How to Start a Small Business When You’re a Parent with a Disability

Woman Coffee ShopImage courtesy of Pixabay

Are you ready to jump into a new venture? Being a parent is serious business in and of itself, but when you’re a mom or dad with a disability, getting a small business up and running can be a daunting task. Here is how to set yourself up for success.

 

Flexibility and Balance

 

Parenting is a demanding job, and parents with disabilities face unique challenges. How do you balance your career, your home life, and tending your personal needs in a way that is both satisfying and responsible? Being a small business owner can be the perfect solution. As The New York Times points out, becoming an entrepreneur allows people with disabilities to find independence, income, and flexibility. You can even work from home! As Angie’s List notes, though, you’ll need to make sure your home office is set up for “maximum productivity.” The site suggests eliminating distractions as much as possible (don’t put your desk in the kids’ playroom), illuminating it with natural light, and keeping ergonomic design in mind when selecting furniture. Be sure you choose pieces that accommodate your disability and will keep you comfortable throughout the workday.

 

Through owning your own business, you can achieve your financial and professional goals while scheduling comfortably around your capabilities, your family, personal needs, and other obligations.

 

What’s Your Niche?

 

The first thing you need to do is come up with the right business idea for you. Make sure to research trends and which startup ideas have the potential to make money.

 

Sometimes, great ideas pop into our minds without effort, and some are birthed through a process of sifting, sorting, and conceptualizing. If you aren’t sure of your direction, one suggestion is to look at your strengths, weaknesses, and lifestyle, and then start from there. Perhaps you can identify an issue your business can solve or a service you can provide. Make some notes to see if you find a trend. Then, narrow down your ideas until you find that happy place where there are customers AND a service or product you’d like to produce. That’s called your niche.

 

Do Some Brainstorming

 

Once you solidify the direction for your new venture, you can lay some groundwork. Starting your own small business is easier than it sounds. One of the first things you need to do is choose a name for your new venture. Many people get bogged down selecting a business name, but Inc. points out your time is better spent making money, so pick a name and jump in!  Some experts suggest thinking in terms of something that tells people what you do, which will make your brand readily recognizable. Some experts suggest you use a business-naming tool. A well-chosen brand gives your business credibility and provides an emotional connection with your target audience. It gives your customers and employees something to believe in and generates loyalty.

 

Connect with the Government

 

Once you decide on a name, you may need to connect with the government. If you will employ other people or will partner with someone else, you will need an Employee Identification Number (EIN). Some locations also require you to register your business name, and some require a business license. Check in with your county or city government for guidelines.

 

Evaluate Your Finances

 

As they say, it takes money to make money. You need to take a realistic look at your financial situation to see if you have enough funds or if you will need to apply for loans or grants for your new venture. Some professionals recommend overestimating your need, since many new businesses run out of funding before they can start turning a profit. A small business loan is a practical solution, and there are some wonderful grants and funding opportunities from various organizations specifically oriented toward people with disabilities.

 

Independence Can Be Yours!

 

Starting a new business can be the effective and smart solution for parents with disabilities, so lay a great foundation to ensure your success. Through your own business venture, you can pursue flexibility and independence for a balanced and fulfilling life. If you’re doubting yourself, go here and be inspired! There’s a vibrant, passionate community waiting for you with open arms.

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4 Essential Personal Branding Tips

BrandingThe importance of branding cannot be understated. If you are a professional, if you are an entrepreneur or otherwise in business for yourself, you need to develop your own personal brand. Once you create a personal brand, you need to develop strategies to maintain it and enhance it as time goes on. Appreciating what is involved in personal branding, there are four essential tips that you need to bear in mind.

 

What is a Personal Brand?

A personal brand is a mechanism through which people remember you. A personal brand is more than a logo, trademark, or some other type of designed embellishment. Rather, a personal brand is the sum total of how you personally present yourself in a business or professional setting. Your business, or one with which you are associated, has its own brand. You personal brand builds you and your business. Despite this duality, your personal brand always focuses on your as an individual.

 

Stand Out

When considering your personal brand, you need to keep your eyes and mind focused on coming up with concepts that make you stand out. By indicating that you need to come up with a brand concept that permits you to stand out, you don’t want the final result to be branding that is garish or overpowering. Thus, when working on your personal branding ideas, when you think of stand out, consider that to mean stand apart.

No matter the underlying motivation or necessity for a personal brand, the fact is that a prime reason for pursuing this type of branding is to obtain an edge over the competition, both for yourself and your business. Thus, while you can consider what other individuals similarly situated to you are doing in regard to personal branding, you must not mimic the concepts pursued by others. Indeed, in doing comparison research, you need to make note of what not to do in light of what others are doing.  

On a related note, when it comes to developing a personal brand that stands out, you are not only attempting to distinguish yourself among competitors. Rather, your personal brand is also intended to aid you in standing out among people within your business as well (assuming that you are not the owner).

 

Convey Your Story

Another essential element associated with personal branding is the need to convey your story, not the story of your business or professional endeavors. Your business, your professional endeavors represent only part, but certainly not all, of who you are.

Conveying your story has two parts. First, your brand needs to compelling that it captures the interest of others and makes them want to hear and read about your. Second, and perhaps even more importantly, your story needs to be so compelling that it motivates others to share it. In many ways that represents ultimate success in personal branding when other people begin not merely “singing your praises,” but begin to relay the sum and substance of your story to others.

 

Utilize a Core Concept

When you are developing your personal brand, you cannot be diffuse and scattered in that process. You need to recognize a core concept that best recognizes what you want to be at the heart of your personal brand.

For example, if you are an attorney that is developing a personal brand, examples of meaningful core concepts might include honesty, tenacity, fighter, and other traits possessed by a lawyer and of value to a client.

 

Substance Over Style — Always

Finally, when developing your own personal brand, you must always put substance over style. For example, the first step you take in developing your personal brand should not be designing a logo. In many cases, an individual embarking on developing a personal brand comes up with a logo as the first step in the process.

The reason this is not typically a proper first step in developing a personal brand is that a logo presented at the outset would lack meaning. A logo at this juncture literally would be style over substance, rather than the other way around.

Once you establish essential substance around your self and brand, you can then embark on creating a meaningful logo. Moreover, once a logo is backed up by substance, it can be used as a means of enhancing your brand. You can even incorporate your logo on items used to present and promote your brand, including items like custom USB flash drives or other items that you can convey to others as tools to remember and recognize you and your personal brand.

 

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Jessica Kane is a writer for Every USB, where you can create your very own custom usb drive for your brand or company.