Don’t Let Your Disability Stop You from Becoming an Entrepreneur
When asked why they chose entrepreneurship, people with disabilities often say they felt the need to create their own jobs, they valued the flexible hours, and they appreciated having working conditions to accommodate their disabilities. Regardless of whether you have mobility impairment, visual impairment, or suffer from a mental health disability, starting your own business offers many perks that can help you earn a living in a comfortable and successful way.
SELECTING A BUSINESS
Arguably the most important step in entrepreneurship is selecting a business that is the best fit for you personally. When deciding what field of work your business should be in, you should ideally choose something that makes you look forward to going to work and something that you feel passionate about. Do you enjoy physical work and being outdoors? Start a house painting business. Do you like animals? Become a dog walker. Are you a great salesperson and good with people? Become a realtor.
“At the very least, your small business idea should be something that you're interested in and that plays to your strengths,” says Investopedia.
You’ll also want to determine the demand for your product or service to ensure it has a potential to succeed. Before deciding on a line of business, survey your market to see if your skills or products are needed or wanted. Also, weigh the earning potential of your business against your personal and business monthly expenses and determine if your earnings allow you to live the lifestyle to which you’re accustomed.
Beyond earnings, determine if the work itself fits into your lifestyle, taking into account the hours you’ll be putting in. Freelance website builders may be able to set their own hours, but a freelance accountant may have to work the hours that fit into their clients’ schedules. Also, consider how you’ll be interacting with others.
Once you figure out what business you’d like to pursue, you’ll need to figure out how to fund it. The most popular ways entrepreneurs fund their new business ventures include loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA), microloans from nonprofits, grants, credit cards, crowdfunding, personal loans, and assistance from family and friends. You’ll likely utilize a combination of these funding sources.
A loan through the SBA is hard to get and usually is awarded to businesses that are already established. If you have trouble getting a loan from the SBA, look at microlenders and nonprofit lenders. They’re a good choice, even if you have unstable finances, and many of them focus on minority or traditionally disadvantaged entrepreneurs, such as those with disabilities. Family and friends are probably the most popular source for financial assistance. Resort to credit cards as a last option, as it is an expensive route, and research has shown that relying heavily on credit card financing typically sets small businesses up for failure.
When you’re ready to launch your business, you’ll need to take a few steps to alert the public of your new and upcoming product or service. In today’s market, you must create a website, no matter what line of business you’re in. While you’re making a website, create a “coming soon” web page as a teaser. You can also allow customers to sign up for your email list on your business website to receive notifications regarding your official opening and special pricing for being your first customers.
Many website builders also have a way for you to create a blog, which can be utilized to post stories that relate to your products, services, and industry. Don’t forget to set up social media profiles on as many platforms as possible and link to them on your business website. Give your future customers sneak peeks and behind-the-scene looks at your upcoming launch by posting on social media, your blog, and your business website. Hand out business cards everywhere you go, and don’t forget to put a link for your business website.
To ensure your business is prosperous, you’ll need to carefully make some important decisions and put in a lot of preparation before your launch date. However, the hard work will be worth it once you’re able to comfortably work with your disability. Entrepreneurship may just be the flexibility you need to enjoy the work you do.
About the Author
Erica Francis writes for ReadyJob and thrives on helping young people prepare for the working world. She aims to help teens develop the career skills needed to be successful in the workplace.