Today’s post is about something different, I was contacted by Patrick back in May I think, and he wanted to write a piece about why people should create home-based businesses. I thought it was really interesting and a good read for anyone with a disability, and can’t work a normal job.
Having a disability can make both finding a job and working more difficult. A *study showed that 50% of unemployed disabled people reported some type of barrier to employment. Additionally, more than 50% of employment disabled individuals reported some difficultly completing their work duties because of their disability. For these reasons, those with disabilities may look to launching their own home-based businesses to reap the benefits of being their own boss.
Why You Should Go For It
Entrepreneurs with disabilities report that “being able to work from a particular location, in hours that suit the individual, can be hugely liberating.” Working set hours, such as the typical 9-to-5 schedule, can be difficult for those with disabilities, especially if the disability tends to be worse in the mornings, like with Multiple Sclerosis. Similarly, veterans who return home with disabilities find it difficult to work these hours or to work with a new disability, and those suffering from mental health disabilities tend to benefit from a more flexible schedule.
Travelling can also be difficult for people with disabilities, particularly those with mobility issues, such as someone confined to a wheelchair. If you were to own your own home-based business, you could work hours that accommodate your needs and set up a home office that fits your lifestyle.
Starting your own business also means you get to decide what tasks to assign yourself, so there’s no worry about duties that are difficult for you to tackle. Likewise, you don’t have to worry about not getting assigned work because someone else doesn’t think you can handle it, even though you can. You get to determine your role within the company from day one, and you can modify that role as you see fit.
Running your company from your home will save you money since you won’t have to rent or purchase property, but you’ll still need to find funding for other aspects to your business. Freebies are hard to come by, so when you come across someone offering free help, don’t pass up the offer. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are located all across the United States and support and promote small businesses by offering face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training on a variety of valuable topics, including accessing capital, writing business plans, marketing, technology, development and more. Take advantage of this opportunity and find an SBDC near you.
Although federal and state governments do not offer grants for disabled people looking to start a business, they do offer loans with admirable interest rates and grants for entrepreneurs in general. Many private companies also offer loans specifically targeted at disabled entrepreneurs. Grants may be available through colleges and universities.
If you do not get 100% funded from one place, combine funding from multiple avenues. For example, a chef in Chicago worked with her local SBDC to write a business plan, obtain permits and licenses, and launch her corporation. Their combined efforts helped her harness a grant from the University of Illinois at Chicago for $5K, a grant from the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation services for almost $29K, and a microloan from Accion for $7K.
In order for any business to be successful, it needs customers. Since you won’t have a storefront in the community for people to find you, you’ll need to utilize social media. Almost every business uses at least one social media platform, so it’s an easy way to reach your audience. Attend events and network with the community and other businesses. Do a giveaway for people to sample your product your product or service.
Once you start your fan base, get them to help you grow it even further. Word-of-mouth referrals from other customers grow your audience and make your business more appealing. Consider providing coupons or discounts in exchange for referrals and reviews. You can also offer a small commission on referrals.
You may be a veteran who is returning home with a disability and cannot fathom working 9-to-5 shift. Perhaps you suffer from a mental health illness, and the ebb and flow of the office environment exacerbates your symptoms. Or maybe you’re confined to a wheelchair, and transportation is a major hurdle for you. No matter your disability obstacle in the workforce, home-based entrepreneurship can offer a way for you to avoid the barriers and work comfortably on your own terms. With a little help and a lot of planning, you can successfully make it happen.