By July 15, 2013 Read More →

Home working and the disabled entrepreneur

An award-winning disabled entrepreneur on why working from home is the ideal choice

Home working and the disabled entrepreneur - Jane BinnionJane Binnion has provided today’s guest post on how working from home as a disabled entrepreneur has enabled her to lead a full working and family life after many years of struggling with an office job:

Life before home working

For about 7 years I was part time employed and part time self-employed, then 3 years ago an accident left me unable to drive for a few months. During this time I made the decision to go full time self-employed, but more importantly to work from home.

I am a social media and ethical sales trainer and a single mum so it made total sense to work from home. Who needs the overheads of office rental when they’re just starting out?

Shortly before I made that decision my daughter was diagnosed as having dyspraxia, which resulted in us recognising that I do too – for many adults this is still an undiagnosed condition.

I already had speech and hearing problems, the result of a tonsillectomy gone wrong at the age of 4, and I had assumed this was the reason for some of my social difficulties, but the diagnosis of dyspraxia was the missing piece of the jigsaw.

I had always struggled with the acceptance of new rules just because the hierarchy said so! And then office politics…. what a nightmare, I just did not get it and hence it caused me stress. I also noticed that I got ill a lot.

This was all dyspraxia related. A person with dyspraxia has to work much harder than a neuro-typical person and we have a longer recovery rate.

Now life as a disabled entrepreneur suits me much better

Being self-employed and working from home I am much more in tune with my body and my health needs. When I am too tired and my co-ordination goes I know I need to take time out, lie down, or walk the dog. As an employee that option of pacing oneself just isn’t there and this meant I would just carry on until I literally dropped and was off sick.

Being dyspraxic means I have the need to move between tasks. This isn’t appreciated in the workplace but working from home as a disabled entrepreneur enables me to do this and change my environment too, ie change room and change the view. As a result of doing that I have discovered that I keep my mind fresh, which improves my productivity. I now wonder in what way an office environment is conducive to great work?

A lot of people worry that home working = isolation.
I like to have the opportunity to work alone quietly, but I am also big on collaboration and have built a great team around me, so I still have all the benefits of bouncing ideas around with great people.

It is only with home working that I feel I have understood that it is possible to create a healthy balance in my life. I have overcome the need to push myself when days are a struggle. If I just take some time out I am quickly back to full ability.

I also got a (3 legged) dog so that I have to go for walks. So now, rather than sitting in dreadful rush hour traffic (what a crazy way to start your day), I walk my dog on the canal and watch nature do its thing. That is how to start your working day!

The really great thing for me is that I feel creative again. Now I can run with all those crazy ideas that managers didn’t like and I’ve just written my first children’s book – about dyspraxia. Using my creativity boosts my self-esteem and, as a friend observed just last week, I have never been more comfortable in my own skin.

Of course it has made parenting easier too. Being in charge of my own scheduling I choose when to work and when to rest in order to balance the demands of family life. So now I am home most days when my daughter gets in from school, she gets the attention she needs and the house is calmer and less stressful.

But the most amazing thing I have noticed is that in the 3 years of home working I haven’t had flu or any illness that has meant I can’t work. Home working means working in a way that suits my needs and protects my health.

I really see working from home as a good option for many people with disabilities, but it is rarely presented as such. For many people with additional needs their home is usually adapted to suit them in a way that an office isn’t and, again, if they need a lie down during the day it isn’t a problem. The freedom to schedule work around times that we are most productive, rather than 9 to 5, is so simple, yet totally inspirational.

Jane is a Lancashire-based, award winning social media and ethical sales trainer, passionate about encouraging people with disabilities to consider self-employment as a viable work option.

Do you know anyone with a disability or chronic illness who would benefit from working from home? Please share this post with them.
And if you would like to discuss the issues of disability, home working and becoming a disabled entrepreneur, you can contact Jane directly here.

12 Comments on "Home working and the disabled entrepreneur"

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  1. Sharon says:

    Well done Jane for being a shining example of ‘can do’.

    • Yes indeed, a very inspiring post on a subject I’ve wanted to cover for a long time. Yet another example of how working from home can help solve challenges 🙂

  2. Andrea says:

    Hi Jane, phantastic to read your post on here. I hope many will take it as encouragement to see that work life balance is possible to achieve, whatever that might look like for each of us individually, thank you for sharing.

    • And thank you, Andrea, for introducing Jane to the blog. It really is a small home working world and I’m beginning to feel I know lots of Lancashire home working lasses!

  3. Jane Binnion says:

    Thanks Sharon and Andrea for the encouragement and to Judy for publishing it 🙂

  4. Kerstin says:

    Thanks for this blog article Jane, and for such a positive perspective on being self-employed. I wonder, what was your adjustment period like? Did you ever feel performance anxiety or self-imposed pressure as a sole trader? For those who might be struggling with such illnesses and disabilities imposed by the mind, the transition period can be a very strenuous time. I know from my own perspective that I need support to get through it, and must adjust to taking good and bad days as they come.

  5. Jane, thanks so much for pointing me to this from #cumbriahour on Linkedin. For someone who has recently taken the leap from PAYE to self employed, I appreciate so much of what you say here – yours is an inspiring story and I’m glad you shared it. Two months in to working from home and running my own business, I KNOW it is the best move I’ve ever made and I am excited about the journey ahead (inevitable hiccouphs n’all!). Family benefit from a calmer wife/mum and the dog loves it – more walks for him! Thanks again Jane – great article

  6. Jane Binnion says:

    Hi Kerstin. Thanks for that brilliant comment.
    My initial thoughts were ‘it’s a constant re-adjustment as I am learning and adapting all the time’, but actually the relief of being my own boss was just so immense that my mental health has never been better. I also made a decision that I would only work with people that I wanted to work with.
    On saying that I still have days where I doubt myself and think I have no idea what I’m doing, but as a parent that’s nothing new!
    Also the excitement was an energy, but I did notice that at the end of year 2 that I have to slow the pace a bit and re-grouped.
    I totally recommend getting help. What I did was notice what I avoid and outsourced those things. The cleaning is the next thing to be outsourced 🙂
    I had a coach from very early on and recently put out for a mentor and 5 people volunteered, which showed me there is help out there for me if I just ask.
    I don’t know if this is a crass generalisation but I think too often women hang on to too many jobs and put pressure on themselves to be perfect. I am now 50 and just look at things a bit differently. I have figured out my priorities and self employment has really helped me to understand myself and what my body can and can’t take.
    I definitely think I put more pressure on myself when I was employed. That issue that you raised of taking the good days and bad days as they come is crucial but wasn’t possible in employment for me.

  7. Jane Binnion says:

    Hi Kate
    Thank you and I’m just delighted to hear of your change in direction and the positive outcomes that you and your family are already experiencing. Go you 🙂

  8. Lauren John says:

    Thanks for this post Jane, it’s great at re-affirming the benefits working at home can bring. I suffer from anxiety and mild agorohpbia and used to get really bad panic attacks, so working from home is ideal for me as well, in some ways at least. The flexible scheduling helps, as does being able to get out in the fresh air whenever I need or want to. That said, I dont as yet earn as much as I should, and maybe not being out networking and other things has hindered me a bit, my parents would obviously rather I am in a proper job with proper wages, there can be a lack of support and mentoring for homeworkers as well. Thanks again for an inspiring piece.

  9. Jane Binnion says:

    Thsnks Lauren. I think that’s a rally good point about lack of support and mentoring, I actually put out a tweet a few weeks ago asking for a mentor and got 5 responses! So that was a good lesson for me to remember to ask!