Disability can happen to anyone. Sometimes, it's a chronic medical condition that has been an issue since someone was very young, while other times an injury or illness can strike suddenly, leaving a lasting disability in its wake. According to the 2010 census, 57 million Americans are living with some sort of disability, which works out to be around 19 percent of the general population. Out of those 57 million people, 41 percent are currently employed and 28 percent of those workers have a severe disability.
Even though many disabled people have managed to find gainful employment, most still struggle to earn enough money to live comfortably. In fact, 18 percent of people with a non-severe disability and 28 percent with a severe disability live in poverty.
Our current economic recession has made it challenging for able bodied people to find job, but for people with disabilities the outlook is harsher. This has led many people to consider finding work as a freelancer or as a consultant. Although it doesn't offer much in the way of job security, freelance work can be a great option, especially for those who have non-traditional challenges.
Here are the benefits of freelancing with a disability:
Better acceptance of accommodations – Depending on the type of disability, simple accommodations can make work much easier. However, many workplaces are hesitant to accept even the smallest adjustment, let alone much larger and intrusive ones. When you work for yourself though, these adjustments are a whole lot easier to deal with. For example, if you need to take a nap during the middle of the day, need low lighting, use hearing devices or whatever, when you're the boss, you make the rules.
Disabilities can become a non-issue – Disabilities that don't interfere with the quality of your work can be a complete non-issue when you work from home. For example, a freelance writer wouldn't have to even explain about their hearing problem. Since it doesn't impact their work in the slightest, they can be on the same playing field as the non-disabled.
Can play up strengths – That same hearing impaired freelance writer probably has a big advantage over able-bodied writers because they probably have a higher wpm typing speed. Freelancing allows people, with or without a disability, to play up their individual strengths and work at their own speed.
Allows for flexibility – Another challenge that disabled people face is how to balance work, family and medical appointments. Working from home can provide the flexibility to arrange work time around appointments without having to worry that the boss is going to get tired of hearing that you have to leave work early for the third time this month.
Freelancing or working as a consultant can be beneficial for many people, however for those with disabilities, it can be an option that allows them to earn more and work more effectively.
What do you think? Have you ever worked freelance? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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