You can turn your disability into an asset.
Have you ever thought that starting a handmade greeting card business at the comfort of home can be a good option for a person with disability (PWD), or people with disabilities, to become productive and self-supporting, and ultimately, a sector that's an asset to society?
How Do You Define A Person With Disability?
A person’s disability can range from mild to moderate to severe, and, according to Republic Act (RA) 7277, can fall into one or two, or several, of the following categories: psychosocial, disability due to chronic illness, mental disability, visual disability, orthopedic disability, and learning disability.
Regardless of which category you fall into, a disability affects you in a sense that it can hinder you in some way. It might reduce how you function physically, mentally, or socially.
If you’re suffering from a disability or doing your best to cope, but you’re still relatively functional, starting your own business at the comfort of your own home can help pave the way towards financial freedom.
What Advantages Can A Person With Disability Reap From A Home-Based Business?
For starters, you can sell your handmade cards by setting up an online shop using shopping apps like Lazada and Shopee. You won’t need to go through several procedures like having your business registered and securing relevant documents.
Also, there’s no need to maintain a brick-and-mortar store and handle a huge inventory of craft supplies. If you’re on a shoestring budget, this can be extremely beneficial.
As A Person With Disability, You Can Manage A Handmade Card Business Part-time to Augment Other Sources of Income
In contrast to developed countries like the United States, where people with disabilities can qualify for a monthly allowance, the Philippines only grants certain privileges, like a person with disability (PWD) ID that allows a 20% discount when buying medication and basic necessities, or availing of livelihood training or an educational opportunity.
For the sake of being productive and attaining financial independence, people with a disability are highly encouraged to seek jobs. While full-time employment is still possible in a good number of cases, some can only handle part-time jobs.
If you have a computer and stable internet connection at home, you have opportunities to take in freelance work, or low-barrier-entry tasks like data entry, social media marketing, answering surveys, typing academic papers, and certain types of writing. However, the pay for such tasks can be minimal.
The profit made from managing a business, albeit part-time, can be combined with income that you already earn. This can be good news if you’re like me, who was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder as a teen and has since been in need of a steady supply of maintenance medication.
If You’re Not Artistic or Talented in Design As A Person With Disability
What if your artistic skills are more child-like than professional, or you don’t really have a natural bent towards design? Well, you can still offer gift tags and bookmarks with simple designs, or personalized redeemable coupons, cake, and cupcake toppers.
If you lean more towards writing greeting card text or verses, you can –
*team up with an artist, or join a group of artists or designers, and come up with a plan to monetize your knack for words. You may be gifted in employing informal, trendy language, puns, witty one-liners, or even sarcasm.
*break into the industry by submitting to greeting card companies.
*write for companies that sell products other than cards. This can include calendars, wallet-size cards, or posters with inspirational quotes, button pins and refrigerator magnets.
Instances When Going Full-Time Into Business As A Person With Disability Can Be Better
When Employment Isn’t Possible
Under Republic Act No. 10524, at least one percent of positions in all government agencies, offices, and corporations in the Philippines shall be reserved for persons with disability. Corporations and offices under the private sector with at least 100 employees are encouraged to do the same.
While this can be a beacon of hope to those with a disability who are still capable of working, there are workplaces that are still not conducive to a person with disability’s career growth. Some don't offer a flexible work arrangement, are inaccessible to equipment like wheelchairs, or lack provisions like special types of word processing software.
When Your Mobility is Limited
If you have the type of disability that might be preventing you to drive to work and back, or take public transport, profiting from a home-based enterprise can be the way to go.
When You Need to Consider Your Mental Well-Being
It’s a fact that people with disability face discrimination in the workplace. Being your own boss and not having to deal with the rigors and politics prevalent in the workplace can tremendously improve your mental health.
When Certain Jobs Require Skills That You Don’t Possess
If it took you longer than expected to recover from a disability, skills that you once possessed that made you occupationally fit might now be obsolete. If a job requires a skill that needs specialized training to acquire, like an advanced mastery of computer or accounting software, or sophisticated execution of graphic design that’s lacking in your resume, your chances of landing it is low.
The process of making 20, 25, 30 or more cards a week can be simplified and streamlined. And even if the industry is seasonal, offering other products like gift tags, stickers, bookmarks, and gift cards can help tide you over the lean months.
There are people with disability who find it mentally soothing to work on projects with their hands for uninterrupted amounts of time, making cards ideal for them.
If You Crave Limited Face-to-Face Interactions As A Person With Disability
If you’re afflicted with a disability like adult ADHD or Asperger’s, or are prone to anxiety or panic attacks, it’s crucial to keep person-to-person interaction down to a minimum.
While a good amount of selling is inevitable to sustain a business, a person with disability can easily manage a Facebook Page and Instagram account at home to entice potential customers. The good news is there’s no need to buy a pricey DSLR camera to take high-quality photos of your cards and upload them to your social media accounts.
If you’re able to gather enough courage, you can substitute making “cold calls” or writing emails for face-to-face selling. Furthermore, there are a lot of mobile apps that can be downloaded on cell phones these days, making it convenient to accept payment.
And once your cash flow stabilizes and your profits increase, you can pay to delegate tasks like packing orders and arranging delivery, keeping log books of accounts and transactions, or social media