to hiring a operational expert, or financial guide to “fill in” where your strengths are lacking, you need to find a support community.  Share your dreams with other entrepreneurs. Look into organizations like Biznik.com where other entrepreneurs assemble and offer help, support, and can share stories, advice, and tips to help you succeed.

2. Get a coach

Consider hiring a coach who specializes in ADHD to help you develop the skills to become better organized, help you learn techniques for meeting deadlines, and help you discover methods of improving your performance—so that you can offer your strengths in the role that you choose to fill for your start-up business.

Contact me for any of the following: It could help you make work more rewarding for YOU!

Good luck with your business!

Markus

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