the online branding school

my own irresistible brand

The creative entrepreneur’s compass for cutting through fear, competition, and confusion,
while building an experience your dream clients can’t help but love, share, and buy.

Stimulus Money For Women-owned Businesses And Minority-owned Businesses

Emergency resource guide for small business owners who applied
for the PPP program and were shut out OR who didn’t apply
because they inadvertently disqualified themselves

By Elise + Scott Grice
Co-Founders of My Own Irresistible Brand

IMPORTANT NOTE: SBA funds are limited. 


90% of women-owned businesses + minority-owned businesses have NOT been 
funded by the PPP, even though there are billions of dollars left. This unfancy 
Google Doc aims to change that statistic and to connect you to resources, 
lenders and alternative funding that is available—especially in light of The Flexibility Act 
which “ensures full forgiveness for self-employed, freelancers and 
independent contractors.” [Forbes]


Over the last several months, we’ve seen two troubling trends that are directly affecting stimulus money for women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses:

Trend #1: Small businesses are being disproportionately shut out of the PPP program because of their bank itself OR because they don’t have a personal relationship with their bank, an accountant, a lawyer, etc.

Trend #2: Small businesses are inadvertently disqualifying themselves from the stimulus money available—due to the overwhelming nature of the application process, OR their self-employment (or independent contractor) status, OR outdated information, OR because they think “someone else might need this funding more than I do.”

Because of these two trends AND the impending deadline to apply for the PPP program (June 30, 2020), we created this time-sensitive Google doc to ensure this funding is truly accessible to ALL women and small business owners within our community and beyond.

During her recent IGTV, @shariceandco shared some of the most powerful words I’ve ever heard:

“Entrepreneurship is a form of activism.”

And when it comes to women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses, 
THIS is what it comes back to for us.

This is why your ACCESS matters.
This is why your CASH FLOW matters.
This is why your FUNDING matters.

Because in the midst of COVID-19, and in the midst of standing against racial injustice, and police brutality, and in the midst of preparing your business for an impending recession…

the FUTURE of your business matters. 

For the past 9 years that we’ve been in business, and despite all of the crises we’ve personally walked through (SEE: Our free 9-part Crisis Protocol), there has never been an opportunity like this—when it comes to securing outside funding in the midst of a crisis. 

So even though we—as individuals and as a company—are NOT financial advisors, accountants, or lawyers, and even though we can’t tell you specifically what to apply for or how to use the funding once it’s secured, what we can tell you is this:

The world needs more women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses to SURVIVE, SUCCEED, and SCALE in 2020. 

Which is why, below, you’ll not only find all the PPP resources we’ve personally gathered over the past several months, but it’s also why we are making this Google doc free for you to use and to share with ANY small business owner who needs it.

This Google Doc and the links within it are meant to be shared.

And please, please, please remember: This is not the time to panic, but to ACT. 

Take ACTION and read through this document in its entirety. 
Take ACTION and apply for the stimulus money available to you. 
Take ACTION and talk to your colleagues about their PPP status. 
Take ACTION and share this document with your community. 

We are all stronger when we are ALL financially secure. 

So let’s take action and make sure that happens … for all of us.

With all our love,


Because we are ALL stronger when we are in this together, we want to be perfectly clear: Even though this Google doc was carefully curated by us, Elise + Scott Grice, the content found within each of the links below was originally created by other amazing individuals and businesses who’ve come before us.

Please support the women and the businesses we’ve mentioned 
within this document. 
Follow them, learn from them, invest in them. This document would not exist without the hours of free labor they’ve poured into making sure this stimulus money is accessible and available to ALL. 

As Rupi Kaur once wrote …

“I stand
on the sacrifices
of a million women before me
what can I do
to make the mountain taller
so the women after me
can see further.”

Simply put: 
These are the types of women and businesses who are making the mountain taller. 

  Special thanks to
Jennifer Kem
The Helm
Kendrick Shope

Autumn Witt Boyd
Lisa Fraley
Mike Michalowitcz

Summary of what you’ll find below

Supporting women-owned businesses
Supporting Businesses owned by BIPOC


Up to 90% of minority and women owners shut out of Paycheck Protection Program, experts fear by CNN (last updated on April 22, 2020) 

Minority-owned small businesses still struggle to access billions in stimulus by ABC News (last updated on June 10, 2020)

Both these news articles share the same statistics that estimate 90% of minority and women-owned businesses are not getting access to the billions in stimulus money still available—even though the deadline to apply is quickly approaching.

SBA Finally Clarifies PPP Loan Forgiveness Rules: Full Forgiveness For Self-Employed Borrowers by Forbes

At the beginning of June, The Flexibility Act was passed. As this article clearly lays out, this update to the PPP program “ensures full forgiveness for self-employed, freelancers and independent contractors who took the maximum loan amount based on 2.5 times their 2019 monthly income.”

What You Need to Know About the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act by Gusto

Here is an easy to read side-by-side comparison of the differences between the original PPP and the updated PPPFA guidelines. “The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) revises the PPP in response to critiques, making it more flexible and offering small business owners increased access to loans.”

How to Calculate Your Paycheck Protection Program Loan Amount by Bench

If you don’t know how much funding your business would qualify for, Bench will help you calculate this number. “PPP loans are calculated using the average monthly cost of the salaries of you and your employees. But if you’re a sole proprietor, your PPP loan will be calculated based on your business’ net profit.”


After months of struggling with our own bank (Wells Fargo) and several other alternative banks and lenders, we were connected to BlueVine. We applied for the PPP through them and were approved within minutes and funded days later! Many of our clients, colleagues, and friends were also quickly funded through BlueVine after being denied or delayed through other lenders.

What makes BlueVine slightly different than a lot of other third-party processors is that their application process is almost entirely automated. Which means you are not waiting on an agent to review your application, which allows them to process applications so much faster.

For more information about BlueVine:

Review via Trustpilot
Review via NerdWallet
Review via Merchant Maverick

  What you will need to apply through BlueVine:

Basic information about you and your business
Your average monthly payroll costs (even if it’s just paying yourself)
Details of all employees and associated payroll costs (even if you’re the only “employee”)
Details of all persons with 20% or greater ownership stakes
Tax filings such as 941, 940/944, 1120, Schedule C, or payroll processor records
Bank statements or bank connection

**Important Note: BlueVine is not a lender. They are an application processor. They review and approve your PPP application on behalf of other lenders. The lenders that have partnered with BlueVine are Celtic Bank (a Utah-chartered Industrial Bank, Member FDIC), and Cross River Bank (a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC).

**Important Note: One reason why applications have consistently been denied or delayed is because of miscalculated financials. This is why we highly recommend using this resource from Bench which gives detailed instructions for how to calculate your financials for your application. These instructions include how to calculate your financials as an independent contractor, sole-proprietor, LLC, or corporation. For additional questions and guidance, Divvy (another application processor) has a chatbot on their website that answers PPP questions. 

As always, we recommend due diligence when applying for grants or loans. Our goal in sharing this specific lender is to connect you to a resource. We cannot guarantee results, terms, etc. And we are in no way, shape, or form endorsing BlueVine or an affiliate for BlueVine.



Layperson’s Guide To Getting Your Stimulus Money by Jennifer Kem

Jennifer Kem created one of the largest and most all-inclusive Google Docs that walks you through HOW to navigate the legislation and private options available to small business owners so you can have cash-on-hand and relief during the pandemic.

How Women-Owned Businesses Can Get Help by Ellevest

This is a list of resources specifically tailored toward women-owned businesses which includes funding resources as well as directories so you can support women-owned businesses.

Your Complete Guide to Emergency Funding: Everything Female Founders Need to Know by The Helm

From how to access SBA Disaster Recovery Loans, to grants and relief packages, this guide is a frequently-updated list of everything women-owned businesses will need to weather the impacts of Coronavirus. 

COVID-19 Financial Resources for Small Businesses, State by State by Bench

As a part of the CARES act, local states, cities, and counties are rolling out their own stimulus packages to small businesses and individuals/households. Using the above link you can research what your state is providing. We also encourage you to see if your specific city or county are offering their own funding programs or resources.
For example, Florida is offering a “Bridge loan” program which the city of Tampa is promoting. But Hillsborough county is offering 3 separate grant programs not being advertised by Tampa. So be sure to look up your city, county, and state programs.

Review of State-Sponsored Help for European Companies by Debevoise and Plimpton

Even though this document was created in response to the crisis with funding in the United States, we haven’t forgotten our European friends as well! Above you will find a resource center for state-sponsored help for European companies.


FREE COVID-19 Business Resources from lawyer, Autumn Witt Boyd

This page is continuously being updated with new resources and videos almost every single week. Beyond all of the amazing free resources about the PPP, Autumn Witt Boyd also includes legal resources such as this Guide to Customer, Vendor, and Other Contracts (event cancellations, refunds, and more).

[FREE LEGAL LANGUAGE] Force majeure clause for your client agreements
from lawyer, Lisa Fraley

Including a Force majeure clause in your legal paperwork moving forward is key to protecting your business (and your cash flow) in 2020. According to Lisa Fraley, “Force majeure clauses are used to limit your liability when events happen which are out of your control such as government laws and orders, travel restrictions, and natural occurrences such as coronavirus or even hurricanes or earthquakes.”

For Event Professionals: The Email You Need to Send to Clients Who Postpone Their Events TO KEEP YOUR CASH FLOWING from sales expert, Kendrick Shope

Although this resource is specifically about sales language and NOT legal language, Kendrick Shope shares a template you can adapt (to your voice/style) if you have clients who need to postpone. From a sales perspective, she shares how to respond to their request to reschedule while asking them to pay 10% of the balance still due.


Whether you’ve scrolled through this document quickly OR you’ve carefully read each of the links provided, we want to honor your financial journey and the discomfort, fear, and overwhelm you may currently feel.


This is not the time to panic, but to ACT. 

As we outlined at the beginning of this document, here are the following actions we recommend taking:

Take ACTION and read through this document in its entirety. 
Take ACTION and apply for the stimulus money available to you. 
Take ACTION and talk to your colleagues about their PPP status. 
Take ACTION and share this document with your community. 

Beyond these initial action steps, we also have the following resources available for you, once you’re ready for MORE.

Our Crisis Protocol: Thriving Through Uncertainty

Released back in April, our FREE 9-part guide walks you through how to lead your business forward in seasons of grief, loss and financial setback—PLUS, how to stabilize, strategize, and shift amidst any unforeseen circumstances. 

No opt-in or purchase necessary!

Accounting for COVID-19

[FREE] Accounting for COVID-19 by Mike Michalowicz
[FREE] Recession Response by Mike Michalowicz + friends

Note: This page is continuously updated with new resources, videos, PDFs, etc. 

Financial support + guidance

Amber Dugger – Profit First professional
Pam Prior – Financial advisor and CFO
The Creatives CFO – Virtual CFO + Accountant

Supporting other small businesses

As you stabilize your own finances, we recommend analyzing how/where you can support other small businesses owned by women and BIPOC (Black, Indiginous, and People of Color). Remember, 90% of minority and women-owned businesses have not been funded through PPP. Which means the future of their business is currently dependent on NEW sales. 

According to the US Census Bureau, 88% of all women-led businesses make less than $100,000 a year. Which means 88% of women-owned businesses went into this crisis struggling to pay themselves a decent living wage AND cover their operating expenses AND pay for their taxes (unless they have an additional form of income). I wrote about this reality in 2019 here and here.

So as you’re looking to grow your business in 2020, analyze how/where you can support other small businesses along the way. As we shared at the beginning of this Google Doc, we are all stronger when we are ALL financially secure. So let’s take action and make sure that happens … for all of us.

    Supporting women-owned businesses

Support Your Ladies
Women Owned
More Women’s Voices
Ladies Get Paid
The Women Speaker Initiative ← This initiative aims to increase the number of underrepresented speakers speaking at conferences, as well as ensure that speakers of all backgrounds are paid competitively as compared to their colleagues.

    Supporting Businesses owned by BIPOC

Black Nation
I Am Black Business
Official Black Wall Street
Database of Diverse Databases
BIPOC Creative Directory
BIPOC Owned Design Studios
BIPOC creatives available for paid hire
The Hill Creatives ← A NEW directory of Black creatives, including web developers, social media managers, copywriters, online business managers, and accountants for creatives.


Beyond this FREE emergency guide, there are multiple ways we can support you as you navigate the reality of building a modern-day brand in an overwhelmed, burnt out, and worn-out world. So if we haven’t already connected on social media, we would LOVE to personally meet you! 

Connect with Elise + Scott on Instagram
(leave us a comment or send us a DM!) 
Connect with Elise + Scott on Facebook
(leave us a comment or send us a PM!)

Beyond these two channels, we also offer:

Free Support

If you’re looking for more depth, nuance, and data about the state of online marketing 
(that goes beyond the online marketing illusion)

We recommend our FREE Unhidden email series. We wrote this series in 2019 and every single email, video, and PDF included in this series is linked for you in the initial welcome email.

If you’re looking for in-depth conversations about the messy intersection of life + business 
(and the humanity that leads us forward as we grow, fail, and adapt throughout every new season of entrepreneurship)

Then we recommend our FREE 6-part podcast series: Nobody Talks About This. In this 12-hour series we share candid stories surrounding failure, mental health, minimalism, marriage, and debt. You can expect honest conversations, courageous topics, and an undeniable theme of hope, humanity, and healing. Each episode is free of judgement and full of grace, all in an effort to create community and a safe space for those who are ready for change.

Paid Support

If you’re looking for a proven brand accelerator that’s already been vetted by over 1000+ creative entrepreneurs…

We recommend Branding School 2.0. This live experience isn’t another “online course” with a formulaic step-by-step plan (that doesn’t actually fit you, your goals, or your business). Instead, this is a MODERN-DAY IMMERSIVE ACCELERATOR that deepens and expands the skill sets you need to step into your true role as the CEO and Brand Strategist for your business.

Even though enrollment is currently closed, Branding School 2.0 will return in 2020! You can join the waitlist for this LIVE once-a-year experience and get instant access to our most popular 45-minute training video: Myths, Misconceptions, and Marketing Ploys Surrounding the Instagram Algorithm.

If you’re looking to grow your business 
beyond the $40k-250k glass ceiling

We also offer 1-on-1 VIP intensives via Beyond Irresistible. Because of our limited availability, these intensives are typically reserved for Branding School 2.0 alumni. This is why every available spot we’ve opened up since January has been claimed by graduates of our group program. 

But due to the pandemic and the increasing amount of burnout, exhaustion, and decision-fatigue that is directly affecting CEOs within the $40k-250k range, we’ve decided to open up a few more dates in our summer calendar to anyone within our community who’s ready for both LESS and MORE. 

We currently offer two different VIP intensives:

1) Our half-day intensive
2) Our 90-day experience

Both of these VIP intensives are by application and invite-only.
 To see if you qualify and to apply for this 1-on-1 experience, click HERE. 

The future of your small business matters.
And no matter which level of support you choose, 
we are in this with you, for you, and alongside you.