Tips for Starting a Rewarding Business as a Disabled Parent
Starting your own business is an incredibly empowering and exciting experience. You finally get a chance to pursue your passions and be your own boss! However, getting a business off the ground as a busy parent can be challenging, especially if you’re living with a disability. Here are some tips and resources to help you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.
Design an Accessible Home Office
Before you jump into business planning, set up an accessible work environment. A home office is essential for anyone working from home, especially parents with young children. Choose a quiet room or corner in your home where you can focus without distractions. HomeAdvisor recommends purchasing a wheelchair-accessible desk so you can get your work done comfortably and efficiently. Also, take advantage of speech recognition software, accessible keyboards, and closed-captioned phones to fine-tune your office space to your needs.
Develop a Work Schedule
Finding a work-life balance is essential for preventing burnout as you start a new business. However, stay-at-home parents can have a particularly difficult time balancing the demands of life and work. One way to keep your days organized and productive is to create a work schedule. Let your children know that you’ll be working during certain hours, and set them up with some engaging activities during this period. You can also schedule your work sessions around your children’s nap times! At the same time, Verywell Family stresses that it's important to schedule personal time for yourself so you’re not squeezing in work every chance you get.
Create a Business Plan
A business plan essentially outlines your path to success. While you don’t have to create a formal business plan, writing down your future goals and determining strategies to reach them will help you make the best decisions for your business. According to the Balance Small Business, a business plan can also help you determine whether your business idea is financially feasible. Take advantage of home business planning tools, templates, and apps to get your business started out on the right path.
Know Where to Go for Help
There are several online resources dedicated to helping people with disabilities start their own businesses. From free courses to networking opportunities, you’ll be able to find the help you need to overcome any barriers. You can also find support from various local agencies, like Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) in your area. SBDCs have thorough information on the local market and can give you a solid idea of what will work and what won’t. The staff at these centers can provide advice at any stage of your business development and can guide you through legal procedures like obtaining a permit or business license.
Secure Your Funding
Unfortunately, lack of funding is one of the top reasons why small businesses fail. Be sure to secure your funding before starting your business so you have the capital to turn your idea into something profitable. People with disabilities have a few unique funding options. Talking to someone at your local SBDC will help you discover the loan options available to you. You may also be able to get small business grants to get your business off the ground. You can find grants from the federal, state, and local governments, as well as nonprofit organizations.
The PASS (Plan to Achieve Self-Support) program can also be extremely beneficial for disabled people who are starting a business. PASS can help you save up money to fund your business without losing your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. You can use this money to pay for specific items like home office supplies or educational expenses.
If you’re itching to start a business, don’t let anything hold you back. Several disabled parents have found success by following their dreams and starting up a business of their own. While it may take some hard work and perseverance, it’s by no means impossible.
Text: Jenny Wise, HomeAdvisor