If you've ever given more than 10 seconds of thought about starting a business or finding reliable work than this web page is a definite to book mark because it has information that will be critical to your success.
There's a lot of myth and misinformation floating around about starting a business, finding reliable work and just how much money people with disabilities can earn with out losing their benefits.
This minute interview at the top of the page with Andy Leaf tells the facts, covers common questions, address's concerns and gives step by step directions in plain English about how you to get started and succeed. You'll Learn....
How Disabled start a business with no money down,
Basic tips to start a business,
How to turn what ya like to do into revenue,
3 easy steps to success,
The real deal on government and private grants,
Where to get help guidance & coaching,
How much you can make and keep your benefits,
Learn how to deduct impairment related work expenses to help pay for day to day needs,
Discover the most realistic business funding resources,
Learn the top 4 question to ask that will determine if a company is reliable to work for,
Hear real life success stories from people like you,
And a much from the most trusted source of information for entrepreneur's with Disabilities,
"The Andy's Leaf's Story"
Andy’s been involved in, and has run small businesses all his life. Since 1996 Andy has been empowering people with disabilities to start or run a business via his nonprofit organization Disability Biz..
Disability Biz provides a variety of disability resources and small business services for people with disabilities, that is a one-stop center that has accessible and reliable business resources, disability resources and other support for entrepreneurs with disabilities.
Andy knows from his personally experience just how important it is to have access to meaningful employment because he has been a wheelchair user almost 40 years thus transportation and health issues have kept me out of traditional employment.
Andy Leaf Interview Highlights
1. What basic tips can you offer to people with disabilities to start a business?
A. Do something that you love and that you are already good at – people get into trouble when they start thinking about ways to get rich quick rather than focusing on realistic businesses that complement their skills and abilities.
B. Start with evaluating your hobbies and interests and brainstorm business ideas
C. Think about your skills, abilities, education, experience that would apply to your business ideas
For example, start with evaluating your hobbies and interests and brainstorm business ideas with your friends and family think about your skills, abilities, education and experience that would apply to your business. A lot of people get cut off in MLM or network marketing businesses. Most of these require selling products or services so if you don't have strong phone and sales skills to prospect for business, you could end up buying a lot of things that you are stuck with.
C. What if you don't have skills or experience?
– consider training or going to school to complement your interests. Most people don't have accounting experience so taking a basic course in bookkeeping would be important. Other courses in business management, marketing and other areas are also available online, in books and at your local junior college. If you don't have a lot of experience, consider working for someone else for a while, maybe even your competition. What better way to learn than from the successes and failures that they have.
D. Check out the market for your idea
One last thing, once you've done your research and you have a few good ideas of what you want to do , find out which ones are the most marketable/needed
2. Forget about Location, Location, Location it’s more about Research, research, research
– do some serious research to find out which of your business ideas are the most marketable / needed.
A. Before you do ANYTHING – buy product, set up a website etc. you have to evaluate the need for your product or service
B. conduct surveys of potential clients, find out industry statistics, analyze the competition
C. Once you determine which idea has the best chances for success, improve upon those chances for success by developing a full-blown business plan
3. How to choose the right business
Be REALISTIC – in what you can or can’t do physically, about your income and expenses and especially about the level of your competition
A. When you are developing your business plan be realistic in what you can or can't do physically, about your income and expenses and especially about the level of your competition. It would be a good idea to have a professional read through it after you have finished.
B. What the business objective is
it's always good to have a short and to the point description of what you're doing. You want to create a very effective "elevator speech." this is something that you use when you are riding on an elevator and someone asks you what you do.
C. How the product works
you want to explain what your product is, why you want to do it and why you are qualified to do it. Giving your personal information and showing people that you are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about your product or service is good business.
D. What the market opportunity is
this is where you show who is your target market. You need to construct a customer profile, be very specific -- and analyze your industry trends
knowing who your competition is, what can you offer your customer that is better, why they will be buying from you.
Where are you doing to sell or distribute your product or service.
G. The marketing strategy ( how ya gonna get business)
how will you attract customers and get them to buy. Advertising, flyers
4. Have a Solid Business Plan
State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies can also pay for your business plan development as a technical assistance expense before they assess your self-employment readiness.
A. get help with your business plan – it’s not an easy thing to put together – at the very least have professionals read through and critique your plan.
B. Company Information
Company and personal background, details about products and services, this is where you show what you want to do, why you want to do it and why you are qualified to do it
C. Market Research
Industry research, customer profile, competitive analysis
this is where you demonstrate the need for your product or service, who specifically will buy from you and why they will buy from you instead of the competition
D. Marketing Strategy
Marketing goals, marketing tools, distribution channels
this is where you determine how many people will buy from you and how much they will buy, how you will attract your customers and get them to buy and where you will sell or distribute your products or services
E. Operating plan
management & staffing, ordering process, project timeline, supplies needed. This is where you show that you can handle the business once you make that first sale, that you have all the people ready, paperwork ready and a plan in place to get the equipment, supplies and office space you need while you are starting up.
G. Financial Plan
sales projections, break even analysis, profit & loss, cash flow.
This is where you show not only how much money you will be making and how much money you need but it will directly show potential investors whether or not you have the management skills necessary to run a successful business depending on how realistic and thorough you are.
5. Types of Funding Available
A. Traditional funding (money you have to pay back or offer up a percentage of equity in your business)
B. Bank loans – usually challenging to get without a stellar business plan, great credit and some kind of collateral so this avenue is not usually pursued – try to get a bank loan.
C. Venture capital – really only worth pursuing if you have a new and unique idea for a high-growth / technology business and you have extensive experience in the related field.
VC money is commonly lent for marketing to increase sales initially you will need startup funding to purchase equipment, filing fees etc. Often people do not put enough money aside for marketing.
Grants to start or expand your business
(money you don’t have to pay back but is hard top get)
Sometimes companies or organizations may offer grants or have business plan competitions. Most common for non-profit organizations but often take years to get. Be wary of places selling guides to grants are those that ask for payment up front.
D. Government Grants – SBIR Grants (Small Business Innovation Research Grants) but these are usually in high tech fields and for established businesses and have specific requirements that most small businesses just don’t fit. Be wary of places selling guides to grants – all the info you need is online & free
E. Private Grants – some companies or organizations may offer grants or have business plan competitions that result in grant funding for the winners. Be wary of organizations asking for donations or payment up front to apply for grants.
Check these private Grant funding resources
Ability fund Contact Patty Lynn
State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies – rules will vary from state to state but self-employment is an acceptable outcome for people enrolled in state voc rehab programs instead of being placed in traditional employment. As part of that self-employment outcome, the state can pay for reasonable startup expenses for a small business.
You may need to be persistent and you will need to explain why self-employment is better suited to you and your disability than traditional employment, develop a stellar but realistic business plan that fits with your skills and abilities and be prepared to be evaluated on multiple levels and jump through a few hoops.
They cannot fund nonprofit organizations (because you are not truly an “owner” of a nonprofit) and “startup” expenses usually include necessary equipment and supplies to START (not ongoing throughout your business) and 3 months worth of operating expenses i.e. rent / utilities, internet, inventory, etc.
You will usually be monitored for a time period afterward to ensure you are on target with your goals and projections (hence the need to make REASONABLE goals and projections) before your case will be closed as successfully placed.
How Corporations Maximize Benefits!
If your Incorporated your Business collects the monies and your Social Security Number does not.
Its only the amount that your Corporations pays you that is reflect against your Social Security Number.
Example Corporation revenues are $1200 per month and you earn $500
its the $500 that counts toward you
Sustained Gainful Activity Limit SGA.
This is a simple, legal and affordable strategy that allow you to and maximize your profits and keep your benefits.
Protect Your Benefits & Business
It’s the wisest decision you’ll
ever make Click Here to learn More
PASS Plan – A plan you can develop through the Social Security Administration that allows you to set aside all or a portion of your SSI or SSDI check or other income to use for a business startup; those set aside funds then no longer count as income allowing you to start receiving SSI or increase the amount of your current SSI checks. This often allows you to receive close to the same amount in disability benefits that you are currently receiving but with additional funds set aside to use for your business startup.
It’s a program for SSI recipients (SSI is Supplemental Security Income for people with really limited resources ) but you may be able to qualify for SSI by writing a PASS plan,
You will need a comprehensive business plan and to follow the same guidelines under State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies.
Your PASS plan is more likely to be accepted if you are working through your State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and we actually recommend that you fund part of your business startup through a PASS plan and part through the voc rehab grant if you qualify for both programs.
Examples of items that can be obtained with a pass:
Business start up funding, education, assertive technology, an assistant really any item that your Pass plan can justify that will help you work.
Basic tips to find reliable work from home
To determine if the Business is viable
A. Check with the Better Business Bureau for how log have they been in biz,
B. Test their customer support... do they answer you promptly
C. Get lots of references
D. Find work that match's your skill set
Impairment related work expenses
Impairment related work expenses to minimize your taxes and maximize your taxable income and SGA. This is a great way to offset money you earn with expenses needed to generate income ie; wheel chair, medical supplies, special computer monitor, care services, medical devices, equipment, prostheses, and similar items and services may be deducted. The costs of routine drugs are deductible if necessary to control the disabling condition so as to enable the individual to work.
Resources To Get You Started
"Amazing! Discover Everything You Really Need To Know About Building An Internet Business All In One Place!"
A Totally Free Business Start Up Resource For People With Disabilities Interested in building a Online Business or Market Your Current Idea
Including Free Internet Marketing MP3s, Articles, Worksheets, and Much More...