Improving Your Education to Grow Your Business

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The great entrepreneurs of today are always looking for new ways to expand their skills. And so should you! Ongoing education will help you stay competitive and keep your business relevant in this fast-changing world. If your business feels like it’s plateaued, it’s time to further your education. Due to the pandemic and slowdown, this might be the perfect time to focus on furthering your education and growing your business. While every business owner will take a different approach to continued education, we’ve outlined a few tips to help you get started.

Look for Online Learning Opportunities

Most business owners don’t have the time or flexibility to go back to school. Fortunately, online learning opportunities are boundless. For example, if you want to further your knowledge of business law and ethics, marketing, and accounting, consider pursuing a degree in accounting through an online university. 

You can also learn a lot through online guides and resources. Conduct a simple Google search for anything you want to know, and you will find countless articles, videos, courses, and podcasts that will help you get up to speed.

Learn from Your Role Models

As you search for educational resources online, you’re bound to come across a few famous business leaders. Look for entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Oprah Winfrey who can serve as role models for you. When you find a few figures that seem to align with your values and goals, seek their business advice by watching their interviews, reading their books, and following them on social media. These icons can also inspire you to take risks, go against the grain, and take your business somewhere new. 

Find a Mentor

It’s also smart to form a personal connection with an entrepreneur you look up to. A mentor can help you navigate the ups and downs of launching, running, and growing a business of your own. To find a mentor, Bplans recommends starting with your personal network of connections. You might find a great mentor among them, or someone you know may be able to introduce you to an entrepreneur in their circle. You can also try attending meetup groups and events relevant to your field to make new connections and find business leaders who can offer guidance.

Go Slowly

As an entrepreneur, you don’t have much time in the day for education — you might not have any spare time at all! If you need to carve out some room in your schedule, look for business tasks you can delegate to employees or outsource to remote freelancers. Even an hour of extra time in your day is enough to help you plug away at an online course. The key is to go slow and approach your ongoing education at a pace that makes sense for you.

Focus on Your Strengths

So many different business skills can put you at an advantage over your competitors, but where do you start? Do you work on rounding out your weaknesses or building up your strengths? Don’t strive to be a jack-of-all-trades. Instead, focus on what you do best, whether it’s coming up with new business ideas, finding investors, managing your team, or marketing your business. Harnessing your strengths will give your business a competitive advantage. You can always hire experienced professionals to fill out your weaknesses. That said, it never hurts to improve some of those business skills that cannot be outsourced, like personal time management or networking. 

Expanding your knowledge is the key to growing your business. If you’re experiencing a business lull right now, take advantage of the slowdown to advance your skills. Furthering your education is a fantastic investment in yourself and your business. 

What You Need To Know To Get Started In The Gig Economy

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With more and more Americans realizing how wonderful it is to work for themselves, it’s no wonder the gig economy is booming. While not everyone can quit their day job and pursue a new career, many people have found that they can start their own business on the side as a way to make extra money while still working a full-time job. 

Dr. Scott’s Business Blog is dedicated to helping you prosper in your pursuits. With that in mind, whatever your needs are, there are so many gig economy options out there that you’re likely to find one that works for you. 

The key is to know the market you want to go into. What’s the competition like? What will the startup costs be, if any? Will you be able to work out of your home, and if so, can you write off a workspace there as a tax deduction? There are a lot of questions to consider, but this guide will help you find some answers. Keep reading for some great tips on how to get started in the gig economy.

Assess your needs

The first thing you’ll need to do is assess your needs. If you have a busy schedule or are living with a disability, you may need something that is very flexible and allows you to work from home. Also think about any startup costs and whether you want to quit your day job to pursue this line of work. If you do, are there adequate savings to tide you over until you start making money with your new gig? Sitting down to work out a good plan ahead of time will help you avoid any potential disasters down the road.

Start slow

If you’re unsure of what sort of business you want to go into, consider a compromise. For instance, you can work with a company that allows you flexibility and freedom if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into business ownership right away. You might look into becoming a dog walker or pet sitter, both of which will give you the chance to work with sweet animals, boost your mental health, and even get some physical exercise. 

Stay productive

As Inc. explains, it’s important to stay productive when you work for yourself or from home, since there can be many distractions. Create a distraction-free zone in your house where you can work without being disturbed, and set a schedule for yourself that will allow you to get things done during a certain timeframe. Sticking to a routine will help you be productive while ensuring that you aren’t losing precious time with your family members. 

Check out the competition

Knowing the competition will not only help you get a feel for what business model may work for you, it will allow you to make contacts and connections in that world, which can be invaluable. Look online to find similar businesses, head to conferences and conventions, and check out brick-and-mortar stores near you, if possible. Forbes notes networking is one of the first rules of small business ownership, and it can help you find support within your local community or online as you venture out into this new and possibly overwhelming process.

Remember to make it legal

There are many things to consider when starting a business – whether you need retail or physical office space; what type of marketing tactics you will employ; where your first clients or customers will come from; decisions on a website and marketing materials, and so on. Often in all of the hustle and bustle of launching a business, there’s one task that’s often the most dreaded and procrastinated: forming a legal business entity. 

For those businesses that don’t need massive teams and huge offices, forming an LLC is often the path of least resistance and also offers flexibility and protection. Forming an LLC is done through the state so requirements can vary, but generally an LLC can be set up in about 5 steps.

Getting started in the gig economy can be a big process, and it can take some time. Try to stay patient as you learn the ins and outs of the business world, and do your research to ensure that nothing gets overlooked. With detail-oriented planning and a little help from your fellow business owners, you can get a good start with your business. 

Connect with Dr. Scott’s Business Blog for more tips and information that can help your new venture grow!

Starting A Small Business With A Disability: Where To Begin


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It’s not unusual for people to find they’ve hit a plateau in their careers, or that they just aren’t as happy with their chosen profession as they expected. Others might wonder whether they could make more money doing something they love. Often the answer is yes. Due to advancements in technology and accessibility, starting a small business when you have a disability is much more attainable now than it was even 10 years.

While there’s no one specific formula for having a successful business, there are several ways you can get the ball rolling in your favor, no matter what your abilities are. The key is to have a solid plan and support from the people around you, as well as the friendship of other small business owners who can help you with the details.

Consider the business

You may already have something in mind you’d like to do, but if not, it’s important to consider the type of business that’s best for you and your needs. While it should be something you enjoy doing, you’ll want to think about whether making it a career will take the joy out of it down the road. Perhaps you have a hobby that could potentially be a sustainable career; can you see yourself doing it every day for the foreseeable future? Is it something that can be taught to employees, or will the bulk of the work fall to you?

Where will you work?

You’ll also want to think about whether the business is something you can do from home, and whether that’s something you want. Working from home is the ultimate dream for many Americans, but it’s not as easy as one might think. Setting your own hours means you have to be doubly vigilant about getting things done, and you have to be careful about not letting your work time bleed into your personal time. On the flip side, it can be the perfect setup for an individual who is living with a disability, because you don’t have to worry about a commute or negotiating time off for doctor’s appointments and other responsibilities. It’s especially ideal if you have a service animal or a pet who provides comfort and assistance to help you get through the day. 

Boundaries at home

Starting a home-based business does require a workspace, so this should be part of your planning. You don’t want your kitchen table or bedroom to function as your home office — that’s a recipe for burnout and increases lack of work-life balance. Even if it’s just a small space in your home, you’ll need to carve out an area dedicated solely to your business. In this event, part of your startup costs might need to include having an office area built, which can be accomplished for not very much money by hiring a handyman. Another option is to move into a new home with more space. If buying a new home is in your budget, search for houses with a spare bedroom or basement space that could be used for a home office.  

Do your homework

It’s highly beneficial to do some research when it comes to other businesses in your area, particularly if they will be competition in any way. Check out their business model, their hours of operation, how they use sale days to drum up business, what their advertising budget is. Some of these things you can suss out on your own, but there’s no rule that says you can’t simply talk to the owner to get a feeling for how they’ve done things and what they learned. Finding allies in the community will help tremendously when it’s time to get your own business up and running – competition or not. 

Finding funding

You may have a million-dollar idea on your hands, but without  the right funding, you won’t be able to get it off the ground. Think about how you want to finance your small business. Finding investors is one way to go, but if you have a disability, you may be entitled to a grant or two. Read here for more information and look online for details according to your state.

If you decide to take the plunge and start your own business, remember to take it easy on yourself in the first few months and be patient. It will take a lot of time and effort to make any business work, but with a solid plan and the drive to succeed, you’ll be able to do great things.

6 Ways to Make Your Website Accessible for the Hearing Impaired


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When we think of website accessibility, we often think of visual impairments — after all, websites are a visual medium. However, doing this not only falls short of accessibility standard guidelines, but it also ignores the ever-changing nature of how we design and use websites.

Things like video and video content are increasingly common marketing tools, which can easily pose a barrier for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals when not dealt with correctly. In this article, we will explore the ways in which web designers and companies can make sure that their online content can be enjoyed by those with hearing impairments. 

Aim for All-Round Accessibility

The single easiest way to make sure that your website is accessible for deaf people is to make sure it is accessible by everyone. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, published by the Web Accessibility Initiative, outline the global standards to which all websites should adhere. 

Get to Know Your Captions

If your website or social media platforms feature video content, you need to make sure that it is properly captioned. First, it helps to understand the difference between closed captions and subtitles. Captions provide a description of the whole audio, including things like background music and noises; subtitles are a translation of the dialogue. When thinking of hearing-impaired accessibility, it’s closed captions you want to provide. 

You need to start with a transcript of your audio. While you can write it out yourself, this is a time-consuming task, especially for longer content. There are automated transcription services you can hire for a reasonable fee to do the job for you, and many have quick turnaround times and will provide caption files for you in minutes.

If you have content on YouTube, you may assume that their own automated captions will do the trick. However, YouTube’s captions aren’t always accurate, so you should check and edit them if needed; thankfully, Google provides documentation on how to do this.

Use Simple Language

According to Psychology Today, an aspect of deafness that is often overlooked is that, for many deaf people, English is their second language. ASL is what they primarily use to communicate, and it’s rules are completely different from any written language. When writing website content, keep things simple. Even if you’re not writing for a global audience, write as if you want to be understood by someone whose first language isn’t English. 

Offer Various Communication Channels

Many companies just list a phone number in their “Contact Us” section, which immediately prevents deaf people from contacting them. Offer a range of options, including written ones. According to Business Insider, consumers are moving away from traditional communication channels like the phone in favor of solutions such as chatbots and social media. 

Write Good Social Media Captions outlines the keys to a good Instagram caption as a killer first line, a strong “Call to Action,” a consistent brand voice, and add-ons like hashtags, emojis, and line breaks. When it comes to any social media captions for videos, add “context” to that list. In order to be enjoyed by the hard-of-hearing, your caption should engage and entertain, but also provide information on what is actually happening in the video.  

Stay Away from Autoplay

Given the rage it generates in countless users, most companies and web designers should have phased out autoplay audio by now. In fact, major browsers even have defined policies to prevent it, such as Google Chrome blocking non-muted autoplay. However, if you need another reason to not have automatic sounds on your website, consider the deaf user who may not realize they are playing that sound in public. 

As you can see, many of the points above are actually the best practices for web design on the whole. The more accessible a website is, the easier it is to use for everyone. Take the time to make your website and social media accessible for people with hearing impairments, and you will be left with an overall better online presence. 

Starting a Business? Four Ways to Pursue Entrepreneurship as a Disabled Parent


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Life is all about balance. We juggle our responsibilities and do the utmost to lead our best life. If you happen to be a parent with a disability, trying to start a business may seem daunting. Thankfully, it does not have to be, and there are ways you can bring your dream into reality.


Explore Options

You may already have a business in mind. However, do not discount the possibility of choosing an area of focus where there may be an opening for a startup. Home-based businesses are potentially ideal, as these can eliminate a lot of startup costs and allow you to care for your child. Depending on your disability, it may also be more practical in terms of transportation. There are a lot of options when it comes to home-based businesses.

Creative pursuits such as crafting and jewelry making can be excellent choices while consulting is another option. A home-based business can still keep you active, as the scope of your startup may still take you elsewhere. For example, you could run a dog boarding or dog walking business. This is an excellent choice, as you could approach friends and relatives, to begin with. It’s a business, too, that is adaptable to life’s commitments, and therefore advantageous for parents.


Create a Plan

The key to any successful business is knowing what you want from it. Without a clear idea about your needs and goals, it’s easy to get sidetracked and see a startup flounder. Your plan is the foundational structure of your business. You can consult with it whenever you are in doubt, and use it to remind yourself of progress and of accomplished milestones.

As parents, planning can be beneficial, too, as it is easy for life to get in the way. With a coherent vision, you can advance your business at a pace that you are both comfortable with. Detail your needs, ingoing and outgoing goals, time-sensitive objectives, branding, and marketing ideas. By putting in a timeline that best suits your specific necessities, you can take away some of the stresses of starting up a business, and guide your startup along a prepared, organized path.



Funding comes in many forms, from grants to loans. You may be eligible for federal assistance in starting up your business. Look to the Small Business Association and search for what sort of funding might be available. In terms of expenses, you may be eligible for assistance based on your disability. This could go a long way to freeing up some funds for your startup. Additionally, consult with disability organizations that may have advice for people starting up a small business.

Regional funding at state or local levels might also be available, and some may have a specific focus on providing support to disabled entrepreneurs. Depending on the nature of your business, you may be eligible for further funding from specific governmental departments. For instance, the US Department of Agriculture provides funding for farm-situated projects, like renewable energy and marketing.


Investigate Support

There are numerous resources beyond government and other funding that may help give your startup a leg up. Research if there are any business events or seminars as these may be able to provide networking opportunities and valuable information. Some may offer programs to explore various areas of business, such as marketing, outreach, and public relations. You may even be able to go through a mentorship that can provide more individualized guidance.

Organizations supporting the disabled community may themselves hold similar events. Such seminars may be particularly advantageous, as you could have the chance to speak with other disabled entrepreneurs and use their experiences to apply to your own startup. Do not hesitate to engage with local communities as your business approaches fruition. By attending events, not only could you acquire valuable strategies, but you may find it a perfect way to network with fellow entrepreneurs.

Starting a business can be exciting and scary in equal measure. Give your enterprise its best chance by thoroughly researching what type of business you want, finding out what funding you are eligible for and networking as much as possible. This is your chance to fulfill your business dreams.