We are all learning to navigate our new normal with social distancing and isolation, fears around our own health and the safety of those we love, plus the rapidly changing economy and the world at large. While the future seems uncertain, we can be assured that this time of isolation will eventually come to an end. In the meantime, many are looking for ways to get through financial stress.
In support of our author community, we at the Nonfiction Authors Association want to provide resources and tools to help you navigate these turbulent times. Please know that we are here for you, and we’re conducting business as usual, as much as possible.
Following is information about financial assistance and grants that are available to independent contractors, sole proprietors and other small businesses.
***Authors may be eligible for many of these programs.***
Emergency Financial Relief and Assistance
Under the CARES Act, the U.S. Federal government is offering a variety of programs to assist freelancers, sole proprietors, gig workers and other small businesses.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
This program is for sole proprietors, independent contractors and other small businesses, even if you have no employees. While the primary purpose is to provides loans to assist employers in paying their employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, assistance is also available to sole proprietors, freelancers and small businesses without employees. This is a potentially forgivable loan equal to 2.5 times your average monthly payroll, including what you pay yourself. It can cover salary, incentives, tips, payroll taxes, medical insurance and other payroll expenses. Get more details about the Paycheck Protection Program here.
UPDATE 4/16/20: Today the SBA announced that the Paycheck Protection Program has run out of money. However, there are additional funding plans being negotiated within the government. Please proceed with your application to hold your place in line as new funds are released.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
Applicants can get up to $2 million in loans at 3.75% rate for 30 years. While a credit score is run and collateral is requested, according to the SBA, no one will be denied a loan. Note that any loan amount equal or under $25,000 will not require any collateral. Also, there are no fees involved. Principal and interest deferment are offered at the Administrator’s discretion from six months to one year.
Under the CARES Act, individual lenders will provide their own paperwork or online forms to process EIDL loans. SBA is expected to approve the loans within two weeks. Find eligible lenders here. Not all banks are signed on to this program yet, so yours may not be accepting applications today, but likely will be soon. Be patient with the process and check back with your bank. More are coming online each day.
Here is what you need to get ready to file for the loan:
- Federal Tax Returns for the last 3 years
- Last Year and Current P&Ls and Balance Sheets with Projected Statements
- Documents showing business adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
- List of personal assets, liabilities and net worth (SBA Forms 413 and 2202 may be used)
- Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506T)
Note that any loan amount equal or under $25,000 will not require any collateral. Also, there are no fees involved. Principal and interest deferment are offered at the Administrator’s discretion from six months to one year.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance (EEIG)
Small business owners in all U.S. states are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. Note that you must apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan in order to collect the grant funds. Apply for the Disaster Advance here. Your application should be reviewed within a week and you should receive instructions by email on how to proceed with applying for an EIDL loan. Remember, the SBA is overloaded right now. It may take some time for the processes to go through.
You can apply for all of EIDL, EEIG and PPP simultaneously. EEIG will be deducted from the PPP forgiven loan amount and PPP and EIDL loan funds cannot be used to pay for the same operating expenses.
UPDATE 4/16/20: The SBA has announced that the $10,000 advance has been decreased to $1,000 per employee. The SBA has been overwhelmed by applications, leaving many wondering when or if their grants will arrive. Please don’t let this stop you from applying. The government and the SBA are continuing to find ways to improve these systems and bring much-needed relief to small businesses.
Additional Assistance with Funding and the CARES Act:
- Contact the SBA office near you for assistance with the relief processes. Find your local SBA branch here.
- If you need further guidance, contact the Small Business Development Center nearest to you.
- SCORE offers excellent resources for small business owners, plus free mentorship. Learn more here.
There are tens of thousands of grant programs available each year to writers, trainers, coaches, speakers, consultants, and small business owners. Grants are essentially free money, given with certain expectations.
For example, several years ago I knew a local consultant (and author) who received a six-figure grant to develop a training program on business writing. He delivered a series of in-person workshops over several months to the staff of a local government utilities division. Yes, it was a six-figure contract that lasted about three months.
Grants for Writers
We found several recent lists of grants for writers:
- Funds for Writers maintains a hearty list of grants for writers.
- Excellent list of grants from grantspace.org
- 18 Grants for Writers from The Write Life
- 6 Grants for Writers from Student Loan Hero
- Comprehensive list of grants for creative writers by Inside Philanthropy
- grants.gov is a large directory of government-funded grants. Don’t assume you need to be in government to take advantage of these opportunities. Many revolve around educational opportunities like courses and even books. Visit grants.gov.
- Grants for Women is a directory of vetted grant opportunities and worth a visit! Learn more about Grants for Women.
- The Small Business Administration lists a variety of grant opportunities, including programs for veterans, women-owned businesses, nonprofit, and for-profit companies. See SBA’s grants.
Misc. Grant Opportunities
Nav is offering grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to small businesses that have overcome challenges. Enter Nav’s grant contest here.
Facebook is giving away up to 30k grants to small businesses with at least two employees in support of the COVID pandemic. Learn about Facebook’s grant program here.
Google Ads Grants for Nonprofits is a program offering up to $10k per month in free Google ads to qualifying nonprofit organizations. Get the details here.
The Amber Grant gives $4k per month to qualifying women-owned businesses, and an opportunity to earn a $25k grant at the end of the year. From their site: No business dream is too big or too small. Our past Amber Grant recipients have included everything from scientific inventors to bakers. What matters is YOU — the woman (or women) behind the business. Learn more about the Amber Grant.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative gives grants of $30k to $100k to women business owners around the world whose businesses are in the early stages: between one to five years old. Learn more about the Cartier grant.
Check with your local Small Business Development Center, Small Business Administration Office, and SCORE.org for possible grant opportunities. Also, state and local community development agencies often offer grants for businesses in local communities. Be sure to check with your local agencies for opportunities.
For more information, see our post: Revenue Streams, Freelance Work and Job Opportunities for Authors
Do you have a resource or suggestion to add to our list? What has been your experience with applying for these programs? Have you received any relief funding? Please share in the comments below.
We are sending all of you our best wishes for financial, physical, and emotional wellness through this situation. Better days are coming!
Disclaimer: We are not financial or legal advisors and the information shared here is subject to change. Please visit the links provided to access the most up-to-date information.