Ashley Taylor started her online resource to help disabled parents navigate through all that life can bring, such as parenting with disabilities, working with disabilities and living with a disability in general. She loves to share and pass on her own and others' knowledge on her website: https://disabledparents.org/.
Finding the Right Model: Advice for Disabled Parents Looking to Start a Business
Starting a small business is always a challenge. There are lots of factors to consider: how do you pick the right business model? How do you get funding that’s appropriately sized for your business? Will you be able to maintain what can be a gruelling work pace in the early stages? Australians from many walks of life are experiencing success in the gig and sharing economies with businesses based on their knowledge and experience.
For a disabled parent, there are other factors to be considered. How will you overcome the physical demands of caring for a child while getting a new business venture off the ground? Should you pick a business model that lets you work from home or open a brick-and-mortar storefront? How you cope with the needs of parenting while navigating your disability will probably have a lot to do with the kind of business you choose and how you operate it.
Building a business
There are many ways to build a business from the convenience of your own home. If you have a way with words or have writing experience, consider launching a business offering writing and editing services. Many businesses today are looking for people to write marketing and product material on a contract or long-term basis. You might begin by focusing on a small niche, such as the IT industry, and branch out from there, leveraging your experience for work in related fields (such as computer programming, web security, etc.). Website designers and illustrators/artists can also find plenty of opportunities to launch and grow a new home-based business.
A popular option is using Australia’s burgeoning tourist industry as the basis for a new venture, rooted in the sharing economy. You can affiliate with businesses like Airbnb or Spacer and grow your own home/space-sharing company through word of mouth.
If you have physical limitations, it’s important to identify a business model that suits your capabilities as well as your interests and experience. A business based online may indeed be the best choice for a disabled individual, though you shouldn’t dismiss another idea if it suits your abilities and is feasible from a logistical standpoint.
Identifying and procuring the right kind of funding is probably the most important aspect of starting a new business. You don’t want to seek funding indiscriminately; do plenty of research to find the right kind of loan for your needs so you end up with a good fit. This is where your business plan and customer and profit projections will come in handy, providing you with a baseline guide.
A low-interest small business loan may be your best option, or you might be able to find a government-sponsored grant due to your disability. There are many possible options, so be sure to investigate them all—you don’t want to miss an opportunity to make your initial business foray as manageable as possible.
The Department of Social Services (DDS) manages programs that provide funding for disabled business owners and disabled employees. DSS also helps implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). NDIS Innovation Grants are available in many places to support implementation of the NDIS at the state level.
Chances are you’ll need to invest in a reliable vehicle for business-related purposes, whether it’s to make deliveries, transport or meet customers, or have a means of transporting equipment from place to place. As the owner of a new business, it’s essential to research your options and find the best deal that can accommodate your needs and resources.
Whether your business requires regular physical interaction or if it’s a home-based Ecommerce model, it’ll be important to pay attention to your physical and mental needs, particularly in the early stages. Succeeding with a start-up business can be an imposing challenge for anyone and there’s considerable financial pressure to make it succeed, which will probably have you working long hours and making lots of personal sacrifices.
Set aside time for stress management, at least an hour each day for physical exercise and some quiet downtime. Quiet contemplation can help clear your mind and relieve some of the anxiety that new business owners often experience.
The range of opportunities for prospective small business owners today is broader than ever, with abundant opportunities for disabled entrepreneurs. Finding the right opportunity is key. Success also depends on locating funding that meets your needs so you’re prepared for what may well be a difficult first year (or two) as your business gets off the ground.
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