Starting a New Business: Tips for Disabled Individuals
It can be difficult for people with disabilities to find a good employment fit. The Americans With Disabilities Act has made things significantly easier for them, mandating the access and mobility they need to succeed. But the physical facilities and day-to-day requirements of a job may make it difficult for a disabled individual to succeed long-term in certain roles.
Small business ownership and new opportunities in the gig economy can provide the kind of flexibility and schedule that can help a person with a disability find lasting success.
That’s an important point if you’re a person who deals with mobility or vision problems, or struggles with chronic pain.
A helping hand
The classic new business model is the “from-scratch” variety, with an enterprising individual who starts from the ground up. It’s inspiring, but it’s a daunting prospect for anyone. Of course, there’s no rule that says you can’t have a little help in the form of financial or logistical support that helps you get your business off the ground.
You could get started with a franchise business, which is an excellent way to take advantage of existing and well-tested support systems, including marketing, administrative, training, and ongoing corporate support. If you’re a franchisee, you have a built-in advantage; a corporate support structure that has a vested interest in helping you succeed. For a disabled person just getting started, franchising can provide an important advantage. You don’t have to take on too much, too soon all on your own.
Work from home
Starting a home-based business is another way to simplify some of the physical demands of starting a new business. The Internet and a growing demand for individuals who can provide niche-oriented services have helped make it easier and more lucrative to start a home-based business than ever before. It’s an excellent option if your mobility is limited.
Many people have experienced success operating a staffing business from home, or providing customer service support for call centers from all over the world, as companies look for dedicated workers to perform a function that’s often find difficult to fill and retain. Getting started as an at-home business owner can be difficult and discouraging at first. Remember, you have years of experiences, skills and talents to impart, which many companies can benefit from in the current business landscape.
Don’t overdo it
It’s true that you have to work hard and be persistent to succeed as a business owner, no matter what industry you’re in. There are definitely sacrifices you’ll have to make, but beware sacrificing your health, happiness and well-being to career concerns. It can be hard to maintain that fine line, but be careful not to cross over the line into self-destructive or neglectful behavior. Self-care is always important, particularly if your disability requires a concerted effort to manage pain or control a serious condition. Plan for logistical and personal challenges, just as you would make financial and administrative plans in launching a business venture. Overlooking or dismissing your physical, mental and emotional needs won’t help you in becoming a success in business.
Small business loans
Whether you pursue an SBA or short-term loan, or seek a business line of credit, it’s important to identify the right kind of business loan for your start-up and for your long-term business plans. Your credit rating will have a lot to say about this; if you have good personal credit, you might consider a small business startup loan, which offers the flexibility and startup capital you’ll need to get off to a good start.
Starting a new business places a premium on planning and preparation for pretty much anyone; for a disabled individual, it may mean planning for practical and logistical needs as well as financial and operational ones. If you are disabled, remember to take it slow and carefully at first. Don’t overreach financially or personally.
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