Tips for Veterans with Disabilities Looking to Start Their Own Business

Guest article by Erica Francis from

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Photo credit: Hope Mucklow

For people with disabilities – especially veterans returning home to civilian life – traditional jobs can be much tougher than you could even imagine. Not only are there physical barriers to some traditional work (if you have mobility issues or a visual impairment, for instance), but the inflexibility of some careers can end up putting a strain on you and your family. For many in this situation, business ownership is a way to be your own boss, make the rules, and give yourself ultimate flexibility. Here are some tips.

Consider starting your own at-home business

A long time ago, when the internet wasn’t helping people from all over the world connect in seconds, the idea of running a successful business from home would’ve seemed ludicrous. But now, the concept is not only possible but it’s highly feasible. For those dealing with a disability who still wish to jump into the world of business ownership, creating a business that you can manage from home may be the smartest decision.

If you have professional skills, you can start up businesses in fields like graphic design, tax preparation, writing (grants, articles, technical), and public relations, and language translation. Low-stress jobs that could help you ease back into civilian life include transcription, life coach, travel agent, online tutoring, and technical support/advice.  The following are more for you to read and consider:

The power of email, telepresence (Skype, Google Hangouts), and social media can make careers that were once done only in offices and stores, face-to-face, available for you to do at home.

Know how to stay relaxed, healthy, and grounded.  Avoid drugs, alcohol, and other self destructive behaviors.

Starting a business is a stressful process. It’s counterproductive to work yourself to the point of exhaustion on a new small business idea. Sure, you want to work hard, but if you don’t take time to take care of yourself your efforts will be in vain. Stress, especially in veterans with disabilities that may suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or another mental problem, can lead to unhealthy behaviors (for more on vets and addiction,  click

If there’s one tip that sits above all else on the importance scale, it’s probably to make sure you get enough quality sleep. Lack of sleep or poor quality, interrupted sleep is a silent killer that trickles down into nearly every aspect of your daily life. Don’t be tempted to “add more hours” to the day by sacrificing sleep.

While the US government no longer gives out grants to disabled persons to finance their small businesses, there are organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities and veterans get started. It may not be financial help, but it can point you in the right direction and help you learn the basic steps to achieving your goal.

This site discusses laws and programs concerning disabled veteran-owned businesses, such as the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Procurement Program. This site offers a toolkit full of links for vets, like info on how to write a business plan, how to estimate business costs, and how to find a business mentor. This site, SCORE, offers more info on mentors. This site offers tips and resources for any disabled person hoping to launch a small business.



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