Austin is a great place to be a freelancer. It was even ranked #4 in the nation for freelance work by NerdWallet. The City of Austin government does its part with a wealth of resources available to help freelancers and other small business owners.
Their Small Business Development Program (SBDP) offers free and low-cost classes on a variety of topics including accounting, tax obligations and promoting your business through social media. They also offer free business coaching and legal help. Whether you have been freelancing for six months or six years or more, these services can help you grow your business.
At Freelance Austin’s October meeting, “Minding Your Business: City of Austin Resources for Freelancers,” Veronica Samo spoke about the different services of interest to freelancers. Samo joined the City of Austin in 2013 as a member of the Outreach Team. She works with the community to spread the message about the small business initiatives of the Economic Development Department, specifically the Small Business Program.
Samo encouraged the room of self-employed workers to check out the SBDP website, www.smallbizaustin.org, where you can find a list of classes they offer each month. They have classes that are completely free, as well as some that come at a reasonable cost – often $40 or $50. One of their most popular offerings, which Samo recommended, is Introduction to Quickbooks, for $95. She suggested reserving a spot in this class early, as it fills quickly each month.
The Business Solutions Center, located at One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road, is worth an in-person visit. A helpful staffer can show you the many options available there, which include access to many different databases and software. For example, Business-in-a-Box includes 1500 templates of business contracts, legal agreements, proposals and more.
Running a successful freelance business can be both rewarding and challenging. Living in a city which respects and supports its freelancers with resources and information is a blessing.
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