Photo by Contributor Ashley Bush

Here you'll find links to:

Small business start-up resources • Learning business online • Contracts and forms • Payment platforms • Bookkeeping services and software • Project management apps • File sharing and cloud storage • Miscellaneous recommended tools


When Starting A Business...

A great, online design mag for creative entrepreneurs

AIGA — Highly recommended
A great resource for designers with an online Resources section featuring helpful links and articles

The Calligrapher's Business Handbook — Highly recommended
The book by Calligrafile founder Molly Suber Thorpe, addressing all the most frequently asked business questions by lettering artists

Elle & Co.
Online courses, workshops, and downloadable workbooks for creative freelancers

Freelancers Union — Highly recommended
Free to join; offers great support about contracts, taxes, health coverage, and more. They also offer some great, member-exclusive discounts to third-party services here.

Freelance Kit
Bundles of useful material to help freelancers in all industries start out with all the resources they need

The Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines — Highly recommended
An indispensable compendium of rates charged by American graphic designers for just about every design service imaginable, including hand lettering

An all-in-one service for business formation, financial and tax advice, and business management.

U.S. Small Business Association — Highly recommended
The government agency providing resources for registering a company in the United States and creating a business plans

Getting Paid

Reliable cash advances on client invoices for freelancers and small business owners

Highly trusted portal for accepting and making online payments, either directly or integrated into a website

Square Register — Highly recommended
Point-of-sale service making it easy to accept payments on the go

Stripe — Highly recommended
Extremely user-friendly payment infrastructure for selling online

Product Photography

Foldio360 — Highly recommended
A portable lightbox with built-in LED lights; available with turning stand for 360° photos; links to your smartphone for easy shooting

Simply Rooted Surfaces
Beautiful handmade backgrounds for photography; they roll up for easy storage but lie flat when unrolled.

Contracts & Forms

17Hats — Highly recommended
Client and project management platform for creating quotes, contracts, invoices and more.

The Contract Shop – Highly recommended
Contract templates specifically drafted for creatives, such as calligraphers and stationery designers.

Cuda Sign
Electronic signature service ideal for sharing and signing contracts with client

Freelancer's Union Customizable Contracts — Highly recommended
Build a standardized client agreement with this step-by-step contract creator.

Google Forms
Free service for creating surveys and simple contracts with free, customizable templates

Hello Sign
Legally-binding e-signature service. Among the nice features, it seamlessly Integrates with gmail. Paid monthly or annually.

Legally-binding e-signature service. Offers templates of all sorts

Create visually appealing, easy-to-use, web-based forms and surveys

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
An affordable legal aid and education organization dedicated to New York artists and its arts and cultural organizations.

File Sharing & Storage

Cloud-based file sharing and storage service; free and paid plans available

Google Drive — Highly recommended
Cloud-based file sharing and storage service that integrates with all Google accounts; free and paid plans available'

An e-fax service with free and paid plans

Great for setting up automatic back-ups to the cloud.

WeTransfer — Highly recommended
Free file sharing up to 2GB, or up to 20GB with a paid account, which includes analytics and a customizable home screen


AIGA Design Salary Survey
Every few years, AIGA surveys graphic designers worldwide to find out their standard pricing for various services. You can search the results.

Breather – Shared Workspace Finder
Find work or meeting spaces in a city near you.

F*ck You, Pay Me
A great lecture by Mike Monteiro, Design Director, and co-founder of Mule Design Studio, about standing up for yourself when it comes to being a freelancer getting paid

Free Conference
Free, international conference calling, with affordable add-on services

How To Set Up An Online Portfolio & What To Include
Article by Robert Mening

Email signature plug-in to create custom, graphic signatures for Gmail, iPhone, Mail, and Outlook

Yes, Equal
A global association of women designers founded by our own contributor, Isabel Urbina Peña


17Hats — Highly recommended
Client and project management platform for creating quotes, contracts, invoices and more.

Affordable small business accounting services provided by a team of live experts. Payable monthly.

GoDaddy Bookkeeping
Online accounting software for small businesses that reconciles U.S. bank accounts, PayPal, Stripe, Etsy, and more

Number Nerd Bookkeeping
If it's a human bookkeeper you're looking for, Number Nerd can do it all for you, or train you to do it yourself.

Bookkeeping Article List by UAB Collat School of Business
Scroll to the bottom of the page for a nice long list of freelancer bookkeeping articles

Wave Accounting
Free online accounting software for small businesses

Zoho Books
User-friendly, cloud-based accounting software for small businesses; small monthly fee with a free trial option

Staying Organized

Project-tracking and collaboration tool

Evernote — Highly recommended
One of the most popular productivity tools, with a robust platform capable of integrating into a range of workflows

Google Calendar
A simple yet robust calendar on the cloud

Create visual lists and boards to stay organized, and even share them with others

The ultimate text-based to-do list software on the cloud

Business Courses

The Blueprint Model
An online course by Shanna Skidmore helping creative entrepreneurs build profitable, sustainable businesses

Creative at Heart Conference
A conference offering education for creative entrepreneurs; tours the U.S.

Elle & Co.
Online courses such as Freelance Academy and Adobe Illustrator Basics

Skillshare — Highly recommended
Among so many other subjects, Skillshare offers courses in business, social media, advertising, and web design.


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