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Customized Self-Employment

A 5-Session Self-Employment On-Line Course

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Unemployment is at record levels for the general population. For people with disabilities or other challenges, unemployment rates are far higher. Self-employment is one option that can work to help people earn income. These courses are designed for those involved in employment development for people with disabilities, including individuals with autism or other developmental disabilities, physical or sensory impairments, and people recovering from mental illness. Through the process explored here, one gathers information to match up interests and skills with a marketable product or service for a small business. The course content is now required in various states in order to certify staff and employment service providers.

 1. Introduction and Overview of Customized Self-Employment

Starting a business is one answer to the growing problem of unemployment in the U.S. Because people with disabilities and other complex support needs demonstrate much greater unemployment rates than the general public, self-employment must be an available option. The course reviews the benefits of how small business ownership addresses the challenges of high unemployment rates for people with complex support needs, and dispels the many myths surrounding self-employment.

2. Discovering Personal Genius for Self-Employment                                                                                      

The role of Discovering Personal Genius (DPG), a personalized way of identifying an individual's interests, skills, and key themes to help shape her/his vocational profile, is taught in order to develop a customized self-employment plan to match up her/his interests and skills with a marketable product or service for a small business.

 3. Business Feasibility, Marketing, and Sales

This session provides detailed processes for how to best evaluate the feasibility of business ideas. Step-by-step marketing and sales techniques also are discussed to help increase the potential profitability of the service or product being sold.

4. Business Plan Development

This class details the crucial elements of the business plan in a commonsense, staged approach that produces a strong, draft document suitable for funding and for guiding a Start-Up venture. Step-by-step instructions are used to guide the process of learning about functional business plans.  

5. Business Financial Planning and Benefits Planning

This final session provides instruction on supporting individuals in managing their own finances and benefits while operating their own small businesses. Highlights include self-directed funding strategies using Social Security Work Incentives and crafting pro-forma financial statements, even for people with no business background.

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