The quick spread of COVID-19 and many governments lack of foresight to include freelancers, solopreneurs, and independent contractors in financial stimuli have left many freelancers wondering where they can find financial aid.
After hearing from so many of you in our free FB group about the struggles you’re facing as a result of Covid-19, we’re doing our best to produce articles and resources to help freelancers get through.
So, for starters, here’s a small attempt to make you aware of financial aid for freelancers impacted by Covid-19. [Jump straight to the list.]
This is NOT an exhaustive list. I looked at dozens of other options and tried to select some of the best ones I could find. But more in-depth searching online will reveal hundreds of more options—particularly for minority groups or groups in specific geographic locations.
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If you are in desperate need of financial aid during this crisis, I highly recommend you start looking for local or national assistance. There are resources to help you.
A few other helpful resources
We’ve also got you covered with an extensive archive of helpful articles on topics that might come in handy over the next few weeks:
- If you have invoices that clients aren’t paying, start here:
Have a Past-Due Invoice? 3 Email Scripts to Get Paid Now
- If you have unresponsive clients, try these:
5 Email scripts for following up when a client is unresponsive
- To start thinking about pivoting your business to prepare for future crises, here’s Clay’s take on it:
How I Changed My Business Model to Succeed Even During Tough Times
- If you need to focus on getting paid above everything else, here’s a helpful guide:
How to Get Paid As a Freelancer in 2020 (Apps & Advice That Work)
One word of caution
Before I share this list, I would offer one word of caution. You may have heard about some organizations like Joust Bank offering to finance your unpaid invoices from lost work.
While this may be a good option for you, please consider the fact that these are financial loans that expect repayment. For access to financial aid with no expectation of repayment, use words like “grant” when searching.
Here are just a few financial aid resources for freelancers (I’ll update the list from time to time as new opportunities arise):
Freelancers Union: Freelancers Relief Fund
One of our favorite organizations for freelancers, Freelancers Union, has developed its own relief fund called the Freelancers Relief Fund and it’s funded by companies like Fiverr, Upwork, and Fiverr Workspace and “will provide financial assistance of up to $1,000 to freelancers who are experiencing sudden hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether as a result of illness, lost work, or caregiving responsibilities.”
Income Protection for Sick or Out-of-Work Freelancers
Whether you find yourself sick or out of work due to Covid-19, one way to get financial aid is to invest in disability insurance for freelancers. If you’re approved, you basically pay a small fee upfront every month (like any other kind of insurance) and when you become sick or unable to work, you can still get paid even if you can’t do client work at the time. Breeze offers very affordable plans that may be able to help you.
Self-Employed Sick Leave as a Tax Credit
CNBC reports “At this critical time in the fight against the coronavirus, the U.S. government announced that affected companies will be given an additional $50 billion in low-interest loans. In addition, the Treasury Department is deferring tax payments without interest or penalties for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted. Those who are self-employed get paid sick leave in the form of a tax credit.
Accessing No-Interest Government Loans
More from CNBC: “Across America, various cities are offering financial aid to specifically help small businesses. Cities like New York will offer no-interest loans to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees that show a reduction in sales since the coronavirus outbreak. Certain cities are also providing grants of up to $6,000 for businesses with fewer than five employees.
Freelancers can access this information and see if they qualify through their city’s Small Business Administration office.”
Are you eligible?
Small business owners in the following designated states are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Click here to apply.
Joust Bank Offering Pay-Day Loans for Freelancers (Use Cautiously)
Freelancer bank Joust can help you regain money lost from events cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They offer advances on unpaid invoices (caution: must repay) with zero processing fees on payments and a free bank account. It’s wise to use a loan matching service to compare loans and make sure you’re getting the best deal relative to your credit score. Some loan matching services like Now Loan in the UK compare all lenders including those who lend to people with poor credit histories.
Psst: Have you heard about Hectic? It's our new favorite tool for freelancing smarter, not harder. Client management, project management, invoices, proposals, and lots more. Hectic's got it all. Click here to see what we mean.
Learn more (See cautionary note above)
Creator Fund by ConvertKit
ConvertKit has established a $50,000 fund to help creators in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read the details at the link below and then submit your information if you are in need.
The Artists’ Fellowship Funds
The Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 charitable foundation that financially assists professional visual artists and their families in times of emergency, disability or bereavement. Assistance is given without expectation of repayment. One does not need to be a member of the Fellowship to receive assistance.
The Safety Net Fund
The Safety Net Fund is a non-profit designed to help support artists in the Bay Area during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant
The Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant program is intended to provide interim financial assistance to qualified painters, printmakers, and sculptors whose needs are the result of an unforeseen, catastrophic incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation.
Rauschenberg Emergency Grants
The program will provide one-time grants of up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies. The grants are available to visual and media artists.
CERF+ emergency assistance
CERF+ emergency assistance is available to established artists working in a craft discipline that meet special eligibility requirements.
The Authors League Fund helps authors, dramatists, journalists, and poets. Recipients must be career writers with a substantial body of work in one of more certain categories.
The Writers’ Emergency Fund
The Writer’s Emergency Fund is working to strengthen their financial offering as part of PEN America’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and its implications for the literary community.
Freelance Co-Op Emergency Fund
If you’re a creative freelancer who has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 virus and resulting public response, you can apply at the Freelance Co-Op for temporary assistance through their financial aid fund.
The applicant must be an American author who has published at least one full-length work — fiction or nonfiction — that has been published by a mainstream publisher.
SFWA Emergency Medical Fund
The Emergency Medical Fund (EMF) was established to help genre writers pay medical expenses not otherwise covered by insurance. The fund is meant to cover only short-term (i.e. emergency situations that interfere with the ability to write). Requests must specify the recipient, a description of the circumstances, and the amount of support needed.
The Haven Foundation Funds
The mission of The Haven Foundation is to offer interim financial assistance to freelance professionals in the arts who face crises. The Foundation’s reach is the United States, and its awards are granted with a view to helping individuals overcome temporary adversity and return to full-time work.
What have we missed?
Is there a critical, helpful resource we should add to this list? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll take a look.
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