I posted this issue on NetworkManager gitlab, but it seems that maybe this issue is the fault of the applet so i am reposting it here.
I encountered this issue both on a Manjaro XFCE laptop with the iwlwifi driver and a Debian XFCE laptop with ath9k driver.
My main gripe is that the NetworkManager applet doesn't let me start the laptop saved hotspot network unless the laptop is already connected to another Wi-Fi network as a client. To expand, when the laptop is connected to a Wi-Fi network as a client, selecting the option "Create New Wireless Network..." opens up a window where there is (under the connection tab) the option to select the saved hotspot configuration. But that option is not available if the laptop is not connected to any Wi-Fi network as a client (and the Wi-Fi functionality is of course turned on).
Also two other minor issues:
1 - without setting up an hotspot directly from the network list window, "Create New Wireless Network..." would suggest me to create an hotspot with WEP level security which is completely unsecure and i don't know why WPA does not appear on the security tab.
2 - upping the priority number of the hotspot to be higher than all other Wi-Fi networks makes the laptop boot in hotspot mode directly. But if the hotspot is disconnected there is no way of turning it on again except connecting to a Wi-Fi network as a client and then select it from "Create New Wireless Network..." like i explained before. I would think that with maximum priority, and if network and/or Wi-Fi functionalities are turned off and on again, the hotspot should autorestart, am i wrong?
Sorry for the very long post but hopefully this wall of text is somehow useful.