So I have decided to start a new business, in the hopes of improving my financial position.  Living on disability is tough, but starting a business is VERY hard work.  If I can’t work an ordinary job, how can I start a business?

Because I can do it in the hours and days that I am able.

I can’t show up every day, for specific hours.  I never know when I will be OK, or when I will be in excruciating pain and bedridden. So the flexibility of running a business is it’s appeal.  If I have a good day, I might get three or four hours work done.  If I can’t sleep, I can do some product descriptions at 2am.  If I can’t get out of bed, I can string beads IN bed.

A real job doesn’t work that way. I wish it did. If there were an employer who would employ me on that basis – here’s the work I need done, do it from your bed whenever you can – I’d jump at it!  But they don’t come along often, so I need to make my own job, be my own boss and start my own business.

There is LOT to do, however, and it’s just me.  So this will be slow going.  Very slow going.

But given the events of recent weeks, almost dying and all that, I have realised that none of the people whom I loved and thought were my friends really gave a crap about me.  So that has freed up rather a lot of time (silver lining).  No longer do I have long conversations with them about their problems.  Nope, I spend all my time alone, and now I fill it with plans for an incredible business that I will enjoy, will do some social good, and will supplement my income so I can afford the two teenagers I love so dearly.

Almost dying has a way of clarifying things, and while in hospital and while at home being confined to a recliner, I had a lot of time to think.  About who I am, what matters to me.

I’m very involved in the chronic illness community, the arthritis community, the chronic pain community and the invisibility of our pain is one of the hardest things to explain and to manage in the real world, with normal people who cannot understand how we can looks so good and yet be so sick.

And so the concept of jewellery to display your invisible illness, loud and proud, was born.  And give 10% of the proceeds to a charity to help those who suffer with chronic illness.

The concept and planning and dreaming got me through many hard, painful nights, and even more hard, painful truths.  But it was a very important planning phase. It forced me to be realistic.

I have many limitations on the kinds of things I can actually DO. I have severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, neurological deficits from a suspected stroke, and I live with constant, often severe, chronic pain.

My hand function has been measured at 20% and 10% of normal, in terms of strength and dexterity, so I can only do very basic things. I type for around 30 minutes, before my hands seize up, so everything is done in small, efficient, short bursts.  That’s the way I have to work.

But while I am restricted, with planning and flexibility, I can do a lot more than if I have to fit my work into specific hours per day, and per week.

I recently discovered jewellery making and I can string a simple bracelet in 30 minutes. And I find it relaxing and soothing.  Hand stamping jewellery takes precision, but I have a jig to hold the stamp and then it only requires a tap of the hammer. It’s all about lining it up in advance.  And leather making is easiest of all, mostly just snipping and gluing…carefully!

I CAN do these things on SOME days.  On my worst days, I can’t do anything, so I will need to have stock, ready to ship, rather than making everything to order.

That’s OK, that’s doable.

The stock and supplies are very inexpensive in terms of a start-up. For a few hundred dollars, I’m good to go.

So yes, I can do this physically.

So now it’s time to think about how to start an online business and what things I need to do.