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Strategies for Living
Starting your own business


Working with a Disability

Dear Shelley,

Can you give those with disabilities (in the US) ideas as to how to go about getting a home business started? I wish I could find a mentor locally to help, but have no idea where to find one. Where do I start?


Dear Sherri,

In a tough job market like we have today, finding a job can be hard, even if you have good health and all your abilities. Many people with disabilities, like me, choose to work for themselves; doing so often provides greater flexibility to work around the ups and downs inherent in having a chronic illness or disability. However, it is said of a home business that “you can work any 24 hours of any 7 days a week that you want to, and you usually do.” I know I certainly spend many late nights at my desk long after everyone else has “gone home.”

Someone with a disability who wants and is able to work, whether for an employer or for themselves, should start by contacting the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). Every state has an agency like this, though it may have a different name where you are; your county social services agency should be able to give you the contact information in your state. This agency provides assessment, training, and funding for equipment, renovations, and accessible offices to help people with disabilities join or remain in the workforce. DVR would also be able to point you to local service agencies, business development centers, and small business mentoring and training groups like SCORE who can assist you (personally or on-line) with creating a marketing plan, setting goals and directions, training in methods for small business success, and provide additional business resources to set up and operate your own successful small business. You may also find these resources in your local phone book or on-line.

I hope this answers your question. I believe if you contact DVR, your local small business development center, and SCORE, you will find all the help you need.

I wish you success!


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