Neurodivergent Entrepreneur and Brand Strategist Molly Hicks looks out a window in Omaha, Nebraska wearing a yellow sweater and pink converse

Neurodivergent Entrepreneur Life: 4 Concepts that may change how you run your biz

Shit fucking happens–and we’re just along for the ride. The unnecessary pressure placed on each and every one of us to be MORE than what we are in that specific moment is unrealistic. And that is doubly (or more) so for neurodivergent entrepreneurs. Ignorant biz experts with no understanding of the complexities of neurodivergent life are preaching “fixes” and “systems”. And these never look at the intersections of what it means to build a business out of necessity. Where the real reason you spend all your time in your biz is because the corporate world isn’t built for a human who sees and processes the world differently. Which is why these four lessons for neurodivergent entrepreneurs are so important!

Shit happens–we’re just along for the ride.

It’s not that the biz experts who don’t identify as ND don’t go through rough patches. They have struggles in building their business. It’s that it doesn’t take as much of a toll on their existence. Many of them care more of how they are perceived than how they really feel. Fully embracing the toxic “fake it till you make it” mentality.

All of this emotional labor happens behind-the-scenes. Mentors and experts aren’t sharing about the SHIT that they went through to get to the point they are at right now. They talk about the systems they used, but not about the blood sweat and tears to implement those systems. And those still figuring it out are keeping the “dark side” of business to themselves.

Success or failure of a business is not based on one single thing.

I see this all the time in facebook business groups, or from followers in my DMs. A lot of followers wondering what is ONE single thing that you would change (or do) to make your business more successful. In facebook groups posts like these are typically a click bait. Posts trying to get people to answer in a way that service providers can swoop in like vultures. Attacking with “magic solutions” and cookie-cutter systems. As much as our neurodivergent entrepreneur minded brains want a single thing we can work on to “fix” the problem, that’s not how this works. But just like I talk about in Why there is no single answer why your biz isn’t working, there is never ONE thing that will change your biz.

Your business is like a croissant.

It’s made of more buttery flaky layers than you can identify or see. It’s the effort of spreading out butter. Folding over and rolling flat. Over and over and over–that makes the world’s most awesome croissant.  You have to adjust recipes for altitude, humidity, and temperature. You have to watch them to make sure they bake just enough.  Same goes for your business. It’s the layering of everything that you do, say and distribute that affects the decisions of the people that interact with your biz. 

That means whether you get that email “perfect” or not–doesn’t mean it would have changed the outcome of your launch. Offering another service doesn’t mean that business is going to boom. Posting (or not posting) everyday on social media isn’t going to get you all extra bookings. Implementing a new project management or CRM without thinking about HOW you’ll use it won’t magically fix a big struggle. It’s the intentional planning, and curating of all the layers that makes the most change.

NOTHING about running a business is promised, or guaranteed.

Promises and guarantees are dangerous–especially for neurodivergent entrepreneurs who need very specific structure and information. These promises are built on the idea that if you do exactly what is expected without any variance you’ll have success. BUT that leaves no room for intersectionality. (If you’re new to this idea–Angela and I talk about what happens when you ignore intersectionality in this podcast episode of Drudgery and Dreams.) It leaves no room for you to adjust. To accomodate for the way your brain thinks, or your ability to be “on” 24/7.

f your neurodivergence is like mine–than going live, and “performing” is NOT gonna be part of the equation. When people promise success, viral content, huge profits, giant follower increases–they are not accounting for whether or not their methods will work for your biz, your brain, your clients. They are seeing that they’ve done it before–and if they do the exact same thing that they can repeat it. 

The ability to control the actions of your audience is impossible.

Will some people see success to some degree–absolutely! But to the same degree as was promised? Probably not. The point is that by promising or guaranteeing that success, they are sacrificing their integrity because they themselves cannot control the outcome. They cannot control who actually sees a post, opens an email, clicks a link. Why? Because they can’t control the person on the opposite end of the screen. Who knows what kind of day the person is having. Even the most engaged followers won’t perform the same actions when having a bad day!

Using the same tactics across multiple brands, for vastly different products is dangerous. It sets unrealistic expectations that may cause extreme disappointment, and loss of investment that can spiral out of control. This is why looking back at your own business’s data to see the unique trends for your business are so important. It allows you to build strategic, intentional plans. Use your own businesses unique trends, while accounting for your own personal needs (like vacations, summer breaks, etc.) Analyzing analytics and building a plan does not promise any specified outcome. But it does set realistic goals based on past performance. 

Marketing is more than social media

I know this is hard to hear for many–but social media is not meant to sell your product. Social media is and always will be a means to connect with others. Does that sometimes mean getting a new sale, or booking a discovery call? Of course! BUT the marketing plan as a whole assists social media in making those things happen!

Okay–let me break this one down a bit more.

A new person sees one of your posts/reels. The next action will rarely be–buy item/service. There are actually a multitude of different next steps this person could take. For example:

  • Like post–now that social platform knows this person is interested in your content.
  • View your bio–something about your content intrigues them. They want to know if the rest of your content will resonate with them as well. (This is where we start talking about consistency of content.)
  • Click your profile link–this means they like what they see and they need more information (AKA your website and all that copy/web design needs to be consistent)
  • Google You–sometimes people take actions into their own hands to do research on who you are and what you stand for. That means all those Blog posts, guest podcast episodes, features on other websites, partnerships, etc. are all out there on display. And all that effort you’ve done for your SEO will come into play.
  • Direct to your website–some people will just type your url in themselves. Again having your website in order is IMPORTANT!
  • Sign Up for your Freebie–look now they’re joining your email list. We’re talking email marketing and nurturing to help them get to know you more.
  • Check out item/service–this means your listings (and the copy/images associated) are on display and working their magic. For most business owners that is directly on a website, and for social listings PULLED from your website.

There are MANY different pieces of the puzzle that need to be considered.

It’s not just A social post that is going to change things, because it is the entire marketing plan that is in action. Posts that lead to freebies do nothing if there isn’t a plan for once they get that freebie. Promoting your products won’t work if there is no copy to help them understand the product. If you aren’t putting  yourself out there and collaborating with other companies/people or building your own expert content, then people googling your will never find you! But that all goes in reverse as well–your email list won’t grow, your blog won’t be read if you don’t incorporate social media to build your community either.

Follows and likes do not always mean ideal clients and sales.

For my final truth bomb, we’re talking about the numbers that you see on social, or your analytics. None of those numbers will have an asterisk next to them identifying your ideal client. Those are all just people who resonated with your content–and although that is a piece of the puzzle it’s not the only one. Plus, those numbers are deceiving. 

A lot of times we forget that there are 7.837 billion people on this planet. We always feel like we have to market to ALL of them. But even if we only wanted to communicate with 1000 of those people that’s only 1.27599847 × 10-5% (meaning the number is so small we had to do complex math to express it!) And some service providers only work with 10 people a year–that’s an even smaller number. 

All the numbers and metrics are arbitrary.

All the numbers: likes, follows, shares, etc. are all arbitrary, because the effect of those numbers are dependent on your audience AND the actions taken but not counted because they cannot be tracked. (Like with Apple users, or people taking actions outside the app.) Most of the time–I worry more about engagement rate than anything else, but even that gives me ZERO ability to see if the people engaging are actual prospective ideal clients or not.

It’s all about you

At the end of the day–you, your biz, your clients, together you are one unique entity that deserves to be treated as such. No special formula, cookie-cutter strategy, or pre-built systemic approach is going to be able to achieve what YOU want for you biz. As a neurodivergent entrepreneur–you need to allow yourself the opportunities to build the things you need, and want in a way that is absolutely 100 fucking percent you! 

Now–that doesn’t mean you HAVE to do this whole figuring out your process, and plans alone. If you’re craving some guidance, help, or just another brain to think with–I’m here (if you think we’d be a good fit that is!). You can always book a discovery call to find the right next steps for you, or if you need help preparing for 2023 you can also book a Hyperdrive Session and together we can build a plan.

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