One would assume that living in the 21st century; when we can land a spacecraft on Mars and produce nanobots that kill only cancer cells, we can provide equal work opportunities for people of all abilities.
However, the reality is not quite so idyllic, as we have a long way to go before we adapt entirely to the notion of helping all people become active members of society to the best of their ability. That said, current options are getting more diverse by the minute, and some are especially appealing to people struggling to adjust in a traditional office setting.
Whether your senses are impaired, or you are physically unable to perform specific tasks, the following positions may be the best option for you. These will help you not only stay financially independent, but also professionally fulfilled, and help you expand and perfect your skills as much as possible.
1) Freelancing as a career
An obvious choice, but still highly recommended for people of all ability levels. Simply put, this approach to building your career gives you the perfect balance of freedom and profitability to make a living with what you do best, whatever that may be. It’s an excellent choice for disabled veterans, as well as people who need to work from home for a range of different reasons. From working in creative writing, graphics and web design, all the way to being someone’s virtual assistant, freelancing comes with a slew of options.
Make sure that you can register yourself as a freelancer in your own country, and if there are any certificates that you can obtain that can help you pitch for individual projects with greater ease. Peruse through many platforms such as Upwork where you can find various jobs and apply to as many as you can handle.
2) Starting your own business
Alternatively, there are many options out there for starting a company of your own, even if you do have specific disabilities. Many existing brands offer franchising opportunities with perks particularly suited for people with disabilities. Since you can choose from a range of top franchises to own, why not do your homework and discover which ones will give you enough support and guidance on your professional journey?
When you work as a franchise, you also benefit from working with a well-established, reputable brand, a tried-and-tested business model is ready for you, and you’ll receive ongoing training and support because it’s in their best interest for you to succeed, as well. Some even offer hefty discounts for veterans, making it a far more profitable option when it comes to the necessary capital you’ll need to invest.
3) Teach what you know
The digital world is a beautiful place. You can find free and affordable online courses in pretty much any reasonable sphere, from language classes to fitness seminars. Depending on your proclivities, you can set up your website for teaching, or join an existing organization of your choice.
For example, there is a growing need for native English speakers to teach this language online to Asian students, and many schools offer their study material as well as the freedom to determine your number of classes.
You can also mix and match – so you can spend a few hours every day teaching the English language, while the rest is reserved for arts and crafts. You can also check if any local schools need a special education teacher, to help kids with similar disabilities find their path in life and develop various skills.
4) Get creative
Not that big on teaching? No worries, because you can still use your skills to dazzle those around you. If you’re good with your hands, why not make your unique items and sell them either online or in a local store?
For example, jewelry is always in demand, while a diverse selection of pillows, t-shirts, candles, anything wearable for that matter, as well as edible, can be sold both online and locally.
You can also build your website for this purpose, work with local stores that are happy to help people with disabilities or join an existing online platform such as Etsy, designed for arts and crafts of all sorts. Individual items can be sold for a decent price and can in time become your primary source of income, but for starters, it’s best to combine with other skills you have, just until you develop a strong enough brand.
5) Customer support
Thanks to growing awareness of this issue, more companies now offer their standard positions to those who can only telecommute and work from home. For example, working as a customer support representative, whether you only communicate via chat and email, or you need to conduct phone calls, has become an excellent option for those who aren’t able to leave their home.
These jobs are relatively flexible, and many companies nowadays also offer training for those who don’t have ample experience, which further encourages those with disabilities to come forward and apply.
6) Accounting and data analysis
Let’s not forget that disabilities are not limited to the ailments of the body, whether one of your senses is impaired, or you have mobility issues. Various behavioral and mental illnesses are as debilitating as physical conditions, even though they exhibit differently, such as Asperger’s or other issues on the autism spectrum.
For people who primarily find it difficult (or downright impossible) to work directly with people, in socially-demanding environments, or as part of a team, working with numbers and data is a very healthy, rewarding alternative that can also be lucrative.
A vast majority of jobs such as working in accounting or any form of data analysis can be done from home with no significant setbacks, especially with the right equipment, such as a reliable computer and an internet connection. With a bit of training, most of these positions can be ideally suited for people with disabilities, especially those who find working with numbers the best possible alternative for traditional, people-focused jobs.
7) Working in the tech industry
Although this is a viable option even in its freelancing form, the current demand for software developers and web designers is still growing, making these jobs ideal for those who need to work from home.
Coding can also be mastered from home, so even those who haven’t had any formal education can complete valid online courses to learn different coding languages and qualify for a wide range of development jobs. Some companies may prefer an official bachelor’s or master’s degree, so it’s important to keep up with the current trends of the tech market.
Finally, if you have been able to obtain a job in any industry, listed or not, you know all the issues, setbacks, and hurdles that you have had to deal with to manage to grow your career and to find a steady source of income. Many are currently in the very same position, struggling to find the right job for their disability – and perhaps your advice will be of vital relevance for their success.
Make sure to ask in your community and your local government if any local schools and official institutions need for such a professional.
Then, you can put your own experience to good use and help other people with yours or similar conditions to make their way in this still-developing world of ours.
Although the job market has a long way to go before it can be called equal for people of all skill levels, you can use these opportunities to your advantage and build your financial independence over the years to come.