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

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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.

Nonworking Spouses Hurt by Credit Card Rule

A long-standing advantage for couples that choose marriage is the combining of their assets, along with the financial history. For nonworking spouses, the ability to claim their combined financial account history was a benefit to their own personal credit history. The biggest perk associated with sharing the history of their credit accounts was, that lenders did not need to consider who earned the money when reviewing a credit application, the household income was enough. A stay-at-home spouse could open a credit card account in their own name without involving their mate, allowing for a degree of financial independence.

However, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act), enacted to protect consumers from getting into debt and curb credit card abuses, has effectively eliminated the benefit. According to the rule, which took effect this past October, credit card issuers must consider a person’s independent income rather than household income when determining a consumer’s ability to make payments and approving credit. In other words, nonworking spouses are no longer allowed to claim their household income as their own; credit will be granted based only on the applicants’ ability to pay. The loss leaves them with little opportunity to apply for credit on their own, unless they have some other independent source of income.

“When evaluating a consumer’s ability to make the required payments before opening a new credit card account or increasing the credit limit on an existing account, card issuers must consider information regarding the consumer’s independent income, rather than his or her household income,” the Federal Reserve Board stated in a press release explaining the proposed rule.

Support for the Law
The Fed and banking institutions consider the move an important one that prevents families from overextending their credit. In fact, there are other options for nonworking spouses to get credit – open a joint credit card account or become an authorized user on their spouse’s card. A joint account offers a safeguard if the marriage fails, the working spouse will be just as liable for the debt in the case of divorce.

Concern for the Law
Critics of the new regulation express dismay that the family is no longer being seen as a unit and stay-at-home spouses’ work in the home is worth nothing. More than two dozen members of Congress have asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to review the rule, especially since unintended consequences have come to light.

Statistics for nonworking spouses reflect the fact that women will be particularly hurt by the ruling. Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Louise Slaughter, both representing New York, are troubled by the potential abuse for women who don’t work outside the home. And as far as a failed marriage is concerned, the regulation makes it nearly impossible for the non-worker to build a credit history and score, which are essential when establishing a separate life outside the marriage.

According to one report, credit approval rates have dropped significantly for women age 62 and older since the regulation was enacted in October. Nessa Feddis, senior counsel with the American Bankers Association, says the group’s members are gathering data on the effect of the regulation and that they’re rejecting applicants without income who otherwise would have qualified based on their credit score.

Time will tell whether the government modifies their ruling to eliminate the apparent economic inequity that the regulation imposes on hardworking Americans who don’t bring home a paycheck.

 

 

About The Author: Noreen Ruth writes for ASAP credit news blog and several popular finance websites. She is interested in educating consumers about using credit responsibly and about legislative action that will affect their ability to borrow the money they need. She has contributed hundreds of articles to various online sites that provide content to educate consumers on comparing top credit cards, debt relief services, loans and other finance related topics.