By Ashley Taylor
Ashley Taylor is a disabled mother of two wonderful, amazing, energetic children. She met her husband, Tom, while doing physical therapy. Tom had suffered a spinal cord injury due to a car accident and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Ashley and Tom knew they wanted children. They also knew they would have to adapt their lives and home in order to make this dream come true. Ashley is happy to say that they are the proud parents of two healthy, wonderful children whose disabilities haven’t stopped them from leading a happy, fulfilling life.
As a change of pace this week, guest blogger Ashley Taylor returns with her second article for The Never-Empty Nest. In her first article, Ashley offered helpful advice to couples with disabilities who plan to have children. Now she’s back with suggestions about how disabled parents can successfully support their families with a small business. In today’s challenging world, I believe it’s especially important to offer upbeat stories about families with disabilities who find ways to thrive. Hint: you don’t need to have a child who’s a movie star or be a celebrity parent yourself to succeed in the world.
For many individuals who are living with a disability, it can be difficult to focus on a career, especially when they have kids to think about and care for. It can seem like there are not enough hours in the day, and depending on the job, it might become overwhelming after a while. That’s why so many Americans have made the decision to start their own business and make the rules themselves. While it’s not an easy feat by any stretch of the imagination, it might be more feasible to work from home and set your own hours than it is to attempt a 9-5 job.
Starting with the right business plan is essential, but it’s also imperative to make sure your work environment is perfect. An effective workspace is distraction-free and has plenty of room for creativity and ideas; it’s comfortable and has all the tools you need to make good decisions regarding your business.
Keep reading for the best tips on how to start a small business when you’re a parent with a disability.
Start with a Budget
No matter what your company will be, it needs to begin with some details. Will you need employees, or can you handle the operations by yourself, at least for a little while? Will you be funding everything yourself or going for grants and loans? Crowdfunding is also an option, depending on what type of business you have. Set a budget and decide whether you’ll be able to do this without a day-job cushion. Most people who are starting a new business keep their old jobs for a while just to make sure they have a backup in case things don’t pan out.
Create the Right Home Office
Working from home might sound like a dream come true, but it’s actually much more difficult to be productive in your house than in an office environment. For this reason, your home office needs to be carefully constructed, with lots of thought given to lighting, space, decor, and minimizing distractions. Home office furniture should be chosen carefully, especially if you have limited mobility due to your disability. Make the space your own by adding color, artwork, and shelving solutions that will keep you organized no matter how busy your day is. Click here for more tips on getting your office just right.
Separate Business and Personal
It’s essential to keep your personal life and business life completely separate when you work from home. This is because your job will take your attention away from your family, if you let it creep in. Don’t answer emails or work calls after a certain time, and let your family know that when you’re in your office, you’re at work and can’t be disturbed. This may prove tricky for everyone to adhere to for a little while, especially if your children are very young, but creating a routine will help everyone stay on the same page.
Do Some Research
As a disabled business owner, you may be entitled to some grant money, so do some research into state and federal guidelines to find out what you qualify for. Even if you can’t secure a grant right away, you may be eligible for a special loan that will help you keep things running smoothly throughout the life of your business.
Starting a small business of your own can be a lot of hard work, but it can also be a dream come true in many ways. Working for yourself from the comfort of your own home can not only provide new career opportunities, it can also help build your self-esteem and confidence. Start with a good plan and talk to your friends and loved ones about how they can help make your dreams a reality.