running a business with adhd

Why ADHD Has Helped With My Marketing Agency

How I and YOU Can Cope With ADHD

running a business with adhd

1. What is ADHD?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a behavioral condition that makes focusing on everyday requests and routines challenging.” People who experience ADHD typically have a harder time staying focused, thinking before doing,  planning and organizing tasks, as well as having behavioral issues (acting up). According to WebMD roughly 4~5% of adults in the U.S have ADHD. So it’s certainly not common in the United States. This is my story of having ADHD and running a marketing agency. For those of you that only care about the core of this blog, click here.

How can I tell if I have ADHD? Before spending time and money on getting diagnosed by a professional, check This Article by Web MD

2. Growing up With ADHD

Ever since I was a little kid I remember teachers and other adults always telling me and my parents that I had behavioral problems. Whether it was staying focused, or acting up I always seemed to be singled out among my peers. Sometime in second or third grade I had been diagnosed with ADHD but wasn’t really aware of what it meant (probably because I wasn’t able to focus on people’s explanations).

Throughout my elementary school years, I had trouble reading and completing assignments. Not necessarily because I didn’t want to learn, I have always been an ambitious learner, but simply because I had trouble focusing on certain tasks. One thing that I want to clear up is that people who suffer from ADHD CAN FOCUS. We’re just easily distracted and get caught up in our thoughts.

It wasn’t till I entered middle school that I noticed the effects that ADHD had on me. I went to a huge public school in New York City so I was able to blend in pretty well. However, in elementary school, all you had to do was show up take a few state exams and BOOM you’re done. In middle school, we were given more assignments, more academic testing, and the need to stay focused was given more emphasis.

3. What I did in School to Cope

I wasn’t really the most social kid entering middle school, but by the end of 6th grade I learned that I enjoyed making people laugh. My whole life I surrounded myself with the class clowns, the jokers, simply the people who made me laugh. So in my middle school years I used my sense of humor to get attention, and fit in with the rest of my fellow peers. Personally, I feel that people with ADHD have a way with words and actions since we are by nature, good improvisers. This helped me make new friends, friends who are still with me to this day and to whom I owe a lot of my success to.

Once 7th and 8th grade rolled around I realized I was falling behind in literacy. Hitherto 7th grade I was always adroit at not reading and completing assignments. I would take the easier route of not opening a book and just goofing off in class. But I started seeing the damage it was doing to me. I could barely read aloud when I was called on, I wasn’t able to read long sheets when asked to. It was embarrassing, to say the least. So what did I do? I forced myself to read every night. I asked my father to order me the book, If You Surviveby George Wilson. Because I was always interested in history so this book seemed appropriate enough. Every night I would read 1-5 pages, over and over until I understood the meaning of each section. I felt like an idiot, reading aloud basic phrases trying to understand the meaning of each paragraph.

Don’t be fooled, it wasn’t like I overcame an arduous obstacle. I personally chose not to do these tasks because my brain was always distracting me. My ADHD had by default programmed me to follow a certain path, one that I wasn’t satisfied with.

4. Running a Marketing Agency with ADHDrunning a marketing agency adhd

Alright, so this is the big topic. The whole reason why I wrote this article in the first place (I was getting too carried away). How has ADHD helped me run my marketing business? Communication, creativity, awareness, perseverance. I know some of you don’t want to read the whole article so there you go. Although, if you are determined to stay focused 🙂 then let me explain each category.

I. Communication in Professional Settings

Having communication skills is one of the most valuable skill-sets you can have in business. Growing up with ADHD I was always unable to communicate and express simple thoughts because they always seemed to be so blown up and more complicated than they actually were. If I were late to school I would, make up stories about how I needed to make breakfast for my family and all sorts of crazy and pathetic excuses. But as I got older I learned that being straightforward and admitting to wrongdoing is SO much better than trying to justify yourself.

If you’re going to be late for work or late to a meeting don’t try and tell your boss or client last minute, the moment you find out things are delayed text or call your boss, or email if no other option is available, that you will be late. Something as simple as, Hey Dave, I might be a few minutes late for work the trains are running slow, but I’ll get there as soon as I can, will save time and frustration. Yes, you shouldn’t be late to a meeting if you can avoid it, but the fact is you need to be proactive and own up to your mistakes even if they aren’t your fault. This is something I learned from having ADHD and always finding excuses for being lazy.

II. Creativity in Marketing

In my experience, having ADHD has given me a mentality to be more creative and has helped me run my marketing business. I come up with an idea, fiddle with it for a little while and immediately write it down. While running a creative business I’ve always been able to think of very abstract and out of the box ideas since my brain is always all over the place. The problem most people with ADHD and or ADD face is that they feel a surge of excitement over a great idea, but a few days, or even hours later, lose interest in that idea. Creative ideas aren’t all good ideas, but it’s important to write things down as they come up. This type of task might be challenging for those of you with ADHD / ADD, since routine is often an issue. However, once you train your brain to write down your creative ideas, it’ll be as normal as getting up in the morning.

In marketing creativity is everything. Whether you’re writing effective copy, or providing a client or boss with eye-catching imagery you need to have some level of creativity. Just the other day I was doing some photo editing for a client I had just met with. While taking a shower I thought of a neat way to make a business ad for her with certain colors for the background, and the captioning. This is the advantage I firmly believe ADHD has given me, spontaneous creativity.

A little side note: I actually wrote this article today (Dec 4) because I was lost in thought while eating my lunch. I did some research and couldn’t find the exact type of blog that was between business and ADHD.

III. Awareness and Mindfulness

For those of you that know me, or follow me Instagram, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of meditation. I try to meditate at least 15 minutes per day. As someone who has struggled with chaotic and turbulent thoughts I know just how cloudy the mind can be. Around the fall of 2017, I began to meditate in order to relax the mind and see further than just the surface of my thoughts. Being more aware of the times I lose focus, and being more conscious of the things that distract me has helped me refocus my attention on my work. Anybody who feels they have trouble focusing, ADHD or no ADHD, should definitely meditate. There are thousands of free meditation videos on YouTube. Just search, Guided Meditation for Focus, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the results.

When I’m not with friends or family I need to know how to present myself and know when my goofy tendencies are tempted to show up. Having this awareness has helped me land clients, close deals and stay focused. Awareness in any setting is such a huge skill to have.

IV. Perseverance in Everything

From learning how to read, to figuring out bugs on a client’s website I have trained myself to be perseverant in everything. It wasn’t like I tackled every single issue all at once, that would exhaust me and would yield ineffective results. Instead, I tackled small problems one at a time. My first task was to learn how to fit in, the second was learning how to read, and third was to control myself. Having seen incredible results I know that I can rely on myself to do just about any task thrown at me. For those of you with ADHD, or any sort of disorder that seems to kick you in the ass, DON’T GIVE UP!!! Nobody on this planet is perfect, get up and take responsibility for the things that set you back. Prove everybody wrong, and be the person you want the next generation to look up to. That, that is my story of having ADHD and how it has helped me run my digital marketing agency.

– Joshua Conrad. Founder & Director @ JCSURGE (Online Marketing in NYC)

For some of the best natural methods for dealing with ADHD check out Cognitune’s blog, 12 Best Adderall alternatives 

 

 

 

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10 Responses

  1. This is a terrific article Josh, with very sincere, inspiring words. I might also add that you seem to be an executor, someone who gets things done. Congratulations on your business! Wishing you much success (although I would argue that you already have it in many ways).

  2. This is an amazing article. Gave me so much hope. I’m about to start my first agency job next month and I’m planning on running my own down the line in a few years, so reading this article assured me I’ll be alright with my ADD!

    1. Hey Ahmed, that’s amazing. I’m sorry for the late response, but best of luck brother. Feel free to reach out if you have any quesitons!

  3. Great article, thanks! I’m 37 and have been through so many careers (occupations?) it’s stunning. I was a paratrooper in the Army for a few years, went on to do nuclear security work, got into private security consulting and private investigations, owned a home inspection company for a few years, and drove a tractor trailer for a little while. I’ve got a family to support and love being self-employed now that I’ve done it, but over the past few years have self-identified that I likely have ADHD. As it stands, I do well with methodical tasks when I’m interested, but terrible if not. I do well with critical thinking and problem solving and with people in informal/”friendly” atmospheres, less well in super formal environments (although basic workplace-level formality doesn’t bother me). I have a couple year window to work with schooling, and am debating between IT and marketing (I already have about 60 credits and will be transferring from my old program). Not really that interested in IT; it’s more technical than my mind really appreciates, but seems to have good opportunities, and work from home is never a terrible thing. I see marketing as a win-win, both as a resource for a business I’m looking into, and as an employment asset, depending on the venue. Thanks for the article, it demonstrates my situation well and provides some good insight. Good luck on your future endeavors!

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