Work the Spectrum
In 2014, I attended the Advance LA, Resilience Conference. The topic was Resilience but the conversation often went to higher education for young adults on the spectrum and then to jobs or careers. With improved therapies, earlier diagnosis, and better outcomes the teens and young adults of today can contribute to society. Helping your son or daughter look for a job, position, or even career may seem daunting but there are resources and ideas to start with.
To help think of the best type of job for your son or daughter, ask yourself, what does your child love, what is of greatest interest. You can use that information to think of places to work. Attention to detail or extreme attention to detail may be a problem to parents when they are raising their child, but there could be a company or need somewhere that embraces that abilty.
There are resources such as Autism Works Now! Temple Grandin and Joanne Lara have put together Autism Works Now! to train interested individuals on the spectrum for work in offices, community, etc.
Erica Francis at ReadyJob.org wrote an article, Starting A New Business When You Have A Disability
for me to share resources on this website. Readyjob.org helps guide teens. Erica Francis has resources to help train teens and a list of companies who hire teens.
Elizabeth Rose Chacon
Starting A New Business When You Have A Disability BY eRICA Francis
Starting your own business is a huge part of the American dream. Everyone hopes to one day get out from the corporate rat race and be their own boss. It’s a challenge, and not everyone succeeds, many do.
But when you have a disability, you might feel a bit left out — like that part of the American dream is not for you. Nothing could be further from the truth. These days, it’s easier and better than ever for a veteran, civilian, or anyone with a disability to start a new business and be successful. And yes, that includes people with mental health disabilities as well.
What Kind Of Business?Before you start getting your bank statements together for a small business loan, there’s a lot of work to be done first. That begins with deciding what kind of business is best for veterans and civilians with a disability.
Becoming a franchise owner is a great way to get in the game. While there are start-up fees, there are always costs with starting a business. A franchise can give you the name-recognition, marketing support, and plans every business needs to succeed.
A government contractor is another good choice. After all, local and federal government offices have a lot of money to spend and a lot they need to purchase. Veteran-owned small businesses are often prefered by the government, giving you an edge that’s so crucial when starting a new company from scratch.
If the veteran’s health is bad or you have some mobility problems thanks to a disability, you might want to consider a home-based business. From making art and selling it on Etsy to working as a copywriter or blogger, you can make great money from the privacy of your own home.
You Need A PlanNow that you know what kind of business you’ll be starting, you need to know how to get it going — and how to survive in this market. That means you need a business plan.
To be honest, you cannot simply think you can start a business (disability or not) and magically succeed. Even the greatest idea in the world needs careful planning, research, and scheduling. That’s exactly what you get with a proper business plan. Yours should include:
●An executive summary that quickly explains your plan and goals.
●The structure of your business (even if it’s just you).
●How to differentiate your business — and your plan — so it stands out.
●An analysis of the market segment you’re going to compete in.
●How you will market and advertise your business.
●A description of the product or service you’ll be offering.
●A projection (which is different from a guess) of your business’ profitability.
Seeking FundingNow that you have your business planned, you are ready to take the first leap into entrepreneurship: getting funding.
You might think that getting money for your new business will be hard if you have a physical disability or a mental health issue, but you are wrong. There are programs out there specifically for small business owners with disabilities. Government grants, private organizations, and even religious institutions can all offer small loans or grants to you if you 1) have a recognized disability and 2) are starting a new business.
It’s Hard Work But Worth ItAs a person with a disability, it can be hard to feel ready to start your own business. To help build that courage, you can start by picking one business that you love; create a plan to make it successful; then secure funding from sources that specifically work with disabled small business owners.
Elizabeth Rose Chacon
As I said, I was born a dancer. I love the word "dance" and I love dancing.