Disability Entrepreneurs are persons who don’t let their physical challenges hold them back from achieving their entrepreneurial vision. To be a successful disability entrepreneur requires commitment, tenacity and a healthy dose of creativity. In this post, guest author Patrick Young provides some useful information and tips for budding disability entrepreneurs.
Physical Limitations, Unlimited Business Possibilities
Disabled individuals are a highly underutilized asset in the workforce. Unfortunately, having a disability means you are statistically more likely than your able-bodied peers to suffer with un- or under-employment. Don’t let your disability stand in your way of success. We’ve got answers to your most common concerns about becoming a disability entrepreneur, starting a business, managing a business, and ways to pay for your entrepreneurial endeavors.
Here are a few tips on how to use your big ideas to become a disability entrepreneur and start your small business:
Consider sticking close to home
One of your greatest obstacles as a disability entrepreneur will likely be transportation and ease of mobility. If you have the space, you can always run the business out of your home. Options that don’t involve strenuous physical labor include accounting, crafting, graphic design, article writing, and marketing consultation.
If you choose a business that requires keeping up with inventory, consider investing in inventory management software. SquareUp explains that these programs can help you keep a close eye on your company’s cash flow, keep real-time track of inventory, and forecast upcoming needs. By paying attention to your supply chain, you can ensure you always have products available and in stock, so your customers aren’t having to wait. You can sell items from home through Amazon, Etsy, and the even the Facebook Marketplace. Shipping has been made remarkably easier over the last few years, and UPS now offers on-call pickup and will happily drop by your home office for same-day pickup, if necessary.
Seek out special funding
There are many loans and grants available for alternately-abled entrepreneurs. These will vary by state and may not be available for every type of business. Disabled World claims there are currently more than 1,200 grant programs available through the federal government and more than 55,000 available at the state level or via private foundations. If you are a veteran, you may also be eligible for special assistance through the VA. Military.com notes that a veteran-owned small business (VOSB) may be eligible for tax benefits that can make it more affordable to own and operate a business, regardless of whether it’s home-based or not.
Know where support is available
The process of becoming a disability entrepreneur and starting your own business is daunting for everyone. The Small Business Administration offers numerous entrepreneurial resources for people with disabilities that can help you make informed decisions and locate possible tax provisions and incentives. Depending on where you live, you may also have access to local support from your Chamber of Commerce or workforce development agency. SCORE is another invaluable pool of knowledge that can help you connect with a mentor in your industry. DIVERSEability, an online magazine dedicated to the professional advancement of people with all varieties of abilities, offers more information on resources available for disabled men and women.
Push your limits
They say that the first step is always the hardest. This applies to many situations, but especially when starting a business. But you don’t have to relegate yourself to plugging away at a computer in order to enjoy success. Surviving Disability asserts that disabled people have ample opportunities when it comes to more conventional careers. Baking, childcare, and doing home repairs are all areas that you shouldn’t be afraid to explore.
You don’t have to have full control over your body in order to control your financial future and become a disability entrepreneur. Some of the most successful people throughout history have had physical limitations to overcome. FDR, Ray Charles, and Stephen Hawking are just a few that come to mind. While you may never be president, play in front of sold-out crowds, or crack the code of the universe, there is nothing stopping you from being the boss.
Patrick Young is an educator and activist. He believes people with disabilities must live within a unique set of circumstances–the outside world often either underestimates them or ignores their needs altogether. He created AbleUSA to offer helpful resources to people with disabilities and to provide advice on navigating various aspects of life as a person with disabilities.