In 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.3% of Americans with disabilities were employed, compared to 66.3% of those who did not have a disability. Those with disabilities were also much more likely to own their own business compared to those without disabilities.
Why would someone with a disability want to own their own business? There are a lot of perks. Self-employment offers a lot of flexibility. You can set your own hours, determine the nature of your work, and, to a point, decide what your income will be.
If you are a person with a disability who is thinking about or already owns your own business, you are not alone in your venture. There are many ways you can get the help you need, whether that be financial help, outsourcing, or business counseling services. There are also special avenues for disabled veterans with small businesses. This article will help you get the assistance you need.
Going into Business
So, you’ve decided to go into business. The first thing you need to decide is what you want to do. You can be a writer, a craftsperson selling a unique product, or own a venue that you rent out for special events. The ideas are endless, but you shouldn’t go into business without at least some idea of what you want to do. Even if you have just the sliver of an idea, there are plenty of resources that can help you get the ball rolling. After that, the next step is to write a business plan. Need help with that? There are a lot of places you can go for help. The Small Business Administration, for example, offers counseling to help you through the process.
Once your plan is in place, the next step is to look for financial assistance. There are many funding resources in place specifically for disabled entrepreneurs, including grants. You can look into a grant sponsored by the federal government, or if you’re the creative type, check out the National Arts and Disability Center that offers grant money to artists who need financial backing to promote their work. The best thing about grants is that you do not need to pay them back. If grants don’t work out for you, there are also plenty of places to find an affordable loan.
When you’re an entrepreneur, not only do you need to find money to get you started, but you also need to find ways to save money. Luckily, there are many tax breaks and credits specific to entrepreneurs. You can save money by tracking the miles you travel for your business or write off debts from clients who didn’t pay you. You also qualify for a tax break if you offer your employees a 401K.
Once you’re established and your business is going well, you may want to start outsourcing some of your responsibilities. There are many aspects of your business that you may want to consider hiring someone to do:
- Generating leads
- Managing your inventory
- Handing your transcriptions
- Providing customer service
One advantage of outsourcing is that it can actually save your company money. It is much cheaper to hire someone for a specific task rather than hiring an employee whom you’d have to pay taxes and benefits for in addition to paying for training.
When considering outsourcing, do not outsource anything that may cause your business to lose its competitive edge. In addition, interview your outsourcing prospects carefully and remember that the cheapest person you can hire is not always the best person. Quality is sometimes more important and will save you money in the long run.
With today’s technology, there are a lot of outsourcing websites to use to search for the best candidates to fit your needs. Upwork, Outsource.com, Fiverr, and Guru are just a few of the websites you can look at.
Self-Care and Business Resources for Veterans
For many veterans, the transition back to civilian life can be difficult and many of those who do not seem to fit in turn to entrepreneurship. Approximately 9% of all businesses are owned by veterans. That’s about 2.4 million businesses.
Caring for your body as well as your mind is important for everyone, but for a veteran, life can be especially hard, and it’s important for veterans to practice self-care. This can entail a number of different things and will vary according to the needs of the veteran:
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Finding a new hobby
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs also provides assistance towards self-care. It is in the form of a self-assessment than veterans can use as well as a month of reflections and activities that veterans can participate in to help them turn their attention towards themselves.
If you are an entrepreneurial veteran, in addition to the resources listed in the above sections of this article, there are resources specifically for you and your special needs as a veteran. You can check out the local Veteran Business Outreach Center, who can hook you up with training and mentoring right in your community. The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association and VetToCEO program are other great resources that provide a wealth of information.
Many people with disabilities including disabled veterans choose the route of entrepreneurship. It offers them the flexibility they need, and, in the case of veterans, a place to call home in the turbulent, civilian world. And they are not alone. There are many resources out there to help them on their journey towards becoming their own boss.
Guest Post: About the Author
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.