A Deaf Entrepreneur Running the Business!

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Hello, my name is Calum, and I own and operate a web design company called Calman Design. Another interesting thing about me is that I am Deaf, and I use British Sign Language. You may think, ‘what? Deaf people can own businesses?!’ or maybe you aren’t so surprised, especially now that the Deaf Strictly Come Dancing contestant Rose won first place. One thing is for sure, though, it’s always been true that Deaf people can do anything.

Why did I decide to set up my business?

I originally wanted to take a gap year and travel after finishing my third year of university. But the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic had me scrapping that idea, and I thought I’d stay on at university for one more year, with the aim of graduating with an MSc in Mathematics.

However, I found myself voraciously reading books on entrepreneurship, and I realised continuing with a degree was not what I wanted. Factored into my thinking was also the difficulty of accessing lectures and getting involved in social life at university as a Deaf student.

I originally wanted an office job, but unfortunately, this market is tough to access as a Deaf graduate. I did not have work experience under my belt and, despite going to a top-class university, it seemed my degree was still insufficient for employers’ expectations. Ironically, they expect you to have a degree and a wealth of experience just to gain an entry-level job.

So, I decided to work for myself. I wanted to own a business and make it successful by offering services that exceed the client’s expectations. By offering more than is expected and communicating with clients at every stage of the process, from discovery to design ideas and implementation, clients feel fully invested in a project and will inevitably be much happier with the final outcome.

I have found that operating my own business has taught me the economics of business, brand messaging, marketing, and how to evaluate strengths, weaknesses, and how to address them. I undertook an intensive programme which teaches web design, development, and the skills needed to run a business. Being my own boss and working in a computer-based industry gives me a great deal of control over my work.

While it’s an inevitable part of every Deaf person’s unofficial job description that they need to subtly teach Deaf awareness to their colleagues, and deal with those who invariably don’t ‘get it’ – as a freelancer, at the beginning of my career I can focus on developing myself and my business as my first priority, and exercise some choice over who I work with. 

I am ambitious, and once my company is successfully operating to peak capacity, and I have gained the knowledge and experience, I want to employ a team of website developers and provide services to businesses on a larger scale. The world is rapidly changing at the moment, and so should your business be. Everything can change in 5 years or six months. That’s what excites me about owning a business.

What does Calman Design offer?

My company aims to provide solution-based web design services to businesses. Those businesses may be looking to solve their problems, increase leads and sales growth. Being Deaf and classified as Disabled, accessibility is big for me and will be part of websites in the Web 3.0 evolution. This also has the potential to grow into digital marketing, which will help them reach new customers.

Accessibility will set us apart from other designers, by implementing web accessibility standards, the websites will allow Deaf and disabled users to view and explore sites without unnecessary difficulties, thereby opening new users/sales to my clients. Accessibility is something that should be there from the start, rather than an afterthought.

Our everyday lives are expanding into the digital world, but as in the physical world, there are still barriers that disabled people face. How can this be the case despite so many virtual interactions?  

Unfortunately, poor system design is common, rendering some users unable to interact with your websites and services. With Calman Design, we will ensure that your website meets the standards of web accessibility, thereby expanding your market share to an underutilised sector of growth. Please see my previous blog post that outlines the massive potential of disabled consumers worldwide.

Calman means ‘dove’ in Scottish Gaelic, and in ancient Greek mythology, the dove was a symbol of love and the renewal of life. This is what my business stands for: bringing solutions to help businesses prosper by renewing their outlook and online persona.

Want to know how and where to check us out?

You can head to my website: calmandesign.co.uk. I also have Facebook and Instagram, where I post regularly on web design and my blogs and vlogs. 

If you are interested in discussing your website project with me, please get in touch via my website or social media.

Thank you for reading!


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4 April 2024