How Running A Small Business Can Help Parents With Disabilities
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How Running A Small Business Can Help Parents With Disabilities

The author explains how opening a small business can be a great way to earn income around your flexibility so you can build a future for your family.

Families are creating their own companies as work opportunities for adult children with disabilities. Courtesy of Howard Blas
Families are creating their own companies as work opportunities for adult children with disabilities. Courtesy of Howard Blas

Being a parent and living with a disability can be challenging and costly. However, in today’s economy, there are endless opportunities for running a small business that can bring in extra income. It can also give you the availability you need to raise your child. In fact, the US Department of Labor states that entrepreneurship is a “flexible route to economic independence for people with disabilities.”

Is this a good path for you? Let’s find out.

Do You Have What It Takes?

You are no stranger to adversity, but running a business takes certain traits that drive some business owners towards success. Some of them include:

  • Goal-Oriented and Future-Focused
    You have to be able to set up goals and follow them through to their conclusion. And you have to be willing to adjust those goals and final objectives for changes in your industry and the market. Set goals that are achievable and well-defined. Here are five tips for creating goals for small business from the Balance.
  • Action-Oriented and Collaborative
    According to this post at Inc., a small business owner should be able to look at adversity as a “kick in the rear to move forward.” You should be able to work with others as well even if they are difficult: clients, vendors, staff, etc.
  • Self-Reliant and Focused
    No one will be doing your payroll, paying your benefits, or handling your retirement except you. That means you need to know when to focus on your product or service, including customer care, and when to focus on administrative tasks. See more traits of successful business owners at SmallBizTrends.com.

Finding A Business That Fits

You may already have an idea in mind for your business but if not, there are some things you can try. Neil Patel, the co-found of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics and top influencer on the web, suggests that you think about your biggest frustration. For some people, living with a disability has spawned ideas that just had to come to life in a business.

You can also do something that is your biggest source of satisfaction, aka doing what you love that is a good fit for you. Assess your strengths, talents, and past professional or school experiences. What interests or excites you?

For example, you may love pets and have lots of experience with them. You can easily and quickly set up a dog walking business, especially if you live in an area with lots of working professional pet owners. Or you can go further and set up a dog boarding business, depending on your area and zoning regulations.

If you’re more of a techie than a pet person, you can offer online or computer services, such as accounting, virtual administrator (VA), graphic design, web design, programming, etc. It’s all based on what your interests are and how you can handle clients, marketing, and daily work in the industry you choose.

Regardless of which type of business you choose to pursue, you need to take steps to ensure its success. In addition to developing a presence on social media, putting together a user-friendly website, and taking steps to properly market your business (both online and offline), you’ll also need to develop your brand. One good place to start is by using an online tool to create a compelling, eye-catching logo that people will immediately recognize and associate with your business. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, setting yourself apart from the pack will help matters greatly.

Grants and Funds for Business

As a startup, you may need funding. A lot of organizations in the U.S. have grants and loans available for business owners with a disability. According to Bizfluent, these include grants for women, veterans, regions and grants for certain fields. The following resources may be of assistance:

  • www.Grants.gov
  • US Small Business Administration
  • Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneur Resources for People with Disabilities (download the PDF)
  • Learn how your business can impact SSI disability benefits at com.

Balancing Your Family Life

Finally, it’s important while you are setting up your business to make time for your family. If you segregate office hours and family time, you will know where to focus the majority of your attention to get things done. It’s also helpful to have a dedicated office space that is off-limits to your children while you’re working.

Opening a small business is a great way to earn income around your flexibility so you can build a future for your family. Take care to pick the right business and do your homework before getting started.

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.

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