Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Declan Jewell
Owning a business is a dream many people share. Being visually impaired does not have to be a stumbling block to such a dream. The most important things are a marketable skill, the drive to succeed and the ability to manage time and business. Some business ideas for the visually impaired include food service, vending operator, direct sales, craft production, virtual assistant and freelance writer.
Adaptive Technology Aides
For each of these businesses, there is a need for adaptive technology. The primary need is for screen readers and voice labeling systems, as well as adaptive bookkeeping software. These items will enable a visually impaired person to “read” Internet websites and documents and record and maintain inventory, sales and the accounting side of the business.
Food Service Business
In this type of business, the owner sells a variety of food items to the public. It could be located in a stationary building, or in a movable concession stand or cart, serving people on a regular basis or for special events such as carnivals and parades. A voice labeling system or reader is necessary for this business.
This is similar to a food service business, but instead of selling food, the business owner sells products like magazines, books, gift items, collectibles, toys, balloons or souvenirs. Voice labeling technology is needed for this business.
Food service and vendor businesses for visually impaired entrepreneurs are available in some states through a federal program. In Idaho it is called the Business Enterprise Program, and it provides the opportunity to be self-employed through franchise-type businesses.
This area could include a vendor business, but it also includes selling items through home parties, phone sales and Internet sales. Some of the most recognizable names in this business are Avon and eBay. These usually require a small start-up fee, which includes business supplies and sample products. A visually impaired person may need assistance in the form of transportation.
Many visually impaired individuals are able to design beautiful works of art, “seeing” with their hands as they create. Creative skills could be the basis of a craft business. Items can be made and sold directly or passed along to someone else to sell. It is a common business enjoyed by many creative people.
A virtual assistant works from home, usually in an independent contractor role, fulfilling part-time business needs for other professionals. Tasks include data entry, marketing, social media, accounting, answering incoming calls or making outbound calls, and just about anything else needed to support a growing small business on a long-term or temporary basis.
The ability to type, access to a computer and an environment conducive to writing are just about all a visually impaired person needs to become a freelance writer. The only other ingredients are imagination and the gift of gab through print. The use of screen readers makes proofreading much easier for a visually impaired person than it once was.
Kim Scott has been writing professionally and personally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in graphic design and printing management from Pittsburg (KS) State University and has graduate level-education in Early Childhood Education.