The famous quote by scientist Alexander Graham Bell “When one door closes, another one opens” aptly describes what an Aussie teen with autism experienced. After being rejected by dozens of part-time jobs, he discovered an opportunity by setting up a cleaning business, and it has had a resounding success!
Like many people who have autism, Clay Lewis, from Brisbane, Australia, had a hard time looking for a paid after-school job, owing to his odd way of speaking during interviews.
Time to hit the beach and then the pool and then the beach and repeat
“Because he speaks differently than other people, employers have unfair assumptions based on first impressions,” Clay’s mom, Laura Lewis, told Daily Mail Australia. “If Clay had a job interview today, I can guarantee you he won’t get a job.”
“They don’t know he has a great work ethic, he is very loyal and very diligent.”
@nocopyrightsounds we need you 🤘to find a theme song for our kids. This is one of members @clay.needs.no.moulding who is…
Clay spent two years looking for a part-time job, but all went in vain. Since no employer wanted to give him a chance, he started his own business, Clay’s Bin Cleaning, with the help of his mom.
“I was trying to get a job at a fast food restaurant but I wasn’t successful,” Clay said.
“My husband, Warren, and I have learned not to put limitations on Clay because he always without fail exceeds them. I knew what he could do and where he needed support. With this in mind, we met with Fiona Moore, a consultant, helped us brainstorm ideas and Clay’s Bin Cleaning was born,” Laura wrote on the Clay’s Bin Cleaning website.
Repost from @schafted using @RepostRegramApp – I recently got to know a couple of teenage boys! 16-year-old Clay from…
Since then, Clay has been going around his neighborhood of Redland in Brisbane, cleaning wheelie bins for clients after school hours—charging $10 per bin, and $5 for each additional bin.
“It seemed like something easy to start off with and there was no competition in my area,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.
Speaking about his challenges, the 16-year-old said, “It’s really hard in summer as bins smell—sometimes I gag but I just work through it.”
“I often use a cleaning mask but the maggots can be tough.”
If your bin needs a scrub we have some spaces available! 18/6/18 4.45pm and 19/6/18 3.15pm, 3.45pm, 4.15pm and 4.45pm….
Laura revealed, for Clay, “smell is a big thing,” as he is extremely sensitive to smell, sight, and sound due to his sensory processing disorder—a condition most individuals with autism have.
Despite the awful smell, Clay did not give up.
“To overcome that was a huge challenge,” Laura said.
As most parents would be, Laura felt it was “unbelievably satisfying” seeing her son doing his own business to earn money.
“It means that when he finishes school he will have a full business to step into and he will be able to achieve an independent lifestyle,” Laura said.
She also helps Clay handle the emailing, scheduling, and EFTPOS transactions.
“The unemployment and under-employment rate of disabled people is incredibly high,” she remarked.
Clay’s Mumager is on the tools today. Will accept vodka as payment. 🔥🔥🔥 it’s a sizzler
Work gives most of us a sense of purpose and self-worth. Unsurprisingly, the business not only helped build up Clay’s resume but also his confidence.
“He now does all the client face-to-face communication,” Laura said.
“I just thought it was really important that he learned about work, learned about the work ethic,” Laura told Yahoo!.
The boys were out cleaning in Clay’s neck of the woods this afternoon in lovely Lota. Best kept secret ever 🤫
As the business took off, the young entrepreneur hired three of his classmates to share the workload.
And as of January 2019, Clay’s business has gained 70 clients and earned more than $6,000!
So, what’s Clay’s secret of success?
“Over the year I’ve learnt that it’s really important to do a good job so my customers have me back, and I do extra little things like wind up their hoses as it’s a nice touch,” Clay said.
“It’s always really important to have our workplace safe too,” he added.
Surely, Clay and his team manage to continue doing a good job, according to the customers’ reviews on Clay Needs No Moulding Facebook page.
“Clay and his worker came on Monday 21/1. Super punctual and did a fantastic job,” one customer wrote.
Another commented: “The boys came and cleaned the bins spotless! Even my kitchen bin. Would totally recommend!!”
Clay’s story will now be on @abcnews_au 7.30 Tuesday night #autism #autistic
As for what the future holds, Clay intends to expand his business by offering car washing and driveway cleaning as well.
The teen surely has an entrepreneurial mind!
In 2016, Clay was awarded by the governor at the Government House as part of Autism Queensland’s Creative Futures awards, as per his website.
Absolutely no pressure to feed Clay and Jaidyn when they clean your bins but thank you Pizza Capers Wynnum the boys enjoyed the feed
For many people, the happiest thing about working is fulfilling their desires with the money they make, and Clay is no exception. He’s planning to save up to go for a holiday to Dubai for the Formula 1 car-racing championships.
Way to go, Clay! We hope his story will inspire more businesses to hire those with developmental disabilities, giving them an opportunity to prove themselves.
Well, if there’s no job available, individuals with disabilities can still find numerous ways to earn money, like what Clay did.
Clay and Summer from Chickens to Love – Therapeutic Chickens are a new generation taking a stand against bullying Bullying NO WAY #BullyingNoWay
“Families are so busy and spend their days working and there are so many job opportunities for children with disabilities,” Laura suggested. “Dog walking, water plants, mowing lawns and cleaning pools are jobs any busy family would pay someone to do.”
“I encourage those parents to help their kids find a niche and just set up a Facebook page,” she added.
Indeed, where there’s a will, there’s a way. With resourcefulness and determination, one can always find new opportunities in life.
Watch the video:
Clay, 16, has autism and struggled to find an after-school job.So, he started his own bin cleaning business.
Posted by ABC News on Tuesday, July 10, 2018