According to Human Resource Management, disabled people are vastly underrepresented in the workplace at most companies. They’re subjected to higher rates of unemployment, even though they are eager to work. One of the options for people with disabilities who cannot find a job is to start a business and exploit their talents and skills.
By starting a business, a person with a disability gets the chance to generate an income without facing limitations and discriminatory decisions that come with a traditional job. The beauty is that you have many online business tools that make physical abilities less important in determining one’s productivity. To get started in business, here are tips and insights from Jeremy Hixon that can help people with disabilities start a business.
This is a significant decision that comes with different pros and cons. For instance, as an entrepreneur, you are able to live and work independently at your own pace. Self-employment works perfectly for many disabled people. However, this could also come with a few difficulties, which you must overcome. If you want to get started on a strong platform, you can get additional skills by embracing vocational training for people with disabilities.
Consider a Home-Based Business
One of the obstacles people with disabilities face is mobility barriers. Many employers don’t have adequate accommodations for people with disabilities, so one is better off starting a business that suits their needs. This will be quite beneficial especially for a parent.
A home-based business does not demand a lot of mobility on long distances. If you love making crafts and jewelry, you could sell your wares on Amazon or Etsy. To promote the business, you can use tools like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
A home-based business is ideal if you have online work skills. Some options to consider include freelance writing, web development, and graphic design. If you know how to find great deals, BigCommerce points out you can use Amazon retail business or Fulfillment by Amazon. With these services, you don’t need to worry about shipping or storing inventory.
When working from home, it’s easy for your personal life and work-life to intermingle, which is not optimal. Have a strategy in place to promote a healthy balance, such as working only designated hours and having a dedicated, distraction-free work area like a home office with a door. Make sure your home environment is peaceful and positive, too, so that when you’re not working you can truly relax.
Write a Business Plan
Before starting a business, it’s important to understand what you want to achieve. This begins with a clear business plan outlining what your business will do and how you will achieve it. Write about the business’ corporate structure, cost of starting and running the business, and more.
Having a detailed business plan gives you a helpful guide for the business. It’s valuable evidence you can use to show financiers you have the right ideas. When applying for grants, loans, and other types of financing, you will need to show your business plan. If the idea is right, you will easily get approved for funding.
Look for Special Funding
There are special grants and loans that entrepreneurs with disabilities can qualify for. The SBA website offers an extensive list of programs you can use when you need funding to get started. When applying for funding, read the fine print as some loan programs are only meant for existing businesses. If you’re starting the business, you might want to consider a small business loan that covers start-ups and existing companies.
It’s also important to sharpen your skills by going to school for an MBA program, which will help you develop skills in accounting, marketing, research and statistics, and human capital management. For this, you don’t need to physically be present as you can pursue an online degree program. This option gives you flexibility, allowing you to balance school and work.
There are different government incentives and programs you can use if you want to start your own business. An example is the Ticket to Work Program, which works together with the Social Security Administration to help people with disabilities lead self-sufficient lives. Also, the program provides assistance to people with disabilities who want to launch their businesses. In addition, the SBA offers an online resource library with financial programs and ideas for entrepreneurs living with disabilities.
Some states offer incentives to help new disabled business owners, so you can check out the state’s Department of Labor or Commerce before you launch an enterprise. Also, there are several organizations catering to veterans with disabilities who want to launch careers as business owners.
Marketing Your Business
It’s important to understand how to market your business. Some of the marketing tips you should consider include first knowing your audience. When structuring your marketing goals, stay focused on singular goals. Try out several ideas and double down on the things that work best. Social media is a platform you can use to reach out to a wider audience without using many resources.
Your business also needs a website where you can display your merchandise. On the website, you can use data collection and analysis tools that will help you understand visitors’ behavior.
With this data, you can know which pages require improvement and what kind of improvements. In addition to using social media marketing, you can do search engine optimization on your website. This means gaining organic traffic, which offers lasting results if well implemented.
With search engine optimization, your website will rank among the top results on search results if users search specific keywords. If you cannot do the optimization by yourself, you can hire a freelance expert to help you with setting up the site to be SEO-friendly.
The best solution for people with disabilities who want a stable career is to start a business. This gives you flexibility as you can fit your business around your needs and lifestyle. It allows you to become financially independent in a sustainable and comfortable way. These tips are just among the different steps you should follow to get started.
Jeremy Hixon is a Web Developer, nerd, car lover, and fan of learning. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!