Disability: The potential for business start ups – part 1

by | 4th October 2015 | Blog

I have just decided going to run for longer than originally planned. Well I am going to give you some honest insights of my own so pay attention 007.

I have a question for you….

When you read the title of this Post, what did you expect would happen next?

something about disability, a list of obstacles that surely impact upon the possible success of disabled business start ups or a dichotomy- people with disabilities don’t set up successful businesses verses sucessful businesses who were set up by people with disabilities.  I will leave you to judge for yourselves.

If you have read other Posts on my website you will know by now how I work.  If you would like to then the best thing you can do is to learn more.

But first a quick plug for a book I can’t put down……. The Advantage: The 7 Soft Skills You Need to Stay One Step Ahead.  Thank you Emma, more about this in my next Post.

So back to the matter in hand.  I have been burning the midnight oil wondering how best to provide you all with some useful insight and then suddenly, there it was like it was obvious, tell you more about my own ‘lived experience’ as I read in a Disability Rights UK E-mail the other day.

So here goes…..

I had, like many other people in work, loved the type of work I did in the early years.  It was 1998 and I had some how or another talked my way into what was then known as Supported Employment for People with Disabilities.  The only thing I was reasonably sure about was that I had direct personal experience of my own disability – or as my brother described it after my famous Go-Kart incident, “it’s OK, he doesn’t see too well”.  Not a good idea trying to get me to stop by stepping out on the track.  However, from these early beginnings I went on to be pretty good at it, the finding work for people with disabilities and then partnering with their employers to keep things on track.  I also started to get more and more adapt at supporting Businesses to retain employees who had developed on-going health conditions and disabilities.  So fast forward to 2012.  I had lay awake at night for many months dreading my middle management post – what was it for, what was its purpose, should I stay turned into I won’t stay – I had to rediscover purpose and feel energised and alive again.  I knew that I would leave, but what would I do next.

So, again more sleepless nights wondering what to do.  The only thing that I was certain about was that I had to regain control of my destiny.  I have to have a vision and follow it, it is how I am wired.  I also thought about my loved ones, my wife and two young children, the house, the car (don’t worry my wife drove it) and…. the immense fear of getting this wrong and that I would crash and burn.  Now it was not fearing failure that bothered me, but knowing that so many people would assume I would fail because of my disability.  So, as I have always done, I started planning, planning and more planning and then…  lights, camera action!

Remember this Post is about the potential of people with disabilities to set up successful businesses.  I was a qualified Personal Performance & Small Business Coach through The Coaching Academy – I was so Money Supermarket.com – I felt epic!  I knew all about goal setting, options and turning words into actions.

So now I knew everything, what do you think I did first?

I sat down and read a book about business start ups and got to a bit that really got me thinking.  I was reading a list of business names.  One jumped off the page at me, I chuckled and thought, clever.  The name was…..

Only Fools and Sauces – this time next year, I thought.

I was also going to do that ‘life coach stuff’ as my daughter called it and the second thing on my list was, you guessed it, a website.  Yes, you need one of these at of course, you need a name.  So just picture this.  Life Coach would help with searches, or at least that was what I thought at the time.  Little did I realise how foolish this was in reality.  So I typed life coach and life everything I could think of and then pressed Delete.  I looked again and thought, Cattflap (this is what friends have nicknamed me) why not add a nautical theme too.  After all, I loved scuba diving and most people who dived with me returned safe and well.  Suddenly, there it was life boats sounds like life coach.  Life boats have somewhere they are based called a station.  The Life Coach Station was what I had to have.  The one thing that I did get completely right was that I had to register the name and domain officially – thank you UK Business Register.

Now what does this have to do with disability, potential and business start ups?

The main thing I really want to impart on you is this.  The decision to leave work and set up in business is not something that everyone is suited for or should do.  The emotions that I went through were what I am sure everyone who has taken the plunge felt if they were being frank and honest with themselves.  I used the business naming just to argue my point that my future potential success had nothing to do with my disability.

But… what I had to face next, certainly did and I am going to share some really deep stuff with you in my next Post.  This Post is part of a mini-series so I hope it serves to inspire others to take action too.

Kind regards and talk again



If you would like a copy of my E-book please click here.





Chris Catt

The Enabled Entrepreneur

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