Questions to Ask Yourself Before Taking the Leap
For many people with ADHD, entrepreneurship is the natural culmination of their employment journey. I believe that is because we neurodivergent types need to march to our own beat, while doing a 9-5 or freelance gigs can create dissonance in our lives and the lives of our colleagues.
That’s for shit-sure how it was for me. Prior to becoming a coach, I did many things to support myself while striving to build an acting career. Corporate jobs were a nightmare. I did better with off-beat gigs like artist modeling and restaurant hostessing, where I could engage with people spontaneously and not have to adhere to tiresome bureaucratic systems of administrivia.
But if you’re considering entrepreneurship….I must warn you that once you jump the 9-5, or freelance/partime/patchwork-employment-quilt livlihood to start your own thing, you’re going to have to put systems of administrivia in place.
What makes it imminently easier is that it will be YOUR administrivia, your baby, your endeavor and that will be INFIINTELY more interesting than somebody elses.
That said, plenty of the work will be a neuro-divergent thinker’s nightmare, until you learn to leverage your strengths and delegate the rest.
So here are some questions to ask yourself before you set sail on your own:
- Are you willing to get support?
Isolation is truly the enemy of success. When you start your own business, to a large extent you don’t even know what you don’t know. Can you find a mentor whose walked the walk? More importantly, are you willing to invest in that mentorship via a coach or consultant who can teach you what systems you’ll need to have in place and how to put them there? For example, as my coaching business grew, I needed a CRM (customer relationship management program) in order to keep track of current and past clients, potential referral partners and leads. Various notebooks and business cards strewn about along with hand-written notes just wasn’t cutting it. I knew I needed something, but I didn’t know what it was. Having a coach probably cut my figuring-it-out time in half.
- Are you willing to plan?
Sometimes we do need to wing the first step. ‘Begin, and providence moves also’ as they say. When I started coaching, I needed clients. I didn’t have a marketing system in place yet, but I had some training. I started a cohort of fellow artist moms-with-kids, and while I brought my own issues to the group, I was the facilitator and got to coach the others. That got the ball rolling with word of mouth and testimonials. But it wasn’t until I got some marketing guidance and created a marketing strategy that things started to take off.
- Do you know how you’ll cover your baseline income?
Baseline income=How are you paying for rent, groceries, childcare, lattes etc? I don’t advise putting the pressure of survival on your nascent business idea. And please note: if your’e an artist, that’s a business idea. Being an actor is a business. You are the brand and the product. Who (or what job or trade) will be the patron of your art? In terms of a trade to support an artistic career, you may be looking at two businesses, which can be done, but takes twice the planning.
- Are you willing to adopt a ‘life long learners’ mentality?
Are you able to embrace mistakes as feedback, or even gifts if I may be so bold? For example, it may interest you to know that Post-It notes were actually born out of a mistake! If you are hyper-rejection-sensitive or feedback-averse ya gotta work on that. Get some therapy if you’ve never been in it. If you have, yet you still have trouble rebounding from failure, hire a coach. Being a life-long learner means you accept that you never ‘arrive’ because there are endless skillsets to master, from delegating in order to scale, to the refinement of your offerings as the world continues to change in its needs and demands. Can you be continuously intrigued by all of that? If so, you’ll have a blast. Please work on that mindset shift. Your attitude is what will make or break you, not your results.
- Do you know how to be happy despite the outcome of your efforts?
This is the key to tenacity. It is probably the most important quality of all. The rest can be learned. But if you know who you are apart from what you do, then you know how to let yourself be happy. You know that happiness is like the weather: a lack of it in the moment due to dissapointment is not an indictment of your worth as a person. If you believe that your efforts are worthwhile despite their outcome because life is a cumulative experience of education, then you’re well positioned to be a business owner.
Said ‘yes’ to all of the above? I think you’ll be alright and I can’t wait to see what wonderful-ness you bring to the world.
Not so much? Perhaps you need some help clarifying issues that may be in your way.
Either way I invite you to schedule a free consultation to see whether I can help you become the CEO of something that really matters to you!