Self-Employment: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Following are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about self-employment for people with disabilities.

What is Self-Employment?
As you probably already know, self-employment refers to people who work for themselves rather than for an employer for wages.  People sell or produce a product, service, or both.  The goal is to increase personal income. It can be full or part-time.

Who can be Self-Employed?
Anyone who has the motivation can own a small business.  If a person likes to work independently and has researched their business options well, self-employment could be a good fit. For a person with complex challenges, operating a small business is entirely feasible with the proper support, adequate financing, and a talent to market. 

On the other hand, self-employment is not for everyone.  Not everyone has the drive to turn a talent into a job.  Some may not like the isolation of being self-employed over being part of a company or team of people working together. In general, weighing the pros and cons is an important step in deciding to be self-employed.

Why is Self-Employment an appealing option?
Some of the benefits self-employed individuals with disabilities enjoy include:

  • independence and the opportunity to make their own business decisions;
  • the ability to set their own pace, schedule and work around disability limitations;
  • reduction of transportation problems when a business is home-based;
  • employment that matches skills and interests when not available in the local labor market; and
  • availability of Social Security incentives for growing their business.

How do you plan for Self-Employment?
In general, self-employment usually consists of a single individual directing, organizing, and operating a business.  Five main steps to planning for self-employment include:

  • analyzing the market,
  • developing a business plan,
  • identifying supports securing resources, and
  • implementing the business plan.

For people with greater challenges an option called supported self-employment, also called customized self-employment, may be a better option.

In supported self-employment,  assistance could be provided  in all aspects of owning and running a business as well as help with disability-related challenges and barriers. 

Like any small business, supported self-employment is formed around the person’s interests and developed based on the cultivation of a product or service. The person’s career aspirations, motivations and talents are used to create a niche market and make the small business work!

Is Self-Employment Right for You?

Could self-employment be a good career choice for you?  Here are a few questions you should ask to determine whether self-employment is a good fit:

  1. Do you have a passion, skill or interest that others may want?
  2. Can you work on your own and get things done?
  3. Do you want to be your own boss?
  4. Would you benefit from flexible work hours and reduced transportation needs?
  5. Will you need support in running your own business?

Filed under: Employment, Self-Employment,