Self-Employment: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Last Updated: Dec 19, 2011
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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:
- Do you have a passion, skill or interest that others may want?
- Can you work on your own and get things done?
- Do you want to be your own boss?
- Would you benefit from flexible work hours and reduced transportation needs?
- Will you need support in running your own business?