It may be surprising to learn that of the 30 million businesses in the U.S., at least 80% are one-person operations. And, just like those businesses that have employees, solopreneurs also need help in the era of coronavirus.
The good news: There is a lot of assistance available.
Here is a round-up of the best assistance programs for solopreneurs:
The Small Business Administration: The bulk of the news about the SBA recently has to do with its handling of the enormous Payroll Protection Program, but the SBA does and offers much more than that. For example, if you already have a loan through the SBA 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, or microloan programs, you can qualify for payment relief for up to six months. You can find its coronavirus resources and financial assistance page here.
Additionally, the SBA has created a streamlined application process for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Applicants are eligible for a $10,000 advance ($1,000 per employee) that does not have to be paid back even if you are declined for the EIDL loan. You can apply here.
Unemployment: Yes, state unemployment offices are overwhelmed with applications, but that doesn’t mean you should not apply. Due to Covid-19, 1099 contractors now qualify for government assistance. Learn more here.
Industry specific grants and programs: Many different industries that employ or represent contract workers have created a plethora of programs:
- Actors: Should check out the SAG-AFTRA Covid-19 Relief Fund
- Artists and creators: Check out the Foundation for Contemporary ArtsArtists Reliefgrants of up to $500The Artists Fellowship. And here is an excellent list of other artist relief programs
- Authors and writers: The American Society of Journalists and Authors’ Writers has created an Emergency Assistance FundEmergency Fund. Funds are also available from The Authors League. Check out also the Carnegie Fund for Authors.
- Comedians: “Comedy Gives Back” says, “If you're a comedian who has lost gigs and income due to the coronavirus please apply for a grant. We've also created a Facebook page with ways to help cope with this crisis.”
- Freelancers: Gig workers should know about the Freelancer’s Union Relief Fund. Help is also available at The Workers FundFreelance Co-Op.
- GrantsSpace: An excellent overall list of state and national programs of every kind can be found here.
- Google’s ad credits: $340 million in ad credits, which can be used towards future ad spend.”
- Musicians: The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ has the MusiCares Coronavirus Relief Fund
- Paid sick leave: A tax credit
- Restaurant workers and bartenders: Bartenders should check out The Bartender Emergency Relief Fund. Other food service workers should look at the.
- 211: Generally, if you need help finding food, paying bills, paying for housing or other essential items, call 211 or go to 211.org.
As small businesses look to the future it’s important to remember that there are a number of resources available. It’s making sure to stay informed and leverage the ones that are relevant to each business that will help small business owners move forward.
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss
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