ADHD may drive people toward entrepreneurship, but ADHD is not a particular advantage.
A smart person with ADHD is often driven toward entrepreneurship because s/he is:
- good at identifying opportunities (associative thinking)
- willing to pursue opportunities (energy and curiosity)
- willing to take risks (risk-tolerance, need for stimulation, impulsivity)
- incapable or unwilling to fit into someone else’s corporate structure.
Put these four together, and you have someone who is 100 percent ready to leap into self-employment (i.e., as a solo practitioner) and possibly ready to leap into entrepreneurship (i.e., as a business-builder who employs others).
That said, the challenges of “organization, planning, structuring, and execution” are not at all natural strengths to someone with ADHD (especially if you interpret “execution” as something like, say, “thoroughness”). The person with ADHD will need to develop enough capacity in these areas either through effort (and lots of it) or through partnering with (or employing) others who are strong in these areas.
A smart person with ADHD may do OK as a solo practitioner or entrepreneur through effort+luck. But the ADHD isn’t helpful everywhere.
P.s. there are many other double-edged traits that are common to entrepreneurs. Tom Chappell (of Tom’s of Maine) has some useful words about ego, which I’ve blogged about here: Entrepreneurial Ego. Tom Chappell
I wrote this post in reply to a question on Quora. See here for more answers: