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Working as a freelancer sounds pretty great in the beginning: you get to set the rules, schedule your time and choose your own work and clients.
But what happens when a contract goes awry or you need help getting a permit or filing a claim? As you grow in your freelance career, it will become more important that you understand the legal aspects of running your business!
Here are a handful of resources to help you navigate any legal issue you may encounter:
The Small Business Administration is a great place to begin your search for legal advice. They offer information on a variety of legal matters, including: licenses, permits, registering a business name, W-9 forms and legal documents. The organization also provides free individual face-to-face and internet counseling for small businesses.
Docracy is a website that provides a variety of contract documents in various fields, like graphic design, website development, photography, consulting, and more. All documents are uploaded by the members. Docracy has a mission to create a vast collection of legal documents that can be used freely by anyone.
Here is a list of sample contracts that freelancers can customize and sign with their clients and collaborators via Docracy.
If you have a simple legal question, posting your query on LawGuru, a site run by lawyers, could provide you with an immediate answer online. You can submit your questions for free and receive general answers or for a small fee receive actual legal advice covered by a Representation Agreement.
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts offers counseling and assistance to artist communities, as well providing its signature service of pro bono legal representation to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. They serve artists in a variety of disciplines, including freelancers. You can find their national directory here.
Sometimes you just really need a lawyer and going through your bar association is awesome way to find one. You can call your local bar association’s lawyer referral service to find a licensed, private lawyer who has experience with your type of legal problem and they will meet with you for a reduced fee. In addition, you can inquire if they have any of the following free services:
- a pro bono project
- a free legal workshop
- a self-help clinic
Depending on your type of business, you may need specific legal documents in order to protect yourself. Investing in a lawyer will ensure you get the best legal advice for your individual circumstances. Go here to contact the bar association in your area.
What legal resources do you use for your freelance business?