Business as Usual: Capitalizing on the Ability to Hyperfocus

June 26, 2017

In the “real world,” business is a serious topic. Many people can be relaxed about other less important topics, but when it comes to money, everyone is serious. According to the Fortune 500, “Fortune 500 companies represent two-thirds of the U.S. GDP with $12 trillion in revenues, $840 billion in profits, $17 trillion in market value, and employ 27.9 million people worldwide.” A small percentage of businessmen and women are entrepreneurs. To be an entrepreneur, you need to be part of a special “breed.” An entrepreneur is one who starts a business while taking a risk.

As someone with Autism, I have special interests that I am hyperfocused on. Business in general, but specifically entrepreneurship, has been one of my special interests. My mom says that my business interest started at age five with lemonade stands, selling chips to my friends, and garage sales.

My first business was “Ethan’s Cool Stuff.” I started this business at age ten. It was an online toy selling store that did

well, even doing international business with China. Let me remind you, I was eight years old. This is when I learned how to do an Excel spreadsheet in order to track my income and expenses. My second business was “Ethan’s Trash Services.” This was a business where I would take the neighbors’ trash cans out every Thursday evening and bring them back in every Friday afternoon. At twelve years old I started “Ethan’s Mason Jars,” in which I sold the dry ingredients along with a recipe card to make various baked goods. Currently I am the CFO of a business that I am helping out with called “PastaManTony.” This is an online-based cooking channel geared toward college students to teach them how to make easy and inexpensive pasta dishes. PastaManTony can be found on YouTube now!

Because of my Autism, I believe that I have many advantages with business. For instance, I excel in math. I can do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division all in my head. For example, yesterday my friend needed me to solve 18×24 and I came up with 432 within six seconds. I can quickly learn how to do computer spreadsheets and grasp finance concepts. Once I have a special interest I want to learn everything that I can about it. I become hyperfocused and easily spend hours and hours at a time learning more about my business idea or the competition, writing a business plan, trying to solve a problem, etc. Because my brain works differently than others, I think I’m creative and come up with ideas and solutions that others may not see. Finally, my determination has helped me tremendously. I don’t give up and any low point in my business just causes me to work harder. I am always striving to make my businesses better. These qualities are some of the advantages of Autism. Other successful business professionals have shown us that Autism cannot define success. Some companies, such as Solar Turbines in San Diego, have also came out publicly seeking employees with Autism because they realize that individuals with Autism have qualities that can help them.

To any Autistic individual who is interested in business: YOU CAN DO IT!!! I’ve been shot down before and haven’t gotten my way, but I keep going. You should do the same. Keep working at your goals until you reach them. People with Autism have outstanding traits and characteristics. Math, good memorization skills, the desire to lead and be in control, computer programming, strategy, and a uniquely imaginative mind are all things that can help in business. Hyperfocuses can also be useful. If you are interested in a particular skill or hobby, you can certainly turn it into a business!

“Anything is possible! If I can do it, so can you!”

– Dani Bowman, Autism advocate.