Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Porto, founder of The Chronic Entrepreneur. Her mission is to help people with a chronic condition build a business around themselves, and she has recently written her first book (The Chronic Entrepreneur) to ensure her knowledge reaches even more people. Keep reading to find out more!
Hi Lisa! Would you like to tell us a bit more about you and your background?
Hello thank you for the introduction. I’m Lisa and I live in Hertfordshire in the UK, with my partner Chris and two cats Freddie and Kiki. I was diagnosed with ME/CFS in 2018.
When did you start your business, and what did that process look like for you?
I started my business in February 2019. I knew going back to work in education or in an office was not an option and during a 3 month period I had the opportunity to set up and launch my own business. I knew I needed to do something from home and set out to utilise my skillset in a way that suited my new life with a chronic condition. I was also fortunate to find a mentor who really inspired me, and I was able to learn from.
What do you think are some of the pros and cons of self-employment vs. traditional employment for people with chronic illnesses?
Self-employment has pros and cons. Some of the pros are that you are in full control, you choose who you work with, what you do and the hours that you work. If you need time off for medical appointments then you don’t need to request time off from an employer. You also don’t need to commute and can work from home, which can save you some energy and exertion. The cons I guess are perhaps inconsistent income, no company benefits or workplace banter and it can be lonely. I think for me the pros outweigh the cons, but I think this is individual to each person and their situation.
What motivated you to write your book, The Chronic Entrepreneur?
Setting up my own business and working from home, has really helped me re-find my purpose and to pace myself to manage my condition in a better way. I wanted to share what I’ve learned with others in a similar situation, to inspire them and to help them to see what’s possible despite having a chronic condition.
Are there any changes you would like to see in the wider world that would make self-employment more accessible for people managing long-term conditions?
It would be good to have more support available for people wanting to become self-employed. Perhaps, some start-up grants, communities, free training on how to run a business, and what this looks like when you have a long-term condition.
If somebody was hoping to start their own business but feeling uncertain, what would you say to them?
I’d encourage them to consider their why – why do they want to start a business, what will life look like for them if they do, how will it improve things for them. If I am ever doubting myself, I always come back to why I started and this normally reassures me and helps me to be brave and take the next step.
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the start of your business journey, what would it be?
Probably to trust my gut more from the start, when things don’t feel right they usually aren’t.
Thanks so much for your time, Lisa! Don’t forget to visit The Chronic Entrepreneur to find out more about her new book and wider work. You can also find Lisa on Instagram at @TheChronicEntrepreneurUK!