Virtual Assistants for ADHD Entrepreneurs

ADHD, Entrepreneurs, and Virtual Assistants

How can virtual assistants help ADHD entrepreneurs and others?

 As I gear up to offer in-person workshops and webinars, it’s become clear: I need some help. But what kind of help? The tasks are myriad and sporadic. Then a friend mentioned, “Find a Virtual Assistant.”

After researching a bit, I concluded working with a VA  would not only be a good idea for me, it also would be just the ticket for many of my friends who have ADHD—especially entrepreneurs.

Then, a friend introduced me to a VA who happens to specialize in working with clients who have ADHD. I asked him to write a brief explanatory piece about how it works. He kindly agreed.

—Gina Pera

By Richard A. Green

Meet Marie. She’s a whiz in the kitchen! A few years ago, she even invented a new kitchen gadget and started a business to sell that along with her unique recipes.

As a person with ADHD, however, this solo entrepreneur struggles with:

  • Getting organized
  • Focusing
  • Starting tasks
  • Completing tasks
  • Being on time
  • Prioritizing tasks

For several months, Marie tried to run her entire business herself. In a short time, she found herself always late shipping orders and responding to customer inquiries.  As a result, she was losing orders and becoming increasingly overwhelmed. This stress served only to increase the severity of her ADHD symptoms—and make her wonder why she got into this mess in the first place! Her business was on the brink of bankruptcy when she hired a Virtual Assistant, or VA.

Virtual Assistants for ADHD

What Is A Virtual Assistant?

More than 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first five years. For entrepreneurs to be successful, they must pay close attention to their business. That means being organized, managing time well, and minding the details.

Yet, people with ADHD tend to struggle with activities they find uninteresting or repetitively monotonous. Consequently, they are tempted to place those tasks on the back burner.

To maximize their potential, it’s in the best interest of entrepreneurs with ADHD to focus on what they do best and leave the rest of the work to a support team. Yet, how do you have a team when you are a “solo-preneur”?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) can be an ideal resource to provide support to entrepreneurs.  Simply defined, a virtual assistant is a person who works remotely from their own home office to provide professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients.

A VA can perform tasks that:

  • the entrepreneur doesn’t like to perform (or doesn’t have the time!)
  • the entrepreneur knows must be done but don’t get around to

A VA can also provide accountability for entrepreneurs—in whichever way they prefer—to ensure important deadlines are met. For example, one person might want daily check-ins via email. Another might want verbal reminders at the end of each day: “This is due tomorrow; how are you doing with it”? Another might want a daily To-Do List reminder sent via email.

How a Virtual Assistant Helped Marie

To bring order to her chaos, Marie hired a Virtual Assistant to do the following tasks for her:

  • Process and ship orders
  • Respond to customer inquiries within 24 hours
  • Purchase product components and related accessories
  • Manage the offsite assembly team
  • Manage company finances (using QuickBooks)
  • Update her website as needed
  • Create, edit, and schedule the monthly e-newsletter
  • Manage her social media accounts

By taking the above tasks off her plate, Marie was able to:

  • Restore order to her business
  • Run her business efficiently
  • Increase sales
  • Have more time to focus on her true passion (creating recipes and experimenting with new kitchen gadgets)
  • Have a better life—more time to spend with family and friends and more free time for herself
  • Reduce stress
  • Have peace of mind that her business was being run professionally

If it takes an entrepreneur with ADHD 3 hours to do a task, it may take a VA considerably less time (perhaps 45 minutes) to do the same task. Why? Because the entrepreneur might spend most of that time distracting herself from the task at hand, procrastinating, and so forth.

Marie makes more money by delegating to her VA the tasks she does not want to do and focusing on the activities that fueled her business.  Even after the VA is paid, Marie is still ahead financially. Bonus: She doesn’t have to do the tasks she doesn’t want to do.

Virtual Assistants for ADHD

Other Benefits of Working With a VA

  • No need to provide office supplies, equipment, and space
  • Virtual Assistants pay their own taxes and benefits
  • No need for ongoing training of administration staff
  • No need to advertise for and interview administration staff
  • Fewer costs associated with projects – pay for time used only
  • Fresh ideas and perspectives on management for your business
  • Partnering with a professional whose success is based on your success

The Task of Delegation

It takes a bit of work to get to the point of effectively hiring a VA. It’s critical to understand exactly what you want to delegate and be able to communicate that clearly. That is a challenge for entrepreneurs in general.  It is more so for many people with ADHD.

Here’s an easy way to determine which tasks you can delegate:

  • Make a list of all of the tasks you perform in your business.
  • From that list cross off all of the tasks only you can do—typically, those tasks related to income-producing activities and growing your business.
  • What’s left on your list are the tasks you can delegate to a Virtual Assistant.

Virtual Assistants for ADHD

Summary

Virtual assistants are a great way to ease the workload of many busy professionals. They can help to keep things moving and reduce the stress of running a business while it grows. Freed-up time can be used in areas of the entrepreneur’s strengths.

If you’re an entrepreneur with ADHD, imagine how your personal life and business could be improved by hiring a VA. Wouldn’t it be a great relief not being bogged down with the tedious tasks that come with running a small business?

Are you ready to reap the benefits a Virtual Assistant can provide?  If so, you can find plenty of sources online by searching for “virtual assistant”.  You can also read this comprehensive guide from Thinkrific: How to Hire a Virtual Assistant.

Richard Green brings 30 years of operations management experience to working with entrepreneurs and small business owners who have ADHD.  

UPDATE:  Richard tells me he has recently changed his work situation, and he is no longer offering his services as a VA.  If you have resources that can help ADHD Roller Coaster readers identify a VA to help their business needs, please let me know.  Thanks, Gina

 

7 thoughts on “Virtual Assistants for ADHD Entrepreneurs”

  1. Thanks so much for this article! I have a college age son who has ADHD and this would be really helpful! He does not want his mother helping him anymore and it makes him feel like a baby that I do have to help him. I’ve been reading about VAs and also looking on Upwork for some help. How do I structure this job? I know that it would take more hours in the beginning to get him organized but what should we expect as hours per week, boundaries and privacy issues, time zone differences? How do I set this up? Thanks again, Lynette

    1. Hi Lynette,

      Sounds like a great idea to me.

      I can’t advise you on how to structure this. I think it would be important to speak with your son first to get an idea of where and how he struggles. Then try to find a VA who does that. I bet there are directories that sort by specialties.

      When you present it to him, call it an Executive Assistant. Might go over better. 😉

      Good luck!
      g

  2. I’m just starting out as a freelancer. Trying to build my business. I am doing some VA type work, rather than writing. I want to do more of that as well. I’d like to continue to keep a balance between my work life and my home life, even though they’re in the same location.

    Very nice piece. I hope to see something that tells us more about becoming a virtual assistant as well.

  3. The list suggestions are great. It helps me to feel a bit closer to having things “gel together”” (my term for a long term process of getting to the “eureka, I think I might understand it now” moment of most everything new or different. This involves the long drawn out battle with responding to the ready to act, ready to learn, ready to remember at the same time all the time impulses and non impulses. I still wonder if there is anything for me to assure myself of continuing to adapt so that I can always be able to be willing to do whatever I’m doing for a reasonably long period of time.

    In short, people say “what do you like to do and/or what do you want to do”, followed by “only you can know what you want to do?
    An obvious matter of fact rational question, that grieves me to no end. It boils down to, “what can I do that will help me connect positively with others and maybe, despite my reservations, more importantly, positively connect me with myself”. Is their an app. or VA for the very beginning , almost child like understanding of a non-constant, in some significant ways (only AS COMPARED TO OTHERS), self.

    I want to get to the point where I feel “a sense of control of self understanding” , where I can make the contact with a VA, and not fall into a virtual “idea” pit, before I even take the first step.

    I love this post and the idea for a virtual assistant. I feel I still have some work to do to get to this point.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Paul.

      Hope you are well,
      g
      P.S. I received your e-mail and will respond shortly! It’s been busy lately.

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