There are many steps to scaling up your small business or creative practice — and one of the most significant ones is funding. Whether you’re looking to expand your operations or focus on a specific project, grants can be a significant way to start the next chapter in your journey. Each grant comes with different requirements and eligibility, it just takes time to research what might apply to you.
If you don’t know quite where to start, there are luckily plenty of places where you can discover new opportunities. Thanks to online resources, you can start researching opportunities ASAP. If your quarterly goals include applying to more grants, fellowships, incubators, and more, there is plenty of information online to kickstart your search.
Keep reading for three ways to tap into online resources, for both funding and opportunities.
Subscribe to newsletters that do the work for you.
Some months are busier than others, and it can feel nearly impossible to research new funding or opportunities. The good news: plenty of newsletter creators are already doing the work for you. Consider subscribing to newsletters that cover topics in your field. Some might be paid, while others are free. But it’s a good idea to subscribe to a range of them — look for what areas folks might be tapped into already. (Full disclaimer: This is a big focus of my newsletter, Notes from Eva, which goes out monthly). Grants for Creators by Danielle Desir Corbett — a former grant manager and founder of WOC Podcasters — is a resource that gathers grants and other paid opportunities specifically for small business owners, writers, podcasters, and artists. Words of Mouth, run by editor, content developer and researcher Rachel Meade Smith, pulls together links to jobs, fellowships, and more “for people working outside or between standard industry categories.” Female Startup Club sends out a weekly newsletter and also gathers grants on its website. Scroll through newsletter services like Substack to find other similar mailing lists.
Also, ask around: what newsletters do your friends in similar fields subscribe to? What do they recommend? Consider signing up for newsletters whenever you take part in a class or workshop — is there a mailing list for the organization or host? They might send out information about funding and opportunities to their subscribers. For example, I took a series of online courses through Cornell’s Women's Entrepreneurship Program. After completing the course, I was automatically signed up for emails sent by the Program Director that include state-specific and demographic-specific opportunities for businesses. Norby recently teamed up with Podia, which is giving away creator fellowships every month.
Take a look at your Instagram feed.
Besides entrepreneurs of businesses similar to your own, consider tailoring your Instagram feed to also include accounts that gather opportunities. Pick up the Flow, for example, is a community organization and online resource that shares opportunities for writers, artists, filmmakers and more. Look for accounts that are regional to you; for example, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs often shares job postings and grant opportunities via Instagram. Make sure you’re following publications on Instagram as well. BOMB magazine, for example, often shares a round-up of fellowships and residencies on its feed. Create an Instagram folder specifically for opportunities so you can bookmark interesting posts you see and reference them later. Again, it’s important to seek out communities in the areas you’re focusing on. The Light Leaks, a hub for female and gender non-conforming filmmakers, offers a table with funding, fellowship and workshop opportunities. You can also follow the organization on Instagram, and get to know other filmmakers that might have similar backgrounds to yours.
See what grants or opportunities they’ve received previously, either by following them or visiting their website. These might also be a fit for your own work. In addition, think of any tools you might use, or services that cater to entrepreneurs and small businesses. See if they have an active social media presence; the business finance platform Fundid, for example, shares grant opportunities on its Instagram feed regularly. Adding these accounts to your feed can make it easier to find opportunities; you could just be scrolling throughout the day, and then find something worthy of saving (and researching further later on).
Share resources on your platform.
In curating Notes from Eva, I’ve had lots of folks send me opportunities they see throughout the year. Because they know I gather these opportunities in one place, I often get people sending me things they see online, or even opportunities for jobs/fellowships from their current workplace. There’s power in taking a communal approach to researching opportunities, too. The newsletter has helped me connect with creatives both in my hometown and beyond. Over time, I’ve stayed in touch with colleagues from past jobs and workshops, who often email me opportunities they see as a fit. Think about fellow business owners or creatives that you connect with genuinely. Let them know you’re searching for opportunities, and you can share anything you find, too. If it’s not something that matches your own background, why not share it with others?
Keep an open mind on finding opportunities and funding, and ask yourself where your priorities line up at the moment. Do you want funding for a new project? Are you looking for mentorship? Do you want to be part of a community? These questions can help you tailor your search. Good luck!