Being an entrepreneur brings rewards, but at a price


In 2018, RMIT collaborated with Syracuse University in the USA to conduct a survey of Australian entrepreneurs. This resulted in a report named “Entrepreneurship, Wellbeing and Self-Care in Australia with a Special Focus on ADHD and Dyslexia“.

In their report, authors Professor Johan Wiklund and Assistant Professor Wei Yu identified people who self-diagnosed themselves with the neurodevelopment disorders of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and/or dyslexia.

Researchers and authors in all fields can find a lot of interesting information and draw useful conclusions from this survey data. For those of us who deal with these entrepreneurs face-to-face, it is more challenging, because behind every statistic is a real person who is dealing with their own situation.

Nine hundred nascent and established entrepreneurs were included in the survey. The significant difference between the two groups was their level of self-care, which included sleep, exercise, meditation/yoga or spiritual practice, detrimental food, smoking, alcohol consumption and use of recreational drugs.

Depending on their industry, a certain amount of ADHD may be useful for an entrepreneur, as there are so many things to think about when starting a business. Being able to open one’s mind to all sorts of possibilities can lead to good conclusions.

However, life is not a test drive and novice entrepreneurs, particularly those who are young, should seek guidance from peer groups, mentors, etc., to ensure they look after number one.

The pursuit of fame and wealth often comes at a price, whether the entrepreneur succeeds or fails. In this era of easy-to-start, fast-growing businesses, government agencies, advisors and the media, while encouraging the dream, need to bear in mind that these nascent entrepreneurs are humans who must understand the realities of life in business and the effects it can have on their health, relationships and general wellbeing.

The need for entrepreneurs and businesspeople to be creative, innovative and develop new products, services and industries has never been stronger. Changing workplaces and practices due to automation, together with shifts in human longevity (the 100-year life is here), means that people need new opportunities in new industries. Society needs entrepreneurs to come up with and implement new ideas to provide the jobs of the future, but not at the price of their physical or mental health. They cannot do it all.

I encourage all entrepreneurs and business owners to stand back and visualise what their life may look like in five, 10 or 20 years’ time, because every time we say yes to something, we say no to something else.

If you are feeling overwhelmed in your business, email me at

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