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Fundamental steps to becoming an entrepreneur for parents with disabilities

Young woman in wheelchair in front of laptop and networking while her colleague working behind

Parenting is hard. And if you have a disability, you likely deal with additional challenges and costs on a day-to-day basis. One of the most common issues for adults with disabilities is maintaining a job that brings them fulfillment. While many companies are taking strides to be more accommodating, people with disabilities are still suffering from higher unemployment rates than those without disabilities.

Whether you’ve faced discrimination or simply haven’t found a job that offers the right environment, here’s an option to consider: becoming an entrepreneur. With all the tools and funding options available today, being a business owner can allow you to tailor your work environment to meet your needs (you can even work from home) and generate income to support your family.

Evaluate Yourself 

You’ve probably learned to navigate your fair share of challenges. But being a successful entrepreneur requires certain traits, and assessing whether you hold those traits is essential. For example, are you a self-starter? You will likely wear many hats as a business owner, especially in the early stages, responsible for anything from administrative tasks to product development to customer service.

Are you goal-oriented and adaptable? You must know how to establish attainable goals while remaining flexible should you need to modify them. And do you work well with others? Being an entrepreneur means that you will probably need to communicate and collaborate with team members, clients, vendors, etc.

Land on a Business Idea

Maybe you already know what you’re interested in or passionate about, and you want to turn it into a business. Or perhaps you’re not even sure where to start. If you find yourself in the latter situation, start thinking about what your community needs or what things satisfy you each day.

Running a successful business is all about solving a problem or meeting a need. Does your town need a place that serves high-quality coffee? Perhaps opening a coffee shop could be a lucrative venture. Do you enjoy working with computers? Maybe you could open a web development or design business. Find something that interests you and lines up with the strengths, skills, and knowledge you’ve acquired.

Set up a Legal Structure

No matter what kind of business you start, you will need to establish the appropriate legal structure. Setting up a sole proprietorship is the easiest path. But if you want your assets protected from litigation as well as tax benefits, then forming an LLC is your best bet. In short, an LLC legally separates your business from your personal life. Research the rules in your state to avoid missing any details when setting up your legal structure.

Look into Funding

Most entrepreneurs need financial assistance of some sort to get their business up and running. Fortunately, many options are available to people with disabilities, including small business loans and programs from government and private organizations. Start by searching the SBA website, and scour the web to find other sources to see what types of funding can best meet your needs.

Starting a business could be the perfect path for generating income and doing something you love. Do a self-assessment of your traits to see if entrepreneurship is right for you, and find a business idea that utilizes your strengths, skills, and knowledge. Then, establish a legal structure and start looking for the funding you need. Opportunities abound for parents with disabilities these days, so see how you can take advantage!

About the Author

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Patrick Young

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 Able USA to offer helpful resources to people with disabilities and to provide advice on navigating various aspects of life as a person with disabilities.