Self-Employed Aspie

The few times that I’ve mentioned that I’m self-employed in ASD settings, I’ve gotten lots of questions. Do I like it? How did I start my own business? What are the drawbacks? I’ve written a short series to answer these questions and talk a bit about the pluses and minuses of being your own boss when you’re on the spectrum.

Although the four parts that make up this series are focused on self-employment or freelancing, I think some of the information about identifying strengths and challenges is applicable in any employment setting, so hopefully those of you who aren’t interested in the self-employment aspect will still find something useful here.

Part 1: The Self-Employed Aspie

Part 2:  The Challenges of Being a Self-Employed Aspie

Part 3:  Pros and Cons of Being Self-employed When You’re on the Spectrum

Part 4: Starting a Business Aspie Style (or What They’ll Never Tell You in Business School)


12 thoughts on “Self-Employed Aspie”

  1. I am self employed too… This was not a choice for me but rather I always interviewed poorly and even though I could perform all the job functions, the interviewer would always decide I wasn’t a good fit. I didn’t realize until several years after starting my own company that I was an Aspie. Had I known back then, I think the self doubt would have prevailed and I wouldn’t be self sustaining on my own. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that some days I catch myself making a whole series of faux pas, but I must keep pressing forward. At least there’s no one to ridicule me for it…

    1. I can totally sympathize with your difficulty with interviews. I wonder if I would have gone forward if I’d had a diagnosis. In some ways, I think late diagnosis is a blessing because we’ve had a chance to form our self-image independent of AS. Then again, it presents a lot of challenges so who knows. I’m glad it’s worked out for you.

  2. I am self-employed… or some kind of self-employed. Actually I am employed by a company who has no office. All of us are working as kind of freelancers. We have a ‘Chief’ who sells projects (however most of us have also ‘beloved’ clients who refers to us directly), organizes everything, coordinates our work and solves official (judicial) and financial issues. All of us are working alone, out of office. As for me I tried to be employed as a typical office worker 3 times. Each attempt made me exhausting, caused lots of conflicts and troubles. Thus currently I am absolutely happy with my position.

    1. It’s great that you’ve found a job that suits you so well. 🙂 I think freelancing or self-employed or working at a job that allows a lot of independence all have some overlap in the benefits and challenges they offer.

  3. I have a 24 year old son with AS who has had trouble getting part time work. He is a university student and would happily do that for the rest of his life, but he needs to get some part time or casual work to give him money to live on. He tried places like Macdonalds when he was younger but he would last a week and then not cope with all the noise and overstimulation. Do you have any suggestions for part-time work for younger people which he might try?

    1. If the noise and fast pace are hard for him, then he might do better looking at places that hire part-timers and are quieter/ slower paced. A few that come to mind: libraries (they hire part time workers to shelve books), smaller stores with slower paced sales like a small sporting goods store or comic book shop, small mail order company (picking or packing orders), working with animals (zoo, nature center, kennel, vet assistant), data entry or another “desk job” where he could wear headphones to block out surrounding noise, yard work (noise protection is usually required) or working at a nursery or farm.

      Of course, it will depend on his interests, aptitude and what’s available in your area, but hopefully there’s something on that list or that comes to mind after reading it that will be a realistic possibility for him.

    2. Hi I am an Aspie that worked for 10 years in an Advertising Agency and then started my own Agency and ran it for thirty years. My suggestion is to find something that interests him, then build a job/career around that.

  4. I have been self-employed since I was 25 years old. Now I’m 68 and have just been diagnosed with high functioning Aspergers. I don’t know how it would changed my life had I had a diagnosis when young – maybe for the worse. I have always worked as a freelance graphic designer and I think being an Aspie has been a huge benefit: very controlled work place, minimal client contact (the internet made that even easier), ability to focus on a problem, different way of seeing a solution. On the whole it’s worked for me and of course it is ‘me’.

    1. Sounds like me. I was diagnosed at 58. After years of struggling to survive at more jobs than I can count (I lost count after 19), I learned to stick with what I am good at, which is proofreading and copy editing. I now work from home as a contract proofreader, and have been doing that with the same company for the last 10 years. It has given me the first financial stability I have had in my adult life, and I am so grateful for that, even though I currently need a raise.

  5. Self employed, residential architecture, for 30 years…. Had no idea why I worked better alone, but loved all the numbers 10’s & 12’s!) and all those straight lines! LOL!
    Recently diagnosed, & now wondering if being Neuro- diverse explains all the “unusual” experiences I’ve had growing up…. So maybe it’s not really dead Grammy or BFF coming back to say hello or save my bacon?
    Any other Aspies out there w a little something more ‘super’ natural happening rather than just natural natural? Do I have a brain tumor?😳

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one woman's thoughts about life on the spectrum

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