Why choose (supported) self-employment? What are the main challenges?


People opt to enter the world of self-employment for many reasons. These include: 

  • Flexibility in setting work hours
  • Shaping activities around personal skills, needs, and preferences
  • The sense of autonomy that comes with being one’s own boss
  • The possibility of making more money for oneself, rather than for someone else
  • Avoiding competition for traditional employment
  • Contributing to the community by providing a needed product or service
  • Building capacity with respect to business skills
  • Broadening community connections
  • Experiencing a sense of increased pride 

Self-employment does not come without obstacles and challenges. These include: 

  • Time lag between business launch and profitable outcomes
  • Longer hours than traditional employment, especially at start-up
  • Access to start-up funding
  • Naysayers who believe that self-employment is not possible
  • Requirements to complete paperwork
  • A need for space to operate the business
  • Fear of losing PWD income support
  • A comparative lack of disability-related support such as job coaches, attendant care, assistive technology, and transportation
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One Response to Why choose (supported) self-employment? What are the main challenges?

  1. Kevin Lusignan says:

    I like the last several posts on UNTAPE because it helps people to think about different issues that may arise when becoming self-employed. The biggest message with this tip for me is that people can become their own boss instead of working a job for someone else. It challenges the assumption for some that people with disabilities cannot be productive.

    I want to thank Stacey from the BC Centre for Social Enterprise for all of her tips related to starting a business. I know that the purpose of her tips are for people with disabilities to start their own enterprises and at the same time they apply for everyone in our community so I created a new category called "Small Business Tips" and included her tips in there as well as in the employment category.

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