#114: Building a Successful Business with ADHD, with Courtney Chaal

Today’s guest is Courtney Chaal. Courtney is an American now living in Vancouver in Canada.

Courtney helps creatives, coaches and consultants stop being broke and start getting more clients by creating an irresistible service that they can eventually turn into a scalable offer. End goal? Freedom!

Courtney is a copywriter turned business coach obsessed with making complex concepts (like business models and sales copy) simple and tangible to help regular people get big results.

Over the past 10 years, her business has evolved from her writing custom proposals to now launching digital products and programs, including her high-ticket coaching program, called Yay for 100K.

Courtney was diagnosed in July 2020 with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). Before her diagnosis, she was struggling with managing her business: “I was dropping a lot of balls; I thought I was really organized and I just kept forgetting things. I was struggling with feeling like I should be more on top of things than I was.”

Some ways ADHD manifested in Courtney was that her house was messy, she would forget things—one time, she bought two plane tickets to the same conference.

When her mom first suggested she might have ADHD in 2020, Courtney first took a short online quiz, which found she had a high correlation with ADHD.

Once she was formally diagnosed, she said, “I never felt so validated in my entire life. … I thought I had 100 different small problems and what this showed me was that every single thing I was struggling with in my life was one thing.”

Melanie shares that her husband also has ADHD and was only diagnosed a few years ago in his 40s.

Courtney believes the name of ADHD is misleading because people with ADHD don’t often have a lack of attention; they have a lack of control over where their attention goes. In fact, people with ADHD often hyper-focus on something they are interested in at the moment, forgetting many other responsibilities.

Courtney also doesn’t like the word “disorder.” Her ADHD is just a neutral quality of how her brain functions, with both pros and cons.

As Courtney explains, an ADHD brain is wired for interest over importance. Until something becomes an emergency, it’s not important for ADHDers to deal with.

Courtney long knew there were certain things she wasn’t good at in her business—following through, organization—but her diagnosis allowed her to let go of trying to be good at those things. It gave her permission to hire a full-time operations manager.

ADHD has both negatives and positives. Courtney sees her ADHD as her superpower. If she didn’t have ADHD, she would also be giving up her creativity, her out-of-the-box thinking, her problem-solving, her big picture thinking skills, her humor and being quick on her feet. No one person gets to have all the good qualities and none of the challenges.

Instead of developing “coping” strategies, Courtney lets go of other people’s strategies. For example, she tries not to buy the planners at the beginning of the year because she knows that she won’t use a planner.

Outsourcing has helped her tremendously with areas of friction. She outsources her laundry, orders groceries online, hires a cleaning person and uses meal prep services.

You can also find smaller, simpler strategies to help in areas of friction for you. For example, whenever Courtney prepares to leave the house, she always says the mantra “wallet, keys, phone,” so she can be sure not to forget one of those things. She also recently had keyless entry installed on her apartment. She also hates hanging up coats on hangars, so she makes sure to have hooks instead, which she’ll use, and that they’re in the right place.

Biz Bite: Do a brain dump: When you fall into an overwhelming “pit of despair,” stop and write down everything swirling in your brain that you have to get done.

Resources:

CourtneyChaal.com

Courtney on Instagram

Courtney on Twitter

Courtney’s Rebel Productivity Facebook group

A Guide to ADHD

ADDitude magazine

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