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Making Self Employment Work for People with Disabilities

Cary Griffin M.A., David Hammis, Beth Keeton, Molly Sullivan, Paul Wehman Ph.D.
288 pages

As self-employment becomes a viable option for more and more adults with significant disabilities, give them realistic, practical guidance and support with the NEW edition of this popular guidebook. Updated with a new and improved assessment approach, more self-employment success stories, and the latest on policy changes and online opportunities, this book is your step-by-step guide to helping adults with disabilities get a small business off to a strong start. You’ll discover the nuts and bolts of person-centered business planning, and you’ll get concrete, step-by-step strategies for every aspect, from business plans to marketing to finances. A must-have resource for employment specialists, transition professionals, and individuals with disabilities and their families, this book is the go-to guide for turning a small business into a big success.



  • discover their "personal genius" with a new assessment approach
  • build a thorough and professional business plan based on their goals and interests
  • successfully finance their small business using multiple revenue sources
  • market their business, from defining customers to advertising in a variety of media
  • maintain their benefits while navigating financial and social security systems
  • make the most of valuable support from rehabilitation personnel, vocational counselors, school transition staff, and community programs

PRACTICAL MATERIALS: Photocopiable planning worksheets, case studies that clearly illustrate the "how" of successful self-employment, and an annotated list of websites with vital information for small business owners.


  • New, field-tested "Discovering Personal Genius" assessment approach
  • Up-to-date ideas on using social media and technology to develop and market a business
  • Completely revised information on person-centered business planning
  • Updated information about online business opportunities
  • Current policy information, including critical updates on Social Security
  • New success stories from across the country
  • More references to websites and web-based resources and information



"The dignity of risk" is one of the hallmarks of the disability movement. Self-employment of people with disabilities is among the highest risk domains but potentially the most rewarding and self fulfilling. Meaningful, authentic employment has health benefits equal to diet, exercise and other positive lifestyles; for that reason alone self employment for those interested in demonstrating their "personal genius" should be encouraged, explored and promoted. This is the definitive volume that will help guide, develop and navigate the incubation of a small enterprise by a person with a disability. It's invaluable and should be part of the disability toolbox."

(Rick Rader, MD, FAAIDD)

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