Society Magazine

Disability and The Dragon’s Den

Posted on the 09 October 2012 by Lucy_wood @IamLucyWood

A report out this week says that the number of Disabled People opting to become their own boss has rocketed in recent months, with one in every seven Disabled people becoming businessmen.

Many commentators say that the reason for this is because running your own business gives you freedom, gives you control, makes that dream you’ve visualized for years a reality.  To a certain extent this is true. But this is, in my eyes not the solitary reason that running your own company, when you’re ‘differently able’ is so attractive.

In my experience, becoming your own Boss is the only way a disabled people can make ends meet. Even with the Disability Equality Act ruling that forces employees to interview prospective workers on there qualifications regardless of their disability.

Trouble is if the Employer has a choice between completing additional paperwork and sit in additional meetings to negotiate Personal Assistants and access, or employing Joe Bloggs who can start immediately, who do you think you going to go for?  Regardless of morals or the ‘right thing to do’ and with the amount of people going for each job on the Market it can be difficult to get noticed.

Many Disabled people, head down the Volunteering route, and whist this is a great way of giving meaning and purpose to those who are most vulnerable in society Volunteering doesn’t pay the bills

When your life is full of abnormality, all you crave is normality, and paid employment gives you stability, a sense of security.

For all the faults we have, Disabled People have a unique way of seeing through a problem, we have a different view of the world, a simpler one, more resilient and not willing to give in when someone tells you’re idea is ‘rubbish’ and that it’ll never get off the ground.

Don’t get me wrong the perks of being your own Boss are very good, you can work the hours you choose, there’s no bargaining for time of to attend the countless appointments you have to attend and there’s no nervous HR officer checking your alright every five minutes. You make the rules.

Not every disabled person is a business man or woman through choice; some are their own boss because it’s the only option left.  It’s the unique squew on life that gives us a USP and that USP gives us good grounds for a business.

In desperation, when I whole heartily began to believe I’d never work again, years ago I set up Level + Consultancy, a company that provides practical advise, based on personal experience, giving consultation advice on Disability Issues at a reasonable rates.  (Google it… Go on)

I have a website and I’m always looking for opportunities to help, I was lucky enough to find some employment, so Level + sits on the back burner, in the event that I loose my job it’s my back up plan.

Did I ever think I’d have plans for my own business?  No, I thought I was going to present Blue Peter, until they had the pet name rigging scandal.. That tarnished it for me.

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