Editor’s Note: Paula Powers is a single mom raising a young autistic son. Our family’s story about starting Geek Club Books inspired her to want to start her own company to employ autistic adults. She wants to part of the movement to empower through meaningful autism employment! Starting a company is no small undertaking. There are highs and lows, milestones reached and setbacks too—it takes patience, persistence and determination to make it happen. Since Paula is starting at ground zero, we asked her to chronicle her journey as we can all learn from this impassioned entrepreneur.
Greetings everyone. It’s been a very long time since my last post. A lot has been going on since then. I sold and bought a new home and our little family is now settled comfortably. Thought I’d mention that my 5 ½ year old son is now sleeping in his own bed and sleeping through the night since our move. Happy momma here.
Since my last post I have officially opened for business. My Computer Clinic and Learning Academy has launched. I obtained business liability insurance through my Allstate insurance agency. $459 a year for $1,000,000 worth of liability insurance. The cost was definitely less than I had expected to pay.
Next on my list was my website. I found Fiverr.com for the creation of my business’ website. They’re a new, innovative company that allows independent contractors to post creative jobs that they will do for $5. Granted, these creative finished products cost more than $5 but this introductory price gives them a chance to introduce themselves and the work they’ve done so that you can decide whether or not to hire them for your next creative project. I worked with an independent contractor from India who called herself Websparkles. I ended up paying only $135 for my website.
Marketing was next on my list. I used a local company in my area for my logo creation. The process was fun and my logo was created within about a week. I didn’t realize how many companies there were out there for marketing materials and promotional products. I ended up going with Staples Promotional Products for my business cards, car door magnets and USB flash drives. They were running a promotion a few weeks back with 25% and 50% off various print and promotional products. Their website was simple and easy to follow to create my promotional products. I saved money and had my business cards the same day. I also have a colleague at work who works directly with a printing company so I am getting my business brochures done at a very nice discounted price. I’m now working on my company Facebook page. I want it to be creative, fun and informative.
I’ve contacted two local service organizations that work with individuals with developmental disabilities in regards to finding computer repair trainees to work with on the training side of my business. It’s been two weeks since I’ve heard anything from the first organization and I’ve just contacted the second. I have two more organizations in mind. If I don’t hear from these organizations I’ll end up contacting a local employment agency specializing in employing people with developmental disabilities. The training I’m offering is free and in return I hope to spark an interest in the IT industry with the people that I’m training so they can go on to further their education and work toward a career in this field.
My biggest challenge will be finding recycled computer components for trainees to repair. I contacted my county’s e-recycling program but have not heard back. There is also a website that I found where local businesses can register and if the components are local you can pick them up directly.
Until next time, be well and prosper.
Did you start or know someone who has a business that hires autistic employees? Please share the story with us!