The Highly Sensitive Business Owner

The

Highly Sensitive Business Owner

a 12-week program for neurodiverse, service-based business owners who want to reimagine their relationship to their work

(and maybe destigmatize some sh*t while they’re at it)

Your sensitivity

red-underline-slash

lets you see & appreciate details that others miss

is why you care so much about your clients

gives you empathy

fuels your creativity

spurs you to take action against injustice

makes you a really good friend

is a superpower

Overstimulated and Burned out
white-down-arrow

But it also leaves you burnt out and overstimulated most of the time — especially in this productivity-obsessed, profit-is-king, I-need-it-yesterday! culture we find ourselves in.

Wanna skip the anti hustle-culture diatribe that’s about to come your way, and go straight to the program details?  cool.

Highly Sensitive? Neurodiverse? Just follow these 4 Simple Steps to achieve permanent burnout!

Step one: Capitalism requires us to trade our time for money.

We have to earn money to live a safe, comfortable life—regardless of how that tracks with our core values (i.e. how we spend our time doesn’t match the things we care about).

Step two: Our values & priorities get skewed.

“Making money” becomes priority #1, out of necessity. Everything else—our mental & physical health, our enjoyment, our emotional fulfillment, our sense of purpose—has to take a backseat.

Then, caring about those things is seen as wimpy or dreamy or idealistic or naive. Happiness becomes a luxury, not a right.

Step three: Entrepreneurship offers a workaround of sorts.

When you’re your own boss, at least you can spend that money-making time doing something you actually care about; something that helps people; something that brings you a sense of pride and fulfillment.

Mainstream entrepreneurs & influencers like to think of themselves as mavericks, like they’ve outsmarted capitalism. Instead of punching a timecard, we can work anytime we damn well please! Instead of commuting, we can “work from anywhere!” Instead of having pointless meetings, we have zoom happy hours!

Step four: Enter hustle culture.

If making money is paramount, then making MORE money is even better. (Right?) And if making a million dollars in a decade is cool, then making EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS IN 30 DAYS is even cooler. (... right?)

As an entrepreneur, you have unlimited earning potential—in theory—so if you don’t earn the most amount of money in the least amount of time, it feels like you’re losing.

And all of this has led to a culture of obsessing over conversions at all costs, even if it means taking advantage of your customers, selling them mediocre programs they may not need, and/or overriding their ability to make rational decisions and provide informed consent.

That’s not “changing the game”—it’s just gaming the system.

Total cost: $1000 with a payment plan available.

Neurodiverse entrepreneurs need to do things differently.

There’s an assumption in online entrepreneurial culture that we all want the same things—to scale. To hustle. To “10x our productivity.” To be #bossbabes.

But the whole point of being your own boss is not having to do things you don’t want to do, or work with people you don’t want to work with, or follow anyone else’s rules besides your own.

If you are an HSP and/or neurodiverse, this singular, narrow-minded vision of success can lead to you making all sorts of moves in your company that aren’t really in line with how you’d prefer to do things.

“Hopping on a quick call” all. the. goddamn. time.

Working on big, important projects with little to no lead time or advance planning

Constantly feeling overwhelmed, overbooked and #overit

Being pressured to show up on social and “be visible”

Identifying so strongly with your client experience & the success of your business that any perceived failure becomes a massive existential crisis

Always redrawing your boundaries, establishing new boundaries, but still feeling like your boundaries aren’t being respected

Feeling “behind” everyone else; like a slowpoke in a world obsessed with speed

Seeing yourself as a misfit outsider who doesn’t have what it takes to success in business because you can’t bring yourself to do all the aggressive, hustle-y things it seems to require.

The neurodiverse population is not a monolith.

but instead of THAT

most of us tend to prefer things like...

Slow growth (and slower everything)

Fewer people / moving parts to manage

Uninterrupted, distraction-free time for deep thinking

Simple business models, systems, & structures

Control over our environments

Time to plan and process

Lots of rest and a rich life that has nothing to do with work

Fewer social engagements

Honesty & transparency

Technology breaks

Time alone with no one talking

And none of this tracks with the whole “I needed it yesterday” / “scale to 7-figures” vibe of online entrepreneurship.

Hi,I’m Sam and I am Highly Sensitive.

highly-sensitive-underline
Sam Highly Sensitive

Ever since I started my copywriting company in 2015, the way I really wanted to do things never quite synced up with the expectations of my clients, my colleagues, my business coaches, hustle culture, marketing bro’s, etc.

For a long time I thought it was me—that I was a weirdo who didn’t have what it took to make it in the “real” world.

But slowly, thanks to writers like Kelly Diels, the work I did with my business coach Stephanie Hayes, and my own innate stubbornness, I realized it wasn’t me that was fucked up—

And in 2019, I discovered that I was officially a Highly Sensitive Person.

I took Elaine Aron’s online assessment, and I fucking crushed that shit.

I started reading, learning, and talking about High Sensitivity—it’s a trait, not a diagnosis or a syndrome or a collection of “symptoms.” It’s most simply described as a stimulation threshold that’s lower than the rest of the population.

The trait itself is neutral—it just is—and any stigma around it comes from our culture. It can often lead to misdiagnosed anxiety disorders, and is frequently mischaracterized as introversion or shyness, which may correlate, but aren’t entirely accurate.

This information was literally life-changing for me. It recontextualized my entire childhood; it helped me understand & befriend my depression in new and wonderful ways; it woke me up to the demands I was placing on myself, and why I had an ugly-cry, bathroom-floor meltdown at that podcasting conference in Atlanta.

But the biggest change of all showed up in how I run my business.

I stopped taking zoom calls whenever anyone wanted, and started intentionally giving myself more unscheduled time.

I decided not to book any more conferences until I could find one that felt HSP-friendly (news flash—I have yet to find one of those). When I traveled, I made sure to have my own room and plenty of alone time, and I started building in recovery days when I returned home.

I also adjusted the amount of client work I’d allow myself to book at any given time, and built “buffer weeks” into all my project timelines.

And then, I adjusted my rates accordingly.

It took awhile, but eventually I stopped feeling like I was constantly at war with my own business, which I loved and wanted to be able to do for a long time.

Not only did I feel like I could actually do this, and sustain it, and stop cycling through burnout after burnout for the rest of my life…

I love my company even more now than I did before, because I’m a lot closer to running it on my own terms.

And—

I felt like other people might want to hear about this. 😉

introducing

The

Highly Sensitive Business Owner

a 12-week program for neurodiverse, service-based business owners who want to reimagine their relationship to their work.

(and maybe destigmatize some sh*t while they’re at it)

Total cost: $1000 with a payment plan available.

I’ve spent the last 3 years trying to figure out how to run my business in a way that doesn’t deplete me, or make me feel like a hypocrite, or make me want to run away to Canada and live in an igloo. (Although… that could be kinda cool?)

It was very important to me that this not be “just another course”—everyone I interviewed made a point to tell me how much they dislike online courses.

There will be some aspects of this program that draw from online course culture, but they mostly relate to things like where the material will live, and how.

I promise not to overwhelm you with emails.

I am not going to tell you how to live, or offer any smug coaching advice. I am not a coach, a clinician, or a self-styled guru (gag). I’m just an HSP with some experiences to share.

You will never be on a zoom call with more than 10 people.

I am going to create a space for you to meet & talk with other Highly Sensitive / neurodiverse entrepreneurs...

so you feel less alone.

Here's how it will work:

how-it-will-work-mobile
how-it-will-work

This is a live, real-time program, and you’ll be with the same cohort the whole way.

New modules will be released every two weeks, so you have plenty of time to process.

My long-term intention is to keep the cohorts small, like 20 people max—but for this first cohort, I’m capping it at ten.

This isn’t a self-guided, evergreen deal. It’s happening in real time, and you’ll have access to me & my team throughout.

Most of the program material lives in text form. There will be a bi-weekly live discussion, and on the “off” weeks I’ll be sending out a Loom addressing any questions or issues that come up in between.

We’ll also have a Slack channel. We’ll decide as a group how best to utilize this.

You are my first cohort, so you’ll get a say in how we run things. Want to put time limits on Slack? Don’t want to show up on camera? Have another idea of how it should work? In our first live session, we’ll talk this through and agree on something that feels good for everyone. I am not here to talk at you.

Here's what's included:

whats-included-mobile
whats-included
  • 6 modules broken into 3-5 “lessons” each, focusing on a different aspect of running a company as an HSP
  • Templates & scripts for having tough conversations
  • Real examples & guides you can use to help revamp your schedules, systems, and processes
  • Actual emails I’ve sent to / received from clients
  • Chill videos you can watch on your own time, featuring me, a camera-averse introvert who drops a lot of f-bombs and will probably wear the same shirt in multiple videos
  • The Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur’s™ Travel Guide: The “4 E’s” of Travel (EEEE!) and ideas for managing them, depending on what type of traveler you are and how your sensitivity works. And yep, there’s tips & tricks. Also includes the HSE™ / Game of Thrones “traffic light” system I invented to help anticipate travel woes.
  • Each module comes with external resources like books, articles, online assessments and more

Program schedule:

program-schedule-mobile
program-schedule

The first cohort starts on Monday, November 15, and ends Friday, February 18 (2022).

We’re taking the last two weeks of 2021 off. 🙂

2022 planning session: In January, one of our live sessions will address the pressures of planning for a new year as a Highly Sensitive Person. I always feel like everything is turned up to 11 when a new year starts, and all this does is add to the overwhelm. We’re going to attempt a 2022 planning session, HSP style.

We’re working on some ideas around keeping the community going after your cohort “ends.” This bit is TBD.

Ready to run far away from the hustle mindset?

Yes.

Total cost: $1000 with a payment plan available.

The

Highly Sensitive Business Owner: Program Modules

Module 1:
Understanding (Your) High Sensitivity & Feeling it All

The purpose of this first module is to make sure we’re all on the same page in terms of what ‘sensitivity’ means, and how it’s showing up for you personally.

We’ll talk about what it means to be Highly Sensitive, the different types of sensitivity, how other forms of neurodiversity fit into the mix (like ADHD for example). This is important, because your particular flavor of sensitivity will inform how you redesign your relationship with your business.

Module 2:
Ch-ch-ch-changes

In this module, we’ll be tackling the importance of having some sort of “routine” in place—and what happens when that routine inevitably gets derailed.

We’ll also spend a lot of time on travel (because it’s such a ween), but also other “surprises,” like unforeseen client requests, last-minute scope changes, and—oh, I don’t know, global pandemics.

static-tv-2
elevator-girl

Module 3:
How to Handle: Other People

In this module, we are going to DEBUNK the idea that business is not emotional, or that emotions are a bad thing to bring into the boardroom. (Or whatever your version of a “boardroom” is—mine has a drooling cat and smells like patchouli.

We’ll also look at things like communication fatigue, difficult people (racists, sexists, alt-right assholes), and how to handle feedback and criticism.

Module 4:
Work

Is it possible to construct your day around your actual needs, without constantly feeling guilty about your productivity levels? (Yes! But it’s gonna take a minute.)

We’ll take a look at: how you work (what helps you feel & be productive), where you work (external environment), and when you work (establishing your ideas schedule & your true capacity) and look at ways to tweak all three to better meet your little sensitive needs.

elevator-girl

Module 5:
Entrepreneurial Culture, Racism, and, Privilege

Module 5 is all about how to navigate the toxicity of hustle culture, and grow your business at your own pace while still keeping your fragile little artist sensitivity intact. 😉 We’ll also talk about what to do when your empathy feels like it’s going to wreck you, but you still have unearned advantages you can’t ignore—and how to get into activism without frying yourself.

Module 6:
Burnout

In the final module of this course, we will redefine what burnout really looks and feels like, what you can do to prevent burnout before it happens, what to do when it happens anyways, and how to actually say “No” (with actual words).

FAQS

I spoke to dozens of neurodiverse and/or Highly Sensitive entrepreneurs in preparation for this program. And all of them told me they were burned out.

The world is overstimulating enough—bright lights, overlapping conversations, air conditioning, Instagram reels, other people’s weird vibes, your client’s poorly hidden dissatisfaction, systemic racism, our doomed-ass planet, the itchy tag inside your t-shirt, your office mate’s stinky perfume, the 47 intricate details of that one “simple” last-minute project, plus all the other details that are now spinning out from that original 47, your nephew’s play that nobody told you about until the week before…

Now add in the pressures and demands of hustle culture, AND the emotional toll it takes on us to swim in these bro-infested marketing waters…

And we’re just cycling through burnout after burnout as we try and stay afloat.

On top of this…

“Sensitivity” is deeply stigmatized, and has been for most of our lifetimes.

We immediately hear that word—sensitive—and think, weak.

But have you ever thought about why? About where that idea comes from?

(Hint: it’s the patriarchy.)

And yet.

Highly Sensitive Entrepreneurs are consistently delivering creative work—on deadline—that blows our clients’ minds. We are known for our professionalism and organization and excellent communication. Our colleagues think we’re brave and admirable because we aren’t afraid to speak our emotions, and our honesty gives others the space & permission to be honest, too. We’re often admired and sought after in our fields. We’re known in our friend groups as the “go to” person to talk to about a tough issue.

We feel it all. And we’re still doing it all.

That doesn’t sound weak to me.

That sounds badass.

©2021 Cult of Personality