Business Resources

The information on this page is provided as a resource only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The specific facts in every situation are different, so while easy access to these resources should provide some initial guidance in starting a business, they should not be relied on completely.  Laws change constantly and although Triangle ArtWorks will try to keep these resources up to date, we can not guarantee it.  So, do not act or fail to act based solely on information provided below … please consult an attorney for a complete understanding of how the law applies to you and your business in North Carolina.

Do you have information regarding business resources that would be of interest to the Triangle’s arts community? Send us an email!

Starting a Business:

When an artist decides to build a business around her art, who she partners with and how she structures that business are crucial decisions. We have searched the internet for you and collected some helpful links for getting started. This page focuses on resources to help for-profit entities.

The Small Business AdministrationThis government website provides a good discussion of the various types of business entities including the cooperative, the corporation, the limited liability company and the partnership, including the pros and cons of each. Start here as you begin to think about how to set up a business.

The Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center – This IRS resource serves taxpayers who file Form 1040, Schedules C, E, F or Form 2106, as well as small businesses with assets under $10 million.

The Clark-Hulings Fund for Visual Artists – The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists nonprofit organization that equips professional visual artists to be self-sustaining entrepreneurs. They offer paid and free online videos, classes, discussion boards and more to help visual artists thrive.  They also have a year long Art Business Accelerator, to which they accept applications for 20 free Fellowships.

10-Step Quick Start Guide for New Businesses – Law + ArtWorks member, Brandon Huffman, of Odin Law and Media created this helpful guide that walks you through the steps for starting a new business and considerations along the way.

Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop – The IRS video portal has an educational series to help new business owners to understand federal taxes.  

When to Set Up a Corporation or Other Business Entity – This web page from tax and accounting firm, Riley & Associates, P.C.  provides another helpful overview into different kinds of business entities and how they might impact artists specifically. The examples at the bottom of the page are particularly illustrative. They also provide tailored tax guides for Actors, Directors, & Performers, Musicians & Singers, Writers, and Visual Artists.

The Artist as Entrepreneur – Here you will find lesson plans for a continuing education course at the University of Missouri- St. Louis. The advice on business entities is not highly technical, but is good for helping you walk through the thought processes and planning that go into starting a business as an artist.

Regional Sources:

The Small Business and Technology Development Center – The SBTDC is a State of NC and Small Business Administration supported office that provides “management counseling and educational services to small and mid-sized businesses. Most of our services are free of charge, and all are confidential”. They have a very useful Resource Guide for Starting a Business in North Carolina.

The Small Business Center Network – The Small Business Center Network (SBCN), comprised of 58 Small Business Centers located at community colleges throughout North Carolina, supports the development of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses as a community-based provider of business training, counseling, and resource information. Most community colleges have Small Business Centers, including Durham Tech, Wake Tech, Central Carolina/Chatham, Johnston. These centers provide business owners with the information they need for success, including – but not limited to – advice on marketing, sales, bookkeeping, and financial management. The SBC offers the following services at little or no cost:

  • Training and technical assistance in starting your business;
  • Business skill seminars, workshops, and courses;
  • Confidential counseling to help you develop your business plan or address your business needs;
  • Resource and referral services; andA Resource Center with small business publications and literature

NC Leap – North Carolina Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program (NC LEAP)  is a project of the North Carolina Bar Association and the NCBA Foundation that provides free legal services to low-wealth entrepreneurs who are in the process of starting or expanding their businesses: through direct legal representation, small business legal clinics and the production of self-help materials. NC Leap also provides business-related assistance to established nonprofit entities in North Carolina. Unfortunately, they do not provide assistance with establishing a 501(c)(3).

Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) – BLNC is a great resource for starting a business in North Carolina.  It provides, in an easy-to-access format, quick links to all the business assistance the State has to offer, from permits and licenses, to business forms, to financing assistance. They also offer free one-on-one consultation with business counselors.

The Secretary of State of North Carolina’s website – The Secretary of State’s office is where you will go when you are ready to incorporate your business. On their site you will also find North Carolina’s own guides on different business structures and detailed information about the requirements for corporations in the state.

The NC Department of Revenue – Offers business, tax information and seminars for businesses.


Are you a lawyer? Triangle ArtWorks is putting together a Lawyer’s Task Force to explore how ArtWorks can further assist the Triangle’s creative community with legal issues and education.  Among other things, we will be working on keeping these legal resources up to date and educational programs and workshops.  If you are a lawyer and are interested in getting involved, email us!