Self-employment or small business ownership can open the door for people with disabilities to realize their full potential while becoming financially independent. Some of the benefits of self-employment include a flexible work schedule and the satisfaction that comes from creating and implementing your own business plan. One approach to self-employment is starting a home-based business, which can offer a great opportunity for people with disabilities to increase their income while avoiding transportation barriers or a lengthy work commute. Check out these success stories of some people with disabilities who have started their own businesses.
The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) offers many resources that can answer your questions about self-employment to find out if it may be right for you. One of these is the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN staff offer information on a case-by-case basis about self-employment and small business development, including guidance on business planning, marketing research, disability-specific programs, home-based business options and small business initiatives specifically for disabled veterans. JAN also has a series of guides on self-employment and small business ownership tailored to each state and its available resources.
As you look into resources in your state, it is important to remember that people who are eligible for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services may be able to get help from their local VR office to become self-employed. Watch this YouTube video from the state of Nebraska VR about a woman with a mental health disability who started her own business with the help of VR.
U.S. Department of Labor Resources on Self-Employment and Small Business Ownership
- Self-Employment: What to Know to Be Your Own Boss
- Self-Employment for People with Disabilities
- Encouraging Future Innovation: Youth Entrepreneurship Education
- ODEP’s Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship Topic Page
Other Resources on Self-Employment and Small Business Ownership
- Find Your Local Small Business Development Center
- Got a Question? Submit a Self-Employment Question to "JAN on Demand"
- U.S. Small Business Administration - 10 Steps to Starting a Business
- U.S. Small Business Administration Local Assistance Finder
- Guide: Finance Your Business
- Resources for Veterans: Start Your Veteran-Owned Small Business