9 thoughts on “People With ADHD Symptoms More Likely to Be Self-Employed

  • May 17, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    I am ADHD with plenty of hyperactivity symptoms. My husband and I built a large and successful art glass business. I credit our success to how well we covered each other’s weaknesses. I was the high energy creative side, able to energize a group and stimulate outside-the-box thinking; I headed the art/design and teaching functions. he was the detail man. He managed everything that was time sensitive–accounting, taxes, personnel, inventory ordering, merchandizing, etc. each of us had someone we trusted to handle the parts that were not our strong points, and could commit our attention and time to the parts we did best. In addition to getting the job done, it also assured that not only were we never in competition with one another, but we both knew how much we needed the other to thrive. It made it possible to begin with, and productive and thrilling as we moved along. We spent most of our waking hours together most of our working lives, and it was good for our business and good for our marriage too.

    • May 18, 2016 at 6:21 am

      That’s awesome Jane, thanks for sharing your experience. Finding someone who complements your strengths/weaknesses definitely seems like a good way to go. I wonder if part of the reason for so many people with ADHD being self-employed is also just that people with ADHD are drawn to creative careers that lend themselves well to freelancing or starting your own business.

  • May 19, 2016 at 10:49 am

    There may also a negative side to this finding….in my case, for example, it is easier to succeed when the evaluations of others are less important. I find io hard to advance in a corporate business environment due to ADHD, in my freelanc life, that is not an issue at all. Darwinian evolution at work, (you should pardon the double entendre).

    • May 20, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      The authors of the study suggest that this is a possible “advantage” of ADHD, but I agree it’s probably more complicated than that. It’s possible people with ADHD are self-employed because things didn’t go well for them in traditional work environments. I think it’s not about advantages/disadvantages as much as just that different things work better for different people

    • May 25, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      I know my career has been more comfortable since I became self-employed and no longer have to justify or explain the way I do or don’t do things to a boss.

  • May 26, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Perhaps people with ADHD who can retain no other employment explain the abysmally high rate of new business failures.

    Let’s be honest here.

    • May 26, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      I’m pretty sure the fact that it’s hard to build a profitable business and that there isn’t room in the economy for everyone who wants a business to actually have a business is enough to explain that!

  • May 1, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Going self-employed was the best thing I ever did, although I only recently recognised I have ADD. We can hyperfocus and put all our passion into building our business up; we are accountable only to ourselves for all those inevitable little errors and omissions; we can concentrate in the quiet of our own homes; we can vary our days as we please. Working with clients means I get lots of regular thanks and praise which helps to boost my self esteem; whereas when I was part of a structure the opposite was true – I’d get picked up for my mistakes for which I’d feel very ashamed about and wonder what was wrong with me. On tired days now I do internet research or administration; on energetic days I use my confidence and creativity to canvass for future business, prepare workshops and training sessions. I intersperse bouts of intense brain activity with down time doing jigsaws or gardening, but on other days when I’m on a roll I may stay up late finishing off projects. I love being self employed – it suits ADD down to the ground.

    • May 2, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Absolutely! It’s interesting that you gravitated to self-employment before you know you had ADHD. I think that’s a good example of how good people with ADHD can be at instinctively coping with the disorder without even knowing what they’re doing. Sometimes things like being self-employed just feel right for your brain, even if you don’t know why.


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