Autism & Entrepreneurship 

Approximately 85% of autistic adults are unemployed in the US. Learn more about this statistic here: Thinking Autism Guide

This number is staggering to me and, frankly, unacceptable. While those with autism do require certain accommodations, we also have a lot of highly unique skill sets that are valuable to the corporate world. However, many companies refuse to provide these accommodations which result in an autistic individual having to make the tough decision to choose their health over the opportunity to make an income. 

Nearly half of the 15% of autistics who are employed are actually under employed and seeking additional hours or income sources. Those of us who do make it to the interview process often get turned down due to our absence of social skills. 

So where do autistics turn to earn an income to support themselves? Entrepreneurship. 

Entrepreneurship allows us the freedom to run a business based on our special interest, use our skills to their full potential, work in an environment suited for our needs, and to pave a way to create our own opportunities. Check out this article on how these autistic business owners started their companies: The Mighty

Starting a business isn’t easy. Many challenges exist for the average neurotypical, let alone a neurodivergent. Here are a list of tools I have used over the years that have made running my own business a little easier. 

1. Web Hosting

These days, most businesses need a website. After dealing with multiple mediocre or bad hosting companies, I discovered two that have been amazing in performance and customer service. 

Kinsta – I recommend this hosting for those using a WordPress CMS and are using your site as an e-commerce platform. 

SiteGround – I recommend this for those who want a smaller website and don’t have a large budget. 

2. Website Theme & Builder

Once you have a place to host your business website, you’ll need something to build out the content and design. I always recommend using a WordPress CMS since it is very versatile. 

WordPress Theme: Astra – This theme is lightweight, well coded, and easy to build from. They have a free and premium version available. 

Builder: Elementor – I’ve tried many different WordPress site builders over the years, but my favorite is Elementor. It’s easy to use, packed with features, and is supported by the Astra theme as well as a lot of other popular plugins and themes. 

3. Sales Tax Automation

Tax Jar – One of the dreaded but necessary tasks of owning a business is keeping track of sales tax especially as laws become more complicated. I use Tax Jar since it simplifies this process. It’s easy to connect to all of my e-commerce platforms including marketplaces and automatically calculates what sales tax should be collected. My favorite part? Tax Jar also has a service that will file your sales tax for you. 

4. Bookkeeping

QuickBooks – Not only do you have to keep track of sales tax as a business, you also need to track your profit and loss to calculate your income taxes. One platform I use that makes it much more simple to track is the Self-Employed Intuit option from QuickBooks. 

5. Social Media 

Creating consistent and on brand social media for your business can quickly become overwhelming. Here are my favorite tools to use that have helped streamline the process. 

Planable – The reason I love this platform is that it’s very visual so you can see exactly how your post is going to look before it is published. I also love the ability for team members to leave notes and comment about various posts. 

Canva – need a social media graphic created quickly? This online platform has templates for just about everything you might need. All you have to do is adjust the template to fit your message and content. 

Pixelied – this somewhat newer platform is similar to Canva, however, I rather enjoy the platform layout a little better than Canva. 

OneStream – I’m sure you’ve heard that live video is the best way to get views on social media. If you’re anything like me, going live is not only difficult but near impossible. OneStream allows you to schedule pre-recorded videos as “live” streams to multiple different social media platforms. 

6. Stock Resources and Design

Envato Elements – If you’re in need of some pre-designed templates, fonts, music, graphics, photos, or other stock resources, you’ll need Envato Elements. This is one of my most favorite go-to resources for all things design and business. 

Penji – Need something custom designed? I recommend trying Penji. It’s like having a whole team of graphic designers at your fingertips. 

7. Project Management 

Ora – As someone with executive functioning issues, it’s a must for me to have some sort of calendar or project management system. I’ve tried multiple systems like this in the past, but Ora is by far my favorite. It simplifies the interface so it’s not overwhelming but still gives you access to a multitude of features that you might need for your business. 

8. Brand Organization

Brandox – Once you start developing your brand colors, logos, web graphics, product images, and social media graphics, you’re going to need somewhere to store all of these digital assets. I love Brandox because of its ease of use and ability to organize all of your files. It also makes it super simple to share these assets with other team members. 

9. Software and Product Deals

Starting a business is expensive and can quickly add to your debt if you’re not careful. Finding deals and getting cash back has been a huge help for my bank account. 

AppSumo – this company offers lifetime and limited time deals for a variety of new platforms. For example, I was able to snag the social media management platform Planable from AppSumo. I paid once for a lifetime deal and have access without having to pay a monthly membership fee. This deal alone has saved me over $1,000. 

Rakuten – With all the deals happening everyday, it becomes difficult to track. Rakuten not only helps you find deals, but also gets you extra cash back at participating shops. I’ve already earned a few hundred in cash back from purchases I needed to make anyway. 

10. Computer and Camera

Surface Pro – What I love about the Surface Pro is that it’s small enough to be highly portable, but powerful enough to handle multiple graphic programs like Adobe Photoshop. It also works amazing for digital drawing and artwork. 

Panasonic LUMIX Camera – As a business owner, sometimes you need to take product photos or other business photos yourself. This camera is perfect to use for even those who are new to photography, capturing high quality photos and video. 

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