5 Freelance Invoicing Tips for Writers
Mastering freelance invoicing is essential for any writer’s growth and development. It helps you get paid on time, keep track of your expenses and income, and stay organized even on the most frantic weeks.
Whether you’re an experienced writer or are just starting, it’s never too early to think about and set up your freelance invoicing. A common mistake that many freelancers make regardless of their occupation is ignoring the importance of invoices.
Invoicing for writers 101
Things tend to get messier and more complicated as you get more experience and the number of your projects increases. You can still keep track of everything manually with the help of an Excel file or even pen and paper, but this will inevitably lead to errors, delayed payments, and even unpaid projects in some cases. This is exactly why online invoicing software for freelancers like FreshBooks and QuickBooks are so useful.
Apart from your side of things, you also need to look at payments from the client’s perspective. Many of them work for large organizations and have a finance department that handles the payments, and usually, the person in contact with you has no clue about the finance department’s operations.
If you don’t do freelance invoicing, your payment may very well be forgotten or lost in the sea of documentation at their back office. Also, when it comes to issuing payment, almost no client is happy to do so, because, well, it means giving away cash. As a result, if they get an excuse to delay a payment or forget about it altogether, they might just do exactly that.
Invoicing for writers is just as important of a tool as a laptop, a working keyboard, or word processor. To help you get started quickly, we have comprised a list of tips that will allow you to drastically minimize all the issues connected with getting paid on time for your work.
1. Draft a written agreement
Unless you’re working through a freelance portal, the first thing that you need to do is draft a written, digital agreement and get your clients to sign it. It’s recommended to get this done prior to accepting the job. The agreement isn’t a complicated document and should briefly describe:
- Your fee: Invoicing for writers can be done in a few ways: hourly, per word or per project. Depending on your preferences, describe this for your client.
- The timeframe for the job: This will help avoid deadline issues. If there is no written agreement, you’ll never be able to prove that you handed the work on time. Some clients may try and take advantage by underpaying or delaying payments.
- Your payment method: Visa, MasterCard, PayPal or other.
- Payment period: Although this will also be included in your invoice, it’s good to mention the time that the client has to pay after receiving your invoice.
Once signed, both sides will feel more confident and responsible for their respective parts. Both the written agreement and online invoicing adds a touch of professionalism to the whole thing.
2. How to design an invoice?
Invoicing for freelancers may sound complicated, but it’s really not. Remember that freelance invoicing doesn’t need to be fancy, colorful or carry a marketing message. It’s a document that tracks and records payments. The design of an invoice should be simple and include two or three color themes at max, your logo, and invoicing details.
You can create an invoice with the help of an Excel Sheet or Adobe if you have average design skills. However, there are a lot of easier options out there. For instance, some of the leading online invoicing software providers like FreshBooks have freelance invoice generators that you can use right away. All you have to do is fill in the details.
3. What should an invoice include?
So, what goes in an invoice anyway? Depending on your occupation, this may change slightly, but overall, the points are the same. Invoicing for writers should include the following information:
- Your Logo (optional): Adds professionalism to your work.
- Your personal and contact details: Name, surname, email address, phone number, mailing address and website.
- Clients’ personal and contact details: Name, surname, email address, phone number, mailing address, and website.
- Invoice Date: When the invoice was sent out.
- Due date: This will be used to track past due invoices.
- Invoice number: This is used to keep track of your payments. For instance, Invoice 01, 2019-01, Client A-01.
- Service provided: A brief description of the completed service which you request payment for. Explain whether you request hourly, by word or project payment and also include all taxes, discounts, additional fees, etc. here.
- The amount you need to get paid: Also provide the preferred, or previously agreed upon, currency here.
- Payment details: Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, wire transfer, check, etc.
- Terms and conditions (optional): A brief reminder of the terms that you agreed upon earlier like paying half upfront, late payment fees, payment policies, etc.
- Due date: When the client should pay you by.
4. Use online tools for freelance invoicing
Many freelance writers don’t consider themselves as small business owners, which can cost them dearly at the end. Even if it’s a part-time job or just a hobby, it’s very important to keep all documentation in check. Online invoicing tools are designed specifically for this purpose and help save tremendous amounts of time, effort, and money, for a relatively small cost.
For instance, you can get a subscription to QuickBooks freelancing invoicing tool for $10/monthly, which will include all the features you need for freelance invoicing. Apart from automated invoicing, you’ll be able to track your expenses and income. You can also generate monthly reports, and even pay your taxes with the help of the tool. By the way, the vendor always updates the software to keep it in accordance with the latest taxation laws and changes, so you never have to worry about making a mistake while paying taxes.
Finally, if you’re not fully convinced, you could simply sign up for a free 30-day trial and test all the features on online invoicing tools before spending any cash. You can also make use of the vendor’s freelance invoice generator to quickly send an invoice to a client, free of charge. Once you feel the convenience and get the hang of it, it will be hard to let go.
5. Always send your invoices on time
When doing business, it’s essential to take care of your side of things properly, especially when it comes to payments. Remember, the level of your professionalism and the approach you show to each project, no matter how small it may be, will directly influence your clients’ attitude. Also, you’re doing this for yourself in the first place. When you send well-structured, timely invoices, chances for late payments are minimized.
A delayed invoice will delay your payment and mess up your plans. It could even unintentionally damage your reputation because you may leave a sloppy and unorganized impression on a serious client, who may decide not to give you other projects in the future.
While you could send your invoices manually, there is a much easier solution. Online invoicing software for freelancers like Invoice2Go has features like recurring invoices, email reminders, and even notifications. These features can help you automate a lot of processes. For instance, you can set a date for the invoice to be sent out and forget about it, and the tool will automatically send the invoice on your preferred date each month/week. The same can be done for reminders to configure them to send notifications when an invoice is due or overdue.
As a freelancer, you’re your own boss. This means that you have to take care of all business aspects apart from providing the service promised. Learning and setting up freelance invoicing software to help you in your career is an essential step. When done correctly, it will save you time and money in the long run.
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