Grant To Help Blind Matthew And Disabled Wife Run Edified Access Business
by Matthew Barnhill
(Bountiful, Utah, USA)
I'm 34 years old. My wife is 31. We've been married for six years. We have no children yet.
We're both Amateur Radio operators. We enjoy being prepared for communication emergencies, and helping out at communications events.
I attended some college, studying computer science.
I've been in and out of work, experiencing accessibility issues with company software at several call centers.
I've always wanted to leave the world a better place. Not letting accessibility or the lack thereof hold me back. I found a need for assistive technology tech support, so I started a home-based business. It continues to this day.
My wife also enjoys helping me any way she can. She assists me with some of the technology podcasts. We also welcome the help of others who are willing to give of their time and share knowledge they have about the wide world of assistive and mainstream technology with accessibility included within.
The work is a struggle, yet rewarding. We're improving the lives of others by helping them gain greater access to their technology.
When people ask for help and are willing to learn and use the technology while learning, they're edified.
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I was born three months premature. I'm completely blind in both eyes.
My wife is visually impaired and also has a learning disability due to a brain injury.
We help each other. She reads the print. I deal with the complicated stuff, anything hard for her to understand.
When edifying the lives of people, I take on the big complicated technology questions and long help sessions. She helps with simpler things such as setting up iPhones or Android phones for the first time.
We feel that we're equal with everyone else in the world. We're willing to help others overcome the fear of dealing with others who have disabilities, in work or in real life.
We try to bring some positive thinking and a good attitude to everything we do, to the people we help and to those who help us.Financial Hardship
We're honest in all our dealings. My wife and I told Social Security that we're married. That meant a big reduction of income. We'd rather spend time together, not locked up somewhere. We know plenty of other people who left that info out, so they can get paid individual single rates.
After rent and bills are paid, we often end up in debt.
We both tried to find work. It seems that nobody wants to hire people with disabilities, so we hired ourselves. I did the paperwork, and started a home-based tech support business.
We borrowed money to get the business going. We're not earning enough to keep up with the few business expenses we have.
We're struggling with the cell phone, the Internet, the business phone and the web server costs. These are all necessary to keep the business going. To take calls, use data for GPS navigation, while traveling places. A good data plan is also valuable when the DSL connection at home has an outage. It's also great for doing tech support from remote locations where customers don't always have reliable Internet.
We're trying to pay off existing technology and save money for new computers, phones, better audio hardware for podcasts etc in the future.
The goal is to have the technology we need to help people. After that goal is achieved, we'll be able to earn our way out of debt, paying family and credit cards back for helping us get started.
We'd use any help to improve the technology we have. We want to expand our outreach, finding more people who need help and are willing to pay for it. We also offer sharing of knowledge for free. Podcasts are an excellent way to do this. They don't work for everyone in all situations.
When people learn how to use their assistive technology, they tell others. They give the same advice they just learned.
Thus, you can see that this only meant to do good. We want to get ourselves off of Social Security, giving back to the system, helping others, employing others and possibly donating to help other people.
When all of this is accomplished, many people will be positively edified.Income Efforts
Here come the hard facts of life.
My wife is most important, so I'll talk about her first.
She has tried many times to find some work, applying for the simplest of jobs. Maybe people are scared of hiring people with multiple disabilities.
My last job was in 2008. In 2009, I got the courage to start my own tech support business.
The goals are to:
- Get off of Social Security Disability and start giving back to our country that has already given so much to us.
- Help others gain a greater access to technology, teaching them how to use it.
- If the business grows, employ other people with disabilities who want to work, but don't want the burden of business ownership. Thus helping them achieve the same things I'm after.
Since people don't want to hire me, I hired myself. This small business ownership hasn't been easy. My wife and I are still living on Social Security Disability.
We've borrowed from family members and have been slowly paying it back. The tech support business has hit some slow months this year, but we're not giving up.
We're using social media and podcasts to let others know about the business.
Several people who also have disabilities have come forward to help by providing podcast material and help with social media. They volunteer out of the kindness of their hearts. They come with a strong desire to provide high quality professional podcasts with what little technology they have. They're eager to share knowledge with others, spending hours of time every week, hoping to edify someone's life somewhere.
The social media feedback is few and far between. The podcasts are always being improved and held to higher standards of recording and streaming Internet radio excellence.
Edified Access Radio is here for you, the people with disabilities who have a hard time getting the technology you need. Things that are well built, reliable that can be depended on to help you succeed. It's here for you, the people who are looking for answers to questions or Need training. Whether it be quick questions, or slow patient help sessions.
It's here for you, the people that want unbiased advice from others just like you. People who are not influenced by the huge assistive technology corporations that charge far too much for the same functionality that anyone can buy in products off any store shelf, like smart phones, computers etc.Specific Needs
I need some assistance. It's hard to humble myself and come right out and ask for grant money. I believe that I should earn my way through life, earn my way out of my problems.
Based on my current situation, I do need some grant money, or any other assistance available, so I can update business technology, keep all expenses paid and not fall into any more debt to keep it going.
I'll use any assistance to improve Edified Access first.
With money comes opportunities to improve social media outreach, advertising,, podcast creation, recording and streaming, and more.
I'm hoping to do well enough to be able to employ others in the future. I'd also like to donate to other business owners with disabilities, helping them become successful.
Only after Edified Access has received the help needed to make improvements, help more people and do better than paying for itself to exist, I'll think about my needs. And I'll be leaving Social Security behind and helping others to do the same.Business Idea
Edified Access is here to provide positive tech support experiences for all people, including those with disabilities.
Come and be edified.
In 2010, after going to local blindness conventions, I realized the need for a tech support business beyond what the government and tech corporations had to offer.
You don't see reps from other companies taking several hours out of their day to patiently help someone who has learning disabilities gain the skills needed to use technology in an efficient and productive manner.
Edified Access is here to do just that.
After searching for business names, it took prayer and only a few short minutes to come up with Edified Access. The name sounded good. The dictionary definitions fit the purpose. To edify is to teach or to improve. I'm teaching people about technology, improving the use thereof. Therefore, Edified Access is the perfect name. It's been going since April 2010.
Until the beginning of this year, Edified Access has been paying for itself most of the time. The past few months haven't seen too much tech support or money coming in, even with greater improvements in the use of social media, and podcasting.
The podcasts are here to both share a wide variety of knowledge for technology users at any level, the beginners or the experts. They're also here to give people some confidence. When people call Edified Access, they will get a human being who will do their best to help solve problems or teach.
Payment will only be accepted when the client has been edified, learned how to use the technology, got questions answered or problems solved.
If the opportunity came up, I'd also be willing to sell or provide support for technology, so a company doesn't have to find agents to do so. They can concentrate on manufacturing and development. I'd be willing to make Edified Access a call center.
Such an entity must be fair and honest with their pricing of the hardware or software. We've all seen companies that are not.
I'm here with an open mind. Edified Access is a business that can be changed to improve access to use about anything. The original focus is and always will be to help all people gain greater improved access to their computers and assistive technology.
With that in mind, everyone is welcome to come have a positive tech support experience.
Come and be edified.