Being employed in the traditional workforce if you are disabled is not always easy. There are laws that require employers to accommodate the special needs of their employees, but this is not always handled properly. Many people who use service dogs or have invisible disabilities frequently experience issues in the workplace, and some decide to start their own business instead.
Learn how business ownership may impact your benefits
There are a lot of decisions to make when you are in the early stages of considering business ownership. Not only do you have to come up with an idea, develop a business plan, and find funding, you have to consider the personal financial implications. For example, if you receive Social Security disability benefits, starting a business can impact your benefits.
Disability Secrets shares that there are detailed rules regarding how much you can work, even as a business owner, without impacting your disability benefits. If your new business can be considered substantial, gainful activity and exceeds a modest dollar amount, your eligibility may change. These rules are complex, so you may want to consult a disability attorney as you head down the business-building path.
Utilize support resources and consider the best path forward
Once you’ve determined that business ownership is the right path for you, it is time to make a plan. Look for support resources, like from the Small Business Administration, state vocational services, and your local Chamber of Commerce, and check out government programs and incentives that can provide additional assistance. You still have to do the hard work yourself, but there is help available that can make the process move forward more easily.
For some people, opening a franchise is a good fit. ScholarWorks at University of Montana explains that franchises can provide a solid chance of success because they typically have a proven business idea with a recognizable brand and an existing customer base. There is often support and training available for new owners and a template to follow in getting the business up and running.
However, there are challenges to owning a franchise. The start-up costs can be substantial and franchise owners have to follow requirements from the franchisor while also satisfying a customer base. There are many different types of franchise opportunities available, including restaurants, retail stores, service offerings, and there are some businesses that can be run from your home.
Find the business that best suits your interests and assets
Not all franchises will be a great fit if you have disabilities, especially if you need a service dog with you. However, there are many home-based business options, where you have plenty of control and flexibility.
That said, you’ll need to pick a business that interests you, and also fits your abilities. For example, if you have a service dog helping you with daily tasks, consider how your dog can be an asset in building your business. What tasks does your dog help you with and how can those skills be utilized to build your business? What businesses, such as becoming a dog walker or groomer, would be a natural fit for you and your service dog? This process is not easy, so focus on your strengths and what path gives you the best chance of success.
Some people with disabilities find that business ownership is a good fit, especially those that can be home-based. Being able to control your work environment can be a dream come true for those anxious to build something for themselves and gain financial independence. It takes careful planning and dedicated work, but owning your own business can ultimately be quite exhilarating.
[Image via Pixabay]
About the Author:
Erica Francis writes for ReadyJob and thrives on helping young people prepare for the working world.