Skip to Main Content
by J. Andrew Leaf | March 10, 2009


Nobody said it would be easy to be your own CEO, but you get to call the shots and see the profits

In exasperation at familiar and new products or services, no doubt it's occurred to you that were you in charge, sure as shootin' you could do better than that. In point of fact, sometimes a great notion can grow into a small business. Even hobbies have been parlayed into a viable venture by the savvy entrepreneur. Witness Mrs. Field and her home-made cookies, now an internationally known brand. The former housewife of nearly two decades ago just had confidence that delicious morsels she baked were better than any you could buy in the stores. She followed her dream.

By good luck, today such enterprises are increasingly accessible. Significantly, razzle-dazzle technology opens the gates for people with a broad range of disabilities, and high-tech equipment to launch a home-based business is more affordable than ever-the cost of one's very own Web site has plummeted to as low as $40-knocking down the price of admission to the entrepreneurial arena from tens of thousands of dollars to $1,000 or less for the basic desktop, printer, fax and phone setup with Web link. You're up and running, with all the benefits of a self-assured freelancer: The time, angst and cost of commuting is history, as is the daily commitment to 9 to 5, which is problematic for a number of people with disabilities.~If you think that running a businesses might be for you, don't make a move without researching first. While there is a wide variety of legitimate ready-made business opportunities offered beware of the get-rich-quick-guaranteed moneymakers. The classifieds are filled withtraps for the unwary, so do your homework boning up on books by reputable authors such as Paul and Sarah Edwards Best Home Businesses of the 90s or Jay Conrad Levinson of Guerilla Marketing fame who can help point you in the right direction.You also need to read yourself carefully. Are you a risk-taker? A problem-solver? It takes both, big time. Have you where your real interests and talents lie? If not, wait and go back to the drawing board. Can you sell yourself as well as your product or service?

Know your niche, by applying the same process of analysis to your business idea. Will it fill an unmet or poorly covered need in your target community? This is work, too, requiring additional digging on your part. Experts recommend putting together a detailed business plan with a market analysis based on data profiling the customer base, projected cash flow and marketing strategies, cash flow and so on. It's a complicated, work-intensive process, but should you require funding, a watertight business plan will help you avoid pitfalls. The work, remember, is no less than captaining a successful business. One pertinent statistic from the banking industry states that entrepreneurs who have a disability and who have prepared a business plan have a 97% repayment only a 3% default rate on their loans.~I meet people all the time who are ready, willing and able for profitable self-employment in spite of acknowledged limitations. For so many of these energetic CEOs the technology that leveled the playing field opened the door of opportunity that would be the envy of any era. From 1990 to 1995, the Department of Labor reported an impressive 20% increase in business startups by people with severe disabilities.

The entrepreneurial spirit is something that is beyond one's individual disability. Obviously, a man or woman may have limitations of movement, sight and speech yet still have a razor-sharp mind for business. Whether or not you end up rich as Croesus, your own personal industry in the business world awaits you.


Filed Under: Job Search

Want to be found by top employers? Upload Your Resume

Join Gold to Unlock Company Reviews