How can I run my business Autistically when many ideas of marketing and capitalism go against my own beliefs? As an Autistic professional I battle with marketing my business. Even though I have a degree in commerce and marketing, up-skill regularly and understand how it works I still battle. As an Autistic person I need to be true to myself and to my beliefs. Being Autistic essentially means being truthful so when it comes to marketing myself I usually find myself saying “this is what I do and here’s why I do it”.
Yes, I know I’m supposed to sell the benefits of my autism training but to me it’s so obvious that learning about autism from Autistic people is going to benefit my audience that sometimes I forget to explain the reasons why.
When it comes to selling your wares the go-to strategy is to convince someone they need something that they don’t need and then convince them to buy it. It’s basically convincing them that you’re providing a solution for the very problem that you just created for them! Well that’s how I see it anyway.
Another common approach, which is all too common when it comes to autism services and products is to instil fear in the target audience. If you don’t buy x then y will happen. And most of us are risk averse so we will never risk finding out if y will happen. So we buy x without ever wondering if we really need x or if x has any benefits. We buy x to avoid y.
Parents of Autistic children are told that their child will not do a, b, c unless they buy x, y, z. I’ve had parents contact me in utter panic because their child was diagnosed after the age of 5. They are feeling all the panic and desperation of missing this made-up magic window where an Autistic child can apparently only learn skills between 2-5yrs of age. Utter tosh of course, I re-assure them as an Autistic person identified well beyond the age of 5!
So in order to run my business and make a living I choose to market my work Autistically. I have no interest in manipulating someone into buying my services nor do I want them to do so out of fear. I want to solve problems for people because that is what comes naturally to me as an Autistic person. I want to build connections and relationships because that is what comes natural to me as an Autistic person who sees the connection in everything and understands the value that connection brings. And when I look back at my career I see that my most successful times were when I had strong relationships with my clients.
To expand my marketing from “here’s what I do” I find that asking myself one question helps to put me into the mindset of my clients.
That question is: “what problem am I solving?”
By asking myself this question I find the language and ways to explain the benefits to my clients in an Autistic and truthful manner but from their perspective.
As an Autistic adult recovering from a lifetime of masking self-doubt is always around the corner and when self-doubt creeps in I find myself trying to run my business in ways that might suit other people. It never works the same. I never yields the same results. Because “results” for me are not only about the bottom line. I love what I do now. And when I worked with children I loved that too.
There are times when I view my career through other people’s lenses, those lenses where running a business is all about the bottom line. When I do this I feel like I was taken advantage of when I gave too much to someone or gave my time freely. I give out to myself for not having better boundaries. But when I look at it again through my own lens. I see something quite different. I see a person giving to others, I see a person sharing their energy with others and I see connection and actually how happy I was when I just followed my instincts and was true to myself.
We cannot measure success in our businesses solely in monetary terms when our work is an integral part of ourselves. We cannot only look at the bottom line because if we do we miss out on all the wonderful connections we have made. This is all part of reward for me. It’s about making connection, helping others, and sharing my light with the world and hopefully making a difference.
Being true to who I am and focusing on that instead of trying to compete in ways which are not natural to me means that my work is more meaningful, my rewards are greater and I can run my business Autistically.