Five Mistakes I Made In Business As A Dyslexic Entrepreneur

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Five Mistakes I Made In Business As A Dyslexic Entrepreneur

Ed Hollands


Being Dyslexic is hard enough when you’ve got a job, but what about when you’re setting up and running a business? You’ve got to deal with everything from writing professional emails to making sure your accounts are accurate. Managing your dyslexia is critical to the business’s success; one spelling mistake could cost you a deal, slowing down your response rate and putting you at a disadvantage. But hang on; aren’t some of the most famous entrepreneurs also dyslexic? How can I follow in their footsteps?

I’m a dyslexic young Entrepreneur, who went straight into business after university (I know I don’t make things easy for myself), and this post is about sharing some mistakes I made to help you avoid them and get your business idea off to a brilliant start. Don’t let your dyslexia hinder your dreams; go out and get them. Hopefully, it will also inspire you to follow in my footsteps…

  1. Not realizing mistakes put people off

The first mistake I made was believing spelling and grammar don’t matter anymore. Boy, how wrong I was.

In business, first impressions are everything. It can be the difference between you getting the opportunity to pitch or being shown the door. Dyslexia, particularly regarding spelling and grammar mistakes, puts you at a disadvantage. You’ve got to work harder to make the same first impression that someone else can do with ease.  You’ve also got emails, presentations, and those good old fashioned letters, a dyslexic’s worst nightmare.

I learned quickly that Microsoft Word Spell Checking software didn’t pick up my common mistakes; even my current one, Grammarly, which picks up most of them, still won’t tell me if a sentence makes sense. Even if I read over it, I still can’t tell.

  1. Not leaning on experts

This leads me to my second mistake in business, not leaning on experts to help overcome my issues. This was quite a big mistake that still gets seen across the UK daily. I understand you want to save every penny you can, but the money invested in other people who are experts, especially marketing, makes you look more professional.  (Side note, make sure they are experts and don’t just say they are. They could take you for a ride.)

Industry experts streamline your business and help you save time. You might even create a long-lasting partnership; for instance, I work closely with a Birmingham copywriter, who checks every email campaign I write. It doesn’t take long, but who do I recommend when someone is looking for a copywriter or who will I use when I have a big job?

  1. Believing the business was me

It’s true that, in some businesses, the business is one person, particularly in trades like plumbing, building etc. But I wanted to create a business that was more than me and to do that, I needed people to see an established business, not a crazy young graduate with an idea. The original name of my business, The Advert Man, was saying exactly that. I’m a one-man band or at least that’s the impression I was giving.

Only by speaking with my mentor did I see this mistake. He said, “If I didn’t know you personally, I would not speak to you at all, because you seem like a have a go hero. I want to trust my business marketing to someone I can trust, who looks like they have a team. You should generate an image that you’re a vast agency, not a man.”

He put me in touch with a local marketing agency that developed our new branding and rebranded my business to DrivenMedia. I love it, our customers love it, and it looks like a proper agency, which it is now becoming. I’d say, and you’re free to quote me on this, “Image is everything, even when you’re small.” In reality, some companies are a lot smaller than they look; it’s all about branding.

  1. Doing everything myself

Just because you run a business on your own doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself (or you’ll never do the parts you enjoy or make you money). There simply isn’t enough time, and even if there is, your time is much better spent focusing on what your good at. One such example is bookkeeping. I hate doing it because I’ve got no idea if I’m doing it right, and I always used to put it off. Now, my accountant gets her bookkeeper to do it and keeps track of it through Xero, saving me so much time and stress. I only get asked about it if I don’t pass on an invoice.

  1. Running on fumes

Just a personal tip here, get enough sleep! Running on fumes you will make more mistakes, hate what you do, and just get stressed out. I’ve had moments when I’ve pushed myself too far, and I have to take a day out. Was that extra 2 hours the night before worth it? No, sometimes is fine but keep track of it and treat it like a job. I have a set routine. If I start work at 8, I stop at 6. Get a routine and stick to it. It makes it so much easier to get out of bed on a cold winter morning.

This article is originally published at – a website for students and adults with dyslexia, used with permission

Ed Hollands is a young entrepreneur, at the head of a fast-growing start-up, DrivenMedia. His business offers an innovative yet simple platform for advertising, using trucks travelling the country, region or along a specific route effectively as Mobile Billboards. He achieved all this despite being a solo-founder, dyslexic and having no previous experience in this sector.  Find out more about him and his business on DrivenMedia or follow him on Twitter: @DrivenMediaUK or @the_advert_man


TCB’s The Resource, Fall 2017

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