Starting A Business With A Disability: It’s Not As Hard As You Think


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As a person with a disability, you might welcome the opportunity to start your own business. 

Why? Well, there are a number of reasons.

Firstly, as we have discussed before on this site, there are often obstacles in our way when trying to find paid employment, usually because of the myths surrounding hiring people with disabilities. If you have struggled to find an employer with the right attitude, then becoming your own boss might be the natural way forward.

Secondly, many of us feel unconfident in the workplace, especially when we are self-conscious about our disabilities. While we should find ways to live with more confidence, this can be difficult, especially when the workplace in question isn’t set up to support our needs.

And finally, we should start up our own businesses because we can. If you have a creative passion, and you think you might have the ability to turn it into a money-maker, then you should absolutely give it a go. Check out these businesses run by disabled owners, for example, and take inspiration from what they have done.

So, and especially considering our last point, know that starting a business could be something within the realms of reality for you. If you have time on your hands and you are in need of a regular income (even a side-income if you are already earning), then consider the option if it appeals to you. 

Here is some advice to get you started.

#1: Think of a business idea

You won’t get very far without a business idea, so consider what you are good at and then explore business possibilities. The sky is very nearly the limit, as even if you are house-bound, you can still set yourself up as an e-commerce owner selling your products online, or as a freelancer using your skills to help others, perhaps working as a bookkeeper for other business owners or offering your writing services to businesses and bloggers. Take a look at these business ideas as just a few of the examples open to you, and depending on your mobility, think about what you could turn into a business.

#2: Create a business plan

Once you have an idea, you then need to create a business plan. Not only will this be useful to you within the running of your business, but it is also necessary when applying for funding. There is a comprehensive guide here, so take a look, and then start to put something together using the ideas within. 

#3: Look for funding

Not every business idea requires capital to get off the ground, but if you do, then you need to look for available sources of funding. Your bank might be your first port of call, but as a person with a disability, you will also have access to a range of funding options from your local government, and there might be charitable groups in your area with pots of money open to people like you. 

#4: Look for training

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Starting a business isn’t particularly difficult, but the day-to-day running of your business can be tough, especially as a new startup owner. While you don’t have to be skilled in every aspect of your business – as you will see below, there are technologies to help you with some of your business tasks – you might still want to do a business training course to get you up to speed with the basics, as well as any other type of course to equip you with skills and knowledge in some of your weakest areas. Look for local colleges near you with disability access, or do a Google search for any specialist centers that might have the training courses you require. The CEED Project is just one example based here in the U.S. 

Of course, you don’t need to leave your home for training. Assuming you have online access, there are a wealth of business guides available to you, as well as tutorial videos on YouTube on business-related subjects that might be relevant to you. There are even online business courses you can do for free, so check the linked article to find out more. 

#5: Use the technology available to you

There have been loads of advances in technology for business owners, with everything from sales management software to generate more sales opportunities, to accountancy apps which can make light work of invoicing, budgeting, and those pesky taxes. This is great news for anybody working on their own or with only a small team, as they can improve productivity without having to work overtime each day. So, when you’re setting up your business, research available software programs and apps to help you run your business.

And depending on your business idea, you might also need assistive technology. As seen in the linked article, this includes those programs and pieces of equipment that will help you manage your day-to-day activities when working online, including screen readers, communication programs, and computers that have been built-to-purpose. You will have an idea yourself of the assistive technology that you might need, but check the link for examples, suppliers, and funding options, and do a Google search yourself to find out what might be available to you. 

Finally, don’t give up!

Running a business is hard work, and once you have started, you will discover that you have a lot to do, from marketing yourself to managing your budget. There will be days when you might be tempted to give up, especially if you have other personal struggles to overcome. But here’s the thing. You can do it, as many people have before you. Look at the case of Jon Morrow, for example, who has managed to make money from his online ventures, even though the only parts of his body that he can move are his eyes and his lips. Remarkable! So, here’s the thing. If he can do it, so can you. Learn from his example, and if you need help with your business, you could always outsource to an outside firm or hire an extra pair of hands if you are in need of assistance. 

So, if you think you might be ready to run your own business, continue to do your research online. There are plenty of resources available to help you, so click on the link and speak to anybody you know who might have advice to get you started.

Let us know what you think, and if you have any tips for our readers, please feel free to share them with us.