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Entrepreneurship and ADHD (continued)
In this episode, we finish our epic 2-parter with Jen Dzuira of Get Bullish! She’ll tell you a funny ADHD un-diagnosis story and we’ll talk a little about BullCon (where I will be speaking next month!)
For a limited time, AWA listeners will receive 10% off at the Bullish Shop (one of my favorite online stores ever – seriously). To take advantage of this deal, visit shop.getbullish.com and use the code ADHDPODCAST at check-out. Offer expires at midnight on 3/17 and a minimum purchase of $25 is required.
On April 9-10, Jen will be hosting the 7th annual BullCon in Virgina Beach. The conference for career-focused feminists was incredibly helpful for me last year, and I’m excited to be speaking at this one! Learn more at bullishconference.com.
Where to folllow Jen:
Until next time, Happy Adulting!
Anyway, so MVP, the thing that I talk about a lot, and I don’t think I even knew about the MVP methodology when I was starting my eCommerce business, but what kind of happened here was, you know, I founded the Bullish conference. I’m still working in test prep, still doing other things, but, which was, you know, a little bit of a labor of love at that point. At the second bullish conference said, you know, wouldn’t it be cool if we launched a little store? And so at that conference I announced it like, Hey, we have a store now. Everybody gets like a, you know, discount code, you know, here’s a thing. And I mean that store had five products in it, you know, it was like, here’s a teacher and here’s a tote bag. It was cute. Um, and, but it was just, you know, of all the things that I did, some conferences are very hard to run profitably.
You know, even a conference that you went to, it looked great. You had a great time, you know, like you feel like you paid enough for a ticket. Like this audit work, like the costs are huge and the time is huge. So it’s a very, it’s not a good way to make money, but you know, selling products is a little bit of an easier way to make money, although it’s probably a lot more infrastructure than a lot of listeners here are interested in, Hey, we need sort of something to suited my personality a lot. And so I just went with what works, you know, like my business has enough aspects that, you know, I’m doing like digital products and intangibles and I’m also doing physical products and I’m doing events, I’m doing all of these things and sometimes I give speeches, you know, so there are these aspects of the business where whatever works I can focus on it more or just whatever I’m a little more interested in, I can focus on that more. So I never get bored. And I also just like e-commerce, like the fact of having huge numbers of products, you know, like dealing with a lot of data instead of relationships.
I really enjoy that today. I think that’s my story.
Yeah. Yeah, that is amazing. A lot of our listeners are going to appreciate a lot of facets of that. So it’s, it’s you’ve created your own career based on your personality type and you’ve made that adapt to you instead of trying to force yourself into these other traditional boxes, which I think our listeners are really gonna love to hear that, you know, this can be done and you can do this. And that’s really awesome. You said you had a story about a, about ADHD. Do you want to share your story about the time you went?
So when I was running my first company, my web development company, there was this period where I was just absolutely convinced that I had ADHD and you know, and I’m not an expert on this condition by any means. So maybe my idea of what would send me to a doctor to find this out is not accurate. But you know, I’m sitting there on my computer with a to do list that had, I was a list maker at that time. I just had these lists of thousands of items. It was just absurd. I deal with a lot of that. I put a lot of my, I do list ideas instead of just making an enormous lists. I have lists of FYI, but it’s not a to do list. It’s just FYI. And I have another list of like on deck, you know, like we’re not even starting this yet, but here’s an idea for some, you know, that we’re not even, it’s not even in the queue yet.
I’m on a checklist, I have an FYI list. So I shuffle these things over. So like if it’s not a real to do, it’s just a thing I want to write down and they have different lists now. But anyway, so I had at that point, not figured that out yet. And so I had these lists of literally, you know, two or 3000 things to do and I would just spend time shuffling them around and organizing them stupid. And then I would be like, Oh, I can’t afford someone to do all these things for me. I just though I could hire someone who would do 2,990 or even makes sense. And you don’t live your life for a long time. I was hampered by that idea. I was like, well my business isn’t successful enough to hire someone to do these things. So therefore it’s like a catch 22 like I can’t do the things to get the money cause I don’t have the money to get some of the dudes, some of these things.
And when I actually got around to like when I was actually able to hire somebody, so in like in the, you know, around the time that I found founded the bullish conference, I had a virtual assistant who was working for me, you know, 15, 20 hours a week. Maybe I would give her a test to do and they would take much longer than not that there was any problem with her. She was very efficient, much more efficient than me, but I’m still a different test. I’d get her invoice later and I’m like, you said three hours on that, you know, a lot of my money, I’m paying to get this thing done. It wasn’t that important. And then I was like, Oh, like it wasn’t that important, you know, like just paid $60 I just paid $60 to get this task done and it was not worth $60 so like why was it on my list in the first place?
So yeah, but I didn’t know any of that back when I’m running my company and I have a 5,000 item to do list and I can’t focus on anything because what the hell would you focus on? And also nothing was working so I should’ve just stopped and like done a, you know, run a different kind of business, like actually talks to people and found out what they wanted, which was not what I was offering. Lots of problems I now know the solutions to, but this is why I know the solutions. So anyway, I was miserable. I was sure that I had ADHD and I had no health insurance and so I didn’t do anything about it. And finally, you know, 15 freaking years later, you know, now I have all the health insurance I need, you know, like you just, you know, it’s sort of like the people who are getting like, you know, like when you, when you get all these ads to open an account at a new bank and they’re like, Oh, $200 free. And then you look at the fine print and it’s like if you make a $10,000 deposit, the people getting to $200 deposit are not the people who need a $200 deposit, you know?
Anyway, so when I needed the health insurance, it was not there. And then when I feel fine and I’m like, you know, 30 whatever, it’s like, Oh, health insurance, maybe I should check this out. So I get a referral to a doctor who diagnosis people with ADHD and she tells me within 45 seconds, but I don’t have it. I mean, maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe it was seven minutes, but it was like a very brief period of time. And I think that, I dunno, I mean I really am confused about what happened there, but she was not a crackpot. She was a well-respected doctor. So I’m just gonna leave it alone. I feel like knowing something like that about myself at this stage in life would not help me because my life is pretty much tailored to the way that I am. So yeah. Now that I know now that you know, like I’m more aware of this. I feel like if my kids had similar, I had two daughters who are currently three and five, so if they had similar problems I would take them to a doctor much sooner obviously.
Yeah. And our community actually talks about that a lot about the labeling part. Like when we do something, was that the ADHD or was that Sarah and you know if you have it or not or if you have the official diagnosis and so,
well you can take anybody who is not, you know, people who have no diagnosis and you could put them in a situation that would cause them to have characteristics we associate with ADHD, you know? Right. So people in a situation where they don’t know what to do and they can’t succeed. It’s like you’re going to see certain types of behaviors.
We have a name for technology induced ADHD. I haven’t heard of that. Yeah, you might come across it with your daughters cause um, I think there’s a lot of talk about it in the, uh, child psychology arena. But it’s like there’s an actual, like it’s not ADHD as we know it, but it’s kind of like induced by all these electronic devices. And so you can certainly have that experience without the official traditional pathology. So, yeah. Cool.
Oh no, I was gonna say, so one of the things about being a business owner that I think is really relevant to this kind of personality is that people tell you you’re supposed to have a goal, right? And you’re supposed to break down all the steps of that goal and you’re supposed to like move in a linear manner towards that goal and you’re going to hustle. That’s what hustle means. Hustle is like move in a linear manner towards really. So I’m not sure that I really have goals exactly. And that’s a weird thing to say maybe for somebody in my position. But you know I like not having goals. I think that that’s a powerful position. Like I don’t need to have a goal. My business is running fairly well. I mean things can always get around a million friends, but that’s what I do all day so I can go to work on any given day.
I actually love to have an empty calendar. Like that’s what I want. I want nothing on there and I want most of the work I do to be helping other people do their work. So right now I have two part time people who work in the office and I have two virtual assistants and I have a marketing person so I have like five people that I’m delegating to. I don’t have any full time employees. That’s a lot of responsibility and also none of work at nine in the morning. Literally no one in this company is in there in the office at nine in the morning. The ups man is like what is this? A real company like? Yes, absolutely. No one will be here before 11. So I mean, my, uh, my, the number one person who works in my warehouse, she’s actually, she’s a model and she goes to castings.
We’re in New York. And so she just like, she actually, she’ll log in from her house and say, Oh, like there are 47 packages to ship. That’s actually not that many for her. So she’ll say, Oh, there are 47 packages to ship. I have a casting call at nine in the morning, so I’ll get into the office by one, you know, two o’clock, whatever. And she’ll ship the packages and be able to get them out by five. And uh, so during the holidays I get extra help and whatever. But anyway, so like she’s very, very flexible as well. The whole thing’s like very flexible. It was just a great thing with a business where you’re not like running a juice bar where someone has to be standing there when that store opens, you know, like this is kind of work that needs to be done. You know, it needs to be done everyday by five o’clock.
But there’s a lot of flexibility there. So sometimes you know, some of us, you know, I or she will come in the night for and like catch up on a bunch of things. So there’s not that much work during the day. So very flexible. But what I was saying with the types of work is that, you know, if I am doing my, if I’m kind of running things well, meaning that I am correctly delegating to other people, then you know, when I wake up in the morning, there’s nothing on my calendar and I look at all the things that I could do and I kind of pick what I want to focus on. And you know, it’s not, it’s not always the case, but it’s the case enough that I feel satisfied with that they can look at my calendar for the week and be like, well, Thursday’s going to suck.
But these other days, you know, I’m going to go to the office or maybe work from home and I’m going to pick like, am I going to focus on e-commerce? You know, am I going to focus on the conference? Am I going to write smarter? Like I get to pick those things and that is really satisfying to me. I also have, I mean, just in terms of like why I don’t tend to work well in normal jobs, which I have not had for a long time. I cannot handle like at all being told where to sit. It offends me so deeply. Like I mean on an airplane, fine, I’ll handle it like a comedy club. It’s supposed to be fun and they tell you where to sit and it’s too close to other people and they just like, they tell you where to say it and you cannot get to the bathroom without being made fun of.
So I used to be, have you been to a comedy club? They make you sit. Yeah, they pack the people in really tight and, and you know, and then if you like, usually because there’s this, there’s someone performing on stage and there’s not really like a good, there’s not like an intermission. You’re not at the opera, you know? So if you want to get up to go to the bathroom or leave because you’re offended, I’m usually the person on stage. We’ll make fun of you. Yeah. Sometimes it’s offhanded and sometimes it’s not. Anyway, so like the whole idea of like being told where to sit I find difficult and offensive. And so, yeah, I mean like my workspace needs to be physically accommodating of my needs, which means I have a space. Some offices prohibit space eaters. I play Cedar and 42 plants in my office.
Wow. Yeah, I think it’s 42 yeah. And so, you know, that’s a nice thing for me. I also have like a humidifier enormous humidifier. So basically I am a plan, so like sort of climactic Lee, I am basically a Palm tree. I would like a humidifier and a space heater at the same time pointed at me at all times and also a lot of sunlight. I am a Palm tree anyway, so being able to accommodate that, you know, is, I mean I feel like that’s not a very insightful thing to say. Like I love having a nice office. Like it’s really great. Of course it is. No, like that’s not helpful to anyone. But I think the thing that is nice is when you create the thing that might be a little more helpful to other people. It’s like when you first started business, it’s really hard to delegate anything because every task is unique [inaudible] and you know you’re trying to delegate things but you just have to explain them so long that you might as well do them yourself and it doesn’t seem productive.
So the idea of creating a business as opposed to just kind of being self employed is to create processes that are the same each time. So if what you’re providing is a service, you don’t want to be reinventing the wheel all the time. Like you don’t want a business. It’s like yeah we do everything in our, you know, like we make websites but we also maintain websites and we also do online advertising campaigns and we also designed logos and like everything is a different price based on what we talk about. You’re just setting yourself up for so much like metalwork that you don’t get paid for. So you want to have clearly defined options for what you sell and processes. So you know, some of this you, even as a solo coroner, like you can do yourself by having like Google canned responses, there’s a, the canned responses extension for Gmail where you can write templated responses.
So if somebody comes in and says, Hey, you know, I’m looking for a logo, then you just have an auto-reply that’s like, cool, can you answer these 12 questions, give people 12 questions. If they’re not serious, they’ll go away. Here’s 12 questions and then just like be up front about the price, you know, or the pricing structure. Say, you know, like our local design, you know, it ranges from, you know, 1000 to $3,000, you know, based on whatever. And uh, you know, if this works for you, fill out this form with the 12 questions, you know, something like that, that actually does get rid of people who aren’t serious. And it takes you one second to respond in that way. So that’s one way you can systematize even by yourself. But if you have other people working with you, you need to get in a position where you know what other people are doing for you, you know, is consistent and replicable.
There’s something called an SOP or standard operating procedure that could be a document, could be a video. But basically it’s you writing up the steps for somebody else really clearly. And then you know, once you’ve written up steps you can hand over that task. So a good example of that is like a customer service. If you have a business that has customer service, that might mean you know, three people a day on average, email you with a problem with, you know, say you have an online course, let’s use a new example. So you have an online course, an online course on succeeding with ADHD. How many people a day are emailing you with problems? So you don’t want to like say you would like to actually not do that yourself. So you want to have your virtual assistant answer those emails. Well, you know, if you just say, Hey, answer these emails, your virtual assistant is going to email you like all the time and be like, well, what should I do about this person?
This person’s problem is weird. What should I do about this person? So what do you want to do is make standard operating procedures, making a very list of rules. So like if the person can’t log in, okay, here’s how you fix that. If the person hates it and wants a refund, we just give them a refund. You gotta like think of some rules so that when this happens, you know, check this. If this is the case, do this like a flow chart. If this is the case, do that. So whatever you’re asking someone to do is replicatable. And even if you can’t afford to hire somebody and doing that for yourself is very helpful.
Yeah. So I was just about to say, I just started writing some recipes for a VA, been able to streamline my own process because it’s like, it goes back to that $60 thing. I’m going to pay someone 60 bucks to do all this ridiculous stuff and it’s like
it’s not where 60 bucks. Right. So what does not be done? Yeah, absolutely.
Oh that’s awesome. So where can people find you to keep up with you? Or are you on the socials?
I’m on all the socials. So at get to bullish that’s @getbullish or get bullish.com everywhere. The name bullish, by the way, it started because around the time that I was founding bullish, I was living in near wall street near the wall street bull. You don’t have to name a sculptor. It was also around the time of the financial crisis in like 2008 yeah, it was always a little after that and I was just laughing at the idea that this like snorting masculine bull but its big golden balls. It was like the symbol of our economy, symbol of business success. I’m like well how’s that working out for yet? People who visit the sculpture, they always rubbed the balls. Like they literally, everyone’s taking pictures. It’s just the back ends, like the back of the ball, like everyone’s posing around this button, they’re rubbing the bullet, they’re rubbing the balls.
Like the balls are like shiny, they’re really shiny cause they get rubbed most of any part of the bolts and people get pictures of the front. But the back is more popular. So I’m looking at this bull and I’m like this is absurd. Like there’s nothing about business success that involves like charging people and starting at them. This is a silly symbol. And so the, the logo of bullish, it’s a bull with a unicorn horn and it’s like a rainbow colored bull with a unicorn horn. It’s whatever gender it wants to be. So that’s a bullet cord. That’s, that’s the deal. People should join us at this conference. So why don’t you, I’m sorry, go ahead. I was going to say, you will be speaking at the conference and that’s very exciting and I cannot wait for it and maybe you would like to say something about that.
So yeah, my line of work is digital marketing. And so we’ve been talking a lot about just balancing all the things and how you can totally make something a lot more complicated than it needs to be. And so everything I’ve learned about managing my ADHD, I have also been able to apply it to digital marketing. And so this became a thing and I kept getting clients that were just so overwhelmed with their digital marketing strategies and just so I don’t know what to do. Should I do this? Should I do that? Cause there’s so many platforms now and I jokingly started referring to myself as like a therapist for digital marketing and helping people, you know, these internal crises they were having. There were just so many parallels between managing my ADHD and managing digital marketing strategies that that’s how I came up with my topic, which is digital marketing, finding focus in a shiny object world because there are just so many options out there. Not just the digital marketing, but just life in general that you can just be paralyzed by how much choice you have.
Oh, I did not know all of that story. That is fantastic. The conference is April nine to 10 2020 in Virginia Beach.
Yeah. And you all should go if you get a chance. I’m y’all. I, I’m letting my Texas out right now. Y’all come out now. I went to my first one last year in Palm Springs and I did a travel episode last year and that was the trip I was on. I was at [inaudible] and Palm Springs and it is just unreal. It is so amazing. I’ve been to a lot of different conferences, a lot of marketing conferences and this is just, it’s been the best conference I’ve been to. And so it’s exciting to be able to not only go again this year, but I’m actually speaking, it’s, it’s like very awesome to be speaking at my favorite conference.
Well, I was so happy to get your proposal, so I’m so glad that we’re doing this. So I will see you in person and thank you so much for having me.
Yes, thank you Jen.