Self-employment is a popular path for people living with disabilities. However, the path isn’t without its challenges, and deciding on the right industry is a big part of the equation. Here, we suggest business ideas that might be a good fit for a person with a disability.
Why these careers? The small business ideas highlighted here either let you work from home, set your own hours, offer a low-stress work environment, or some combination of the three. While these parameters won’t encompass the needs of every disability, they can help pinpoint careers friendly to people with physical, mental, or emotional limitations.
1. Web Design
If you have an eye for design and an ample heap of tech-savviness, a career as a web designer could be a great fit for you. As a web designer, you can work from home, coffee shops, and coworking spaces, and you get to set your own hours as long as you meet client deadlines. Another perk of working in web design is that it’s easy to brush up on or expand your coding skills through free online courses, saving you money over traditional higher education.
2. Fitness Training
A career as a personal trainer can be a great fit for a service-disabled veteran who wants to share the dedication to personal fitness they learned in the military. If you’ve stayed fit after a physical disability, you can share your strategies for adapting workouts to meet individual needs. If you want to share your love of fitness with other people with a disability, you can even become a Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer.
3. Massage Therapy
Massage therapists can set up a studio in their own home, making it a great career option for a person who prefers to work solo and doesn’t care to look at a screen all day. Plus, the tranquil environment you create for your clients may have a positive impact on your own mental wellbeing. You can become trained and licensed as a massage therapist in a relatively short time — between 330 and 1,000 hours, depending on your state of residence.
If you find peace in working with your hands, consider starting a small farm business. Farming has been used as a therapy for people with mental and physical disabilities, and there are state-based AgrAbility programs designed to help accommodate disability and veterans’ health needs within a farm setting. A career in agriculture is especially popular with veterans, and there are training programs designed to prepare veterans for a future in farming.
5. Content Marketing
People seeking a home-based business with flexible hours and low overhead costs should consider a career in content marketing. Content marketers create engaging content like infographics, blog posts, and webpages for clients, who use the content to draw in customers and improve their rankings in search engine results.
6. Franchise Ownership
Becoming a franchise owner lets you start a small business without having to navigate all the aspects of running a small business on your own. The franchisor provides training and support to new franchisees, and since it’s an established company you benefit from existing name recognition and advertising campaigns. This structure, along with discounted franchise fees for veterans, is part of why it’s a popular entrepreneurial option for veterans — over 5,600 veterans became franchisees between 2011 and 2014.
7. Lawn Care or Landscaping
It’s well known that time outdoors benefits mental health, which is why a career in landscaping can be a great fit for people living with a mental illness. Another great aspect of working in landscaping is that you can start small, focusing on just one or two services, and then scale up over time. This lets you save on startup costs and build a strong client base before going all-in. However, if you live in an area with cold winters, you’ll need to diversify your skillset to ensure year-round cash flow. Consider learning small engine repair so you can stay busy during the snowy months and save on repairs to your own equipment.
Know that the benefits of starting a small business are manifold. But in order to receive these benefits, you’ll need to register your business entity with the Secretary of State. The process is tedious and time-consuming, but it pays off for the legal protection it provides, especially as an LLC. To establish your business, you’ll need to register with the Secretary of State to get your statement of information (California), file for a FEIN with the IRS, register with the Department of Revenue if you’re trading goods, and open a business bank account. A good option is to recruit the services of a professional to help file all the paperwork because of the sheer amount of time it saves.
For more inspiring stories, resources, and tips to help you manage a disability, look no further than Yoocan.
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