In the United States alone, there are 61 million disabled adults. More than one in four adults (26%) have some form of disability.
Despite these numbers, disabled persons are sorely underrepresented in the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 17.9% of persons with disabilities were employed in 2020, compared to 61.8% of the non-disabled population.
If you live with a disability, are eager and able to work but are unable to find the right job or an accommodating work environment, you may consider starting your own business. If you do, use the following tips to set your business up for success.
Do not let pride get in your way of seeking out help where it’s available. The Small Business Association has put together a list of resources for just about everything you will need to start your business and help it grow. Through these programs, you can find everything from business advice to support services to funding.
In fact, there are dozens of grants and funding opportunities available to disabled entrepreneurs and from which you can benefit hugely. You can also connect with potential future employees, which you will need to hire sooner rather than later to increase your chances of success and prevent burnout.
Though you will eventually need a business plan, the planning phase should be much more exhaustive than writing up a business proposal. For starters, make sure that you’re ready — like, really ready — for the trials and tribulations of business ownership. Though entrepreneurship is extremely rewarding, it’s not easy. If you’re not passionate about the adventure upon which you’re about to embark, you may struggle to see it through to the end.
Next, determine what type of business to start and do your market research. Make sure the demand is there and that you can relate to your target market. Choose a business model and decide what type of entity you want to form. Set realistic goals and expectations and, only after you do all that, create your business proposal.
It’s natural to shy away from a complex business concept, but often, it’s those complex concepts that make the most money. Take tech, for instance. As of 2021, the U.S. tech industry is valued at $5 trillion, and analysts only anticipate it growing.
Tech jobs rely on people with a variety of skill sets and may include web designing, analysis, digital marketing, information architecture, content strategising and everything in between.
If you worry about not having the skills to start a tech company, develop them through online courses (check out the Love Circular course list by clicking here).
Too many business owners view marketing as an expense, but this perspective can be damaging to your startup. Marketing generates brand awareness, garners interest and helps you make sales. There are dozens of ways to market your business, so do your research to find out which channels your target audience uses.
Email marketing is one channel you should consider using, as it’s affordable, allows you to engage with your audience in real-time, allows for targeted messaging and results are easy to measure. If you need help with this, you can easily find email marketing services through online job platforms. Just be sure to consider reviews, time and cost before hiring.
As an adult living with a disability, starting a business may be the best thing for you to achieve the independence you crave. However, make sure you start off on the right foot. Use the above tips to do so.
Written by Ed Carter, a retired Financial Planner and Independent Writer.
Read more informative blogs from him at ablefutures.org