Did you know that there are several exciting industries that are expanding right now that are perfect for disabled workers and entrepreneurs? In general, opportunities for people with disabilities are plentiful but people with at least one disability tend to experience significantly large employment gaps.
In this post, we’ll list the top 3 areas where we believe disabled people should look for career changes and business opportunities according to some exciting, yet undervalued spaces in the market.
When it comes to starting a company, we all know that demand and timing is everything. It is important to enter a market that has a large problem that people are already trying to solve but need better solutions. A market that will greatly need individualized products and services is the Baby Boomer Generation.
“There’s a giant wave coming,” Seattle-area interior designer Melinda Sechrist says of the vast baby boomer generation, estimated at about 73 million, “and when the tip goes over, it’s only the top 5 to 7 percent who can afford a senior living facility.” Regardless of cost, many want to age at home.
Almost everyone will experience some form of disability at one point in their life, and with baby boomers entering their senior citizen years — unfortunately this may be the generation where we see the most increase. Baby Boomers aren’t interested in nursing or retirement homes and would rather find the resources that will assist them in aging at their own place of residence.
Because of this, we believe there will be a huge demand for 3 main services in the near future that pertain to disabilities related to our aging population. These services will need to be led by companies who have a disabled founder and/or team in order to promote accessibility.
As we mentioned, nearly every person will experience a disabling condition at some point in their lifetime. For the disabled community and prospective disabled entrepreneurs, there is a distinct advantage in providing individualized care and products that are representative of their own personal experience.
For an aging population, those who previously may have not had a disabling condition are starting to experience them, both mentally and physically. Navigating these new adaptations and new accessibility needs can be difficult. While it isn’t the responsibility of disabled entrepreneurs to provide accessibility to this portion of the population, we believe that it is a great opportunity for disabled entrepreneurs to make improvements to these industries.
We also believe that disabled entrepreneurs embody the common characteristics of successful entrepreneurs in general. According to Harvard Business School, successful entrepreneurs are adaptable and comfortable with the idea of failure. While these characteristics are applied to business in this example, disabled individuals adapt and interact with situations where they may be set up for failure on a day-to-day basis when dealing with inaccessibility.
Now, with all of this in mind, let’s break down our initial question. These three industries all tie into our main objective which is to access a new market of clients with disabilities. Catering to the elderly disabled population when it comes to their living situation is sure to be a lucrative venture for many industries.
For our purposes, we think that these three industries hold the most potential for growth and success for entrepreneurs with disabilities. Founders with disabilities can find plenty of space to create and start new businesses in these three areas.
You may think of exquisite, sculpted exteriors of historical buildings when you hear the word “architecture”, but modern day architecture is an industry that is currently booming with need for improvement and additional workers.
Of note, residential architecture has a pressing need, which gives disabled entrepreneurs and non-disabled allies the unique ability to enter the field and start creating accessible homes as the norm. In addition, disabled entrepreneurs can look to become skilled consultants to provide their expert opinions on accessible design for future projects.
Through working in this industry, disabled entrepreneurs can hope to work to build an accessible world from the ground up. From architectural design to the completion of a home, this work can help to expand upon the slow-going accessibility improvements that current architect firms are making.
The industry is ripe with opportunity for architects as the early pandemic building supply shortages start to balance out themselves. The homes that were not built during the early years of the pandemic still need to be built and projects are starting to stack on top of each other in this industry.
Hiring rates for those in the industry are increasing and residential work is on the rise. According to an end of year 2020 study from the project management firm Monograph, nearly 2 out of 5 architecture firms are “seeing an uptick in residential work” and 52.2% of firms surveyed indicated that they were planning on hiring.
With opportunity in the industry and the ability to promote accessibility through their work, disabled individuals with a desire for entrepreneurship should be looking to architecture as prime real estate to find meaningful and fulfilling work. Beginning a startup or company in the industry of home design can lead to a highly successful future and high reward for the value of your work.
Speaking of real estate, with record low interest rates throughout 2020 and 2021, a very high volume of homes were sold in the last two years. Home sales of this magnitude have not been seen since the early 2000s and they are not expected to slow down despite the rising industry rates throughout 2022.
With all of these newly purchased homes in mind, there is a renewed need for interior design in order to properly furnish and decorate the interior of these homes. These statistics of home sales are for existing homes, not new construction, which indicates that there may be modernization needs in a large percentage of homes purchased.
As we have seen accessibility in our buildings start to slowly improve through legislation, some grandfathered homes may need changes specifically for disabled clients.
In this way, passionate and creative disabled individuals can find space in the industry of interior design to specifically define the way that accessibility is used within their purchased new spaces.
Additionally, disabled interior designers can help people to make modifications to their existing homes as disabilities emerge throughout their lives. This work is best suited to those who understand the need for accessibility and how certain design choices may not lend themselves to those who have physical and/or mental disabilities.
For those in the Baby Boomers generation, the adaptation of spaces to become accessible often includes adapting homes that have been inhabited by them for decades. These are spaces with intense emotional attachments. Changes to these spaces can be upsetting, especially with the other changes happening in their lives.
With the ability for nursing care to come to these individuals, interior designers can help to make these spaces accessible for medical equipment, safety equipment, and assistive devices. Disabled interior designers are able to provide this accessibility within new and existing spaces through design and the creation of their very own interior design startups.
Disabled real estate agents have the ability to understand the needs of their clients on a deeper level. They will also be able to tailor the homes that they show to clients in order to accommodate their needs in a more individualized fashion.
Real estate agents are advocates for the best interests of their clients. As a disabled real estate agent, you can hope to advocate for your disabled clients to find the best possible home for them while also working as an entrepreneur with quite a great deal of flexibility to your schedule.
Keeping both physical and mental health conditions in mind, real estate agents who are disabled themselves can better understand rescheduling needs, home touring needs, and accessible communication needs. There is a distinct need for real estate professionals in this cut throat industry that are willing to adapt to the needs of their clients in order to successfully advocate for them in the home buying and home selling process.
This industry is a fast-paced machine that can exclude disabled clients from being able to participate. With a real estate agent who is inexperienced with the complexities of physical and mental disabilities, this inexperience can be costly to clients. Homes can be missed due to wasted time viewing homes that are not accessible or through lack of clear communication.
A 2015 survey conducted by Century 21 Real Estate LLC found that “ there is a critical need for real estate professionals to understand the particular needs and unique challenges faced by homebuyers who have disabilities or live with someone who does,” according to Rick Davidson, president and chief executive officer of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.
This survey found that nearly half of homebuyers with disabilities or those that lived with someone with a disability found difficulty purchasing an accessible home. These insights, along with the steadily rising home buying rates and need for housing for our elderly demographic, indicate a strong and exciting need for disabled real estate agents to enter the market.
Disabled entrepreneurs could look to specialize as a real estate agent for families with disabilities. Alternatively, disabled founders could start their own agency with accessibility as a main pillar of the agency to ensure that prospective homebuyers do not feel abandoned by the industry of real estate.
Of note, non-disabled real estate agents are also able to provide these same services to their clients by educating themselves on the needs of their clients that may have disabilities. We encourage our non-disabled readers to also become entrepreneurs who can promote a world where accessibility is the rule, not the exception to the rule.
All in all, these are just three exciting industries where we see special opportunities arising for entrepreneurs with disabilities. There are many more out there for you to make your mark on the world and find personal success and financial freedom.
We hope that you have learned a wealth of information about the incredible opportunities that exist for Disabled Creators and prospective entrepreneurs in the upcoming years. Our organization, 2Gether-International is committed to helping disabled entrepreneurs scale their businesses through our accelerator programs, resources, coaches, mentors and funding.
If whoever may be reading this article is interested in entering the industries above but is not sure how to create a startup or a business, we are more than happy to help! Please feel free to reach out to us for more information by clicking here.