Growing Up With Autism Didn't Stop Me From Building A Successful Business

Jimmy Clare
Founder, CrazyFitnessGuy
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CrazyFitnessGuy
from Ambler, PA, USA
started December 2017
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Employees
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Growing Up With Autism Didn't Stop Me From Building A Successful Business

My name is Jimmy Clare and I am a motivational speaker, Autism advocate, author, and founder of CrazyFitnessGuy.com. Our ideal customers are people on the Autism Spectrum and parents with kids on the Autism Spectrum.

I provide motivational speaking services to individuals and families who have Autism. I want to bring hope and inspiration to them to show them that their Autism diagnosis does have to dictate their futures.

crazyfitnessguy

What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?

Growing up on the Autism Spectrum I felt very lonely at times. My parents were given a long list of things I wouldn’t be able to do because I am Autistic. For example, teachers told my parents I wouldn’t be able to read higher than a second-grade level.

Because I am Autistic I was bullied, some kids my age didn’t want to be friends with me. The bullying started in 3rd grade and stopped in 11th grade. I was nearly obese for my age group in middle school. In high school, my dad and I discovered P90X by Beachbody and I lost 30 pounds with it. I also had 9 ear surgeries, I live with spinal stenosis every day and on top of that, I am also on the Autism Spectrum.

I started my entrepreneur journey after I finished my first semester in college after taking three years off after graduating high school in 2012. My English teacher told me the only way to become a better writer is to practice every day. That dawned on me because I had no idea what I could write about every single day. Furthermore, I also wondered how I could be consistent with writing in a boring old word document? So I decided to start a website after seeing one of my classmates who had his website.

After my first interview, I liked the feeling that someone wanted to know what I did. Though at the time of my first interview I was majoring in personal training in college. But after 5 major changes, I finally landed in media studies which can lead to motivational speaking which is my dream job.

Speaking didn’t always come easy for me especially when I was younger. I didn’t speak right away like all the other kids in the area at a certain age. One of the stories that my parents told me that I continue to hang on to was when my mom was helping her friend's husband by taking him to chemotherapy. My mom was telling him how worried she was that I would never talk when I get older. He told my mom don’t worry about Jimmy not talking because one day he will never shut up. He was right because I have not shut up since.

Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?

The first mistake I made starting was beginning with WordPress because it was not easy for me to work with. I was working 90+ hours a week trying to figure it out. Eventually, I switched to Squarespace and have been there since. Even though Squarespace has many different features than WordPress, I knew I needed help with doing the maintenance part since I am no website expert.

I have made a lot of mistakes along the way. I didn't have a consistent branding strategy, didn’t find the right marketing tools that suited me, I was trying to create 3 posts a week on my website which was impossible since I am only one person. CrazyFitnessGuy went through many changes throughout the years.

Eventually, I shifted my mindset and treated this like a business instead of the side project of working on my writing skills. I sat down one day and planned how often I should post based on my school schedule and other commitments I made. I needed a realistic posting schedule that did not overwhelm me and I could stick to.

I even played around with some digital design tools to create a consistent look. I now use one template and I copy and paste different elements I need for the different platforms I am on. There was a lot of trial and error while doing this but in the end, it was worth it because I met people on social media who found me because of my consistent look.

So now I create one post a week twice a month and then I publish a podcast monthly along with show notes for the episode. Plus I have planned vacation days and I set my hours. Because I shifted my thinking of making this into a business I have learned a lot of different time management skills which will only help me going forward.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Currently, I am still paying for everything out of pocket. Luckily I manage to keep the spending costs down to a reasonable amount. I have made some money here and there. It's not consistent yet but I have been told by friends of mine that it's better to start at the bottom and work your way up rather than starting at the top and working your way down.

We have a monthly traffic of 500+ readers with an average of 11 minutes spent on the website reading. I have increased our email subscribers to 42. At the start of the business, it was at 2 for a long time.

I am planning to be a well-known motivational speaker and Autism advocate that travels around the world speaking to very large audiences and selling out all my events.

crazyfitnessguy

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I have learned many things when starting CrazyFitnessGuy. One of the first things I learned quickly was time management. I wear many different hats as a solo entrepreneur. I am my content creator, marketer, business owner, editor, podcast editor, live stream producer, and host, and don’t forget about podcast hosts. I almost forgot I am also a guest on other people's shows as well. There are only 24 hours in a day so some of these tasks I do monthly, weekly, and daily to help break tasks down into smaller chunks.

Stay organized and keep a consistent schedule.

The second thing I learned while running my own business is budgeting. You can’t run a business without money and there are sometimes days I wish I could run a business for free. But that's not realistic and there is no such thing as free. When I used to be on WordPress it was costing me almost 900 dollars a year to run because of extra plugins etc. But by switching over to Squarespace and finding alternatives to different tools I have stayed within my annual budget for my business. So in other words my expenses are not going up.

Lastly, running a business takes a lot of patience. Success does not happen overnight and if it does then it probably is just short-lived. It has taken me almost 5 years to have a consistent look for my business. It has taken me a long time to finally feel like I have a work and life balance even though other people say it doesn’t exist, which I disagree with.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I currently use Redcircle for my podcast hosting company because it gives me more accurate stats than anchor podcasts. I also use Squarespace for my website hosting company because they help me with all the security, maintenance, and another website technical stuff that I do not know how to do.

I use a variety of marketing tools like Crowdfire, [Postearly](https://postearly.com/ and Missinglettr. All of these tools have many different uses but the main purpose is to simplify my life by keeping all of my accounts in one place. Furthermore, they help me schedule posts ahead of time to keep my profiles busy on social media since I am only one person.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I love listening to Lewis Howes's School of Greatness podcast because he is very inspirational. Plus one day I can see myself as a guest on his show because I have a very inspiring story to share on his platform.

One of the best business books I have read was called SimpleBiz360 because it has helped me focus on things for my business to help me grow. It also gives great examples of how business owners and entrepreneurs should treat their customers.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

My first tip for people who want to become entrepreneurs is to learn how to manage their time. Chances are when you are starting out on your own you can’t afford to hire people or outsource tasks.

My second tip is to always keep learning. Do not assume that you know everything because you are comfortable in a certain area of interest. For example, I thought I would be good at running a website on WordPress because I am very good at using technology and troubleshooting. Well, it turned out I was wrong, and running a website is a lot different than running a website on WordPress or Squarespace.

My third tip would join Facebook groups to help keep yourself motivated through the difficult times you will face in the future. For example, seeing your website rankings going up and down is a very sick game that Google made. Which means it will question everything that you are doing in the long run.

My last tip would be to stay organized and keep a consistent schedule. I have set up writing, podcast, and podcast show notes schedule in Google calendar. To keep track of everyday, weekly, monthly, and every other week tasks I use a digital to-do list app across all of my devices. I currently use tik tik to-do list app.

Where can we go to learn more?

To learn more about me and what I do you can go to the website.

You can also follow me on:

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Jimmy Clare, Founder of CrazyFitnessGuy
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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