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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Savings: Does Your Desire to Save Match Your Reality?

“The only money that’s really yours is the money you spend.

Everything else goes to somebody else.”

Teddy Chafolious

Piggy Bank

That piggy bank we remember from childhood wasn’t just a place to store our birthday money and spare change: it was a lesson, a way our parents encouraged us to get into the habit of saving. Many parents even go so far as to deposit half of any monetary gifts their children receive directly into a savings account, just to drive the point home. Adults who took that lesson to heart might set up automatic deposits into long-term savings or retirement accounts from their paychecks every month – a modern mechanism for implementing this age-old lesson.

 

But the quote from Teddy Chafolious raises an important point: What are we saving FOR? Many new investors come to their financial advisors with a number in mind: “I want to save $1 million before I retire.” There’s even something of a fad among millennials who work as hard as they can, save as much as they can, and try to retire before age 50.

 

But why? After all, “you can’t take it with you.”

 

It’s important to have financial goals and committing to a regular savings plan is good first step towards achieving them. But if you treat your long-term financial planning as just a series of targets to hit, or numbers you have to drive up as much as possible, your return on investment is going to be a lot higher than your Return on Life – the feelings of happiness and fulfillment that your financial planning should provide you.

How much are Americans saving?

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Americans today are saving a lot less than they have in years past. Personal savings in the United States averaged 8.29 percent from 1959 until 2017. The rate for 2017 is hovering around 3 percent. Experts tie this historically low savings rate to increased household spending, which continues to outpace wage increases, and high levels of revolving debt, like credit cards.

Figures like these drive many people to the opposite end of the spectrum: they save as much as they possibly can, especially if they’re nearing retirement.

Finding balance.

We tend to think that the person saving more is doing a better job of managing his or her money than the person saving too little. But neither extreme is going to maximize your Return on Life. Spend too much enjoying the now, and you might end up having to work much longer than you want to – maybe even all the way through retirement. Save too much too early, and you and your family might miss out on the experiences that you deserve to enjoy with your hard-earned money: big family vacations, a new home, creature comforts, entertainment and culture that will enrich all of your lives.

Worse, new retirees who have spent their lives stuck in “savings mode” often have trouble transitioning to the reward mentality that should provide for a meaningful retirement. These retirees worry so much about running out of money that they often neglect their own wants and needs, to their emotional and physical detriment.

Reality check.

So how do you find that balance between enjoying today and preparing for tomorrow?

First, ask yourself if your rate of savings is in line with your reality. Are you saving so much that you’re not enjoying life as much as you could be? Or are you hovering around that 3 percent savings figure, telling yourself that you’re putting enough money away when you know, deep down, that you’re not?

Next, make an appointment with us to talk about your financial goals, and your vision for a dream retirement. Work together to find that saving/spending balance that’s going to align your savings with your reality, and hopefully, your goals and dreams. Find that sweet spot, and your money won’t just be numbers on a balance sheet. It will be yours.