Do You Have Entrepreneur ADHD? : Under30CEO Do You Have Entrepreneur ADHD? : Under30CEO
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Do You Have Entrepreneur ADHD?

| December 3, 2012 | 5 Comments

With all of the new technology, niches, and internet for entrepreneurs to explore, it’s not too difficult to come down with a case of entrepreneur ADHD.  Much like small children in amusement parks, entrepreneurs are faced with the challenge of prioritizing where their focus should be.

In my early days, I simply could not get enough of all of the opportunities out there.  In my experience consulting for business owners, I have found that a major reason for their start-up (or expansion) failures is due to a simple and basic component-focus.

Let me give you a short example of a small business owner I recently consulted for, a professional photographer.

Here’s what he was doing: He was sending out flyers to prospective clients and was getting zero responses, and wanted to know why.

Here’s what I found: He had entrepreneur ADHD; he was doing too much himself.

Allow me to elaborate…

Before he even sent out the mailings, he was doing the jobs of:

Once he had shipped the mailings, he was doing the jobs of:
Telemarketer (for follow-ups)

As you can see, even though what he is PITCHING is only a single service, he is trying to do MULTIPLE jobs by himself.  Now, I’m not saying a bar owner can’t sweep his own floor, but, as a business owner you have to put a value on what you do.   In this example, he is a great photographer with fantastic work, so he should keep his focus on photography.

This is what he should have done:
1. Hire a researcher to provide quality & targeted leads that ARE LIKELY TO BE INTERESTED in his service
2. Hire a copyrighter and designer to write up a VERY high quality sales letter
3. He can probably do the packaging & shipping in his spare time (if he’s not too busy, otherwise that’s an easy job to hire for)
4. Hire a salesperson to close deals/perform meetings
5. Hire a telemarketer to do follow-up calls
6. He, the photography expert, then performs the photography servicing duties

This would be a more feasible way to succeed for him, even as a one man show. I mean think about it…
He was the new guy in town, the best photographer with the best ideas for Christmas photos that nobody knew about, (but everybody would go crazy over if they did), and he sent out flyers explaining how great his work is and how he has a fantastic deal if you come on in and give him a try.

From his perspective, there’s NO WAY people wouldn’t want that, right? I mean, he is a fantastic photographer with great people skills, he is the real deal.  Not so fast…

Now, let’s look at it in a realistic way. How many of those people that opened the flyer took it seriously? (Some people just don’t need photography done by a professional, for starters). After that, how many of them would just head to their local photographer that they bought their last photos from and check it out there? After that, how many of those people simply couldn’t afford it? How many does that leave? Not many, not many at all.

How could this be fixed?
Quite simply, by having him keep his focus where his strength is, photography.

Here is what I advised him to do:
Hire a professional researcher to provide researched leads that are absolutely targeted to his product.  This meant throwing away the idea of saturating the new area with his flyers, but allowing the experts to do their job.   This led him to getting leads within his area that were extremely targeted to him (i.e. newly weds, families with young children, high school juniors, etc.).  These are what I call qualified leads.

Then, I advised him to commission a designer and copyrighter to create a custom sales flyer for his business, and, they came up with a phenomenal design that tied in the local sports community and gave his new business “brownie points”.
Lastly, I advised him to bring on a salesperson to handle the appointment setting, follow-up, and sales calls.  He was reluctant, at first, so he brought on a person part-time and hourly to reduce costs.

What has that resulted in for my photographer friend?

With the new additions, he has been given the freedom to focus on what he is great at, photography.  The rest was in the hands of experts, and, has paid off.  In the months since, he has dealt with such a demand that he has brought on another photographer to handle overflow, hired his designer/copyrighter part time to continue to bring value to him in running specials, discounts, and promotions, and has hired his assistant full-time to handle his phone calls.   Everyone is happier than ever.

How can you apply this to your business?

There really isn’t any science behind it, there’s no pill for entrepreneur ADHD.  Just write down everything that you are currently doing, then, make it into a prioritized list.  Once you have the list, stick to the top 1 or 2, and let the experts handle the rest.  Once your focus is in place where it belongs, the rest will come together.

Dana Derricks is marketing and business consulting expert.   He is the owner of Advertise Business Online ( and has spent the past 6 years creatively marketing and consulting for businesses.

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Category: Personal Branding, Startup Advice

  • Angela

    I certainly suffer from entrepreneur ADHD, but it’s mainly because I don’t have the funds to go out and hire others to do the work for me.

  • Chelsea

    Yeah, when I first started reading I assumed that the photographer was like myself and was doing everything for his business hisself because he lacked the funds to hire. I really wished this article would have been written with funding limitations in mind, because without it this article is irrelevant to many entrepreneurs. Of course I would hire if I had the funds, wouldn’t we all?

  • John Finney-Photography

    On the other hand, you could pay them a commission on the paying leads he brings you. Roll his commission into the price of the extremely great service you offer and he’s paid. In a photographer in the same focal plane as you. This article really confirmed what I had been thinking.

  • Dana Derricks

    Agreed, John. Just because you do not have the funds, does not mean you can’t get this done. You have to think outside the box, meaning finding other ways to get people on board. Commissions is a great start, also referral exchanges, exchanging photos (in this instance) for service, and the list goes on. I did not start with a large budget, either, but I was able to think outside the box to get the job done.

  • Dana Derricks

    As I said above, think outside the box! Can you really afford to spend only 30% of your time on whatever it is you do (giving the other tasks that you should allow others to delegate), when your competition is spending 100% of their time? There IS a way to put it all together and, when you do, you will be amazed at how much easier your life becomes.