One of the toughest things about being self-employed is how vulnerable you are to catastrophic expenses that wipe out your bank account.
Of course, many of us face that possibility whether we’re self-employed or work for a company that pays us steady wages.
But many independent contractors don’t have the type of protection that someone who works for an employer does, like workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance. (Hopefully, that will soon change.)
There aren’t many options for self-employed workers who need emergency funds, but some do exist. Let’s take a look at what’s available for freelancers in an industry that’s near and dear to my heart.
Emergency Funds for Self-Employed Writers
Writers who need emergency assistance or temporary support can contact these organizations:
- The Haven Foundation provides grants to freelance writers and other members of the arts community who “have suffered disabilities or experienced a career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or personal catastrophe.”
- The Mayer Foundation offers economic relief grants to New York City-area residents struggling with “poverty, low income or lack of financial resources.”
- The Writers Emergency Assistance Fund provides financial assistance to established writers who are unable to work as a result of “advanced age, illness, disability, a natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis.”
- Modest Needs offers self-sufficiency grants to people in dire need but “because they are working and live just above the poverty level, are ineligible for most types of conventional social assistance.”
- The Authors League Fund helps professional writers and dramatist who need emergency funds because of “medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income, or other misfortune.”
- Pen America offers grant funding to “professional — published or produced — writers in acute, emergency financial crisis.”
Professional organizations and nonprofit organizations in industries other than writing also offer emergency funding to freelancers and independent contractors.
To find out what options are available to you, head to your favorite search engine and type in “grant money and emergency financial assistance” followed by the field you work in — graphic arts, real estate, farming, tutoring or teaching, and so on.
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s owned her own business for 18 years and knows first hand what it’s like to white-knuckle it through a financial downturn.