At Memberpress, we know that owning a business is among the most empowering career paths a person can take. Not only are you your own boss, which comes with significant benefits in its own right, but you also have an opportunity to make a living pursuing your dream – perhaps even one you’ve held your entire life.
Of course, there are many challenges to starting a business and even more to running a successful business long-term. And when you're living with a disability, there may be additional obstacles to overcome.
What's great about starting a membership site or online course is that it can be done from home and with minimal initial investment, providing you with the perfect opportunity for a fulfilling, lucrative career.
In this post, we've put together a few practical tips for entrepreneurs with disabilities looking to start their own online businesses.
Choose the Right Type of Business
Thanks to the internet, there have never been so many opportunities for entrepreneurs with disabilities who want to start a business. While things like opening up a storefront, walking or boarding dogs, or fixing electronic equipment can be great small businesses, they do present some limitations that running an internet-based business like a membership site or online course don't.
Simply put, with an online business, you enjoy more schedule flexibility, no commute, and lower overhead costs.
The most important thing is to choose a membership site model that's right for you. Consider your interests, skills, and talents, and do market research to determine what kind of business will give you the greatest chance of success.
Set Up a Home Office
If you want to maximize your productivity, you’ll have to find a place to work away from distractions and noise. Look for a low-traffic spot in your home to set up shop.
Comfort is key as well. Find a desk and lighting that suits your needs. If your laptop is an older model, it may be time to invest in a new one. Fortunately, you can find many deals and clearance sales on affordable laptops online.
Develop a Plan
Your next step is to solidify your expectations by establishing a business plan. As PandaDoc explains, a business plan provides you with a map that will help you reach your goals.
You’ll need to outline things like your starting budget, financial projections, and target market. Having all this information fleshed out will be important as you begin to apply for funding like loans or grants.
If you want to significantly reduce your stress and increase your chance of success during the first year of your business, get serious about researching funding and finding the best options for your needs.
There are a variety of loans, grants, and other financial assistance programs available to entrepreneurs with disabilities. Start by checking the Small Business Administration (SBA) website for a list of potential programs – some are designed for existing businesses and others are specifically for startups.
Also, check out this great article on Entrepreneur. It gives a comprehensive list of some of the best programs out there for entrepreneurs with disabilities.
Starting a membership website or online course using MemberPress is great for lots of reasons, but one of the most important is startup costs. Aside from your plugin subscription and your time, the initial investment is relatively minimal.
Research Business Structures
Along with finding and obtaining funding, be sure to choose a business structure early in the process to ensure legal protection. While many entrepreneurs begin as sole proprietors, there are a handful of advantages to forming a limited liability company, or LLC.
Perhaps most significantly, with an LLC you’ll be better able to protect your assets and enjoy certain tax advantages. Rather than spending money on big attorney fees, consider bringing a formation service on board. And be sure to learn the regulations in your state before getting too deep into the process.
Utilize Other Resources
Besides financial assistance, there are other resources that can help you as you get your business off the ground. For example, research your rights and benefits as a worker with a disability.
There are several websites where you can find that information, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) being one of the best places to start. Also, consider getting a mentor who can help you navigate the challenges that many entrepreneurs face in the early stages of their businesses.
If you’re a person with a disability who wants a truly fulfilling career, starting your own business could be the ticket. Remember to carefully consider what kind of business would accommodate your needs and give you a good shot at success.
Research your options with funding, and choose the right business structure. Finally, consider any other resources that can help you along the way, such as learning your rights and finding a mentor.
Are you a person with a disability considering starting your own business? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!