Running A Business From Home With Disabilities And Chronic Illness
Making money from home takes adjustment when you have disabilities or/and a chronic illness, but it is possible. Actually, it has quite a few benefits, over working outside of the home or even working remotely from a business. I have several chronic illnesses and disabilities, that could make a job outside the home more difficult, so I relish the opportunity to create an income from my desk.
Benefits Of Working From Home With Disabilities And Chronic Illnesses
- Ability to work around your energy level. My daughter, who inherited some of my genetic disorders, has more energy in the evenings, while I function better in spurts throughout the day. We both can adjust our work schedule to fit our individual needs.
- Ability to work around doctors appointments or other health-related obligations. Flexibility is one of my favorite aspects of working from home. I can adjust my schedule, whenever needed.
- No commute, which can be difficult for some of us and can take away from the limited energy we have available.
- Ability to work from more than one place – if needed you can take your laptop or tablet with you to the hospital or work from the waiting room – I have done that plenty times.
Tips To Make Working From Home Easier
- Outsource – but not necessarily the way you may think. Outsource those activities that cause you the most difficulties, and include your household tasks on that list – in my case I outsource cleaning and shopping, both of which take a lot of effort and energy that I can use on other tasks, that are easier for me.
- Delegate – enlisting family members. No matter if it is regular tasks or occasional aspects of your to-do-list, allow your family members to assist you in your business venture.
- Combating brain fog – Using visual, paper, and digital tools, to remember every task that needs to be done, is essential for me. Some chronic illnesses and some medication cause a decreased inability to focus, or decreases memory, which can be a lot easier to work around when working from home. You can place lists everywhere you frequent, in my case, I even utilize the fact that my bathroom vanity is magnetic, and will have a daily self-care checklist present. Bulletin boards and other visual tools are amazing for this particular problem.
- Work around your limitations. – Allergies and other limitations might make it hard to meet people in person, but working from home allows you to connect with anyone, anywhere digitally. Use Skype, facebook messenger, and your phone to your advantage – as well as all of the other great tools available now, that make controlling aspects of your home and business easier and more accessible from anywhere.
- Be creative – Working with the energy, ability, and resources you have available, might take some out of the box thinking, but it can also be quite fun. Don’t be afraid to use everyday items in a new way, to fit your needs.
- Stop naysayers in their tracks – No matter if you struggle with disabilities, or if you are healthy, naysayers are always willing to offer their negative input. Be assertive and clear about your goals, when confronting them, and shut them off, if necessary, protecting your needs and goals fiercely. This might mean, that you will not answer your phone during work hours, or that you remove yourself from potential negative conversations.
- Creating your own productivity system – While you can take cues from systems such as GTD, and others, you can customize your own system, by using aspects of many productivity concepts and work them into a tailored concept that works for you.
Specific tools and resources I use that make my life easier
The list of tools you will vary greatly depending on your circumstances, budget and disabilities/chronic illness. My chronic illnesses only slightly affect the ability to move around my home, but I am partially deaf in one ear and have reduced hearing in the other, and deal with chronic fatigue and brain fog due to my chronic illnesses. (Hypothyroidism, EDS, chronic iron deficiency anemia, multiple indoor and outdoor allergies, POTS)
- Staying digitally organized by using Trello, google docs, and Evernote.
- Speaking of Evernote, it has a neat feature in the desktop downloaded version as well as the mobile app, where it will transcribe your voice for you. I love that feature, as my hands are not always in the best shape, and it also allows me to take quick notes on the fly, whenever it is convenient – google docs has a similar feature. It is located under the tools heading, or you can access it via CTRL + Shift + S if you are in a document.
- Instacart, Prime Now, and Google Express. I do most of my grocery shopping online, as lifting heavy items, such as water, or cat litter is difficult for me and my daughter, so I utilize the Instacart app to get access to many grocery stores via a personal shopper. That includes all of my daily needs, from vegetables to dog food, and it only costs a monthly fee (and any tips you may want to give your shopper). I can get my groceries most of the time within 2 hours unless it is a peak time, which then it may take longer. Prime Now is specifically for Amazon Prime members, but also gives you access to some Whole Foods stables, and many other groceries, as well as books and electronics. Delivery can be anywhere from 1 hour to whenever you want to have it delivered – you can choose directly in the app. Google Express takes at least 2 days for so I use it mostly for stables, such as coffee, and pantry items.
- Cleaning service. I am using a local weekly cleaning service, that frees my time so that I can spend more of my energy working on my business.
- A paper planning system that works for me. I have brain fog, so remembering important tasks, or ideas is not always possible for me. Post-it notes, and a custom bullet journal, are my helpers with that. I also use the 43 folder system (see the video below for an explanation of the system) , and GTD to manage tasks.
- My Echo Dot. This may be a weird addition to add to this list – but without the ability to give myself reminders – from when I need to check on a particular task, to keeping a running shopping list – I would be a lot less efficient. It’s setting is loud enough to be able to hear clearly even for me (I am hearing impaired), as long as I am not too far away from it
Working from home offers a flexibility for those of us with limitations and challenges. With a little bit of creativity and a lot of willpower, the opportunities to grow an online business are endless.