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#1 tandej

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:22 PM

We've been researching this topic for some time. It's clear many ASpies would choose self-employment if they could; it also goes without saying that there are many areas of running a business that would be difficult; especially the social interaction, marketing, sales and PR.

With two ASpies in the family, we've struggled alongside them to find and maintain meaningful employment. We've been stressed and frustrated by the lack of support available for people wanting to run their own businesses. As non-AS family members, we've had our own working lives restricted as we stagger work commitments with caring for our children.

Our sons are enterprising, resilient and capable; It's the social barriers that let them down. Yes there are programmes in place training companies to be more AS-friendly, but just like in schools, the environment, the lighting, the noise and the people can't all be changed to help our ASpies.

When it comes to self employment, the ASpies have to sell themselves, first, when trying to get help setting up their business, and again when trying to reach their market audience.

So what if we take charge of things ourselves? Build a business network made up of ASpies who make and produce the goods, and non-ASpies who market, sell, and handle the customer-care side?

Well we've gone ahead and done it!

We've invested every penny of our own money; created the Social Enterprise, bought and furnished its first centre and set up business partnerships; now 4 Square Pegs is open for membership. We don't have all the answers: that's kind of the point. We wanted to create an enterprise where every member has their say and the business model is adapted to suit the members rather than trying to make them fit into a set programme of support. We will no doubt get critics, but the point is, at 4 Square Pegs we're DOING something to make a change.

There's more going on at 4 Square Pegs than we can explain here, so come and find out what we're doing and how we're doing it at http://www.4squarepegs.co.uk


Whether you join us as a member or support us as an investor, you'll be helping to change the futures of hundreds of ASpies in the UK and presenting supported self-employment as a viable option for work choices.

4 Square Pegs - we're making square holes!

#2 madeinthe70s

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 03:52 PM

Hi there, I am trying to start a small business of my own quite soon on very minimal funds, It's all a bit scary but I have little choice because like most of us on DLA (or any other benefit) it's highly likely it will be stopping next year. Anyway I hope it takes off and I can earn some sort of wage on it. I just wrote a lengthy post on this very subject but I see you beat me to it.


Anyway I wish you the very best of luck, I hope it all works out for both you and me.

#3 alanm

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 10:45 AM

It goes without saying that there are many areas of running a business that would be difficult; especially the social interaction, marketing, sales and PR.
.....
So what if we take charge of things ourselves? Build a business network made up of ASpies who make and produce the goods, and non-ASpies who market, sell, and handle the customer-care side?

I often had well meaning friends ask if I'd considered self-employment, admittedly they had not known I had AS when they said this. I'd said no, as I'd known that selling a product on a self-employed basis is similarly difficult to selling oneself in a conventional job interview, not to mention the dealings with bank managers, solicitors and auditors. This social enterprise set-up is a great idea, more of this kind of set up is so needed, so the very best of luck with it.

Sorry to have to alert you to a problem with your website though, I was going to look but my Norton security blocked it with the message "This Web page has malicious browser exploits, which use vulnerabilities in browsers to launch attacks. Cybercriminals are using vulnerabilities in the browser and on the web server hosting this web page to launch these browser exploits."

#4 tandej

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 01:28 AM

Thanks for the replies guys! We've put a lot into this, and we hope people will soon see the value. The statistics for unemployed adults with Asperger's is frightening! and set to get worse with the new WCT. It's such a waste of skills and talent when we can make self employment an option.

Sorry about the malicious warning. There was another website on the same host about a year ago that set it off, but it keeps looping up on their register and so they put warnings on all the websites! I'll get onto our webhost rightaway, and thank you for pointing it out!

#5 Canopus

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 11:14 AM

Self employment for people with AS is a subject that definitely needs to be looked at more seriously than it currently is. The NAS has little to say about it - but then they aren't really interested in people once they hit 18 if they are capable of anything other than a low skill job. Business and entrepreneural activity is barely covered by the school curriculum - which is strongly designed around an assumption of working for somebody else. An overwhelming number of parents are too preoccupied with issues relating to school and social skills (with other kids) that they fail to devote sufficient attention to what will happen after the age of 16. Their first and foremost learning objectives are NC subjects and gaining GCSEs without much thought about whether the knowledge is really useful or the qualifications essential for success after school.

There are an odd few shining lights here and there. Some people in the HE community are looking at self employment seriously. One parent of a teenager with AS who is active in a local support group says that academic study is only really worth it if you are very talented (like having a maths A Level at 12 years old) or are aiming for a highly paid professional career like law or medicine. Other than that it's better for youngsters to look more seriously at real world things and how to make money rather than heading off to university. Even if you are not planning self employment, a knowledge and appreciation of business is highly valued by employers. The days of when you could achieve success in employment using academic qualifications and technical skills has (sadly?) gone. If you want a job in IT for example, you will have much more success if you can combine your technical skills and knowledge with business nous or management experience.

#6 tandej

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 08:56 PM

You're right Canopus, self-employment HAS to be seen as a viable option for people with AS. So many of the 'symptoms' of the condition are of value to businesses and industries, yet the practicalities of working in those environments prevent the employee with AS from staying the course, let alone reaching their potential.

There is a considerable movement in the working population to self-employment and 'remote working', which allows the operator to set up their workplace and practice to suit them. There are also work-hubs, serviced offices and business services operators offering to run the office-side of business to the entrepreneur.

But there is nothing in the process to help people with AS in the Customer Services, Sales and Marketing, Publicity and PR aspects so vitally important to the success of a business, and so very often the most difficult areas for someone with AS to handle.

We hope that our enterprise will make a difference, we are taking on 500 members in our first year. That's 500 adults off benefits and into meaningful employment, in control of their own business, and on their way to financial independence.

We are fundraising now for the working capital to get the recruits into the programme. If you would like to support us. Please visit:
http://www.indiegogo...rePegs?a=951486

and please help us to spread awareness of this new employment option for adults with AS.

Thank you

#7 Canopus

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 09:41 AM

But there is nothing in the process to help people with AS in the Customer Services, Sales and Marketing, Publicity and PR aspects so vitally important to the success of a business, and so very often the most difficult areas for someone with AS to handle.


The best option would be to go into partnership with somebody who is NT even if it is only a family member. Similar to Apple in its early days where Steve Wozniak was the technical mind and Steve Jobs the business and marketing mind.

Part of the problem results from adult education courses mirroring SEN services in schools by being too biased towards hard skills and technical knowledge whilst being severely lacking in soft skills. Workplace training courses aren't much better. Where I work there seems to be plenty of courses for learn about the technicalities of products I deal with and employees who require more general technical education are offered courses by the local college. However, there is little in the way of training or courses for things like customer service and diplomacy which people with AS will benefit from. I think it all stems from AS being such a rare condition. If about 10% the population had AS then there would be much more in the way of soft skills training than there is now.

#8 Willow-Tree

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 03:19 PM

Hi there, it sounds like a promising venture :)

I have my own business - it started out as Web Design/Graphic Design, but recently (with my partner starting a degree course) I've decided to stick to paintings, writing and photography - and blogging. I'm designing my site at the moment and hope to be up and running in the next couple of months.

Me and my Fiancé set out business up on our own, we have a company number and everything :D

I have to say, I find your website a little confusing, and I can't seem to find any prices for your packages :(

How much traffic do you have going through your website? I'm just wondering how many people will see me if I was featured on your site..

#9 Aeolienne

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:43 PM

We are fundraising now for the working capital to get the recruits into the programme. If you would like to support us. Please visit:
http://www.indiegogo...rePegs?a=951486

and please help us to spread awareness of this new employment option for adults with AS.

Thank you

The page you are looking for is currently in "DRAFT" mode and hidden from the public. Please contact the campaign owner if you feel this is in error!



#10 Sa Skimrande

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 03:50 PM

Self employment for people with AS is a subject that definitely needs to be looked at more seriously than it currently is. The NAS has little to say about it - but then they aren't really interested in people once they hit 18 if they are capable of anything other than a low skill job. Business and entrepreneural activity is barely covered by the school curriculum - which is strongly designed around an assumption of working for somebody else. An overwhelming number of parents are too preoccupied with issues relating to school and social skills (with other kids) that they fail to devote sufficient attention to what will happen after the age of 16. Their first and foremost learning objectives are NC subjects and gaining GCSEs without much thought about whether the knowledge is really useful or the qualifications essential for success after school.

There are an odd few shining lights here and there. Some people in the HE community are looking at self employment seriously. One parent of a teenager with AS who is active in a local support group says that academic study is only really worth it if you are very talented (like having a maths A Level at 12 years old) or are aiming for a highly paid professional career like law or medicine. Other than that it's better for youngsters to look more seriously at real world things and how to make money rather than heading off to university. Even if you are not planning self employment, a knowledge and appreciation of business is highly valued by employers. The days of when you could achieve success in employment using academic qualifications and technical skills has (sadly?) gone. If you want a job in IT for example, you will have much more success if you can combine your technical skills and knowledge with business nous or management experience.


This !

But there is a way forward regards self employment in that one can let their product sell them as many aspies excel at what they make and their product does indeed sell them where they lack the often vaunted social skills many seem to think are necessary.

As it is with my own venture I have found someone who will promote and sell my work for me, a necessary step until I get moving, after which I will take the reigns for myself once the mechanics of the operation are up and running as there is no point being able to promote oneself until one has the mechanism in place and proved working to back up that self promotion.

#11 Aeolienne

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:57 PM

I can't really see how my work experience to date would lend itself to self-employment. My longest job (at the Met Office) was a glorified support & maintenance role which wasn't directly relevant to anything outside the organisation as far as I could tell. If I try to think outside the box, the only thing that springs to mind would be some kind of scientific programming tutor (assuming that there are people outside the Met Office who use the same languages as I did and are prepared to pay someone to teach them rather than teach themselves from Stack Overflow) but frankly that doesn't interest me. As far as I'm concerned computer programming is a means to an end, not the most interesting thing in and of itself.

 

More generally, I wouldn't want to go down the self-employment route unless and until I were confident that I had the ability and motivation to carry out the work plus a sufficient understanding of the market I was catering for. It's difficult to see how I could acquire these skills and knowledge without first working for an employer who could provide me with training, feedback (both positive and negative) and colleagues / industry contacts whom I could bounce ideas off. When I look at the people I know personally who have made a success of self-employment they invariably were employees first before going it alone.



#12 nippy sweetie

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 12:22 PM

Check out the Iwork4me website. Its been set up in Scotland to support self employment for people with ASD .



#13 Aeolienne

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 09:35 AM

This sounds quite similar to the OP's business model.

 

“With the proper support team taking care of day-to-day management and administrative duties – accounting, contracts and the like – they can focus on doing what they love and integrate both economically and socially.”

Self-employment opens new worlds for autistic people


Edited by Aeolienne, 03 December 2015 - 09:36 AM.


#14 Confused Traveller

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 01:23 PM

I became self-employed nearly 30 years ago, and did quite well with the marketing and people stuff. It was interesting that I was offering a service that when described to some people would get the response "I can't see the point of that", while others would respond with something more like "Wow! I didn't know that was possible. Will you do it for me please". Maybe the services I offered came from the Aspie brain that I didn't know I had!

 

I haven't worked for a long time, but need to start earning money again. If I had the work, I'd get on and do it, but at the moment I really can't handle the people stuff, either to find new clients, or to communicate with them other than by e-mail, which probably wouldn't work. So some sort of connection with a person or people who could find work for me could be great. But I'm not sure how it could be made to work for a book-keeping and accounting business.


Edited by Confused Traveller, 03 December 2015 - 01:23 PM.






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