Many women have found that in order to have the lifestyle they want working in the corporate world is simply too restrictive. Set hours requiring you to commute to an office, clock in and out, then ask for permission to slightly change your schedule – is simply not conducive to an active and busy life. Women with children find the regular work schedule to be even more difficult to manage. Any mom knows that your kids do not pick the most appropriate time to get sick or have a school play, so the juggling continues. Working for yourself allows women to have increased freedom over their schedule, work objectives, priorities, and lives.
For women with disabilities being self employed provides even further benefits. Often people with disabilities are discriminated against in the workplace. While there are laws in place to prevent this, the laws cannot change peoples underlying perceptions of whether or not someone is capable of doing a job. As many disabled people will tell you – their disability does not prevent them from living and doing things. It simply requires them to do it differently. Overcoming perceptions at work can be an uphill battle that is not a productive use of energy. By starting their own business disabled women have proven that they can do whatever they set their mind to and they can do it by creating their own rules – not following someone elses.
Aimee Mullins, a below the knee amputee, is the first woman to compete in the NCAA with a disability. She set world records in the long jump, 100 and 200 yard dash. She has artificial legs and instead of viewing them as a hindrance she views them as a benefit that allows her to do what she wants.
In the UK Vanessa Haywood was diagnosed with MS and it started to limit her mobility to the point that she could not longer do her work as an actress, singer and dancer. Instead of giving up she used her talents to start her own business – teaching music, dance, and drama to children. Her company Tiny Mites Music has received business awards and by refusing to let her disability control her life – she created a company out of her own physical challenges.
Vanessa is not alone as more and more disabled women are choosing business ownership as an option to achieve their dreams without limitations.
“For too long, business ownership has been overlooked as viable option for individuals with disabilities. It was assumed that the term ‘entrepreneurship with disabilities’ was an oxymoron…today thousands of people with disabilities are dispelling these myths by starting wildly successful businesses of all kinds.”
–Disability & Entrepreneurship: A Formula for Success
The Abilities Fund, Inc. 2002
Women that have disabilities and diseases are often faced with financial hardship due to the high cost of medical care. This can make starting a business more challenging, even with great ideas. There are grants available for women in these situations and the SBA has specific lending programs designed to help. Women that have become disabled, like many cerebral palsy victims, due to medical negligence also have the option of working with an attorney to help them obtain financial compensation. Janet, Jenner & Suggs LLC was quoted as saying, “Legal compensation cannot undo a wrong, but it can provide support for families struggling with medical expenses and future cost of living concerns.” Receiving the funds needed to start a business is an important step for disabled women to start focusing on achieving their dreams and accomplishing their goals rather than focus on their disability. Disabled or not everyone is born with different capabilities. The one factor that makes people succeed is determination and an unwillingness to give up.