Step 1: Learn about your career options


It’s time to find a job or career, and you are ready to take action.

Probably, you need the income.

And, maybe you need something to do with your time.

Perhaps you also have a fabulous talent you want to share with the world.

And, now you’re thinking you’d like to be paid for sharing that talent with the world.

So, it’s time to figure out what best suits your skills and talents, as well as your life situation, including  your disability support needs.

Before you start looking for work – or decide you want to start your own business – there are some things to know. You have different choices about your job and career.

Getting a job in a local business.

This kind of work means you have a boss who tells you what to do in your job. The boss decides what days and times you’ll work (usually with your input and agreement,) and pays you a wage for doing the job. This kind of employment suits many people. In fact, most Canadians have this kind of a job.

Working for yourself.

That’s what we refer to in this Toolkit as “self-employment” or being an entrepreneur. About 15 in every 100 Canadians is self-employed. This means they work for themselves. They are their own boss. They don’t get a regular pay cheque, but pay themselves from money they make in their business.

A good number of the Canadians who are self-employed also have a disability. Self-employment can offer the freedom from rules and bureaucracy that often come with a regular job. And, you can build your self-employment around what you do best, and reduce what you don’t like to do, or have trouble doing.

Research by one self-employment training school found that about half of all their graduates were told in high school that they had a disability. Dyslexia and ADD/ADHD were the top two disabilities.

Step One

Step One of the Toolkit is to figure out if your personality and your career goals are best suited to being an employee, or if you’ve got the interest and ability to be self-employed.

Self-employment has its rewards, but it is also hard and requires discipline. It’s not for everyone.


Exercise 1a: Employment versus self-employed

First up is a worksheet that will help you understand how being employed is different than being self-employed. Once you know what the pros and cons are for each kind of work situation, then you have to figure out which one you feel most comfortable with.

Download as Word document | Download as PDF

Exercise 1b: What do I want in a job?

This worksheet will help you decide if you would be happier working for someone else or working for yourself. Once you figure that out, then it’s on to Step Two of the Toolkit.

Download as Word document | Download as PDF

Exercise 1c: Who are the entrepreneurs in the community?

Take a tour of your neighbourhood, making a map of the small and independent businesses. All of these are run by entrepreneurs who wanted to be in business for themselves.

Hold on to this list since it will come in handy in a later step of the Self Employment Explorer.

Ready for Step Two!

Once you’ve done these exercises, you’ll look at the entrepreneurial traits and core business skills you already have. Onto the next step, deciding what path is best for you.