1 | Overview

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Chapter 1

Self-Employment Overview


Go to Meet the Business Owners Video

Click the image above to play the "Meet the Business Owners Video"

Focus Area 1

Introduction to Self-Employment

Person writing in notebookOverview

People choose self-employment for many reasons. Self-employment can provide flexibility. It can meet a vocational goal when employment options are limited. It can allow you to use your creativity. Whatever the reason, many people with and without disabilities dream of owning a business.

This guide can help you work through the first stages of business planning. Although it was written to help you and your Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor work through the self-employment process together, the guide can be used by anyone thinking about starting a business. The guide begins by asking you to consider if self-employment is a good fit. If it is, the remaining chapters help you develop a complete business plan.

Click on the Chapter Overview button below to get brief descriptions of the different chapters. Proceed through the tabs to learn more about the VR self-employment process.

If you are unsure how to navigate this site, click on the Website Navigation heading at the very top of the page.

You can download a print-only version of Chapter 1: Introduction to Self-Employment (PDF) for reference. You can also download a Glossary (PDF) of business planning terms.


Person frying food in a panSelf-Employment & VR

Self-employment is not a vocational goal. It is a way to reach a vocational goal.

For example, your vocational goal may be to become a chef. To reach this goal, your strategy might be to work for a business, such as a restaurant, or start your own business, such as a catering service or food truck. When working with VR, you first decide on a vocational goal. Then you consider ways to reach this goal, which might include self-employment.

Click on the Process button to learn about steps you might follow to reach self-employment in VR. Click on the Limits button to learn about some possible limits to the types of businesses and costs VR will support. Finally, click on the Quiz Yourself button to see if you understand the material.


Calculator on paperTier 1 & Tier 2 Businesses

Some VR agencies use a tiered system to classify self-employment businesses.

Tier 1 businesses have low start-up costs and are simple to get going. 

Tier 2 businesses require more complete planning and seed capital for start-up and future growth. 

Click on the buttons below to learn more about Tier 1 and Tier 2 Businesses and then Quiz Yourself.


Two people talkingClient & Counselor Roles

Your VR counselor will guide you through the self-employment process. However, you and your counselor each have some specific roles. Click the buttons to explore client and counselor roles.


Office supplies and a stacks of paperChapter Review

Self-employment is one option for realizing your vocational goal. This guide is meant to help you explore readiness for self-employment and provides you with resources to work through the process. This introductory chapter covered:

  • How the self-employment process may unfold in VR
  • Differences between Tier 1 and Tier 2 businesses
  • Client and counselor roles

Click on the Prepare button to begin thinking about your own business. Click on the Counselor Review button for additional information counselors might consider.