Fast Facts

  • 2,000+ clients
  • 800 start ups
  • 51% still in business
  • Part-time – Full time – Home-based – Bricks & Mortar
  • Service – Retail – Manufacturing – Nonprofit
  • Vendor to vocational rehabilitation and economic development agencies:  Self-Employment Assessment & Business Plan Development
  • In Seattle with face-to-face services throughout Washington State





Venture Advisory Services works with clients of State & Federal vocational rehabilitation agencies to assess and help develop self employment plans.  We tailor our work to the needs of both the client and the agency.

Self Employment Feasibility Analysis.  An in-depth interview, market research, and a written report that provides a “reality check” to help determine if an individual’s skills, motivation, and business idea can lead to viable employment. Impact of self employment income on Social Security and other benefits can be examined. If an assessment indicates an idea is feasible, we can continue to work with the individual to develop a business plan.  If an idea is not feasible, our report provides documentation to support this opinion.

Business Plan Development.  We help clients develop or fine tune a written business plan that details marketing, logistics, legal and insurance considerations, financial projections, and funding needs. The goal is to use the process of business plan development to reduce risk.  We make every effort to help develop a business plan that has a reasonable likelihood of success and that is “packaged” to meet agency funding criteria.

Self Employment Follow Up & Consultations.  Once a business is operating, individualized assistance and monitoring can be provided in areas such as marketing and record keeping, which can greatly increase the likelihood of successful plan closure.

Self Employment Workshops.  “Survival with Self Employment” is a half-day workshop for people interested in self employment and wanting to replace or augment a fixed income.  We also provide customized workshops to groups of clients and training workshops to counselors on a variety of self employment topics including Family-Supported Self Employment for People with Developmental Disabilities.


Hourly Rate:  $95 per hour in person or via telephone

Travel time to appointments outside Seattle is charged at half rate 

  • Email reply or 15 min phone consultation – No charge
  • Self Employment Feasibility Analysis – $285 – $1,140
  • Business Plan Development – $950-$1,900
  • Business Follow Up / Monitoring – Average $1,140 over 90 days
  • Workshops – Call for pricing

The time to work with someone interested in self employment varies greatly.  If someone has experience being self employed and already has customers lined up for a home-based service business, that is a much quicker and straightforward business to assess than a retail business.  After the first meeting or phone call with a customer, I will be able to give a fairly accurate estimate of the time required.


Since 1989, Venture Advisory Services has helped develop over 600 successful businesses. These have ranged from part-time, home-based businesses to mid-sized companies. Working with clients of vocational rehabilitation and economic development agencies is our specialty. To see the types of businesses we’ve worked with, click here.  Venture Advisory Services is based in Seattle, and offers face-to-face services throughout Washington. Thanks to telephones, email, and web-cams we provide business consultation and vocational services throughout the U.S.


Creativity, practicality, and sensitivity are our basic service tenets.  Supporting the ability of people to improve the quality of their lives through self employment is our goal, since the flexibility of self employment can provide a viable employment option for someone with a disability or work injury, and it can be a way for a person who is on public assistance or underemployed to break out of a cycle of minimum wage and temporary jobs.  A part-time business can supplement retirement or disability income.  Believing in the value of self employment means that we are critical evaluators of business plans and funding proposals, since we believe the best way to promote self employment is to increase the success rate of small businesses.

About the Owner

Kathy Reichgerdt has over thirty years experience working directly with people starting small businesses.  She has a wealth of knowledge within an exceptionally wide range of industries, and specializes in helping people start home-based and family businesses.  Most of Kathy’s work in the past 20 years has been with displaced workers, people with disabilities, women, immigrants, and others who decide that self employment is their best way to make a living or supplement a fixed income.  She has firsthand experience in consulting, wholesale food distribution, property management, retailing, and non-profit management. She has helped clients research and develop over 800 different types of  business ideas.  When she doesn’t know something about a particular type of business, she knows where to find the information. She is knowledgeable about Social Security and other regulations that affect earned income for people with disabilities and retirees.


“Thanks so much. If it weren’t for you, my business never would have happened.” Carolyn M, business owner

“Thank you for the quick and thorough report. This is just the kind of information that is needed for self employment, and the kind of information that I do not have the time nor expertise to get.” – Jack P, VR Counselor

“Venture Advisory Services is outstanding. They are worth their weight in gold” – Donna F, VR Counselor

“Kathy has been inspiring to work with. She asked me tough questions and got me to look at my business plan from different perspectives. Since our initial work together, anytime I have had questions, she has made herself available to me as a friend and advisor. ”  – Jonathan K, business owner

“I was so impressed how well you took what I said and was able to put it together so well.  I can’t thank you enough for all you did for me!” – Linda E, business owner

“Thank you for this very thorough report. It will be very helpful as my son works toward building his business and working toward a future of self-employment. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me talk about all aspects of his goals and issues as this can be a very challenging, but exciting step as he moves forward.”  Sherri H, Parent

“The most informative workshop I’ve been to in a long time” – Robert L, aspiring entrepreneur

“Thanks for the incredibly informative class” – Julia A, Job Developer

“Thanks for your help and efforts in helping me get off the ground.” – Don L, business owner

“Wanted to take a moment and let you know that I truly appreciated your extra help when my life seemed to be crashing down on me.” – Shelly K., business owner

“Thank you for your resourcefulness.” – Dorothy V., business owner

“You are great and we appreciate all that you do, especially your thoroughness”. – Brenda N, Case Manager


Q.  What business should I start?

A.  A great business idea for one person might be a terrible idea for another.  A successful business is usually based on interests, hobbies, education, or skills.  It should be something that matches your personality and meets an obvious need for a specific market. There are thousands of ideas that can lead to a successful home-based business.

Q. I’m a vocational counselor.  How do I make a referral?

A.  To make a referral, email or call us to schedule an in-person or telephone interview with the client.  It’s helpful for us to know the business idea before meeting or calling someone so we can do some initial research on the industry before the interview.

Q.  Does Venture Advisory Services provide funding for small businesses?

A.  Venture Advisory Services does not provide funding for small businesses.  Depending on individual circumstances, we refer people to government and community-based programs that may be able to provide grants or micro-loans (see Resources) that can assist with a portion of the costs involved in starting a business.  But If you want to start a business, the harsh reality is that you are going to need to have an asset (like real estate) to offer as collateral for a loan, or have savings or a creative means of financing start up costs. There are very few possibilities for obtaining grants to start a business.

Q.  Why should I bother writing a business plan if I don’t plan to borrow any money?

A.  THE PROCESS of writing a business plan helps you figure out all the little details of operating a business and serves as a checklist for important considerations such as licensing and insurance.  Even if you never look at the written document ever again, it’s still a good idea to develop a business plan.

Q. How much do you charge?

A.  Venture Advisory Services offers a free email reply or complimentary 15 minute phone consultation to any individual or vocational rehabilitation counselor interested in self employment.  Additional services are charged at our standard rates.

Q. Don’t most small businesses fail?

A.  With the growth of home-based businesses, the failure rate of small businesses has plummeted.  Statistics vary, but home-based businesses started with a business plan have an 85% of better chance of success.


Venture Advisory Services works a contractor or vendor with DVR, Dept. of Services for the Blind, Dept. of Labor and Industries, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, OWCP, private insurance companies, and other State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies.


Kathy Reichgerdt


kathy (at)