Office Hours Q&A: Advice for Aspiring Neurodivergent Entrepreneurs

Lived Experiences, Office Hours Q&A
Veronica Yao

Read more of my posts.

by Veronica Yao

Self employment can be especially appealing to neurodivergent professionals who are sick of putting themselves in a box for the sake of their employers.

But as you might expect, neurodivergent entrepreneurs have their own set of unique challenges to overcome. When navigating your journey as a business owner, you might come to find that a lot of the advice out there doesn’t take the way our brains work into account. Because of this, entrepreneurship can often become isolating, lonely, and even debilitating.

It’s important to validate your identity as a neurodivergent entrepreneur and build a system of supports and resources that will help you through the tough times. One effective type of support is mentorship and coaching – and that’s exactly what Jenesis Rose does for her clients as a business development coach.

As a neurodivergent entrepreneur herself, Jenesis has created a community of clients, many of whom also identify as neurodivergent. She joined us for our Office Hours Q&A to answer questions about entrepreneurship and self employment.

Here are the most important lessons she shared during the session:

1. How to decide if you’re suited for self-employment.

According to Jenesis, the biggest factor you need to consider is whether you can hold yourself accountable. Not only in your daily tasks, but to the mission and vision you set for yourself.

Before venturing out into entrepreneurship, Jenesis worked full time for an employer. And despite enjoying her job and having a supportive manager, she still didn’t feel fulfilled. This was a big signal to her that she was meant to pursue her own business.

“I kept longing to do more work,” says Jenesis. “But I didn’t want to not get paid for it.”

If you’re the type who goes above and beyond in your work, and you have a mission you’re deeply committed to, you may be well suited to entrepreneurship. However, it is also common for neurodivergent professionals to struggle with rejection sensitivity, executive dysfunction, and other blocks that can impact their ability to remain accountable to themselves.

2. The first step every entrepreneur should take.

If you do decide to launch your own business, Jenesis insists your first step should be to define your “niche”. In other words, you want to establish who you want to help, and what you want to help them do.’

Jenesis has provided this template to help you establish what your niche is:

“I help [your ideal client] [achieve/create/become/etc.] [what your client wants to do].”

-Jenesis Rose, Business Development Coach at Sustain Your Passion

Using this template, here is an example of our niche and mission at Atypical Careers:

“I help neurodivergent professionals build sustainable work lives and break the neurodivergent burnout cycle.”

– Veronica Yao, Career Coach at Atypical Careers

More examples of niches:

  • “I help women feel their best by providing custom nail services.”
  • “I help pet owners gain peace of mind through my pet sitting services.”
  • “I help artists monetize their creations with my t-shirt printing services.”
  • “I help small business owners understand their finances so they can make informed business decisions.”

Remember that your niche defines your business’ mission. And once you get clarity on your mission, every other decision you make for your business becomes so much easier because you know who your ideal client is and what you want to help them achieve.

Jenesis also says that your niche can change, so don’t get too hung up on making it perfect the first time. She herself has pivoted her niche several times, but she says it’s part of the process.

“That’s the beauty of having clarity and knowing how to find clarity on what you’re here to do,” says Jenesis. “You can do it again and again and it’ll continue to keep you focused.”

3. There’s no such thing as “should” in entrepreneurship.

When it comes to entrepreneurship and self employment, there’s no such thing as “should” anymore. This is a common thought process that people get hung up on; that there’s some external “correct answer” to the kind of work they ought to be doing.

Jenesis encourages entrepreneurs to reframe this line of thinking to “who do you want your audience to be?” Because you have the power to choose. At the end of the day, it’s about what you are most excited about and who you want to be serving.

If you don’t have a strong alignment to your calling, you’re going to hit that familiar neurodivergent burnout. In fact, Jenesis says neurodivergent entrepreneurs most often burn out because they’re doing a lot of work they don’t actually want to be doing. Add that on top of all the other demands in life that we struggle with – like socializing, housekeeping, working, etc. – and you’ll find the exhaustion compounds.

4. Dealing with other people’s perceptions about your business.

It can be difficult to articulate what you do as an entrepreneur. Jenesis says this is largely due to fear – specifically, the fear of other people’s perceptions.

In general, Jenesis finds it’s typically because entrepreneurs really afraid of what other people are going to think of them, and their sense of identity may not be strongly rooted enough to withstand the pushback of others not understanding them. In fact, most neurodivergent people operate under the belief that being different is inherently a bad thing.

Jenesis says she navigates this fear by setting boundaries around what she can and can’t control. “I know my intentions are good and I know I’m showing up with an open heart, I’m being honest and I’m doing my very best to offer what I can,” says Jenesis. “That is my line of boundary that I can control and what’s actually mine to manage… your perception of my is actually none of my business.”

This is yet another reason why you need to be well connected to your “why” behind your business. Having clarity on your mission and who you want to help will help ground you when dealing with other people’s perceptions, especially when it comes to your work.

4. How to present yourself with confidence on social media.

It is not easy to show up on social media, especially as your authentic self. Jenesis says her advice for getting over this confidence block is not one that others like to hear.

Her advice? To take a leap of faith and… just do it.

“Often we are looking for confidence, but what we’re actually looking for is courage,” says Jenesis. “You don’t have to be confident to post on social media. But you do need to have courage.”

Jenesis adds one final dimension to her lesson, and says that before you can find courage, you need to have clarity on your business, your mission, and who you serve. With clarity comes courage, and then confidence.

The “leap of faith” approach requires you to go outside your comfort zone. But it’s also the quickest and most direct way to gain confidence and reassure your body and mind that this is something you can do – and do well!

5. Self love is the root of entrepreneurship.

Jenesis launched her program “Sustain Your Passion” based on the belief that self love is the root of successful entrepreneurship. She has a self love and mindfulness routine she practices daily.

“Figuring out who you are is the act of developing secure belief in yourself,” she says. “It is an act of self love to slow down and hear my thoughts, articulate what I’m grateful for in the world, and to figure out what I’ve been beating myself up for, especially as an anxious, overthinking neurodivergent person.”

Watch the full Office Hours Q&A session with Jenesis Rose below:

Are you neurodivergent and burnt out at work?

Optimized with PageSpeed Ninja