COVID-19 Resources for Freelancers and Small Business Owners

We’ve curated a helpful list of resources to help you and your small business through the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

COVID-19 Resources: Last updated June 8, 2020

If you’re a small business owner in North America, the past couple of weeks have certainly been anxiety-inducing.

According to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, 23% of U.S. small business owners are already feeling negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Another 43% of small business owners anticipate they will feel the impacts very soon, especially if the virus spreads.

Meanwhile, north of the border, of the small business owners surveyed by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, 48% have seen a drop in sales.

No matter how your business is being affected, we want you to know that FreshBooks is here for you. It’s why we’ve curated this list of helpful resources specifically for American and Canadian small business owners affected by COVID-19.

Although we’ve created our own list of resources here and on our resource hub, there are also some amazing roundups already available from:

*Note: We will update our resources weekly to ensure they reflect the most accurate information and news available. Please feel free to add a comment if you have found a great resource we can share on this list.*

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U.S.-Specific Information

Government Announcements

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outbreak update [Learn more]
  • Travel advisory update [Learn more]
  • How the U.S. government is supporting small businesses  [Learn more]

Federal Reserve Announcements

  • Interest rates cut down by 150 basis points to 0.25% [Learn more]
  • Short-term loans available to banks increase to keep money markets stable and ensure banks have more cash on hand [Learn more]
  • The Commercial Paper Funding Facility to allow the Federal government to purchase short-term, unsecured loans to help cover everyday expenses incurred by businesses [Learn more]
  • The Primary Dealer Credit Facility to support the increased credit needs of households and businesses [Learn more]

Tax Deadline

On March 17, 2020, the U.S. tax filing deadline was moved out by 90 days to July 15. Individual taxpayers owing taxes can defer payment of up to $1 million in taxes, while corporations can defer tax payments of up to $10 million, without penalty. [Learn more]

Funding, Grant, and Loan Sources

  • On a federal level, the Small Business Administration (SBA) provides Disaster Loans including PPP and EIDL [Learn more]
  • SBA small business guidance and loan resources [Lern more]
  • Calculate how much you’ll receive from the $1,200 (or more) coronavirus government checks [Learn more]
  • A breakdown of loans and grants available for small business owners by state [Learn more]

*IMPORTANT NOTE: As of April 27, 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is accepting applications again, after $310 billion was made available for small business owners. If you had trouble getting funded when the PPP was last open, you may want to check with community banks and credit unions, as $60 billion of this funding is earmarked for small lenders. Some online lenders are also facilitating loans through the PPP. Furthermore, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program will be accepting applications again. Check their website here for the dates on when you can apply. This program is likely to run out of funding again, so if you want to apply, do so as soon as possible.

Temporary Business Closures

As of May 5, over 65% of Americans are ordered to stay-at-home, which means temporary closures of non-essential small businesses. Here’s a map breaking down which states and cities are on lockdown. [Learn more]

Canada-Specific Information

Government Announcements

  • Canadian government outbreak update [Learn more]
  • Travel advisory update [Learn more]
  • Canadian economy support update [Learn more]
  • Resources for Canadian businesses [Learn more]
  • EI one-week waiting period has been waived for individuals infected with COVID-19 [Learn more]

Bank Announcements

  • BDC support for entrepreneurs [Learn more]
  • BDC business continuity plan checklist and templates [Learn more]
  • Bank of Canada rate cut to 0.25% [Learn more]
  • Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions lowered the Domestic Stability Buffer requirement to increase the lending capacity of Canada’s large banks by an extra $300 billion and in turn, support the supply of credit to the Canadian economy [Learn more]

Tax Deadline

On March 18, 2020, the Canadian tax filing deadline moved to June 1 for individuals. Furthermore, Canadian businesses are allowed to defer income tax payments interest-free and penalty-free until August 31. [Learn more]

Funding, Grant, and Loan Sources

  • A roundup of financial relief programs available, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers and Canada Emergency Business Account [Learn more]
  • $10 billion business credit line with be available through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) [Learn more]
  • BDC working capital loan [Learn more]
  • BDC purchase order financing [Learn more]
  • Business Credit Availability Program [Learn more]
  • Bankers’ Acceptance Purchase Facility to launch as a key source of financing for small- and medium-size corporate borrowers [Learn more]

Temporary Business Closures

Every Canadian province has proclaimed its own version of the Emergencies Act. This includes temporary closure of bars and restaurants (except for delivery or takeout), and banning public gatherings of more than 50 people. [Learn more]

UK-Specific Information

Government Announcements

  • UK government response [Learn more]
  • UK government guidance for employees, employers and businesses [Learn more]
  • Travel advisories [Learn more]
  • Statutory Sick Pay rebate to be paid to employers for absences related to COVID-19 [Learn more]

Bank Announcements

  • British Business Bank provides temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme [Learn more]

Funding, Grant, and Loan Sources

  • Roundup of government programs, relief funds, financial support and loans/grants available [Learn more]
  • A number of private lenders are making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest

Republic of Ireland-Specific Information

Government Announcements

Bank Announcements

Funding, Grant, and Loan Sources

  • Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation support for businesses impacted by COVID-19 [Learn more]
  • Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 Business Loans from €5,000 to €50,000 [Learn more]
  • Enterprise Ireland €5,000 COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant [Learn more]

Other Help & Resources

Many businesses are rallying behind their customers and communities. Here’s a list of businesses currently offering relief:

  • FreshBooks: CEO Mike McDerment is hosting weekly webinars to provide advice to small business owners on managing their businesses through COVID-19 [Learn more]
  • Bench: Providing free consultations to any small business owner regarding PPP loans such as eligibility, how to apply and loan forgiveness. [Learn more]
  • Dropbox: Free Dropbox Business and HelloSign Enterprise subscriptions for a 3-month period to nonprofits and NGOs focused on fighting COVID-19 [Learn more]
  • Facebook: $100 million in cash grants and credits available to 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries [Learn more]
  • Square: Purchase gift cards from your favorite Square merchants through the Give and Get Local program (U.S.-only) [Learn more]
  • A digital gift card marketplace that allows you to prepay for goods and services from local businesses to be redeemed when businesses re-open [Learn more]
  • The Logic: Free access to independent, in-depth reporting on the innovation economy in Canada with no defined end date [Learn more]
  • Canada’s Top 6 Banks: Allow mortgage payment deferrals of up to 6 months for customers facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 [Learn more]
  • Crowdfunder: Pay it forward to UK-based small businesses, sports clubs, creatives and social enterprises [Learn more]
  • The video creation platform is offering 2 months free with no credit card required [Learn more]
  • OneLocal: COVIDsafe Services Hub provides industry-specific best practices based on Canadian public health guidelines [Learn more]

General Information

Working From Home

  • Getting your workplace ready [Learn more]
  • Keeping your employees safe [Learn more]
  • Collaboration tools for remote workers [Learn more]
  • Remote work toolkit now available for free from Zoho (until July 31, 2020) [Learn more]
  • Taking Control of Working from Home free eBook [Learn more]
  • InVision’s resources for design teams working remotely [Learn more]
  • Entrepreneur’s roundup of 65 free collaboration tools [Learn more]

Mental Health and Support

  • World Health Organization’s mental health considerations during COVID-19 outbreak [Learn more]
  • Mental health at work during COVID-19 [Learn more]
  • Headspace Plus plan is available for free to U.S. healthcare professionals [Learn more]
  • Free guided meditation apps from Calm [Learn more]
  • How to explain COVID-19 to kids [Learn more]
  • Coronavirus support Slack group [Learn more]

Where to Find Freelance Jobs

  • Free eBook on the top 75 websites to find freelance jobs [Learn more]
  • Contently’s take on how to keep writing and making money [Learn more]
  • Moonlighting Inc. is offering its platform and services for free so that freelancers and part-time workers can find and manage gigs [Learn more]

The Power of Community

If you’re seeking connection with small business owners, please join our Facebook community page and share your experience. We have brought together business leaders and customers to share their experiences during this time.

The FreshBooks team is also offering their help and expertise for free to any small business owner or entrepreneur in need! Don’t hesitate to fill out this form if you need any business support from SEO experts, world-class web designers, sales enablement pros, business and marketing strategists, IT/security professionals, copywriters, and finance wizards.

While we understand many of you are experiencing difficulties, it’s important to look to your own local community and support those who really need it by:

  • Checking in on your elderly neighbors, and high-risk friends or family members
  • Supporting local small businesses by ordering online [Learn more]
  • Supporting local small business by pre-buying in advance [Learn more]
  • Supporting frontline healthcare workers and hospitals [Learn more]
  • Donating to charities that need your support at this time, such as:

We are all in this together. Even as we practice social distancing, we can still be a strong community that supports and lifts each other up during these difficult times.

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about the author

Senior Content Marketing Manager, FreshBooks Lisa is passionate about small business success, having managed funding programs for hundreds of Canadian start-ups and entrepreneurs. She is presently Senior Content Marketing Manager at FreshBooks.