Can I Start a Business if I Have MS? Yes You Can!

Jamie Tripp Utitus
Written by
Jamie Tripp Utitus

When I finally had to leave my profession due to my multiple sclerosis, I was struggling with this one thought, “Okay, I can’t move my legs that well and navigate the halls, these kids are so physical and I can’t break up the fights, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything?” I felt like my choice was to do the job I had, or do nothing but I KNEW there were other things I could do.

Everyone and their mother was pushing me towards legally declaring I had a ‘disability’. I did consult a lawyer. It just felt like that was the smart thing to do. A girl has gotta know her options! But I walked out feeling like FOR ME, disability would be the killer of my dreams because I knew I could write. I was making money as an author. I couldn’t walk well, but I could use my fingers and I had a dream. That was all I needed to enter into the next chapter of my life.

I started my own company!

It sounds complicated, but trust me, it is not. You just need to know what it is you want and ask yourself a few questions. Do I have a dream? Will I take the risk? Who may need my services? Do I have money to pay to become incorporated, for a website, for a designer, marketing, accountant, etc.?

I knew already that people needed my services in writing. Every country has different laws, but in the United States, I became an LLC, or a Limited Liability Company. If you want to start your own company and you’re living with MS, that’s pretty much where you should start. But there are online services that help you establish the difference and become a business.

We live in a cyber-savvy world. Most consumers are digital natives. Which means that you no longer need a physical store for many businesses. All that overhead is gone. If you have a great website, you have a store. It’s so much cheaper! Just make sure you put your money into an awesome site. There are build your own sites too for minimal money (you pay monthly) where you essentially pick a “theme” (the design of the site) and plug your information in. They are never as good as those built by the professionals, but they will do if that is all you can afford.

The best part of creating your own website as your store front is that you can work on it in your leisure. If you’re struggling with fatigue or a relapse, no need to leave the comfort of your own couch to work!

Once I did these two things, I worked on promoting the company by printing postcards and business cards. You can even have a QR Code on the back of your card that links, when scanned, to your site. They make it all incredibly easy. Trust me. If I managed to do it, you can too!

Lastly, I called my accountant. I needed to know how it worked, what to put aside for taxes when paid etc. I thought it would be so complicated and it really wasn’t.

The greatest advice I can give you is to be prepared for ups and downs. If you’re living with a chronic illness, you probably already are prepared for such things. Just know you must be willing to put yourself out there, fight for your company, know your worth and really believe in what you are doing. If you can shake my hand on those things, then I am telling you - you can do it. I did.

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