The Best Side Gigs for Disabled Parents

Photo Credit: Gustavo Fring via PexelsGuest Post by Elijah Dawson,

Trying to provide for your family when you live with a disability can be difficult. But if you need to supplement your income, there are more options than ever these days. Technology makes it possible to keep a side gig, start a business, or find a job that allows you to work from home and use your skills. Below, we provide some practical advice for starting your journey.

Finding a Side Gig

If you are unsure of what type of job or company to pursue, take time to research the many possibilities. You might be surprised by how many options there are for people with disabilities, and as a parent, you can quickly find the perfect work-from-home job so that you can make money while working in an environment that accommodates your needs.

For instance, you can become a freelancer in one of many specialties, assuming you have a marketable skill. Many freelancers build a career in writing, web design, virtual/remote assistance, accounting, and many other niches.

You could become a transcriptionist to listen to audio and video content and convert it to written text. Or, you could manage the social media accounts of other individuals and businesses, which is the perfect option if you love to engage with people online.

Suppose you are an effective communicator and enjoy daily interactions. In that case, you could thrive by joining a virtual customer service team, and if you are fluent in more than one language, you could make money with a translation job. The opportunities are endless, so take time to look into the options to find something that matches your skills, knowledge, and interests.

Finding Work    

If you don’t want to start a full-fledged business, you can find work as an employee. Freelancing also falls into this category, though you can create a business as a freelancer if you choose to. Start by asking around your personal and professional networks for referrals; this is perhaps the quickest way to land a high-quality job and should be the first strategy you try.

Then, start looking at online job boards. Create accounts on platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelance Writing Gigs, ProBlogger, and any other job boards that can help you find clients. Some job boards cater to a general audience, while others deal with specific niches.

Already have a side business idea? 

If you want to turn your side gig into a business, you will need to take many steps to set yourself up for success. You will need to choose a business structure and submit state-specific paperwork. If you’re wondering how to start an LLC, you can hire an attorney, file yourself, or use a formation service to help you. Start by registering a unique business name and assigning a registered agent. Then, you’ll need to file specific paperwork with the state to get your EIN, or employer identification number.

Next, you will need to make a business plan. The more thorough your business plan, the more information you will have to make critical decisions that ultimately determine the direction of your business.

Another aspect is finding funding sources, which can often be one of the biggest challenges. One important factor to consider when looking for funding is your credit report. Your credit report can give lenders an idea of your overall financial health and how reliable you will be as a borrower, so take steps to improve your credit score if you need to.

If you are starting a business, you must build a brand. This means developing a visual identity and taking steps to establish your reputation in the industry so that your products or services are easily recognizable by your target audience

You can do this!

As a person living with a disability, you likely face unique challenges in the workplace. And if you need to supplement your income or build a full-time gig from home, you live in the right day and age. Consider the tips above to explore your options, find a side gig or job, and build a business. In no time, you could be making a living doing something you love from your home office!





Why You Should Be Networking with Strangers

Sometimes, it is more effective to network with people that you do NOT know, in order to get results. Sounds confusing because we think of networking as approaching people that we already know. And, if you have read my blog, you already know that I constantly encourage job seekers to grow their network and focus on the relationships. However, this story is about another level of networking and relationships. Read on to see what I mean.

Jessica (fictitious name but true story) was getting depressed about her job search. As a high level Marketing Manager, she had created award-winning marketing communications that elevated the visibility of her company. Not only did she manage project teams in executing creative solutions, but she also enjoyed hands-on graphic design work and had growing experience in social media messaging. When she found herself out of work, everything changed.

After looking for many months, she updated her résumé and adjusted her search with a willingness to take on junior level positions if needed.  But she was not getting results either. We spent time creating different versions of her résumé to more effectively target various positions. After quite some time, things were remaining quiet on the job front and Jessica was understandably worried. So, we brainstormed on how to deal with this.

In addition to working on relationships, Jessica pursued a powerful strategy of targeting specific key people (via LinkedIn, professional associations, and suggestions from friends) in organizations she wanted to work for and engaged them in assisting her with information. She would ask anything from info about what is happening in the department right now or soliciting their input about a current opening and what type of candidate they were seeking. 

It took a while, but finally her phone started ringing off the hook. Jessica told me she eventually received many calls, interviews, and a couple offers…all from people developed in her network. One company – the lucky winner who hired Jessica – reached out to her already knowing she had a job offer and offered her more money.

Job searching is exhausting and sometimes gets depressing. If you are feeling discouraged or as if you have tried everything, I hope Jessica’s story will inspire you to keep persisting. Follow her example and begin networking in a targeted way and you will also start to make things happen.

So think about it — who do you NOT know that you could be engaging?  

10 seconds to influence hiring decisions? Write a thank you note!

You can move forward more rapidly in your job search by utilizing every opportunity to send a letter, email, or voicemail message to a potential employer and to your networking leads (…without being a stalker of course!). Think about it – you meet with someone, and later drop a quick email saying “Nice meeting you for coffee today – I appreciated your suggestions about my job search.” It would take you about 10 seconds to write this and click send, right? What do you think the reaction will be from the recipient? He will have a nice surprise note in their email that is short and appreciative of their time. He feels good about the note and good about you!

This thank you effort can be a key influencing factor following a job interview. Sending a note (via snail mail or email) is an opportunity to show your initiative, to emphasize a critical point about your background, to mention one more thing about your strengths which may not have come up during the interview.  The employer who received your note is impressed with your timely note and comments. Surprisingly, only a small percentage of candidates send a thank you letter after an interview. So, this makes your note stand out even more so!

How can you look polished with regard to post job interview notes? Be sure to ask for a business card so you have the spelling of their name, and correct email or snail mail address. The letter should be brief and if handwritten –  legible. Start by thanking them for the opportunity to interview and convey your excitement about the position. Then mention one or two key points – perhaps something in particular about the job that you were enthusiastic about, or emphasizing how you feel you could make a contribution to the team. Close with a simple statement indicating that you enjoyed the meeting and hope to hear back soon. Be sure to include your email address and phone number. Just think – this small effort could be the key to getting an offer!

Don’t Blame the Economy!

You are a recent graduate who just can’t seem to find a job. You may be motivated, have received excellent grades and have committed to multiple internships, so you can’t figure out why the job search process isn’t any easier! It’s often hard to pinpoint exactly where something is going wrong, but founder Kathryn Sollmann (9 Lives for Women blog) highlights some great areas to examine in her recent post titled “7 Reasons Why Jane Has No Job.”

 Kathryn, who met a “bright and accomplished 2011 college grad who has not yet found a job,” discovered that there were at least 7 reasons why this grad’s job search had stalled. Surprisingly, none of them have to do with the poor job market! Keep reading for some crucial areas to work on.

 Most people think that they can look for a job effectively while doing many other things. But Kathryn points out that “finding a job is truly a full-time job. You have to spend at least 40 hours a week on your search to get any significant action. Keep non-search activities to 20 hours a week. If you can’t afford to limit the temp job, make sure that you’re maximizing your job search time in the evenings and on weekends”

 Similarly, many jobseekers have difficulty networking properly. I always recommend the importance of making industry contacts and building relationships, but many college grads may be doing this in a non-meaningful way. Kathryn writes “there are benefits to networking meetings, but success depends if you just happen to meet the right person. Limit in person networking to one or two events a month that are targeted to a desired industry— “

Beyond maximizing networking events, some people are reluctant to utilize other social gatherings as means of networking. According to Kathryn, her college grad “needs to extend her networking circles and think about people she knows from every aspect of her life (schools, clubs, religious affiliations, sports groups, etc.).” Every time a recent grad is socializing, he or she should also be thinking about ways to network! You never know when the right person comes along that might have the job or connection you need to get your foot in the door.

 Kathryn discusses many other essential job-searching tricks in her post, such as creating a job search strategy, using LinkedIn correctly, and maintaining energy in communication. Read more of Kathryn’s wonderful advice and ensure that you are job-hunting most effectively and efficiently.

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Special thanks to contributing editor, Leora Kanner