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[Editor’s note: Jillian Day created 508Assist.org to help people all across the web make their sites accessible to individuals with disabilities. A close family member, who has a visual impairment, had trouble finding a dinner recipe online that he could read easily. This inspired her to start 508Assist.org.When she’s not chasing after her little ones, Jillian enjoys being outside, whether she’s fishing, hiking, or geocaching with her family.]
Finding a Side Gig as a Disabled Parent
by Jillian Day
Running your household, parenting your kids, and staying on top of the bills can be challenging for everyone — particularly so if you are also dealing with a disability. Sometimes the skills and hobbies that you’ve already developed can make additional income. If you’re receiving Social Security for your disability, you’ll want to be sure to stay within the income limits and check with a professional to be sure of your continued eligibility determination.
Possible money-making endeavors
Sometimes can parlay pre-existing skills into work you can do from home, such as accounting, floral arranging, tutoring, baking, coding, web page design, or editing. The availability of the internet has opened up options such as selling items on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. Many people do a brisk trade selling clothing, toys, books, furniture, and collectibles online. If you enjoy interacting with others online, you might manage the social media account for a business, community group, or individual. If you know more than one language, translation might be profitable for you. Some companies pay freelancers to transcribe spoken media to written text. If your communications skills are strong, becoming a virtual customer service representative might be the thing to try.
Once you’ve decided on the type of work you hope to do, you’ll still need to find clients, customers, or a company to work for. There are several online sites good for helping people find freelance work. Here is a compilation of such resources. It’s a good idea to establish a social media presence for yourself. The sites you choose to use will depend on your target demographic. Consider word of mouth. Tell everyone you know about your new endeavor and ask your personal and professional networks for referrals. You might even have a virtual grand opening with specials to attract clients. Sometimes, the best way to draw attention to your product or service is to give away samples.
Get your own business card
A business card can be helpful with marketing your products or services. Since it’s a tangible object, people can take it with them, and I will remind each time they see it of your business. You can design your business card using an online template that allows you to customize it with color, a logo, images, text, and font you select. You can try this at no expense beyond your time and effort and the paper for the cards. Besides handing your cards around yourself, you can ask friends to place them at the counter in their own businesses and add them to community bulletin boards in coffee houses, libraries, college dorms, and even grocery stores.
Keep it legal
Even if your business will be only part time, and only when you can find time, it’s important to manage the legal aspects of it properly. Consult with professionals about tax issues, contracts, and remaining eligible for any government support you’re receiving. The more likely it is that your work will expand, the more important it is to have a business plan, which includes choosing a structure for your company.
As a parent with a disability, finding paying work with the flexibility your schedule needs is difficult. So starting your own side hustle can be a good way to go. One benefit of working for yourself is that you can start small and do the work when it fits into your schedule. Although the business may expand over time, beginning it on a small scale, doing something you’re familiar with, can be a great way to get started.
Whispers of Hope is a website, blog, and treasure trove of resources on living with a disability. Check it out for information on disability support, special needs advocacy, inspiration, and more.