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Kansas City & Global

How People With Disabilities Can Start Their Own Business

By: Marcus Lansky

Wes Hamilton in a great vest, blue shirt, and yellow tie, in front of a photo board for an event for Disabled But Not Really

Becoming your own boss is a huge part of the American dream. This is the land of opportunity, and taking that opportunity to start a small business is what so many people dream about doing. 

But when you have a disability, you might think that’s just another thing you have to forget. It’s true that some things might take more effort, but you definitely CAN start your own business. What you need to do first is decide what business you could run successfully. Then start looking for funding, and finally, set up a home office that will help you make your business a success.


What Should You Focus On?

Sometimes, the beginning is the hardest part. When it comes to starting your own business, you’re probably asking yourself,  What should I do? But when you have a disability, you might be asking, What can I do? 

Well, the answer is the same as it is for any entrepreneur trying to start their own business: Combine what you love with what the market needs. 

Working at a job you hate is what being a wage earner is all about. So when picking what to focus your new business on, make sure you find something that you actually want to work on. You may not be able to do exactly what you love — there aren’t many opportunities for getting paid to watch your favorite TV show — so think about jobs related to what you love. 

Then try to think about what the market needs. The chances of your entrepreneurship being successful go way up if you find a product or service in demand. For people with a disability, here are some examples


  • Many businesses — especially in our current state of affairs — now hire at-home employees to speak to customers, write advertising or social media copy, and keep track of expenses. 
  • Medical transcription has always been a popular at-home option too. 
  • If you know computer language, programming and web design is easy to start. 
  • Tech repair shops have fallen out of fashion but are still needed. Depending on your mobility, tech support at customers’ homes is a type of repair startup. 

Finding Funding

Starting a business usually requires an initial investment, and you may not be swimming in cash or credit. That means you’ll need to look into how to obtain funding for your new small business. 

Believe it or not, having a disability can help here. There are many businesses that offer low-cost small business loans specifically to people with disabilities. In fact, there are loans available from the government especially designed for you. 

One thing to look into is getting a disability-owned business enterprise certificate. Once your small business has this certification, you’ll be entered into a database for business-to-business and government-to-business contacts. Many times, a company is eligible for a tax cut if they work with a business owned by someone with a disability, and this certificate makes that easy to prove.

Keep in mind that you may need to officially register your business entity for these types of benefits. It can be a process, but there are plenty of services that can help you with the paperwork and other details. For example, to start a Kansas City, Missouri LLC (or limited liability company), you’ll need to appoint a registered agent, file Missouri Articles of Organization, and apply for an EIN (or employer identification number). Many of these steps can be done by an attorney or even online for very little cost, and it’s a worthwhile expense considering all of the startup funding you can receive once it’s set up.


Setting Up a Workspace

Most entrepreneurs, no matter their physical abilities, launch their businesses from home. Even if you plan to rent office space in the future, create a home workspace that meets your unique needs and ensures productivity and long-term success:

  • Choose a room (or even corner of a room) that is far enough away from the daily flow of traffic in your home to cut out distractions.
  • Make sure you have enough room to accommodate your wheelchair, walker, or other assistive devices — there are even desks designed just for those who are differently-abled.
  • Secure any digital devices that you’ll use for your business in order to protect you and your customers’ data by setting up encryption, password protection, and antivirus software.

Get Your Part Of The American Dream

Whether you have a disability or not, you deserve your chance at being a new business owner. Take some time to determine what business would be best for you. Then find some funding, make some accommodations, and start being your own boss!


  1. because of my disability i was unable to work full time. in 2014 i started my own business and became full time in 2018. the pandemic actually made it easier to work from home full time. if you are thinking about it, do it. you have something to offer.

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