Freelance Work

Registering as a Business

  1. Apply for a free EIN (Employer Identification Number). This number is for tax purposes. For example, if you do work for a company, the company may ask for your EIN or social security number to report work expenses on their taxes.

  2. Register your business at the City of San Jose. Click on the Register link on the right hand column to download the business registration form. If you are a freelancer, select “Sole Proprietorship” as the type of ownership. For information on creating a home-based business, click here. *If you live in another city and intend on basing your business in another city, go to the city’s website to find the correct forms and information.

  3. Fill out the Business Tax Exemption Form. This will waive the annual business license fee for the first year. You will need to fill out this form every year to continue receiving this fee waiver if you still qualify for the exemption.

  4. If you are registering your business in San Jose, turn in the business license and business tax exemption forms to the San Jose City Hall.

  5. If your business name includes your full name (ex. Ima Spartan Designs), you do not need to register for a Ficticious Business Name. However, if you wish to operate under a name other than one with your first and last name, then you must register for a Ficticious Business Name.

  6. If you intend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail, then you must register for a Seller's Permit.

  7. Learn about your tax obligations. If you are a sole proprietor or partner in a trade or business, file for taxes as a self-employed individual. Be sure to keep track of work expenses and income.

NOTE: The SJSU Career Center is not a legal entity and cannot provide legal advice. This information is only intended to provide guidelines and resources. All information and policies are subject to change without notice.

Creating a Website

Creating an online portfolio or website for your business is crucial for getting clients and advertising your work. Use these website builders or portfolio sites to start building your business presence online.

Website Builders

Portfolio Sites

Promoting Your Business

List your business online, network at community events, and join local business groups to promote your business.

Finding Work

Check out these freelance job boards to connect with potential clients.

Resources