Ken Martin's business card
Ken Martin

I’ve approached several government agencies and nonprofits in the District over the past twelve years. I am disabled, and I wanted help with a business plan.

After suffering from circulation, spinal, & neurological issues (all of which are painful and painfully tongue-twisting conditions), heart disease and multiple heart attacks — I’ve learned how to deal with pain. I’ve also dealt with the changing names of vocational rehabilitation in the District: from The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, to the Rehabilitation Services Administration to the current Department of Disability Services. But for the most part, tangibly speaking, all I received has been “Lip Service.”

They found all kinds of excuses why I could not do it!

Over the years, the prognosis for my homelessness has remained that I need to go back to work. I don’t know why it’s been so hard for these agencies to understand that with my disabilities – I cannot meet the regular expectations of an employer. Each day brings new pain and fluctuating personal limitations. A wise businessman wouldn’t take a chance on me. Why would they when they could get a younger person for less?

And I don’t blame them!

But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

In the late 2000s, a project by the Inclusion Research Institute showed me and other physically challenged individuals that people with disabilities could thrive through entrepreneurship. They showed us a guy that earned $75 while in a coma!

I can’t always meet the needs of someone else’s business, but I can assign myself tasks based on what I know I can complete each day. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to run a business, you just have to stick to your plan. And Ken will not relent.

Now, thanks to Life Asset, I have the chance to follow my calling: selling hats (headwear and related accessories). Visit our occasional weekend pop-up shop in its 2448 18th Street NW location or visit us online at for “the image you desire and the service you deserve.”