ADHD and Business Statistics

If you have read plenty of data on people with ADHD, you may have come across these two gems…

  1. “People with ADHD are 300% more likely to start their own business.”
  2. “Approximately 29% of entrepreneurs have ADHD”

These sound like great statistics. However, starting a business is no measure of your chances of success. Remember the dark side of business ownership…

  1. “20% of businesses fail in the first two years of ownership.”  (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  2. “45% of businesses fail in the first five years.”  (BLS)
  3. “65% of businesses fail in the first ten years.”  (BLS)
  4. “Only 25% of businesses make it to 15 years or more.”  (BLS)
  5. “Around 30% of millionaires declare bankruptcy at least once.” (Nasdaq)
  6. “The average millionaire goes broke 3.5 times.”  (Timothy Sykes at

Imagine this: You start a business and think to yourself, “Hurray! No more boss. No more people deciding what’s important for me to work on. Nobody telling me when to have deadlines. I have complete freedom and control over my life!”

ADHD and Business Statistics

In actuality, what you are celebrating no longer has a structure provided for you.  Instead, you are now responsible for implementing the entire structure, all the priorities, all the deadlines, and everything else.  ADHD is a problem with executive function.  This executive function issue means that even though a person with ADHD might blossom creatively in their business, the process of planning, executing those plans, and staying organized may suffer greatly.

Here’s some more business information…

  1.  “38% of entrepreneurs say that self-discipline is the key to their success.” (National Business Capital and Services)
  2. “Express Employment Professionals, a staffing agency, surveyed 18,000 business leaders to learn that company-wide disorganization cost 57 percent of respondents six working hours per week. Disorganized employees can cost their company more than one-fifth their actual salary: $11,000 annually out of their $50,000 annual earnings.”  (

So, how do you keep yourself on track with business management and pursue continued growth when you have ADHD?  Here are some tips…

1. Routine, routine, routine.  Most of our day is planned with routines, and the effectiveness of those routines heavily weighs our chance at success.  To have solid routines, you must have good habits.  There are plenty of books on habits, but I recommend “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.

2. Create your accountability.  Committing to working on something is more difficult when nobody expects us to do it.  Just look at this country’s responsibility to healthy eating.  We have no boss to make us eat healthy, and the health penalties are not immediate.  It may take years or decades before our poor eating habits catch up with us.  Implementing accountability is a crucial ingredient to manufacturing motivation.  We are more likely to skip the gym if we do not have a workout partner waiting for us.  Accountability can be as simple as attending a body-doubling session or scheduling a phone call or text message to update somebody on our progress with our tasks.  Arranging a meeting with your accountant a month before taxes are due is a way to prevent missing the deadline (and the IRS shows no mercy).

3. Consistency is the key to long-term results.  It’s not enough to do a good routine once.  It must be repeated again and again in regular intervals over a span of time to see a significant outcome.  Many of us have the problem of quitting a routine after only two weeks of practicing it.  This is not surprising because ADHD has a problem with perceiving time.  People with ADHD commonly view their future self as a fictitious character who will never arrive.  However, logically, we know better.  The future is sure to come whether we are prepared or not.  People with ADHD often overestimate the time available and/or underestimate the time needed to create the outcomes they desire.

4. One step at a time, not one leap at a time.  My most common source of overwhelm is due to not breaking my large goal into smaller goals.  For example, I love to travel.  I have always wanted to be a traveler in far-off destinations and live there for months or even years. Initially, this dream gave me anxiety.  So many unknowns.  So many questions.  Where do I start?  What happens if…?

Last week, I returned home after a three-month adventure in Latin America.  It was my dream experience, but it was not my first traveling experience.  I started really small many years ago.  I started by learning how to schedule my driving time to a friend’s house in another city for the weekend.  Next, I traveled by plane and learned how to live in a hotel room in a different state for four days.  After that, I traveled to Mexico for a one-day adventure in Tijuana while staying in a hotel in San Diego (my first international travel experience).  After that, I made three cross-country road trips.  Only after several years, and after many two and three-week trips to other countries, did I dare to leave for three months to visit countries where English is not the first language.

Perhaps your dream is to own a multimillion-dollar company that requires 100’s of thousands of dollars in start-up capital.  Maybe your first step is to begin with a 500 dollar start-up and work to see if you can recoup your investment.  Learn the big lessons while the risk is small, then move on to more significant risks with the potential for more substantial rewards once you have experienced success.


If you are stuck in the same old patterns and need to keep yourself on track with better management, ADHD coaching could be a path to explore.  Consider scheduling a complimentary introductory meeting with me or any of the other coaches at the Center for Living Well with ADHD. Let’s get acquainted, understand your needs, and explore how ADHD Coaching may help you experience more of the life you are meant to have.

Nate Hooper

Nate Hooper, CALC

ADHD Coach and Life Coach, Executive Skills Coach

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