Tips for Launching a Small Business For People With Disabilities
Getting a job can be difficult if you’re disabled. Inadequate accessibility features, inflexible work arrangements, the disability pay gap, and lack of confidence from employers are just a few of the challenges people with disabilities face in the traditional workplace. Starting a business is a great way to leave that all behind and pave your own path!
Thanks to technology and the internet, business ownership has never been more attainable. The ability to build a business plan, register your business online, obtain your employer identification number (EIN), and set up a website has never been more accessible than it is today.
People with disabilities have the power to launch a lucrative business from the comfort of home, minimizing obstacles and capitalizing on their most valuable skills.
Here’s how to get started!
Go Back to School
While you don’t need any form of education to start a business, going back to school and earning a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or an Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree will ensure you have all the skills you need. You’ll learn key skills including human capital management, marketing, accounting, and strategic planning. Whether you decide to go to a traditional university or consider going to school online, explore how each school or online program will be able to accommodate you. Many people have found remote learning to be perfect for their disability.
Others find traditional learning more enriching. An online program can offer the flexibility to learn on your own time and with the tools that make your life easier, but other students with disabilities respond better to a campus where proper accommodations are made, and they can interact with teachers and other students.
Whatever path you take (if you decide upon this route), don’t forget to explore scholarships to help lessen the sting of tuition.
Consider Home-Based Business Ideas
Like learning from home, launching a business from home offers greater flexibility to people with disabilities. There is no shortage of great home-based business ideas! You could try dropshipping, produce your own products to sell, or work with established companies to sell their products for a commission. Or you could start a freelancing business offering your skills to clients on a project-by-project basis. If you want to take it a step further, you can launch a service-based industry and hire people to work for you remotely. Getting disability insurance to protect you and any employees you end up hiring is a good idea, too.
Try to pick a business idea that you believe in. Using your personal experiences as a jumping-off point is a great way to develop impactful business ideas. Think about the things you struggle with, whether related to your disability or not, and try to come up with a solution that would help others in your position.
If you’re operating on a tight budget, look for free tools that can help. For example, instead of hiring a web designer, you can use a free website builder to create a functional and engaging site. You can also employ a logo design maker to create a memorable logo that enhances your brand. Choose from thousands of logo templates which you can then resize and customize using your own copy, font, and color scheme.
Conduct Market Research
Before moving forward with your business idea, take the time to do some market research. People aren’t going to fall in love with your business just because you think what you’re offering has value. Make sure your target audience can also see the value in your product or service. To get started with market research, Bplans recommends identifying your ideal customers and talking to them.
Social media is a fantastic resource for finding people to talk to about your idea. Use social listening tools to narrow in on a specific audience segment and find people who are talking about the problem you’re trying to solve. You can then message these people to find out what they think about your solution!
Take Advantage of Funding Programs
Affordability is another benefit of starting a home-based business. While you won’t have to cover the overhead costs of a physical store, you might need some funding to invest in a new product, purchase supplies, or hire employees.
Thankfully, as business.com notes, small business owners with disabilities can access special funding programs through government groups and private organizations. Get in touch with your local Small Business Development Center to learn about available grants and loan programs, or explore the Benefits Finder at Benefits.gov, the portal of the U.S. government that connects people and businesses to programs and resources at the federal and state level that might help them.
Make Time for Self-Care
It’s easy to neglect self-care when you’re lost in the excitement of launching a new business. But taking care of yourself is essential for your long-term success. Prolonged stress will lead to burnout. As you work to get your business off the ground, schedule time for relaxation, hobbies, and socialization. Do things that get you away from the computer and thinking about something other than your business, at least for a few minutes!
If you want to be an entrepreneur, don’t let anything stop you. Running a home-based business is a great way to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams. There are so many tools, resources, and people out there to help you get to where you want to be!
Bluegrass Career Services helps those with disabilities find meaningful employment and live independently. To learn more, drop us a line at 859-272-4855!