Starting your own small business can be a great career choice for parents with disabilities because of the flexibility and autonomy it allows. And you don’t have to worry about trying to navigate work environments that are less disability-friendly than they should be. Starting a business may not be for everyone, but if you are trying to stay on top of parenting while also living with a disability, it may be just the avenue to financial freedom that you need.
What are some good business ideas for parents living with disabilities?
Often, the best ideas for new businesses start with someone doing what they love. So ask yourself if any of your hobbies or interests could become the basis of a successful business venture. Maybe you love painting or other visual arts. You could create an art-based business selling your work or offering online classes. Or perhaps you are an animal lover — you might be able to start a pet-sitting or grooming business out of your home. Of course, you also should do a little research to see whether your business idea will work in your community or online. Be sure that there is a real need you can fill and that the market isn’t already swamped with competition.
How can you finance your new venture?
Many new entrepreneurs don’t go in with a lot of capital at their disposal. So it’s important to be cautious and budget well. You may also be able to finance your new venture with grants or loans for small business owners, specifically entrepreneurs with disabilities. The great thing about government grants for individuals with disabilities is that, unlike a loan, you don’t have to worry about paying them back. However, you may need to supplement your financing with a loan, too.
What else do you need to do to plan your business?
When you write your business plan, this helps clarify the steps involved in establishing your startup, as well as its different components. A business plan will also help you make a case for viability if you apply for loans or grants. Your business plan should include a summary of your business’s purpose and a description of its product or service. It also should lay out a marketing plan, a financial forecast, and a budget. If your small business is more than just you, include a description of your operational structure, as well. And don’t worry if this all sounds a bit overwhelming: There are plenty of online resources and templates to help novice entrepreneurs write up plans.
What about the red tape?
Yes, starting a business takes more than a great idea, funds, and a plan on paper. Getting it into existence does require some administrative tasks. One of the most important will be forming your business as a legal entity. When you do, you will choose a legal business name. This may not be the same name you end up doing business under: If your preferred domain isn’t available, you can also create a DBA (doing business as), or trade name, for your business to better reflect your brand and product. You will also need to register your business with the IRS, and your address with the post office. And don’t forget to find out if you need any licenses or certifications!
What are some best practices for new business owners to keep in mind?
First, have a good marketing campaign. Figure out who your target demographic is and how to reach them. Next, once customers show up, give them a reason to want to come back: Customer retention is key to ongoing success. On the financial side, keep a close eye on your budget and watch your cash flow so you can catch any potential problems before they get too big or out of control.
As a parent with a disability, you are used to being creative and dealing with challenges so you may be at an advantage when it comes to starting your business. Just be sure to do the research and planning before you start so you don’t get overwhelmed. Running a company is a lot of work, after all. But it can also be deeply rewarding, personally as well as financially.
Digital startup entrepreneurs in the Los Angeles area — consultant Jonas Muthoni can help you meet your goals and deliver the results you are hoping for. Get in touch!