How to Raise Money for Self-Employment After Your Release


The statistics on post-incarceration employment are nothing short of devastating. One study estimates that “almost half of ex-prisoners have no reported earnings in the first several years after leaving prison.” For those who do end up finding work, half of these individuals earn less than $10,090 per year. In addition to the emotional, psychological, and social challenges faced by those who have just been released from prison, financial hardship is almost certain. Because many employers will not hire individuals with a criminal record, it can be next to impossible to secure a job through traditional channels.

One way to overcome financial and post-incarceration employment challenges is by creating a self-employment opportunity. An individual can be self-employed despite his or her past record, and can make far more money than any other available job opportunity. If you or someone you know is facing financial obstacles after being released,
explore three ways to raise money for self-employment.

Sell any unneeded possessions

Start overcoming your financial challenges by selling any unwanted possessions online (or to local stores that buy used items). Even if you don’t have much, there are creative ways to earn a decent amount of money to put toward your new business. In addition to selling your own possessions, you can offer to sell unneeded items for friends and family who are willing to provide items. Although it likely won’t make you a fortune, selling online and to used item stores is a great way to start your savings.

Start an online fundraiser

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If you have a strong social circle that has offered to help provide support during this time in your life, consider the use of an online fundraiser website. In your fundraiser description, you can provide the details of your journey, as well as your efforts to become self-employed. A well-written, meaningful fundraiser description will help give people a specific reason to contribute to your fundraiser, since they know exactly what you plan to use the money for.

Use the resources currently available to you

Many self-employment opportunities require little to no cash to begin. Want to start freelancing as an artist? Begin working with the supplies that you already have, or that you can reasonably afford. Want to start landscaping? Ask around to see if you can rent tools and supplies until you have earned enough to buy your own.

Finding employment and financial stability post-incarceration is no easy task. That’s why self-employment can be an excellent way to get back into working, and earning a decent paycheck. Selling items online or to used item stores, starting an online fundraiser, and leveraging the resources currently available to you is a great way to begin raising money for this new chapter in your life.

-Cassie Stelle

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