Bosses that just don’t get it. Being disadvantaged for your disability and for being a woman, ugh. Someone else gets the promotion, even though you’re more qualified and have more experience. Struggling to get out of the interview stage.
Being a woman with a disability in the workplace is not easy.
Far from it. And before anyone says it, it’s not in anyone’s imagination. Research conducted by the United Nations backs up claims of inequality from top to bottom, be it salary, job opportunities, bullying, you get the idea.
“Girls and women of all ages with any form of disability are among the more vulnerable and marginalized of society. There is, therefore, need to take into account and to address their concerns in all policy-making and programming. Special measures are needed at all levels to integrate them into the mainstream of development.”
If you’re tired of fighting an unfair battle, it may be time to start your own business. Your house, your rules. The following are five opportunities that can help propel you to independent success.
1. Selling your images to inclusive stock photo libraries
Stock photography is a bit like the modeling world. Beautiful people, no disabilities, no one from the LGBTQ community, basically all within the confines of what society would call ‘normal’.
Fortunately, stock photography is changing.
Inclusive stock photography libraries have recently been released, including Vice’s Gender Spectrum Collection. Also, PushLivingPhotos.com focuses exclusively on offering disability inclusive images, all that are available for purchase.
If you have a keen eye for photography and a passion for pushing inclusivity in society, selling your work to stock photo libraries can be a good side hustle. Take enough photos that are quality and in demand, and it’s possible to build a full-time income.
2. Do something you already love and sell it on a virtual store like Etsy (crafts, writing, art, etc.)
Stop and look around your house. Beautiful paintings from your art degree? Ceramic wares that reflect your love for pottery? Or perhaps you have the in-demand skills of fixing clothes, altering dresses, and making everyone their annual Christmas sweater?
Whatever it is, you may have a skill or hobby that can translate to a business opportunity. If you already love doing it, why not try to go full-time? Virtual stores like Etsy, for example, are easy and free to set up. You can dip your toe in and see whether there is a market for your creations.
3. Using Upwork or other networks to be a virtual assistant
Becoming a Virtual Assistant (colloquially known as a ‘VA’) is probably the easiest way to turn a side hustle into a full-time business. If you are relatively confident with a computer and know how to follow instructions, I’m confident you can do it.
Sites like Upwork, for example, are gold for those looking for a VA role. Companies are always looking for people to help with customer services (often chat-only, you don’t even have to use the phone), posting to their social media accounts, and writing blog posts. The more specialized the role, the more you get paid.
Being a VA is a good way to get your foot in the door. You’ll learn about how other businesses operate, get cash in your pocket relatively quickly, and there’s a low barrier of entry.
Did you go to college? Or do you have a cool skill people are interested in learning? Tutoring may very well be your next business opportunity. Tutoring is great for those that are good at imparting knowledge, obviously, but it’s essential that you actually enjoy the process.
You can deliver tutorials in person, which tend to pay a lot better. Don’t be worried about any issues your disability may give; you can always hire a support worker to be there while you give classes in person, or you can simply set up a Skype session (parents are used to this kind of tutoring delivery).
There’s always a lot of demand for good tutors. If you went to a good college, for example, people will be begging you to teach their kids. Ivy League diploma? Get your bank account ready, as parents wanting to help their kids crank up their GPA will be throwing money at you. Do a quick Google search for ‘Ivy League tutors’ and you’ll get what I mean.
I’ve already mentioned it in the virtual assistant section, but becoming a blogger can turn into a real full-time income. Many of the top blogs on the internet are fully-fledged businesses, not just a single person writing from their laptops (although it’s possible to build a solid income this way also).
Blogs make their money in different ways. You can keep it simple and use Adsense, which displays ads on your site, or you can do affiliate marketing. You could even sell your own courses/products. There are loads of opportunities to take advantage of. Word of warning: it can take a little time to get that traffic you’re looking for.
6. Pet Care
People absolutely love their pets. The issue that many working families have is that they just don’t have the time or opportunity to give their pets the care they deserve. That’s where you come in.
You can do things like dog sitting, or if your disability doesn’t give you mobility issues, how about dog walking? Grooming and feeding pets is also a wanted service. If you love animals and like being sociable, pet care is a potential avenue. Once you get a good client base, you can start hiring people to help grow your business.
People that start their own businesses have a tough time. The fact is that most of them will fail eventually. Family members and friends may not really believe in you. The first year is likely to be difficult financially.
Don’t let that stop you.
I’m not saying that giving it your all will guarantee success. But not throwing 100% of yourself into it will make sure things will unravel at some point. But if you have a dream, and seek out help when you need it, you have a very good chance.
Keep fighting for it. The rewards are worth the sacrifices you may need to make.