Self-Employment (also called micro-enterprise), is people with developmental disabilities who start their own businesses. More people with developmental disabilities are starting their own businesses. The regional center and your advocates can help you get started.
First, you need a team of people who can help you and advocate for you. Your team figures out what resources and money you can use to start your business. Think about what you are good at and what you like to do with your time. Set goals for your business. Then, write a business plan and make it happen! Examples self-employed small business owners include: being a personal assistant or consultant to someone else, entertaining people, designing jewelry or arts and crafts. You could do word processing, yard maintenance, or gift-wrapping. You can offer paper shredding or pet-sitting. You can own a vending machine business, a recycling business, or a card and stationary business.
To start your own business, you will first need a business design team. Your team does not have to be the same as your circle of support or IPP team. Have someone on your team with business experience. Follow these steps with your business team:
- Figure out what you love to do and how you can make money doing it. This is called a “person-centered” business plan. Decide how much money you need to get started.
- Study what product or service you want to provide to make sure enough people want it to keep you in business.
- Ask a benefits specialist to look at your benefits so you continue to get the benefits you need, when you have income from the business.
- Make a business plan that shows what your business will look like, how you will make money, and what help you need to run your business.
- Once you are ready, start your business.
- Monitor your business and support needs to make sure your business will continue to run smoothly.
Ask your regional center service coordinator if local providers or resources can help you start your business. Have an IPP meeting to talk about options. You can get money to start your business from private funds, generic services, special grants, or services paid for by the regional center. If the regional center cannot help you start your own business, contact Disability Rights California or OCRA for advocacy assistance.