Success On the Autistic Spectrum with Business 303’s Carl Hartman
Your business by design.
Carl Hartman is the President and CEO of Business 303.
Business 303 makes growing your business fun with boot camps, focuses on business growth, kick-starts newer businesses, and helps those executives who are ready to make an exit. Business 303 even helps those executives with ADHD and high-functioning autism.
Learn more about how Business 303 can help you navigate business while on the spectrum by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. Stick around to the end of the show; we'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
So with us right now, we have Carl Hartman and Carl, you're the President, CEO of Business 303. And you do a lot of other things and you've created a capital management fund. And you've done a lot of work in the field of folks that are on the spectrum and helping them to kind of understand both their strengths and weaknesses. And I think you bring a lot of great points, that conversation that we're going to talk about in this in this comfort in this interview. So thank you so much. Sure. Um, so Carl, just by way of kind of introduction, can you kind of share a little bit about your background and what brought you to the kind of the current level of success that you enjoy?
Well, I actually started out in the motion picture industry. So as an executive at one of the senior executive, one of the television networks, and I actually have three degrees one in cinema when and communications and the other one in business, which is fairly unusual for that industry. So I understood the business side, as well as the creative side. So that led me into turn being almost like an eternal turnaround consultant and saving projects that were in trouble. And there were a lot of those Yeah, so it provided me the motion picture industry is very similar to the construction in industry in the way that it functions. So it it crosses the skills learned in that industry using that industry are really spread across just about any kind of business model creating systems and processes, marketing, admin finance, all those different things logistics all fold into that. So it's it's a really good training ground or for being able to take any business and make it successful. So when I left the motion picture industry, I've moved directly right into working in business consulting had, you know, worked with some of the top, you know, success coaches in the country to be able to create the kinds of things that we're doing and because I had both, I have both ADHD and autism, the really high functioning autism but still I studied studying it because it it impacted my job but in impacted all sorts of things and I started creating my own Personal systems and processes to be able to manage that.
Both those Spectrum Disorders. So then you you wrote the book then and the book is titled it takes a village to make an idiot. Yes. Can you share a little bit about that?
Well, there's there's a lot of science behind the idea of how we develop as children, all of us, regardless of what whether the we're in the spectrum or not. And I write the statement for a doctor friend of mine for in his book that he published, which is basically the disintegration of the mind is habitual and repetitive addiction to emotions and spiritual ideations that do not effectively serve the individual based on subjective and usually erroneous interpretations of our surroundings. So many people make very subjective interpretations of the world that are usually totally incorrect. And we do As a very small child, when we're smaller, that's when we have in our emotional development. And so we start coming, essentially addicted to certain emotions that trigger our behaviors. And most people don't realize that that kind of dark side that we see that, you know, that, I don't know mom and dad say some sharp words to us or that kind of thing. And beforehand, we, because our minds really mold very quickly at that point, they're very elastic, or they we start creating these negative patterns for ourselves very early and we carry those into adulthood. And we don't always realize that those emotional or addictions to those emotions, trigger the our behaviors in business, as well as the rest of our lives.
And so one thing that people may not realize is there are a lot of very successful people. Well known people with ADHD AND and OR ASD, right? Would you mind kind of sharing some of those examples? And then we're gonna start to see, you know what? This seems like kind of a
gift? Well, like I said,
in our earlier discussion, I believe it was Harvard University did a study that showed that about, I think 70% of all business owners have some spectrum disorder that can also include dyslexia. There's other forms of dyslexia that are so not not so recognizable. There's one form of dyslexia that's called dyscalculia, which affects your ability to process numbers. But it also allows us to see things much differently than other people. It's not the people in one is bad or good. It's just different. And so one of the reasons we go into businesses we tend to work in situations that just aren't a good fit for us. You know, we we take A job or that kind of thing, but we think in such a different terms that it's often better that we go into some kind of business where we can control the surroundings, all of the things, all of the elements of that business. Unfortunately, some of the downsides of ADHD and ASD also create some of our problems operating a business. So helping somebody both master their their spectrum disorder and master their business at the same time actually works really well because it gives people a context. I can teach you something as an individual. And you may get that concept especially as a newer, typical student, you go to school and you learn concepts. We're better having context. So that's why you hear us especially when you go and going, why, why why why it's not the word questioning things as much as we want to understand why it functions that way. Hmm. So we do that the same thing we grow up, we were always He's asking why we're trying to understand those things. So if I can show you how to master your ADHD or autism, and how to master your business at the same time, you have a way to apply that information almost immediately.
Does that make sense? Well, so does it does the autistic brain prefer to deconstruct things more is that is that
it's everybody's that's the thing about it is everybody is very different. Right? So understanding how we develop as an individual and how we process things, is is somewhat different for everybody. There are similarities, and there are patterns that we have, but we actually we actually see patterns. I see patterns in businesses, I see that I can go out into a manufacturing line and I see people's patterns that are slowing it. people's emotional patterns that are slowing down the manufacturing process are impacting the manufacturing process. So we tend to see some of those things. differently than others. You know, also again and there's a lot of misnomers behind it, but I'll I could speak for hours on end, sometimes due to audiences to help them understand that's a pretty complex question.
Yeah. But who would we know? is either on the spectrum or has ADHD?
I'm Richard Branson. Have a whole list of them here that I use because people don't realize the Charles Schwab
Justin Timberlake of
actor as a there there's like an Menzel found in my list.
his past. JOHN George. Yeah. Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Stephen Hawking's. Theodore Roosevelt Rockefeller norson Nelson Rockefeller. So there's a whole everybody from the creative industries to scientists and that kind of thing that that, because they see the world a little bit differently. It also helps them create, you know, people like Einstein to be able to tap into things like areas of their subconscious, that most people aren't normally. So, Einstein actually used to sleep for like, take three hour naps, at which point he would also tap into his subconscious to figure out how to be able to solve a problem that he was trying to manage that kind of thing. Yeah, everybody's a little bit different. The one of the advantages that people don't realize if somebody with autism or ADHD or somebody is on the spectrum is that we tend not to have as big of a disconnect between our subconscious. So that's why you'll hear somebody with autism or ADHD just blurt things out. Because it's like the brain is operating so fast that all of a sudden it just kind of spills out. Does that no, I don't If that makes sense, I
yeah. I mean, it's again, it's it really is, I think, recognizing the gift of, of this ability really. And then so let's say that I'm the leader, and one of my managers, you know, has, you know, definitely on the spectrum or has a bit of ADHD as a manager as a leader, what would I want to do to encourage a really positive environment for that for that person?
Okay, that's, that's put the ADHD and Spectrum Disorder to the side because everybody's processes very similarly. So we receive input, we then have an emotional reaction to that input. After that we have some kind of behavior. Now on people with ADHD, they call it a symptom. I'm distracted, but everyone is distracted at a certain level. Everybody gets hyper focused every, but we tend to just do it, it's more noticeable because it's probably a little bit more intense with us. So, as a manager, what I really want to understand is somebody's emotional triggers, why they really do what they do at their deepest level. So one of the things that we teach people is how to understand using a little bit of union psychology what what is called family of origin programming. A lot of psychologists will understand that term is I want to understand that during that development, between the ages of say, in the womb and six, you had experiences that shaped your emotional development that also you hear people talk about their why this is what really shapes people's why. So when I was a little kid, I, I grew up in a household. My parents were a bit like the Ricardo family, except that we're German. So if anybody knows I Love Lucy, my dad was kind of the hot tempered German guy, my mom was really kind of crazy. She would do the weirdest things and she'd get him upset. Believe me, there's so many stories behind that. But the what had happened is when I grew up, I realized eventually that what really drove me is that I like to people, I like to make sure that my clients even laugh or smile when they leave. I want them to have that full good. Sorry, good feeling when they leave my business. I have another client that actually his his mother died at a very young age for him. And he took up he became a professional skateboarder when he was in his teens. And so I asked him at one point, what really made you do that he goes, Oh, I love the applause for a very deep level for him. He likes to he likes to hear that applause from he wants to know that his clients are satisfied. It's kind of similar, but different for him. So That early development with his father that was an artist and a mother that was a very driven real estate agent that died in his early teens. Those two people really formed who he is today, and why he does what he does. So I've seen this so many times and with business owners that they have what's really deep and what's driving them, it's for everyone. So when I have an employee, I want to know what motivates them at a very deep level, because that tells me a lot about how to work with them. What really motivates them what kind of projects to put them on, or here's the key that I did as a four as an executive. I made the project fit, what fit there, why so so the project was kind of generic, but I couch that project to them in such a way that really excited them and help them understand these same techniques. So when I assign them a project they knew who to pick to be on the project with them. But really, it didn't matter too much because they learned that same technique How do I help mold that project to fit their why rather than hoping the project fits their Why does that make sense or
yeah it does and so I'd love to Carl kind of get back to your journey so you're coming then from a TV film production and and then then what? Like how did you use your strengths to continue to rise in business? Well, the
like I said with a motion pictures of a when they're on a large scale, there's a lot of moving parts so like I said, it's logistics Yeah, there's I was in charge of, of at least, making sure that sales and marketing was successful. The all of the admin and finance behind those things. That I mean everything that had to take places as well as making sure that I created a product that was going to be marketable, that was going to sell in the marketplace. So all of those skills really worked for just about any business, I had to create systems and processes for every project that went on. Because this when I got involved with the industry was really when the internet in gaming was coming along. So all of those pieces fit together. So how do I take the gaming pieces? How do I how do I take all the web pieces? How do I organize, organize all of that, because that was part of my job. So bringing all those pieces together and organizing it means I had to have systems and processes that were replicatable or the projects is gonna fail. And that's a really important thing with any small business owner. Every project that I started always had a replicatable model behind and so many business owners to start throwing mud up on the wall. Hoping something's going to happen when it takes off, the business dies because they don't have the systems and processes in place to grow the business and help it expand. And that's kind of a hot topic today. People are like, Well, how do I grow my business? How do I expand it? How do I have those things? What's the scalability like? Well, that's one of the big keys to scalability. Is it financially scalable? Are all the administrative process scalable? So I do that very early on in any business is you'll see it, we just created another company. And there's a whole folder in a Dropbox file with all of those elements in it that were already preparing those documents and everything so I don't have to go back and do it again.
No, go ahead. So that I think that was one of the keys is that is that I came up with very early in my projects, methods to do those keep keep the systems and processes going. So I didn't have to be there all day. Time, if I left on a week's vacation all my projects kept going without me.
I'm in so for businesses today, do you see trends or do what I guess, in terms of specifically with sales and marketing? Are there things that you see currently that you're like? i? I don't think that's a great idea. What What should businesses be sold
on? They're kind of shocked here with with this.
Because at one point, I actually owned an advertising agency. And we service you know, fortune five, fortune 100, fortune 500, but we had some smaller businesses. And everybody would always ask, you know, we need to really rely on internet marketing. I said, Well, let's go look at the facts and figures. The facts were that internet marketing only accounts for about eight and a half to 9% of all sales. What we know when we look at the marketing data is about 80%. 80 to 85% of all sales is based upon either word of mouth, or relationships. So I actually teach a workshop to our clients that teaches them how to build relationships with potential clients. We take them out, we actually do cold calls. And I can usually teach somebody within five to 10 cold calls, how to be selling, but it's all based on relationships. So I teach them how to read other people, how to ask those questions that find their deepest Why? Because that's why they buy people. Yes, they need something, but they're really trying to match up with that why that they have my dad used to buy my dad ran a huge defense contracting facility. And all the people that came in to sell him huge equipment, would take him on an experience somewhere and build a relationship with him and go off to other competitors facilities and talk with people and build those relationships. And you almost say I want to buy one. Because while you're building that relationship, you really know what they want and why they want it. There's a great scene from the moody movie, A Beautiful Mind that I use a clip from our sales workshop. And essentially, that one gentleman goes over and they dare him to go ask a girl out on a date. And he walks right up to her and says, Hey, you want to have sex? And she slaps him across the face. It's a great scene, look it up. And what I show people is that you would never do that. You date somebody, you build a relationship, you get that and it sales is very much the same. So I kind of laugh right now on LinkedIn, just about one out of three people pitch me something. When they when they friend me. That's not how to do it. Yeah. It's when somebody friends you, we send out a message to them. That's very good. Personal I have somebody that looks at their profile and says, tell me more about yourself. Tell me what you do. Tell me what kind of people would I could connect you with and my network, and you build a relationship with them and maybe five to seven contacts down the road? Then you say, Hey, can I usually they'll ask what you do. So allow them to draw that out of you. They say, Well, you know, once you know what they do, now, you have to know how to wrap what you have around what they want. Rather than, hey, I have something people don't care what you have, they want to know how what you have is going to help them and you don't know that without really interacting with them. Yeah, so these people never even look at my LinkedIn profile, and have pitched me horrible. And so and so I think that if I could tell business owners one thing is that stopped relying on mechanics. I'm not gonna I'm not saying the internet is bad. What I'm saying is learn how to take the propeller off your head. Go out and start meeting people start, you know, just engage the checker at the at the grocery store and start asking them questions because you, once you learn how to ask really good questions, people will spill their guts to you. So it's once you it's not asking questions, it's asking really good questions that get them to reveal things about themselves.
And tell me just a bit more Carl, about the work that you do today coaching, who would make a great client for you? What are the outcomes that you help produce? And what are some great ways that kind of people could begin that engagement with
you? Well, usually what my my staff does is that on one side, we're looking at what's going on to the business right now we start looking what we can attach some metrics to that are, are that are meaningful for them. So now, yes, you're going to look at finances and that kind of things, but Sometimes, or almost all the time, you're looking at some very individual metrics, how many of the times they do X, how many and so we track those things with them. And so we start to deconstructing the business to understand those things, where they need better systems to be able to free up their time to be I know it's a cliche, but working in their, on their business rather than in their business, right. And so they're spending, we're looking at those elements of the actual physical business there, you're always trying to get to the same place, essentially, it's looking at where they're falling down in those areas. And it's also looking at their personal psychology, what what emotional addictions are impacting their ability to grow. And so what we just talked about where I say I am going to look deep into your past and your why we actually teach them how to do that for themselves and how to do that with their skills. Other, their spouse, their, their, their employees, their staff members. And so we actually use a lot of, of toys, all sorts of different things. And we actually have questions for them to start learning how to interact with and they, they use a lot of, I have one business or brand called the Superhero Boot camp. And we actually bring out a little superhero figures and they start using those within certain activities to teach them how to ask really good questions about themselves and their employees. So they, so they know how those staff members really respond on a daily basis. I can go through just about any business and set up metrics you can you can figure out how to do that you there's a lot of information out there. But it's really understanding what's driving your decisions and your patterns. So many times the reason you're not keeping metrics on things is because you have psychological traps Drivers are patterns that you're running that you have no idea are there. And you keep repeating those patterns. So we had a client who good example she, she came to me and she goes, I don't know why every one of the employees that I have steal from me. And so long story short, she start we started talking about that family of origin. What went on turns out that during her childhood about every year her parents moved, and her parents moved because dad cheated on mom and they had to move to another city. Yeah. And so I said, well, geez, this pattern is really you've you've you've gotten used to hiring people just like your dad. Your dad cheated. And you people repeat patterns consistently. So when you see when you see that happening, you can then work with the emotions that are triggering that behavior because people will do that. addictive behavior is we will do many, many times we will do things that impact our own individual behavior. We will hurt ourselves without realizing it. And so that's what she was doing. She was literally hurting herself because of patterns. She learned very young.
So a great way, Carl, for folks to get started is you have a free book that you offer the superhero boot camp. And so where can people find that? How can they get it and what will they learn
on on the site business three or three.com you can actually download one of our short pamphlets that kind of gives some of the piece piece parts of this it gives you kind of an introduction to it. The book is actually being edited right now. And I'm expecting within probably three to four months I'll actually have the book out after it's edited several times. So there there would be a poll they once they download that like one booklet they'll be on a list and we'll actually let them know when the hard copy of the book is going to come out.
Terrific. Awesome. Well, Carl Hartman, you're many things. You're the acting CEO of a private equity fund mining company. You're President of Your Business By Design Superhero Boot Camp, and you're the author of It Takes a Village to Make An Idiot, the operator's manual for the ADHD and Asperger's mind, Carl, thank you so much. Very, very insightful. And I really appreciate you spending your time with us today. You're welcome. Thanks for your time.
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