by Rachel Vilsack
Whether it’s an employer with a handful of workers or a solo entrepreneur, small businesses make a significant contribution to the economy. They’re also a great opportunity for individuals seeking a new or better career. In fact, people with disabilities are more likely to be self-employed than people without disabilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among employed people with disabilities, nearly 12 percent were self-employed in 2011, compared to just 6.6 percent of people without disabilities.
Going into business for yourself is a big decision. There are many benefits to self-employment, including more control over your future and the potential for success and money. The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the U.S. Department of Labor cites the following benefits of entrepreneurship:
- Independence and the opportunity to make your own business decisions
- The ability to set your own pace and schedule
- Reduction of transportation problems when a business is home-based
- Continued support from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), including health care, when income and assets are within these programs’ requirements
There are downsides to consider, too. Starting a business often requires start-up costs and long hours of work. While there is no test to determine if entrepreneurship is right for you, you can take a self-employment quiz to see if you share characteristics with successful business owners.
If you think starting a business is right for you, there are many organizations to guide you in the process, including:
- ODEP – Find federal, state, and local programs specifically aimed at helping people with disabilities explore self-employment.
- Job Accommodation Network – View entrepreneurship resources , including business planning toolkits and organizations and associations that can help you on your journey.
- Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development – Read online guides to starting a business in Minnesota, including how to organize, finance, and find workers for your business.