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.
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
- 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.
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.
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 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
30 thoughts on “Virtual Assistants for ADHD Entrepreneurs”
Hi I am UK based and work with Neurodiverse Entrepreneurs, we work together to establish executive functioning strategies, goal setting along with accountability. I also provide more generalist admin and operational support.
Hi all! ADHD’er in a professional role, looking for a VA to help navigate the devil living in all my ignored details! Trying to find someone in the Australian timezones – any recommendations?
Hi Brittany – I’m a VA based in Melbourne and about to pivot to specialising in ADHD entrepreneurs! Would love to chat more – you can reach out anytime at hello (at) polkadotadmin.com 🙂
Just checking to see if there is a directory for virtual assistants who understand the struggles ADHD-ers face?
Hi all! Anyone have names of people who are available?
this is new: http://www.adhdvirtualassistants.com
Just to let you know I am a VA working for Wired Differently and we offer VA services dedicated to Neurodivergent Entrepeneurs, Leaders and Small Business Owners. https://www.wireddifferently.co.uk/Virtual-Assistant-Service.php
I am actually just starting my VA business and one of my main “niches” that I want to focus on is precisely this…ADHD entrepreneurs.
Why? Because I have developed and launched from scratch 6 successful businesses over the last 23 years, including online and brick/mortar and, yes, I have ADHD.
I know intimately how an entrepreneur with ADHD gets overwhelmed and ends up suffering, either with decision paralysis, their personal life suffers and/or their business suffers because they try to be all the things to all the people all the time and I KNOW how hard it is to give up a portion and delegate. Yea, been there, done that. Eventually, you lose the love you had for the business you started (let’s be real, answering emails constantly doesn’t fill up the dopamine centers). I want to help others avoid that. It’s exactly what I personally love to do. Helping others with their businesses.
I understand how our minds work. I am a whiz at bouncing ideas off of and helping others with ADHD organize. I understand our minds, how they work and don’t work.
I would love to be considered as VA referral, as a person with experience and knowledge of ADHD entrepreneurs. I know where my mistakes were and each business I learned more and got so much better.
Currently working on my website (website will be virtuallysummer.com), but I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a personal/administrative assistant specializing in working with entrepreneurs and small business owners who have ADHD. I have five years of professional experience in this role in addition to two decades of experience helping family members and friends with ADHD.
Please feel free to direct inquiries my way. I am happy to provide a resume and references.
Great. If readers write to ask me for a VA contact, I’ll steer them to you.
Meanwhile, here is a link to your website. https://www.ellensoffice.com/
Thank you, Gina.
I know this article is old now but I’m a VA/Operations Expert who specializes in working with people with ADHD. I didn’t realise it for years but I seem to have a natural pull towards ADHDers. My husband, former boss, friends and clients all have it and I have adapted my processes to work with them all. I have helped clients with their business and their home life and I specialize in creating systems with plan bs, cs and ds! If anyone is looking for support, my updated website will be live soon and I’d love to bring some order to the chaos.
Good for you, Michele. Let me know when your site is up.
I have ADHD and I am looking to start a business and need a lot of help with my home life so I would like more information about your services please.
Michele, how would I get in touch with you? This is exactly what I’m looking for. Or Gina, since you likely have both of our contacts, perhaps you could link us up, and avoid us having to share any contact info in public.
HI Daniel, I’ll see what I can do.
I have been wanting to find and assistant who enjoys supporting the ambitious adhd creative entrepreneur type — if you see this, please contact me: info (at) luministas (dot) com
Would be specifically helpful as I’m gearing up to open a program that bridges assertiveness and productivity for ambitious women entrepreneurs/professional with adhd ❤️ So exciting projects ahead 🙂
Hi Michel, I am thinking of hiring a virtual assistant- I freelance and am often late paying bills etc. How do I get in touch with you?
Did you set your business up?
If Michele isn’t up and running, feel free to contact me.
I am an administrative assistant specializing in working with entrepreneurs and small business owners who have ADHD. I have over five years of professional experience in this role in addition to two decades of experience helping family members and friends with ADHD.
I just stumbled upon this post. I know it is about a year old; wondering if you can provide your website? I found this site this evening once I realized how incredibly helpful a VA can be for me. I have had ADHD most of my life, but very intelligent and accomplished if I can get past the (at time s) impossible symptoms. Currently, I have a pleathora of incredibly important, time sensitive tasks to dig into. I know I need to get it all done and my brain simply will not let me. I cannot have my ADHD stop me from being as successful as I know I can. Desperately can you use the help, more importantly help from someone who seemingly understands the deficit. – I cannot believe I did not think of an assistant years ago.
Thanks for reading. Hope to hear from you soon!
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
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. 😉
I specialize in providing virtual assistant services to people with ADHD, primarily professionals and business owners.
You can reach me at email@example.com and I’d be glad to help! ADHDTagTeam.com
Thanks for sharing such a great information with us.
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.
I’m glad you found the piece helpful.
A post on how to be a virtual assistant falls a little outside my blog’s scope, but there seems to be no shortage of helpful articles. Here’s one to get you started:
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.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Paul.
Hope you are well,
P.S. I received your e-mail and will respond shortly! It’s been busy lately.