3 Tips for Parents With Disabilities Starting a Small Business
3 Tips for Parents With Disabilities Getting a Small Business Started with Patrick Young from Able USA
When you decide to make the leap into owning your own business, most parents want to set themselves up for success at the very beginning, especially parents with a disability. Getting your small business up and running is about more than making sure your kids are cared for and you have an accessible workspace — though these are important factors to consider. It’s also about preparing your life and your business for success from the start.
Here is a quick checklist that can help you balance work and life without a negative impact on your children, your home life, or your disability.
Create a distraction-free home office.
Your kids might have other plans for you when you are at home, but starting a business means they will have to get used to you being there without being always accessible.
First, set some boundaries with your kids. Let them know when it’s okay to come into your office and when they need to stay away. This can be especially challenging with growing infants and attention-seeking toddlers.
Next, keep everything you need nearby, especially if you have a disability that makes moving around challenging. Some people put a coffee pot in their home office or even set up a little break area.
Third, be sure you are not tempted by chores and household responsibilities. For example, try to avoid having your home office and laundry share the same space.
Finally, make sure your home office is ergonomic. Sometimes we settle for less early on in the journey of entrepreneurship. You sacrifice a few comforts for the bottom line. Don’t let ergonomics become one of these, though, especially if you are managing chronic pain or a physical disability.
Get your financial affairs in order.
Starting a business means closely examining your financial state, establishing a budget, and creating a 3– to 5–year plan. For many people, this starts by forming a limited liability company (LLC). Forming a Georgia LLC gives you access to small business grants and loans, tax breaks, and limited liability insurance — all essential for your budget and projections plan. The process differs across states, however, so make sure to do your due diligence beforehand.
People with disabilities can apply for additional grants and loans — ones designed to help bring more diversity and equality to the business world. You can give your business finances a leg-up by stacking those on top of additional grants for women in business, specific services, and more.
And don’t forget to explore your credit options. A business line of credit or a business credit card can help you purchase your needed startup equipment and keep track of these purchases for tax write-offs.
Create a strong brand.
Your small business can truly benefit from the recognition that comes with a strong brand. Your brand is your story, and perhaps your disability is part of the tale. Customers obviously need your services, but your brand explains why they need you. There are many ways to get your brand in front of your clients — web and social are two of the most important ones.
Build a dynamic website. 97 percent of people visit a business online, not just to make purchases, but also just to see if they want to do business with them. If you’re not providing your customers with an engaging online experience, you could be leaking leads. Look for a user-friendly website management platform that is accessible for people with disabilities, so you can make your own changes and updates when needed.
Also, manage your social media with a content management system (CMS) like Hootsuite or Sprout Social. Your customers are on social media and you need to be, as well. A CMS lets you schedule posts ahead of time, monitor and manage all your platforms, and respond to questions and comments — even from your phone. This can be very useful for busy entrepreneurs who wear many hats, like parenting and managing a disability.
Your focus needs to be on your small business if you want a successful launch. The Back School has numerous resources like a podcast, workshops, and courses that can make your pivot into the business world an easy one, so make sure to check these out. Set yourself up for success at the beginning so you can enjoy your journey into the world of small business.