Erica Francis enjoys creating rich job-orientated lesson plans and other educational resources.
Starting a business as a disabled person isn’t all that different from starting a business without one, it just requires some extra thought and additional knowledge of your own strengths and weaknesses. Here are some things you shouldn’t forget when starting your own business.
Don’t forget to do your (market) research
It may seem like your business mission and your overall model is obvious – you’re going to make a business out of what you’re good at. Whether you’re an artist or an accountant, a marketer or a musician – why wouldn’t you simply turn what you know and love into a business?
While it’s important to have passion for your new business, it’s equally important to do your research beforehand and make sure you’re setting up shop with a winning idea.
The major questions to ask yourself in regard to any business idea are: Is the market already saturated? Is there demand for my product/service? Will I be able to offer something to stand above my competition? Am I an expert in what I’m providing?
It’s smart to build your new business on a foundation of your existing skills, but you also have to be confident that you have something to offer the world. Just because you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t necessarily equate to business success.
Don’t forget to think about your own limitations
It’s not weakness to be realistic about your own limitations – in fact, it’s just smart business. If you are in a wheelchair, rely on a service dog, or suffer from visual impairment, for example, there are some business that may cause you more headaches than others. Running a business is about doing something you are a) able to do consistently and b) love to do all the time. Make sure your business idea meets this simple criteria.
Many disabled persons find that running a mostly online business gives them greater flexibility than running a traditional brick and mortar business. If you’re selling goods or professional services, there’s a good chance you can do most of that from home, online. If you’re looking to start a consulting business, freelance your services, or tutor, you can definitely do this from home with the help of video technology.
Don’t forget to take care of your mind and body
Starting a business is stressful. It’s tough on both your mind and body. For those who may be suffering from physical disabilities that lead to chronic pain, it’s incredibly important that you frequently stop to take stock of your health throughout the process.
Eating right and getting enough exercise are the top two ways to keep both your mind and body sharp through this stressful time. After that, you must make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep has a proven negative effect on about every system in your body.
One thing that all aspiring entrepreneurs should consider is how they fit relaxation into the busy days. When your body and mind are inundated with heavy levels of stress, you become an easy target for depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and even drug and alcohol addiction. Practicing daily relaxation exercises like yoga, meditation, and focused breathing is a great way to keep yourself from getting burned out. Creating a business from scratch is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to prepare for the long haul, and keeping yourself healthy, active, and relaxed is the only way to do that.
Your options for starting a new business aren’t necessarily limited by your disability, you may just have to think about things in a different way. It’s important to go into a business where you feel comfortable and 100% able to perform the day in and day out duties required of any small business owner. With enough time devoted to planning, this shouldn’t be an issue.
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