Start Your Own Business

If you have not found the job you want with a company, there are different paths to explore other than employment which may range from becoming a business owner to being an independent contractor (freelance) as a solution.  According to Department of Labor, employed persons with a disability were more likely to be self-employed than those with no disability.

Let’s explore the options!


Thinking about starting your own business?  Yes, you can do it!  Many deaf and hard of hearing people have become successful business owners. It is true that starting and maintaining a business can be a challenge, but there are many resources to help you decide if starting a business is the right choice for you. The start of every business requires an idea for services or products then create a business plan then come up with funding.  

TIP: One way to help you prepare your business plan is to use Business Model Canvas which gives you the “big picture” of your business.

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has information and resources that help almost anyone who wants to start a business.  The SBA has an ASL Video Customer Support line that will directly answer questions in ASL about what the SBA can do for you or answer your questions.

For those with interest with government contracting,Small Business Administration, as well as state and local governments, has several programs including 8(a) Business Development Program which assists economically and socially disadvantaged individuals to obtain loans and other resources s.  While the 8(a) Business Development Program automatically recognizes specific races as economically and socially disadvantaged, it requires deaf or hard of hearing individuals to provide proof of being disadvantaged as a business owner as a result of society not being accessible to deaf and hard of hearing businesses. More information is available:

Many other organizations, often located in your area, offer resources, programs and services to inspiring and new business owners. While the NAD does not endorse any of these programs or services, they are provided here for your convenience:


What is an independent contractor?  Independent contractor is an individual in business who provides services to another individual or business such as consultants, agents, or brokers. Others might be creative professionals or technical/IT types.  Some can be drivers for ride-sharing business like Uber and Lyft.   If you are confused about if you are considered an employee or independent contractor, IRS has a test to determine the status:

TIP: For more information on being an independent contractor