Amanda Perry is a serial entrepreneur, who has started, scaled, and sold multiple businesses, and now works with founders as a coach and mentor to help them grow and achieve their goals. Amanda was diagnosed with ADHD in 2020 and appeared on episode 78 of my Start, Scale Succeed to share how she has learnt to thrive as an entrepreneur with the unique superpower of ADHD.

I asked Amanda to share her experiences of running a business with ADHD, and how to thrive as an entrepreneur with ADHD.

Getting Diagnosed With ADHD as an adult

I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2020. A few years ago, a friend mentioned to me that she has just been diagnosed with ADHD, and she thought I might have, to a more extreme extent. My only knowledge of ADHD at the time was that it was something boys had. I got diagnosed at the same time as 2 other family members, which was brilliant because we had each other to navigate the journey with. I speak to some people, and no one in their family believes them, which is just heartbreaking. It can be difficult looking back after a diagnosis, as there is a grieving process over what your life could have been  – understanding why you have had difficult relationships, why school reports kept saying if only you could focus or stop talking. That’s common for people who are diagnosed later in life.

Identifying Your ADHD Superpowers

My ADHD traits are simultaneously huge positives and negatives.

For instance, my superpower is if I get the energy behind an idea I will see it through but on the flip side, I don’t stop to analyze the idea, and it’s not always the right thing to be doing. I love helping people and clients, but an ADHD trait is that it can tend towards people pleasing. I have had to detangle these and work out what my boundaries are. Managing a team can be very difficult because of the executive function issues around ADHD, and it is easy to burn out.

The key is identifying these traits, and the resultant positives and negatives. When you do this ADHD can become your superpower.

How can you be a creative or someone who sparks ideas without your brain working in a slightly different way?

How To Thrive As An Entrepreneur With ADHD

I had a 2-year process of working out what triggered me and didn’t suit my ADHD. I realized being surrounded by people in a busy environment was the worst thing for me, was draining me and leading to burn out. My business at the time, Soupagency, grew rapidly so we took on more staff. Initially it was brilliant being able to serve more clients, but the move from doing what I loved to essentially managing staff didn’t serve me, and it became overwhelming.

I tried to manage it using medication, but found I got stuck in a cycle where I would take the medication, feel great, work too much and then crash because it has worn off, and repeat. I didn’t want to live a life or run a business that I had to be medicated for to make it work.

So I decided to sell the business, and focus on creating a business where I could thrive, where I worked in an environment that suited me, and made the most of my ADHD superpowers

I have built my business around the positives of ADHD and outsourced the negatives.

How To Set Goals For Entrepreneurs With ADHD

An ADHD trait is to set unrealistic goals, with an impossible plan to follow. For instance, ‘it’s January, I’m going to lose 3 stone by February’ etc.

I reframed the way I set goals and use the SMARTER method. It includes the SMART Goals of specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. Then we add E and R which stand for Exciting and Relevant.

R is for Relevant

Ask yourself whether it is your goal or something you have picked up from somewhere else. For instance, so many people talk about 6 or 7 figure months on Instagram – is this a goal you want to hit, or just something you feel you need to do? Make sure your goals are relevant to you.

E is for exciting

This is important for people with ADHD. Is this goal exciting now? Will I still be excited in a month’s time? Will you be able to sustain your enthusiasm for the project?

Once you know that your goals are relevant and exciting you can use the SMART plan to break them down and create a plan that is achievable.

Defining Success As An Entrepreneur with ADHD

Getting diagnosed with ADHD has refined what success looks like for me. If you asked me a couple of years ago, it would have been money and more superficial milestones. However everyone’s version of success changes through the different phases of their life.

Now my priorities have changed. Family time has become much more important and being able to have relationships with the people around me that aren’t just me talking about how exhausted and stressed I am.

My motto is ‘optimized for happiness.’ I believe that if I optimize for happy, by making sure when I get up I am excited about work, then the money will flow because I will be working on the right things.

Interestingly I see a lot of other entrepreneurs on the same journey. A few years back I did a project with Steven Bartlett, and his emphasis at the time was working 24/7. And now the narrative has changed, and he talks about balance, mental health, and happiness. My goal now is to work to live rather than live to work.

Thank you so much to Amanda for sharing her experience of being a successful entrepreneur with ADHD. You can listen to the full podcast here.

I hope that this post helps you to continue on your journey to success and if you need any extra support then check out my free resources on my website, follow me on Instagram, subscribe to my monthly newsletter or get in touch at Book a free discovery call to see how we can work together and how I can help you with your business or idea Book a power hour with and get the clarity of what your next steps need to be and your questions answered.