Starting a Home Business as a Wheelchair User
The SMH recently published an article about how people with a disability are increasingly taking control of their lives and establishing their own businesses. According to the stats about 13.1% of people with a disability are self-employed compared with only 9.2% of non-disabled Australians (you can read full the article HERE).
While these figures may be a result of necessity (there are still fewer job opportunities and working for yourself allows more flexibility), we also know that people with a disability are incredibly resilient and determined. It’s these two qualities that are vital to starting and running a small business.
The first step will be to set up your home office! While many thriving businesses have been started on the dining room table, a dedicated workspace will allow you to become less distracted and more comfortable and productive. It will also help you get into the right mindset and keep your business and personal life separate.
Here’s three key things to consider:
- Space: A separate room or a study with a door that you can close would be ideal but clearing a corner of the living or dining room will also suffice – and you can always put up a room divider. Pick a spot that’s near a window or has some natural light if possible – otherwise adding a bright artwork or some pot plants with help create an uplifting and inspiring space.
- Desk: Setting up an ergonomic work desk is essential to prevent neck, shoulder and wrist injuries or pain. Finding a table that allows your wheelchair to slide underneath is also important. Your shoulders should remain soft and relaxed while typing, and your wrists should sit slightly lower or in line with your elbows. You’ll find adjustable desks at most furniture stores and Officeworks.
- Equipment: most of us have laptops these days, which means we’re often looking down at a very small screen. After long periods of time, this can strain the neck and eyes, and even cause headaches. If you can, set up a larger screen or monitor that sits at your eye level so you’re looking straight ahead, not down. You can also buy a laptop stand to elevate the smaller screen.
There’s lots more to consider, and plenty of tips about setting up a home office freely available online. Check out these three handy resources and blogs:
- CHOICE.com.au – how to set up a home office
- Wheel Chic Home – how to create an accessible home office space
- Rolling Inspiration – the accessible office every wheelchair user needs
Once you have your home office set up, the hard work can begin! The next two steps are:
1. Writing a business and marketing plan, including budgets
Having a great idea is not enough, you will need a clear action plan to make the idea a reality. A business and marketing plan will help you set goals, processes and get a better understanding about the investment and costs involved with running your business. Here are some resources and templates:
2. Applying for any relevant registrations and licences
In Australia, there are a range of legal and taxation requirements in order to start and run a business. These will vary depending on the size, nature and industry of your business. At the very least, you will need to register your business name, get an ABN number and maybe register for GST. Business.gov.au has a great Guide to starting a business with everything you need to know. You can also consult legal and other professionals if you’re not sure about something.
Running your own business is not always easy but it does come with many benefits including being your own boss, having more control, flexibility and financial independence. The Automobility business has been operating for almost 20 years, and while it has been challenging, particularly in the early years, the rewards far outweighed the hard work. The most important thing, we believe, is to be passionate about and love what you do!
Looking for more inspiration, and tips for living your best life? Read some earlier blogs:
- Australian Wheelchair Users we Love!
- Automobility means Freedom
- Top 7 Devices & Apps for Wheelchair Users
For more information about gaining greater independence and freedom with a wheelchair access vehicle (WAV) conversion, call our friendly team on 1300 660 773. We can arrange an obligation free consultation and demonstration session via online video chat or at your home – with strict COVID-safe processes in place.