Person-Ventured Entrepreneurship: Objectives of a “Person-Ventured” Business
Objectives of a “Person-Ventured” Business
There are many reasons one might be opposed to self-employment. But we have learned that when parents, family members, friends or even the person with a disability objects, it is usually because they have misconceptions about the objectives. Let’s clarify those misconceptions. The objective is only one thing… the person.
Person-Ventured Entrepreneurship is nothing like the ventures of Silicon Valley. There, if the idea, no matter how innovative it is, cannot substantiate big returns on investments, it is quickly pushed aside, and forgotten along with the heaps of other bright ideas.
“Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.” ~ Donald Trump
With that said, please know that Person-Ventured Entrepreneurship needs no less planning and innovation than that of Silicon Valley. We would even dare to say that initiating a Person-Ventured small business needs even more innovation and planning than traditional businesses. Many traditional businesses sell their profits as an exit strategy, and cash out, leaving little concern for sustainability. Person-Ventured businesses are planning for a life-long journey of independence and self-determination, a journey demanding sustainability.
Let’s compare how traditional planning differs from Person-Ventured planning and you will clearly see the difference in objectives, approaches and most importantly the expected outcomes.
The Person Objective: Traditional Planning
Let’s talk about traditional planning. Most supports common to families with disabilities use traditional planning objectives, approaches and outcomes. What does that mean? It means when they are about to put their pen to paper for a plan, the first thing they think about is the person’s disabilities. Then they carve out a plan, fundamentally derived on the notion that this individual “can’t”. Then, because the family probably received guidance from an “employment specialist” of some sort, the specialist’s opinion often outweighs that of the parents, the family, and more often than not, even the person with a disability (if their opinion is even sincerely sought out). Then as the plan develops, the references and suggestions are mostly based on standardized tests, assessments, reports and studies.
Person-Ventured Planning (PVP)
Person-Ventured Planning is solely focused on what the person can do. It narrows in on hobbies, things they love and things they do all on their own. It most importantly assumes that the person is competent, 100% of the time. All too often, people fail to realize that the risks one takes when assuming someone cannot do something, far outweighs the risks when assuming they can. Starting off any venture with your loved one, on the basis of what they cannot do, removes endless opportunities of growth, new experiences, and most importantly, the opportunity to make mistakes.
Person-Ventured Planning focuses in on what the person wants, desires and loves, and relishes in the critical information provided by family members, friends and even community mentors. PVP seeks to balance the viewpoints of both professional and non-professional individuals involved in the planning.
The Goal Objective: Traditional Planning
When it comes to goals, here is where things get hairy and foggy. What is our goal? How do we find the answer to that question? Well, much of the answers depend on the basis of planning. Meaning, before you ask what the plan is, ask yourself, “Why am I planning?” This is where the difference between Traditional Planning and PVP becomes more apparent.
Traditional supports often focus on the rehabilitation of social, cognitive and/or social deficits of the individual. Subsequently, the planning moving forward is paved with exiguous goals fixated on fixing.
Traditional planning seeks out supports, whether that of the community, commodities and or therapeutic supports. Unfortunately, both our personal experience as parents and our professional experience have revealed that these supports are often segregated in nature, even with completely unrelated goals.
Person-Ventured Planning (PVP)
Goal setting in PVP is across the board. Goals focus primarily on the capacity building, not capacity fixing. PVP is all about maximizing current abilities, loves and passions through proper goal setting. Of course, PVP must understand in depth, a person’s written limitations (reports, IEP, etc, etc). Clearly it makes no sense to help a person plan a goal of driving, if you have no understanding of their visual impairment.
PVP goals include all supports, traditional and nontraditional, formal and informal. There is no such thing or person that cannot be a support. If it makes sense for the person, then is makes sense as a support. Systemic supports typically serve a particular need, where nonsystemic supports are used in conjunction and to support global goals.
Now, and Not Now
Why is PVP goal setting so superior? At a recent transitions conference, one of the speakers with a disability said something that I think needs to be said in this article particularly when referring to goal setting. He said that for many, if not most persons with special needs, their concept of time is categorized in two compartments; NOW & NOT NOW. So, when we try to teach our loved ones things like financial literacy, banking, or credit, if the goal is for when they get older, then it immediately goes into the “NOT NOW” compartment. You speak to young adults about having employment skills, and yet they are not employed, it goes into the “NOT NOW” compartment. PVP is all about the NOW! Goal setting is about taking what someone already does, and promote that very same behavior. Hobby or love into a micro-enterprise opportunity. So when we teach financial literacy, or employment skills, it is about NOW, not… NOT NOW.
Team Objectives: Traditional Planning
When creating a team to support goals for your loved one, the functionality, the output and the execution of these teams, vary significantly between traditional and PVP. Traditional Planning typically place family members, friends and peers in a passive role. These individuals become bystanders to the plan. Imagine going to any restaurant where you can only watch from a distance while others tell you how great or terrible the food is. Traditional planning involves too many paid professionals either planning or dictating what is good or bad for your loved one. Moms and Dads need to get involved in your TEAM. Get your son’s or daughter’s sibling and friends involved; get a teacher involved, a local business (wo)man, and BE THE TEAM.
PVP places parents, family, friends, local mentors and anyone that the person crosses paths with regularly, as the core of the team. This approach addresses a factor that traditional planning never does, sustainability. It is unreasonable, and unrealistic to set up goals through a team that only gives you half the story, and makes up only a quarter of the life experience of that person. The more people at the core of the team, the more likelihood of the sustainable nature your goals will have.
Proper Support Objectives: Traditional Planning
We have touched a little on supports prior in this article, but we wanted to further distinguish between traditional supports and person-ventured supports. Traditional planning relies heavily on prescriptive education, based on research, data and other ‘proven’ strategies. More often then not, these highly prescriptive educational programs were developed with the disability in mind, not the abilities. So, they disregard the ‘potential’ for capacity building, and once again get stuck in capacity fixing. In our experience, most educational programs are being delivered unknowingly stuck in the “NOT NOW” compartment of their students. Similarly, support goals are provided to individuals based on a ‘perceived’ readiness constructed on an assessment of the today, never peering into tomorrow.
My family deals with highly prescriptive goals for our sons constantly. Yet, at our home, with a 12 year-old boy on the autism spectrum, and a 13-year-old boy with classic autism, we find nothing determinate about them at all.
Prescriptive methods are based on guides, and established understandings. We certainly haven’t received a ‘guide’ on autism, and I am not sure I want one. Who am I to pre-determine what our sons can or cannot do? I want to see them try first. That is our determinate… failure, mistakes, good ‘ole fashioned human nature.
PVP must include education that is highly customized, or else there would be nothing ventured by the person. Picasso Einstein uses its proprietary educational method called the “Teaching Vowels®: The A, E, I, O, U of Teaching.” Our educational method uses Activity-based learning tools for students and families.
“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” ~ Vincent van Gogh
We understand the Environment plays a significant role in learning. We use high-impact sensory stimulatory activities that engage both Executive and Motor functions of students. We make sure our Instruction is clear, concise, with minimal one-way auditory directives and accessible 24/hrs a day through our private, online social network for entrepreneurs with disabilities and their families. We promote Opportunities for peer learning (Peeragogy). If there is a debate in class, we get involved, not to stifle, but instead to observe the myriads of skills sets being yielded through debate. We mostly get out of our own way and allow students to teach students. Small groups that work as teams for the duration of the program allow students to learn as much from each other as they do from the instructor. Lastly, our U is our favorite. We are hoping that today’s Unconventional teaching will become the new traditional teaching of tomorrow. The best teachers on the planet are the ones whom are willing to try anything and everything to teach their students without the fear of making mistakes. We appreciate teachers that are not caught up in their profession, but instead are captives to teaching.
So, what is the objective of Person-Ventured Planning? The person. And if the plan is truly and sincerely designed, in a simple, realistic fashion, with all moving parts focused on the individual, then you have already started down the path of Person-Ventured Entrepreneurship. In our next article, we will speak about the third letter of our L.O.V.E. story, “Is Self-Employment Viable?
Read More Person-Ventured Entrepreneurship
- “Person-Ventured” Entrepreneurship Series
- Person-Ventured Entrepreneurship: A L.O.V.E. Story
- Person-Ventured Entrepreneurship: How Do You Define Viable?
- Person-Ventured Entrepreneurship: What Do You Know About Entrepreneurship
Minerva Vazquez Santiago, co-founder, is a successful attorney focused on special needs law. She has experienced entrepreneurship for the past 15 years.
Boaz Nelson Santiago, co-founder, has a background in psychology specializing in youth leadership and entrepreneurship education the past 15 years. www.picassoeinstein.com
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This post originally appeared on our March/April 2015 Magazine