Daniel Hall tells us how he decided to play to his skills, qualities and experiences, and realised his ambition to found his own business and make the move from unemployed to self-employed.
How do you identify as disabled, and what does it mean to you?
I have anxiety and depression as well as a diagnosis of an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), commonly known as Asperger’s Syndrome. In periods of prolonged stress, the anxiety and depression can be very difficult. Working for myself allows me to have independence and feel at ease and comfy with what I am doing. However, there is definitely stress associated with starting a business!
Tell us a little about your business.
My business is Dan’s Print and Design. Founded in 2020, the business aims to supply a range of different print products and design-related services to businesses, companies, organisations, and non-profits alike. Products include stationery, badges and corporate workwear with personalised print or embroidered branding and wording. Design services include logo design, logo upgrade and website design.
Why did you start the business? Share your story so far.
I had been unemployed for years and needed to change something. I had some ideas of how to put my skills to use but didn’t know how to go about turning a simple concept into a full-time job, or how I could make my ideas into something that would generate an income. I spoke to a lot of people and did some initial research to help me get started with founding my own business. I am independent and like to work on my own, so I felt that running my own business would suit these attributes. I studied ICT as well as OCR level 1 in Business and Administration and am a creative person: creativity is important for any business but a focus on detail, communication and administrative skills are also key when starting out. Luckily for me, I am good at this and enjoy it! When I was job hunting, I was looking for a full-time admin-related job, however my business venture suits more of my personality and skills and allows me to build my own company rather than working for someone else.
What do you see as the main challenges facing your business and its continued operation or growth?
For my business specifically, bigger companies often have more sophisticated technology for producing their products and a wider range. My business will grow in future, but has started off small and so it can be difficult to compete with these larger companies. Many other potential customers are already supplied by other print companies, so getting a foothold in a competitive market is also a challenge.
There is ever increasing reliance on digital marketing and many are turning to this over print, however I feel that printed media still has a very important place and challenge digital-only attitudes!
What can we do to encourage more disabled entrepreneurs to start businesses – what is holding them back and what can we all do to help change that?
People’s attitudes are the main thing I see as holding them back: the fear of going into the unknown with uncertainty and doubt. It is important for everyone to face these fears when starting a business and to overcome what’s holding them back. I think disabled people should be able to set up their business and will have the same, if not more, doubts to overcome.
I think the internet has helped disabled people a lot and it can offer them a head start into the world of business by bypassing prejudice, fear and stigma. As long as there is support and accessible guidance and tuition available, disabled people can learn how to start a business and have the motivation to do so.
What do you consider your greatest achievement or the proudest moment in your life so far?
Starting trading with my own business has been my proudest moment. I have survived homelessness and unemployment so it feels fantastic to have reached this goal and begun trading. Having my own business means I can provide myself with a wage which has boosted my self-esteem.
If there was one thing you could change about peoples’ perception of disability what would it be and why?
Many people have the perception that disabled people cannot be successful. This is untrue. Disability should not be a barrier and disabled people can absolutely be extremely successful.
Who or what inspires you?
My favourite entrepreneur is Sir Richard Branson. I admire his journey to becoming a billionaire, and his attitude to life and business.