As I try to get DeFiNet off the ground, I have become extremely aware of my ADHD. I had it under control when I was working in corporate America. I started to figure out how to really harness my hyperfocus and applied it to my job. This led me to essentially work three jobs for the company I was with. I was working as an engineer on my main team. I was helping another team get off the ground. And I was trying to get my own project launched within the company.
Oh, and I started blogging to try to make money. And I was in the middle of another Master’s degree. Not to mention my family, 2 younger kids, and a puppy. When I realized how to get my shit together, I really went all out.
I also burned myself out completely within 3 months. I wasn’t working at a sustainable pace. I knew I wasn’t. I figured that eventually, I would be able to slow things down if I could work my way into a bigger role that would pay me enough to meet my financial goals.
Then I had a meeting with a company VP about my development plan. I pitched him (poorly) about what I wanted to build and he told me that not only were they not going to fund it, they would own it if I built it in my free time.
Cue the breakdown. In that moment, I was done with that company. There was no longer a future there. I had been killing myself for 3 months to show them that I could make all of this work for them. Then they wouldn’t even let me build.
Fuck corporate America.
This is also where ADHD reared its head. Want to talk about strong emotions? Add all of this to the stress of a global pandemic and an already stressed marriage, and I broke. My wife didn’t want to hear about the idea of me quitting my job. We were in the middle of a fucking pandemic! What kind of idiot would quit his job?
I knew I didn’t have a choice. If I wasn’t going to have support, I couldn’t be there. I packed a bag and left, with no idea what I was going to do. I figured I could stay with my parents for the night and then find somewhere to stay soon after.
Then I went to my parents’ house. This was the day after the US Presidential election. My dad and I have opposite political views and this had been extra stress in my life. I lasted about 30 minutes there and then left, yelling at him that I would “rather go home to a failed marriage than put up with his shit.”
Not my finest moment. At that point, I felt completely alone. I was ready to quit my job and just leave town. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere.
But it was a pandemic, remember? Also, I didn’t really have money. I was hoping someone would have a couch I could sleep on or something.
This is when I realized something else. I had just started to understand my ADHD three months earlier. Previous to that, I was barely surviving. I was on medication for depression and anxiety for almost a decade. I had been on some ADHD medication for a few months or so I think. Then I had a breakthrough in my mental model I was using to view the world. To me, it was a breakthrough. I saw the world completely differently.
I started telling people like my wife and my parents. I started talking excitedly about my ideas and what it all meant. They thought I was crazy. They had no idea what I was talking about. They staged an intervention for me and recommended that I get evaluated by mental health professionals. I was hurt by their reaction, but I agreed.
At this point, I had a revelation. I had been masking so hard to fit in to the world that when I stopped masking, the people closest to me had no idea what to make of it. I had withdrawn into myself so much in the previous years that nobody has any clue who I really was. Know how many friendships I managed to maintain? None, really.
Back to November when I was in the middle of a meltdown. How easy is it to find a place to go when nobody knows who you are? It isn’t.
I ended up going home after a couple hours, feeling beaten down. I had nowhere else to go. My wife still didn’t understand. I calmed myself down and rationally broke down my situation. I still needed to quit my job. I just couldn’t work there anymore. I quit the next day and decided I was just going to launch a startup. A couple weeks, and I would definitely have millions in funding. My idea was too good. It would rock the tech world overnight. All these other ideas were getting funded and were nowhere near as good as mine. Simple.
Spoiler: I was an idiot. An idea means nothing. It is all in the execution. All of the people I saw getting funded were in different stages of their journey. I had no idea how it all really worked.
Now here I am, 4 months into my startup. I have made $10 in revenue and secured a $2000 investment from my parents (who still think I am an idiot for quitting my job). I have secured $0 funding and my accounts are drained.
This newsletter will hopefully be one of the keys to me getting back on my feet financially. DeFiNet is making good progress. It is only a matter of time before I start making money with it.
For now, though, I am hoping my story is worth $5/month to you. I want to give you insight into how my ADHD is impacting my life and how I am learning to turn it into a superpower for my startup. If you think it will help someone, please share it with them.
Due to the whole ADHD thing, I don’t want to say exactly how often I will be publishing. My goal is to publish here at least once a week. It will likely be more than that.
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