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Old 08-23-12, 08:16 PM
mADD mike mADD mike is offline
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Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

My wife (LostInTheStars on here) and I haven't posted here in a long time. I spent a good couple of years of my life on here every day, posting to help others and reading/asking questions to help myself and my wife. ADD, depression, anxiety issues, all that jazz. I pretty much left here because I had other things to take care of offline and found some negativity here to be discouraging.

One of the biggest things I needed to take care of was tax debt. We racked up $50,000 in back taxes in our cleaning business. My wife and I work together every day, and have been self-employed now for 12 years. I had posted a long time ago about "scary finances" (I looked it up to see what I wrote 3 years ago), when the state taxes that we owed were forcibly taken from our bank account. We eventually paid them $4000 to catch up back taxes from the state.

So, here we sat with $50k in tax debt to the IRS, which is what our bill was up to in April of 2011. I had tried all kinds of things to get out from under it, and nothing worked. Finally I told my wife that we were about to go to debtors prison, even though there is no such thing, and that we had to go do some hard time, so to speak, in order to get out of this. So, we cleaned the houses that we normally cleaned, but we added a bunch more. We took every job that came our way. We detailed cars. We watched people's pets and house-sat when they went out of town. We pressure washed and sealed an aggregate concrete driveway for the first time ever. We washed windows. I added carpet cleaning to our repertoire.

Just last weekend, 17 months after starting the process, we paid $50,000 worth of back taxes. Not to mention that we kept up our quarterly taxes for the first time ever. We also cash flowed a $4000 heating and air system for our house when ours went out last summer and it was close to 100 degrees in our house.

My parents said we couldn't do it. My wife honestly wasn't sure that we could do it, especially not at the breakneck speed that I wanted it out of our life. Our friends thought we were crazy. Well, we did it.

At one point we worked 34 days straight, not only working 12-14 hours per day, but we house-sat 24 of those nights, so we were also living in client's homes and taking care of their pets. We worked 6-7 days a week pretty much this whole 17 months.

Why am I tell you this? Because all of my life, people have said that I can't do something. In fact, that negativity is what drove me away from here to some extent. We can't do this or can't do that because of ADD. Well, I'm telling you that you CAN do things that neither you nor other people may think that you can do. You might not be able to do it right away, and you may have to beat your head against the wall time and time again like I did until years later you find the key that gets you through that wall. For me, it was working in the often all or nothing way that my brain works. Once I harnessed the "all" side of it and focused on one thing and one thing only, we were able to get out of our mess and get our life back from the IRS.

So, keep trying whatever it is that you want to do. I've met many ADDers on the way in podcasts and such that have been successful, like Dan Miller of 48 Days and Joe Polish of I Love Marketing. They work with who they are, and their strengths, and they have done well for themselves. They inspired me to not worry so much about the ADD, but to just do what feels natural to me.

Many career or business coaches tell you to do one thing and focus on it. Been there, tried that, it doesn't work for me. But when I allowed myself to work with the normal scattered focus and need for change that I have, I was blessed. I loved adding new services to our house cleaning business, and that diversification allowed us to make more money with the clients that we already had, plus added new ones. Oh, and did I mention that I just recently launched my marketing business, which has been a dream of mine for years? Yep, I got into full workaholic mode and immersed myself in the little downtime that I had into learning the craft of marketing, because marketing is very stimulating and an ever-changing craft that stays pretty interesting. So now I have an outlet for my physical energy in cleaning, and one for my brain to chew on in marketing. All with no more debt, other than our house.

I personally feel that self-employment is the route to go for many with ADD. We killed a huge debt and made a bunch of money with no college degree, just hustle and drive. That's it. We have some flexibility in our business for those ADD moments, and it is all good. I truly hope that others might take the plunge and get out there and make a better life for themselves by going out on their own, and hope to inspire you to do so if that is something that vibes with you. I do realize that it isn't for every personality, but I think it holds some potentially huge benefits for those with ADD that can handle it.

I guess I'll stop writing now. I could write volumes. But if you get nothing else from this, please realize that although it might be harder at times for you, or it might just outright fail time and again, as long as you keep trying, things that you once thought you could never do can be done. Don't give up, don't be too hard on yourself, and realize that most successful people at whatever they do get there on a pile of temporary failures. They just keep trying. So when ADD gets you down, accept that but don't live in it, and realize that if you keep at it you may just find the winning combination for that one thing that has you so down. It only took me 10 years to figure it all out, but I did.
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Old 08-23-12, 08:35 PM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

Nice to read some encouraging experiences for a change . . .





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Old 08-23-12, 09:23 PM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

Hooraah!! Congratulations. I loved reading your post.

I also have got much better at running my brain in the last six years and am on the threshold of taking my family out of debt.

I invested in myself, marketed my transferable skills across 2 industries and landed myself a combo of two p/time jobs that fit well with my leanings (and 2 great bosses).

So even though I'm not self employed (as you are), I've had people suggest I am so good at what I do that I should set it up as a small business and train others. I have people approach me all the time and have more available work than I need.

Your post was inspiring. Thank you!
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Old 08-24-12, 12:54 AM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

mADD Mike -- great story, great success. You tapped into your creativity!!!
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Old 08-24-12, 01:05 AM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

Your story let me be able to let out a big breath I had apparently been holding for a while.

Thanks.
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Old 08-24-12, 01:12 PM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

great to hear encouraging and positive news,its a victory for all of us because you've shown us the impossibly said nope cant do it can be done and was done YES!
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Old 08-24-12, 01:45 PM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

WoT....
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Old 08-25-12, 12:19 PM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

THAT IS AWESOME!
thanks for coming back here with great news!
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Old 08-25-12, 01:09 PM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mADD mike View Post
One of the biggest things I needed to take care of was tax debt. We racked up $50,000 in back taxes in our cleaning business. My wife and I work together every day, and have been self-employed now for 12 years. I had posted a long time ago about "scary finances" (I looked it up to see what I wrote 3 years ago), when the state taxes that we owed were forcibly taken from our bank account. We eventually paid them $4000 to catch up back taxes from the state.

My parents said we couldn't do it. My wife honestly wasn't sure that we could do it, especially not at the breakneck speed that I wanted it out of our life. Our friends thought we were crazy. Well, we did it.

.....We worked 6-7 days a week pretty much this whole 17 months.
Glad you decided to come back!!!

Paying off that debt (and keeping up with current taxes)must feel liberating! Especially in light of the fact that you were told you couldn't do it.

I can imagine your doc is highly impressed with all you've accomplished, too (I am assuming you told him/her, I know I WOULD HAVE!).

Quote:
..... Well, I'm telling you that you CAN do things that neither you nor other people may think that you can do. You might not be able to do it right away, and you may have to beat your head against the wall time and time again like I did until years later you find the key that gets you through that wall. For me, it was working in the often all or nothing way that my brain works. Once I harnessed the "all" side of it and focused on one thing and one thing only, we were able to get out of our mess and get our life back from the IRS.
Can you explain what you mean by harnessing the "all" side of how your brain works?


Quote:
Many career or business coaches tell you to do one thing and focus on it. Been there, tried that, it doesn't work for me. But when I allowed myself to work with the normal scattered focus and need for change that I have, I was blessed.
When you say "scattered focus" you mean just go from one project to another in typical ADHD fashion? I guess I'm having trouble visualizing this, since when I get scattered, I don't finish anything

I'm not scattered or have scattered focus when I take medication. Did you quit taking meds and/or find that you worked better without them?


Quote:
I personally feel that self-employment is the route to go for many with ADD. We killed a huge debt and made a bunch of money with no college degree, just hustle and drive. That's it. We have some flexibility in our business for those ADD moments, and it is all good. I truly hope that others might take the plunge and get out there and make a better life for themselves by going out on their own, and hope to inspire you to do so if that is something that vibes with you. I do realize that it isn't for every personality, but I think it holds some potentially huge benefits for those with ADD that can handle it.
I can agree with you about being self employed. It does allow for the flexibility that some of us need. Do you find it hard to stay regimented, organized and on task? How do you deal with that? I mean, you've accomplished a lot, but were there times that you had difficulty in these areas? I'd like to learn more about what you did to cope and manage this.

Quote:
I guess I'll stop writing now. I could write volumes. But if you get nothing else from this, please realize that although it might be harder at times for you, or it might just outright fail time and again, as long as you keep trying, things that you once thought you could never do can be done. Don't give up, don't be too hard on yourself, and realize that most successful people at whatever they do get there on a pile of temporary failures. They just keep trying. So when ADD gets you down, accept that but don't live in it, and realize that if you keep at it you may just find the winning combination for that one thing that has you so down. It only took me 10 years to figure it all out, but I did.
Congratulations on all of your accomplishments!!! It's always great to hear a success story
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Old 08-25-12, 07:00 PM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

Hi BR549,

Good questions. I'll post some answers below, and address things.

1. Can you explain what you mean by harnessing the "all" side of how your brain works?

Well, seeing as how I'm a perfectionist as well, I often get into black or white, all or nothing thinking, and that sometimes results in all or nothing actions. Kind of like how some people talk about ADD and say that there is now, and not now. I often find myself trying to do too many things at once, because I am a fixer, and I spend time trying to get in shape, pay off debt, build businesses, all kinds of things, and all at once. Once my wife and I talked and decided that we'd focus on the debt, to the exclusion of most other things in life, and we worked on it pretty much exclusively (though I couldn't resist throwing in diversions occasionally like trying to eat better and such), the debt went down. For years I kind of think that we played around with it, and it wasn't until we got fed up and scared that it would eventually overwhelm us that we found the focus to push everything else aside and concentrate on this one issue of life. My only fear is that later we let down and swing the pendulum over to the nothing side, and kind of spend carelessly. I don't think we will, as we have some systems in place now, but it has always been hard to remain consistent with anything. But we paid a heavy price for this, and learned how to handle money better, so I really don't think it will swing so far the other way now that we're done.

2. When you say "scattered focus" you mean just go from one project to another in typical ADHD fashion? I guess I'm having trouble visualizing this, since when I get scattered, I don't finish anything.

I'm not scattered or have scattered focus when I take medication. Did you quit taking meds and/or find that you worked better without them?

Although I'm scattered, and bounce from project to project, I find that once I allowed myself the freedom to bounce, I actually do finish things with more regularity. For years I fought against that, but this time I allowed myself to throw in some new things in our cleaning business while working on a variety of marketing projects on the side. I worked with who I am, and it worked better for me. As far as projects go, cleaning jobs are just things that we do daily anyway according to our schedule. So, like anyone else, we went to work and worked hard there. Then I got to come home and work on other things, and if I didn't finish those projects, I found that I could regain interest in them the next night, primarily because marketing is multi-faceted and very interesting to me.

And I don't take meds, so there was no change there.

3. Do you find it hard to stay regimented, organized and on task? How do you deal with that? I mean, you've accomplished a lot, but were there times that you had difficulty in these areas?

The beautiful thing about what we do on a daily basis in cleaning houses is that we don't have to stay on task at all times. If we want, we can get on our phones and check a website and take a break for a minute. Or, the day can be broken up with various stimulation like an email coming in. I listen to my mp3 player pretty much all day while cleaning, and pick things that interest me like podcasts and books that are more stimulating to my brain than music.

The more that we filled our days with work, the more pressure we found that it put on us to get to our first job at a certain time so that we could end around the time we planned on ending the last job of the day. Obviously, we didn't always start on time. Heck, one of the local bridges was closed all of this summer, and another was closed last year, both for major repairs, and both are major highways. So, that added further problem as far as getting to work at the time we wanted to. But we found that if we aimed at the time we wanted to arrive, or maybe a bit before, we would usually arrive close to on time and not too late. It wasn't perfect, but adding more work put more pressure on, and that definitely helped.

So, being self-employed, I had the freedom to allow myself to be somewhat distracted and not 100% regimented and disciplined.

Oh, and yes, there were indeed times where I'd get really frustrated with us for not getting up on time or for getting wrapped up in a project at home and not getting out the door in time. Then we'd buckle down for a bit, and things would go better, and then the cycle started again. I wasn't frustrated so much by not getting out the door in time, it happens, and I understand. But I was frustrated in knowing that we were making the day harder on ourselves when that happened, and that we'd have to work faster or push harder to stay on task for the rest of the day to make up for lost time.

I know that some of the issues I face with focus aren't always as hard as the next person's, and are probably more severe than some. Not everyone has kind of an obsessive coping mechanism like perfectionism which comes with some advantages and a lot of disadvantages as well. We all have different circumstances, and your mileage may vary, but there are certainly ways to get things done, and if we all keep trying, eventually we'll have victories here and there. For us, this was a big one. There are still plenty of things to work on in life, but having that weight gone is really nice.
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Old 08-25-12, 10:22 PM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

mADD mike,

I agree with you 100% about the self-employment issue. IF you can get it organized, it is WAY better than working for anyone else, because the "shoulds" are not "shoulds" but "musts." I MUST put my time in, because I MUST put bills out, or the bills don't get paid. Now, I was good about entering my time before, but it was a chore. Now it's much less a chore, because it's for ME, and no one else.

Makes a huge difference in how you feel about things.

I also gained a huge benefit from not having to answer to people who criticized me for my quirky work habits. I jump around from one thing to another sometimes. Other times I'm obsessively on one task until it's done. But I do that at odd hours consistent with how I work. There's nothing wrong with that so long as the client's needs are met. Taking away that external criticism did wonders to help me sleep, which has made me better at what I do.

We got ourselves basically out of debt (save our house) last year sometime. We weren't deep in debt before my former partners ran me out the door, but from 2008 to 2011, things were really lean. I cut every expense that could be cut for a long time...
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Old 08-27-12, 07:40 PM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

Please be mindful of the following forum guidelines when posting:

Quote:
*Please be respectful to one another. People come from all different backgrounds and many have different ideas and views on different issues.

*Treat your fellow members with courtesy (especially if you disagree with them).
http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15843
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Old 08-27-12, 08:55 PM
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy4957 View Post
mADD mike,

I agree with you 100% about the self-employment issue. IF you can get it organized, it is WAY better than working for anyone else, because the "shoulds" are not "shoulds" but "musts." I MUST put my time in, because I MUST put bills out, or the bills don't get paid. Now, I was good about entering my time before, but it was a chore. Now it's much less a chore, because it's for ME, and no one else.

Makes a huge difference in how you feel about things.

I also gained a huge benefit from not having to answer to people who criticized me for my quirky work habits. I jump around from one thing to another sometimes. Other times I'm obsessively on one task until it's done. But I do that at odd hours consistent with how I work. There's nothing wrong with that so long as the client's needs are met. Taking away that external criticism did wonders to help me sleep, which has made me better at what I do.

We got ourselves basically out of debt (save our house) last year sometime. We weren't deep in debt before my former partners ran me out the door, but from 2008 to 2011, things were really lean. I cut every expense that could be cut for a long time...
It's funny how those "musts" make such a big difference. That pressure really seems to push me past my distractions and hesitancy at times. When you're on your own, those "musts" are far more frequent in your daily life because the business will live or die based on your attention to those very things. I kind of feel like things are much more rewarding when you accomplish them in a self-employed role too, and that payoff helps keep the brain stimulated.

I think it is great that you can kind of work when you want as long as the work gets done. With house cleaning, you can't really do that quite so much, but there is some measure of flexibility. With the marketing that I'm doing though, I have much more flexibility and work on projects at my pace.

Congrats on your own debt freedom! You should be very proud!
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