ADHD and entrepreneurship

Study after study suggests that entrepreneurs have higher levels of conscientiousness than the average person. Ongoing research continually backs the theory that this characteristic contributes to entrepreneurial success. However, as we all know, many different roads can lead to the same destination. Further investigation has also found that the symptoms associated with ADHD can, in fact, push ADHDers to high entrepreneurial achievement. It turns out that the typical traits of ADHD may provide the bravado and out-of-the-box thinking necessary to be a fierce entrepreneurial competitor. For those who have struggled with ADHD, or for parents raising a child with a recent diagnosis, take heart, new research suggests they may just be an entrepreneur in the making.

The diagnostic criteria of ADHD that are often problematic in educational environments are the very characteristics that can create forward momentum as a businessperson. In fact, recent research found that those with ADHD performed better and were more successful entrepreneurs than their non-ADHD counterparts.


Here are some of their strengths that provide the competitive one-two punch in business…


When we think of ADHD, we often think of ongoing restlessness and an inability to concentrate. This is often a very frustrating aspect of this disorder. However, when dealing with a topic of interest they are able to hyperfocus well beyond what most people are capable of, and for extended periods of time. In fact, they can become so immersed in something they love that they need to set an alarm to remind themselves to eat, sleep, and fit in the necessary daily routines.

The key to their success is to hone in on their passion and create a business around it.

In a recent study, all participants who were entrepreneurs felt the same way about their ADHD diagnosis.

I would rather be the way I am and have the diagnosis than not have the diagnosis



Impulsivity essentially means that they are more sensation-seeking and action-oriented. They plan less and act fast. In the business world, this often means that they get more experience quickly, and develop the skills they need to move ahead. While planning is important, studies have found that overthinking can lead to non-action, and ultimately a missed opportunity.

Interestingly, one of the cornerstones of entrepreneurial success is the ability to get experience fast. This includes racking up failures so that you are able to build the know-how necessary for a rewarding outcome. The fear associated with failure is less prominent in those dealing with ADHD due to their impulsive nature. They act fast when they see an opportunity and are less likely to overthink whether they should do it or not. This means that they often deviate from the norm, and embrace change, which most people find uncomfortable. The most successful businesses stand out because they embraced change and are fundamentally different from the rest.

Other entrepreneurs can become overwhelmed with a number of possible scenarios and overthink to the point of inaction. This shuts down an opportunity to stand out in the market.

People with ADHD are 300% more likely to start their own business, and many business leaders have ADHD



One of the hallmarks of ADHD is hyperactivity. This can make any environment that requires sitting still for long periods of time torture. This does not bode well in school and can wreak havoc on self-esteem. It can be a struggle to maintain a strong and positive sense of self through these struggles. However, in the business world having high levels of energy combined with the ability to hyperfocus moves them ahead of the pack quickly.


It may seem odd to consider people with ADHD as multi-taskers, but they tend to want to break out of routine. Multitasking will definitely do that, and for them, it wards off boredom. This doesn’t mean that they are better multitaskers than the average person, but they typically do not get stressed when several tasks are competing for their attention. Conversely, other people tend to find multitasking stressful.

The ability to multitask and the willingness to do it can be an advantage when building a business, especially at the beginning when many entrepreneurs must take on many roles within the company.


People with ADHD tend to think differently than the average person. People with this diagnosis do not embrace the idea of sticking with how it has always been done. They enjoy finding a more interesting, and streamlined way of doing things. When working for companies, this can prove challenging and can lead to a patchy employment history. However, when working as an entrepreneur in a competitive market, it can create a unique product or service needed to get ahead.


Recent research suggests that those with ADHD tend to lean towards being an entrepreneur. In fact, some of the most successful entrepreneurs have either been diagnosed with ADHD or suspected to remain undiagnosed. Sir Richard Branson, the Co-founder of the Virgin Group has been diagnosed with ADHD. People have speculated that Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, also may have also fit the criteria to be diagnosed with this condition.

Not everyone diagnosed with ADHD is able to be an entrepreneur, but there are many people that are very well suited to this lifestyle. In fact, they do tend to seek out entrepreneurial roles more than the average. They are usually aware that they do not fit into the stereotypical office environment.

It’s important not to minimize the difficulties that ADHD can present to those who struggle with it. However, it is important to understand their potential strengths and environments that work best for them. This can really help increase self-esteem, after struggling with this disorder. Researchers suggest that before embarking on an entrepreneurial journey they should get the proper training and education before they dig in and get started.

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