13 Indispensible Skills of Chronically Ill Entrepreneurs

By the year 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects 157-million people will live with a chronic illness. Many of those people have been forced into working for themselves. For me, it was a fortunate event—I mean, after I had gotten my disease under control. Since finding success in the entrepreneurial world, I wanted to share the tips I wish I’d known before embarking on my entrepreneurial journey, the tips that allowed me to accomplish more than I thought I could. And that will help you to do the same.

How to Excel

  1. Structure your business around your needs. Do you require time during the day to rest? Are you unable to work on-site? What schedule works best? How many hours of sleep do you need each night? Make yourself a priority; build safety nets into your schedule and projects.
  2. Don’t live in fear of your illness, and don’t let illness control your business. Use your mind instead of your body. Honor your skills and experience. Needing assistance to walk doesn’t mean you need help in the innovation department, in networking, or in crushing your goals. Slaying business is a great distraction from physical distress!
  3. Don’t ignore your illness. Live consistently and within a schedule. Estimate the number of hours per day you need to dedicate to work. When you do this, you invite opportunities because you will be primed and fresh! Productivity is a mindset! If you’re dedicated to results, it doesn’t matter what you wear or where you are.
  4. Reassure as you offer transparency to your clients. This is the only way to do business, to work with clients compassionate to your situation. Anyone else pushing you without empathy—well, those aren’t your people anyway. Disabled and ill people get a bad rap because some abuse the system. This article is not about them. It’s for you. You, who want to ride the wave of passion to your dreams.
  5. You can say no to preserve your health, and you can say no because you want to—just as anyone else would. Boundaries are important. High achievers have a tremendously difficult time saying no, out of fear of loss. You will not lose anything you can’t recover if you refuse a project. When you need the time to recoup, take it!
  6. Figure out which project structure, days vs. hours, suits you best and set your work up in this way.
  7. It is not about how much you need to make. It’s about what you can make. When you approach goals from a self-limiting belief, you become predisposed to tank your chances at overcoming challenges. Imagine, instead, you are limitless, and watch your entrepreneurship open up. This is simply the art of reinvention, my friend.
  8. Plan for relapses and build your network to accommodate them. If you know x amount of hours is going to impact how you feel, consider a schedule that incorporates working every day with fewer hours. If you know you need weekends to recharge, arrange your obligations to occur M-F.
  9. Hidden opportunities are truly one of the reasons adverse events happen to us—to permit our minds to experience life differently than if we were working 9-5 every day. Find the gift in your disease. It sounds insane, but you will discover silver linings. I have been able to write more, am reveling in a no-rules business, embracing deeper relationships and stronger self-worth.
  10. Live your business purpose: you get to select your professional company. Self-made people. Inspiring people with awesome missions. You’ll be swept into their energy and “why” and get paid, too!
  11. Don’t sell yourself short because of your disease. Know what you’re worth and ask for it. Your mind is still spry. You can think. Solve. Innovate. You can do anything. Working with a person who has a chronic illness has an advantage because we have been forced to grow out of our fears and necessities. We are confident in our resourcefulness and perseverance.
  12. Use it to take you out of your world sometimes. When I get to write, when I am strategizing, speaking to clients and coaxing their ideas to fruition, I lose myself and I am grateful. I become a part of a collaboration, and I become resilient to the inner forces trying to coerce a siege!
  13. Equip yourself with the right tools. Do you need Adobe suite, video editing software, analysis tools? Subscribe/rent/purchase the best tools in your industry, so when a client asks you to do something you won’t hesitate. Nothing shuts down a prospect faster than a professional scrambling to accommodate business needs.

You have a choice if you are sick and working. Hell, if you are well and working, in how you handle “hurdles.” Mindset can hold you back or launch you forward into the greatest success you ever imagined.

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