Hampshire Autistic & ADHD Female Entrepreneur who ‘doesn’t look Autistic’ On a Mission To Smash Apart Stereotypes Recognised in 2 National Business Awards

An autistic and ADHD female entrepreneur from Hampshire is celebrating this month after becoming a finalist in two major business awards and making the SmallBiz100 list, highlighting her mission to smash apart outdated legacy stereotypes of what autism and ADHD ‘look’ like for females, to both improve the lives of neurodivergent women today, and to create a more positive and supportive society for future generations.

Having already been featured in media such as The Express, and showcased by Small Business Britain in d:Entrepreneur the spotlight has been on Nikki Butler, 47, since she launched The Autistic Joyologist, following her own autism and ADHD diagnosis in her mid-forties. After 7.5 years running an award winning skin and scar practice, Nikki recently launched her new business alongside this, as after her diagnosis she felt that her world “both simultaneously made sense and fell apart at the same time”.She realised she needed to make changes to support herself as the neurodivergent woman she was beginning to understand, but feared her diagnosis had come too late to be able to make the changes. Lockdown saw her contemplate suicide when the overwhelm nearly broke her, but after reading a book called The Obstacle Is The Way Nikki focused her energy into her business, and choosing to disassociate herself from the outside world and the catastrophising she focused on her growth, which resulted in a 3 x increase in turnover post pandemic and her being a finalist for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards for Pivot Entrepreneur of the Year.

She is now delighted to be a Finalist in The Great British Entrepreneur Awards for Service Industry of The Year, to be listed in The SmallBiz100 and to be a Finalist for The Great British Businesswoman Awards, for Support Network of The Year – a category that she didn’t enter, but that the Judges Selected her for, for her mission as The Autistic Joyologist.

After failing to find the answers in the resources and tools available to her, she decided to draw on over a decade of leadership and coaching from her legal management career, and over a decade of entrepreneurship and mentoring, and called on her 10 years plus of self development work, and became her own best client. Nikki quickly realised why the tools she had previously tried hadn’t worked for her, and decided to focus her attention and effort inwards.

Nikki said “All I kept finding was checklists, tick lists,and tools that didn’t work. Sure, there was a lot of helpful information, but none of it was working for me. And that’s when it hit me, autism and ADHD are not checklists, and they are definitely not boxes for us to fit into! Every single autistic and ADHD person is unique. We have our own traits, but they are shaped and impacted by our upbringing, our environments, our life experiences. From our socioeconomic background, our culture, our ethnicity, trauma and so much more. Of course, none of us are the same, so why would the same checklist and toolkits work for everyone? And that’s when I decided to stop looking for answers online and decided I had to start with radical self discovery and acceptance”.

As Nikki began to understand her own unique needs, she had what she describes as an epiphany. Nikki said “I’d spent so long trying to force myself to use the tools and techniques shared with me, without considering whether they were right for me. As I struggled to find the answers or support I needed, I’d started to fear that my diagnosis had come too late, that I would have to live this way for the rest of my life, and that terrified me”.

But as Nikki continued to work to understand herself and align her life to her values, passions, interests and goals, she started to feel differently, to feel calmer. As she understood her strengths and challenges, and set her life up to work for and with her, she noticed that she began to thrive and more than that, she had an innate sense of calm that she never experienced before. Not wanting to lose this progress, she wrote it all down, step by step, or as she now refers to it, pillar by pillar.

As Nikki was processing her diagnosis, and researching autism and ADHD in adult women, she was horrified at the research and statistics she was being met with. In research carried out by Durham University, reported in 2022, it was noted that 80% of autistic women are misdiagnosed – often with conditions such as borderline personality disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. She watched BBC2’s documentary Inside Our Autistic Minds with Chris Packham, where she sat with tears rolling down her face as she listened to the news that non-intellectually impacted autistic females are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than neurotypical women. Having been on the edge of suicide herself during the pandemic, she knew this feeling too well.

In her skin & scar clinic, Nikki specialises in self-injury scars. Many of her clients are neurodivergent females, supporting the research she discovered on the increased impact of mental health conditions diagnosed for autistic and ADHD women.

Nikki knew she couldn’t sit back and do nothing. She knew she wanted to share what she’d learnt with other neurodivergent women, to help them create thriving and joyful lives, and redefine success on their terms, letting go of the societal expectations of what success looks like. But it was more than that, Nikki couldn’t bear the thought of future generations of autistic and ADHD females reliving the experiences that she, and many women like her have experienced. She is painfully aware of the outdated stereotypes after being told many times that she doesn’t *look* autistic, doesn’t seem like she has ADHD, or that she’s “obviously not that autistic”. These comments support the dangerous and damaging limitations that outdated legacy stereotypes create. Nikki is on a mission to smash apart these outdated stereotypes, to showcase the unique talents and strengths of autistic and ADHD entrepreneurs and leaders and, in doing so, to create a brighter future where our next generations can be their authentic and brilliant selves, live boldly and unapologetically, in a society that not only supports them but celebrates them.

Nikki has been relentless in her mission to be a catalyst for change. Sharing her own experiences, despite her naturally reclusive nature. Nikki feels incredibly humbled by the support she has received, since stepping out as The Autistic Joyologist. She said “I am truly grateful for all of the support that I have received. As someone who is naturally introverted, I challenged myself to be brave and to be seen, for the purpose of shining a spotlight on something I feel very passionately about. I am determined to ensure that these outdated stereotypes are blown out of the water, and replaced by an acceptance and celebration of neurodiversity, in all of its unique forms.”

Nikki is excited to share her work with other neurodivergent women knowing that each incredible neurodivergent leader that she’s working with, is a catalyst for change. She said “Together we are part of a movement to smash apart the outdated legacy stereotypes. Together we become bold and successful leaders, showcasing what’s possible and inspiring generations to come.”

For this quiet neurodivergent woman from Hampshire, it feels surreal to her to be a Finalist for The Great British Entrepreneur Awards and The Great British Businesswoman Awards, and to have made the SmallBiz100 list this year. Nikki believes that this year is a testament and proof that being a neurodivergent woman is a superpower and something to be celebrated. She hopes that her success can be a shining example that being autistic and ADHD makes you different, not less, and that you have incredible unique talents and skills that the world needs to experience.

https://www.autisticjoyologist.co.uk/

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4484 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is a professional writer and the owner of Need to See IT Publishing. However, Lisa is also passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing, being a qualified Vibrational Therapist. Lisa also has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.