Disabilities Not an Obstacle to Business Ownership

Guest Post Written by Erica Francis of Readyjob.org

OWN YOUR OWN BUSINESS

 

Don't let a “disability” stop you from living your dream of owning your own business. Read on for tips on how to get started.

 

Do your research

There are a number of online sources out there that will answer most of the common questions. A good place to start is visiting the U.S. Small Business Administration online at SBA.gov. Take the time to look at your market to determine what you can do to set yourself apart from the competition. For instance, if your goal is to open your own recruiting agency, you may want to avoid industries oversaturated with talent and focus in an area struggling to find employees.

 

Know your niche

 

Some of the most successful businesses are also the most obscure. Establish yourself as an authority in a particular area and use the assets you have available to catapult yourself into a successful self-employment situation. As an example, if you have welding skills but want to tap into your creative side, you may wish to look into creating art for industrial facilities using materials from their own scrapyards.

 

Consider being an independent contractor

 

Technical and creative skills are in high demand and lend well to entrepreneurship. There are numerous freelance careers that are great options for homebound individuals, including online tutoring, curriculum development, and marketing content author. These contract positions offer extreme flexibility and allow you to work for yourself from the comfort of your own home. Thebiggest caveat of being a 1099 contractor is that you become responsible for paying your own taxes.

 

Figure out your financing

 

The Small Business Administration used to offer a loan assistance program specifically for people with disabilities. However, things have changed and financing for special needs business owners is no longer an easily accessible option. Most small business founders acquire startup funds through private equity or via small business loans. A small business loan is one designed to help a startup company higher staff, create a functional workspace and, in the case of those with disabilities, acquire assistive technology to adapt your workplace to work best with your physical or developmental needs.

 

Master marketing

 

In today’s digital economy, it’s necessary for most businesses to create a website that caters to their clientele. A business website should be designed with the customer in mind. Start by creating a FAQ section so that potential customers can find answers to their most common concerns. If you wish to create a website yourself, there are a number of services that can help you get started. Your site should be search engine optimized and filled with high-quality content including articles, blog posts, instructional videos, and anything else your customers may actively seek. In addition to online marketing, you should have business cards and informational brochures available for those customers who would rather do business offline.

 

Write a business plan

 

If you’re going to seek funding, you will have to draft a business plan. This is a document that includes an executive summary with an outline of your business, a description of your industry, specific marketing strategies you plan to use, a competitive analysis of your company versus others in your market, a section devoted to design and development of your business along with operations and management and a clear outline of financial factors. It is unlikely that you’ll receive funding without a well-thought-out business plan.

 

Take some advice

 

There are numerous organizations that offer free and low-cost counseling to new small business owners. One such organization, SCORE, has been around for more than half a century and offers small business owners free access to a vast network of (mostly retired) business experts that offer online and face-to-face counseling. SCORE mentors are veteran business leaders from your industry who give their time freely to help others achieve their dreams.

 

Be patient

 

You must nurture your business in order for it to grow. Don’t be discouraged if your company is not an immediate overnight sensation. Keep in mind that profitability and success are two very different things. It may take a few years for a successful start up to enjoy any significant profit.

 

 

 

“A hui hou” (until we meet again)

I remember hearing stories when I was younger from my mom about the flowers of Hawaii and how beautiful she recalled them being when she was living on Oahu. Luckily in my own travels many years later I finally got to experience the illustrious flowers of Hawaii for myself.

And yes, they really are a beautiful as my mom said they were.

The one flower I found on the island that became my favorite is the Plumeria. These flowers come in a few colors but are most commonly white with a yellow center or are a vibrant magenta. Plumerias are often used in leis to celebrate special occasions, but are very popular flowers to wear in your hair.

Wearing the flower in your hair can have symbolic meaning, reflecting your relationship status. If worn in the hair over the right ear, that is a sign that you are available, but if over the left then you are taken.

Let’s bring this tradition to the mainland, whose with me?

 

Blog post and photo by Morgan Williams

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How about a "hug" in the form of a chance to win awesome prizes?

 

What an adventurous summer this has been! (My summer's included making "change" and "adventure" synonymous, as a coping mechanism.) We've expanded into the office world with customized closing gifts, started working with TWO powerful business coaches, welcomed our first amazing intern, hosted our first flower crown workshops, finally joined Snapchat, and revamped almost every page of bloomequation.com to appeal to every communication style! Wow!

Life has been busy. In the midst of all that adventure maybe you felt forgotten about, what with the missing August newsletter and all. Beloved Bloom-Es, nothing could be further from the truth. And, in lieu of the ability to give you a confirming hug, I'm going to you a sweet something. 

And that sweet something is being automatically entered in a sweet raffle. If you're on this mailing list--and if you're not, just fill in your email in the "Subscribe" space below--you're automatically entered into a raffle to get 1 of 5 prizes, including  a Customized Puzzle Bouquet delivery ($56 value) and a Customized Flower Message in a Bottle necklace ($44 value)

Want more chances to win? You got it! To enter yourself into the raffle again and again:

1. Click the green button below. This'll double your chances to win!

2. Click the photo below to go to our Instagram.

In the comments of a "Flower Up For Free post", tag someone you'd give the prize to (if you didn't keep it for yourself!) 

Make sure you're following us! This'll triple your chances to win!

Winners will be announced in the next email newsletter, so make sure you've subscribed! 

 

Something to Smile About

Today's experience of giving out meaningful flowers was my best yet... even if my phone memory did fill up before I could give away all the flowers I had planned to give away today. 

The news (and my Facebook feed) have been particularly heartbreaking lately. I offer this video as something to smile about.

There's so much to love about how these kids (I didn't purposefully give exclusively to kids, but they happen to be the people I got to film before I couldn't film anymore) receive the message of their blossom. I love all of their reactions, but I have to say that my favorite might be when I say "it means, 'Joy'" and the girl's face immediately changes to reflect joy, as though that message were meant just for her today. 

Love Me Some Lavender

Happy July!

Ahhh Summer! Time to relax and unwind in the sunshine... or fog, if you happen to be in San Francisco like us. 

Either way, 'tis the season to be chill. And we have just the thing to help with that! We are giving our subscribers a free satchel of fragrant Lavender with each item purchased through our shop in July; just use the code "Lavender" in the note section of your purchase to claim yours! 

Lavender is an herb whose flower and oils have been used to heal for centuries. Most people are familiar with its use for relaxation, but did you know that it has also been known to give people the courage to share their whole, true selves with others? 

As I write this morning, I have a jar full of dried lavender in front of me and 3 drops of Lavender oil on my throat and solar plexus. I adore the smell. This, in itself, may be telling. I've been reading that we are naturally attracted to the scents of flowers and herbs that we need for healing. This innate ability to intuitively heal oneself without fabricated medicine fascinates me. 

According to Emotions and Essential Oils, "Lavender encourages emotional honesty and insists that one speak their innermost thoughts and desires." Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind when I read that is my brothers and how hard it seems to be for them to share their innermost thoughts and feelings. Then I remember that old adage "You spot it; you got it."

My most poignant reminder of my secret struggle with deep communication comes from an experience in a writer's workshop during graduate school. The structure is such that the writer sits silently and listens while her classmates and professor analyze and dissect the piece. My awakening came when someone commented, "But what is the character thinking? We never hear her thoughts." The story was largely autobiographical and, up until that point, I had believed my thoughts and feelings were splayed across every page. 

They weren't. 

Sometimes, hiding looks like smiling and making pleasantries. Sometimes you can write a whole book about your life and still not get vulnerable. I remember defending my right to not get vulnerable at a personal growth workshop once. The staff smiled and laughed, filled with tenderness and overcome by the fact that I had not experienced the liberation of vulnerability: "It is through open communication that an individual experiences unconditional love and acceptance," (43). Unconditional love and acceptance! Pretty major. 

I am making progress. I am a lot more open than I used to be, and I continue to push myself. This blog is pushing myself. I haven't written anything this openly honest in at least a year, maybe more. Maybe it was the Lavender's doing. I don't doubt it. 

 

Want some Lavender of your own? To get a free Lavender satchel with each purchase, enter the code "Lavender" into the note section of your order. Click here to be taken to the flower shop. 

 

Sources:

Emotions and Essential Oils. American Fork: Enlighten Alternative Healing, LLC. Book.

Web MD. Retrieved 2016, July 8. 

Hartman, Stacy. Success Masters. podcast retrieved 2016, June 30.