The Best Tips For Individuals With Disabilities Who Want To Start Their Own Business
By guest blogger Erica Francis
For the millions of Americans living with a disability, it can be stressful and overwhelming to try and find employment. These individuals are often discriminated against or passed over for a job simply because of their disability, even when they are willing and able to work. It’s for that reason--among others--that so many disabled Americans are trying their hand at starting their own business.
While it’s a big step and a huge personal commitment, starting your own business can be extremely lucrative and advantageous if you’re living with a disability. For starters, you can work out of the comfort of your own home if you choose, without having to rely on adequate transportation to get to and from work.
There are many other benefits to starting your own business. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to go about striking out on your own.
Do something you love
If you’re going to make your own business, it’s best to make it one that you truly enjoy doing. Not everyone can say that they get up in the morning ready to face the day because they love their job, but you have the chance to make it count! Do some brainstorming on what your skillset is, where your passions lie, and what makes the most sense for you.
Don’t think you have to become the next Bill Gates overnight. Some of the strongest businesses grow organically over time. One option for starting small is to take advantage of the sharing economy. When you set up shop on sites like Rover.com or TaskRabbit.com, it’s easy to price your services, get in front of new clients, and set up jobs. If you’re crafty, open an Etsy store. There are nearly unlimited options for creating goods, such as artwork, soaps and body care products, furniture, clothing, and jewelry.
Do some research
No matter what your endeavor, it’s always a good idea to do some research before diving in. Look around your neighborhood to see if there are businesses similar to the one you want to start, and investigate a bit. What are their hours? How much do they charge for their items? How many employees do they have? Know your competition before you begin and get friendly with them; they may prove to be useful allies down the road.
It’s also important to look online to get a feel for the web presence of local business, and create your own. A website and accounts on all the major social media platforms--Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to start with--will go a long way toward helping you gain a customer base and maintain it.
The financial aspect of starting a small business is a stressful one, but you can make it a little easier on yourself by doing some research well before you’re ready to actually open up. Check out the SBA site to learn more about how living with a disability could entitle you to financial assistance with your business.
Create a great website
For many of your potential customers, your website is going to be the first interaction they have with your company. Make sure it’s easy-to-navigate and provides plenty of information to answer customer questions so that you can take them from potential customer to loyal customer as quickly as possible. And don’t worry, you won’t need to drop a huge chunk of your startup funds on your site. To get going, use a website builder and do it yourself. You’ll be surprised at your newfound web design skills, and you can have a sleek, easy-to-use site up and running in no time.
Get good advice
It’s always a good idea to talk to people who have been through what you’re about to take on, so consider checking out SCORE, a company that partners small business owners with mentors who can help them through the harrowing business of starting a company. Outside of that, you can also just get friendly with local shop owners to find out what they would do differently if they could go back to when they were first starting out.
Remember, starting your own business will take time and patience, and there will almost certainly be days when it seems like nothing is going your way. Stay calm, take a deep breath, and tell yourself it will all be worth it in the end.