Tips on being a self-employed autistic

I’m self-employed and have been for the past six years. Prior to this, I was working full-time for various corporations – not very successfully. During these six years, I’ve experienced all types of hurdles and celebratory wins. Yet I’ve figured it out largely by myself – and still continue to. No one really teaches you how to be self-employed.

I’d like to add that I really enjoy being self-employed. It’s far more satisfying to work for myself, knowing that the work I do will directly help propel my career forwards. This straightforward correlation is very appealing and makes a lot of logical sense to me in a way that being an employee previously didn’t. I also enjoy being able to plan my work and to flexibly work around this if my health isn’t so great. And that’s a huge plus that isn’t perhaps always allowed when you work for someone else. I’d also like to link in Dean Beadle’s fantastic blog on being an autistic freelance speaker, which gives another perspective on this topic.

Read on to learn about the nuggets that I’ve collated on my self-employment journey!

1. Plan and schedule

Remember that you are at work. And you should always act as if you are. If you’ve worked for an organisation before, take all that you’ve already learnt from the working world. Plan your work and schedule your days in whatever format works best for you. There’s really no right or wrong way about this. I like having some general overarching goals for the month to begin with, and then I plan each week as I go along. The night before, I will write up my upcoming day’s work. This helps give me tremendous structure, which I crave and need. I take quite a bit of time to plan my work, but at the same time I feel this pays dividends, as I can simply crack on with work each day. I would like to get better at annual goal setting. I feel these longer-term goals are useful for the overall strategy and vision of your business.

My tip for this section is to not be too hard on yourself by setting unseemly lofty goals, especially if one day you’re not feeling well and can’t do very much. You’ll always make up for it on a more productive day. Twice fold.

Leave in some breathing space