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Diverse Marketing Strategies for Those Living with Disabilities

Imagine yourself as the only means of financially supporting you. A little scary isn't it? In today's economy, it is difficult living on a single income. This is especially true for individuals living in Howard County, although what a great place to call home. People will gladly exchange dollars, for the exceptional quality of life, provided by a county, tucked away in the middle of the beautiful State of Maryland.

Now imagine, still you are the only one financially supporting yourself, but suddenly you are faced with a disabling medical condition, which ultimately is the demise of your ability to work outside of the home, providing your only source of income.

What are you going to do to support yourself? And what does this all mean as you begin to question your life? Do you move back in with your mother? Do you crawl under a rock or bury your head in the sand? Or do you spend the next several months crying, hoping it will all get better on its own?

As a rational human being, you realize none of these are realistic options. So the question goes back to, how are you going to support yourself?

While you are still of this earth, you must continue to market yourself to fulfill your desires no matter the situation. How do you market yourself to find the best medical care when faced with illness? How do you market yourself to seek Mr./Ms. Right? Or, most importantly, how do you market yourself to provide an adequate income?

I am a person who lives with a disability. I also realize I must continue work in order to support myself. And beyond that I still want to work because I feel I have something to contribute to society.

Over the years I have discovered creative ways of marketing myself and obtaining exposure to a large number of people without ever leaving my home office. With the invent of the Internet countless doors have been opened to those who are not able to otherwise attend networking meetings or pound the pavement in search of new clientele. One sure fire way of establishing credibility is to create a website and utilize search engine optimization. Networking with other link-minded websites is key, writing articles for their newsletters and obtaining linkage to each others sites for added exposure is essential. Blogging ? the creation of an on-line personal diary - is fast becoming a way of creating additional exposure. The good news is much of this, aside from the development of your website, is that it can all be done for free; the only cost is the use of your time. You must be willing to commit the time in order to secure new business, while never having to leave your home office.

Typically, when someone is initially faced with a disability, streams of income become scarce. One is forced to rely on savings, borrowing, or potentially collecting disability benefits. However, if none of these are options, there are avenues to turn to in order to jumpstart your business and financially support your endeavors.

Terese Reamer, Employment Specialist for the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), a state agency comments "DORS is available to assist people with disabilities in becoming self-sufficient and independent. We provide services such as Career Decision Making, Vocational Training and Medical Rehabilitation. For those who wish to be self-employed, we provide guidance in writing business plans and in some cases will grant funds for start up costs for small business ventures. DORS has had a positive economic impact in Maryland because it helps support people by getting them back to work."

In conjunction with DORS, the Rise Project helps individuals reach independence through self-employment. Morris Tranen, President and CEO of Rise states "We strive to remove some of the obstacles that challenge agencies and individuals with disabilities as they pursue self employment. We provide training for counselors and training for individuals with disabilities so they understand self-employment. We assist in developing viable business plans and business expertise and consultation to both the counselor and the consumer throughout the process of planning, opening and operating a small business."

Linda Furiate is a personal coach, astrologer and talk show host helping individuals with disabilities achieve their goals despite any and all obstacles. She can be reached at or (410) 964-1303.

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