Micro-Enterprise: How to start your own business through the NDIS
I read a great story recently about Emily, who is based in South Australia, and who set up her own local errand business called Go Get ‘Em. She loves what she does and works around 10 hours a week running errands for businesses and people near her home.
She created her own logo and business cards, and has been such a great marketer for her business, handing cards out at parties, that her phone is running off the hook.
For many people living with illness or disability, regular employment has been off the cards. We love that workplaces are moving forward in being all-inclusive and offering employment to people with disabilities, but it still has been too hard a step for many people living with chronic conditions.
If you haven’t been able to get a job because of your disability, you still may have a fantastic option for employment – starting your own business.
There are thousands of small business owners with disabilities who have set up their own local or online hustle, and now happily work from home. It brings in money and peace of mind, but more importantly, it brings in confidence, strength and joy in building something that people love.
You can make something to change your own little part of the world, despite having a disability. It doesn’t need to be big – just meaningful to you.
Many people just like you have created their own mini-businesses and micro-enterprises and found a new purpose in life.
How to start your own business through the NDIS
Some disabilities are reasonably stable, meaning that the person living with them faces the same routine and challenges every day. Others are more of a roller coaster – knowing that on some days you will be strong and able to face almost anything, while on other days you might be as helpful as a newborn kitten (speaking from my own experience here…)
If you work for someone else there is always the possibility you will wake up and not be well enough to work. This is true for everyone, but can be more of a reality for people living with disabilities. The added guilt and stress of possibly not being well enough to work can be enough to make you unwell, and to turn you off actively looking for employment.
Running your own online business means that you have the ability to set when and how you work, and you can look after your health as a priority.
Running your own business can provide a number of great benefits
- Work when and how you want to, on your terms
- Follow your passion and enjoy every day
- Play an important and active role in the community
- Interact with other businesses and customers through your work
- Earn your own money
- Exercise the parts of your body and spirit that need challenging, while being considerate to your condition and any limitations you face
Here are some examples of small businesses you could run from home:
- Knitting or sewing small garments
- Making handmade gift cards
- Selling succulents in decorated pots
- Making and selling art
- Making small food items like cookies, fudge, nuts or dried fruit
- Selling seed packets
- Selling tea or coffee
- Making and selling jewellery
- Running errands in your local area
- Mowing lawns and gardening
What do you need to start your own online business?
You will need a computer with access to the internet. You may wish to set up your own website to sell products or services through, but you could also set up a store through a website like eBay, Etsy, Facebook or Instagram without having to run your own website.
You need a great idea for something you can make, teach or do that people would be willing to pay for.
You will need some basics of digital marketing, which is how you get word out there to potential customers. You can post on social media platforms such as Facebook to build a following, or you can tailor your online shop so that it will appear on Google when people search for certain items or keywords.
You will need to set up some sort of way to receive money, but this is easier than you think. You can set up a single account through PayPal which anyone across the world can use to pay you, and then funds can be transferred to your personal bank account for you to use.
How does this work through the NDIS?
Many people have NDIS goals which include getting well enough or skilled up to be able to get a job. But you have another option as well – a goal of starting your own business. Depending on the specifics of your plan, you can have support services and business help paid for by your funded program if it helps you towards your goal.
Individualised funding can be used through the NDIS to pay for services and programs which get you up and running. Tap into your specific talents, skills, interests, passions, and resources and create a small business or micro-enterprise that is perfect for you.
Programs such as the wonderful MicroEnterprise Project run by Community Living Project in SA (who helped Emily get started) and the awesome Microenterprise Hub in Fremantle run by Valued Lives can help – look for one in your area.
Talk to your support worker about how this could work for you.
Or get into contact with us at Bits and Pieces – we have specially designed beginner packages perfect for people with NDIS goals to start their own online business. For personalised assistance setting up your website, social media, digital marketing and much more, get in touch with us through firstname.lastname@example.org