You’re a writer, not an accountant, so invoicing is probably something that you dread a little bit. (Okay, maybe more than a little bit.) But, we all want to get paid on time, right?
Your skills lie elsewhere, which is why it’s important to create an invoicing process that’s simple, straightforward, and gets you paid on time. Not sure how to do this? You’re not alone. That’s why we’re going to share a few secrets that will make invoicing quick and simple.
Streamlining Your Invoicing Process: Tips and Tricks for Freelance Writers
These tips and tricks for freelance invoicing are not rocket science, but they can easily fall through the cracks. That is why we highly recommend that you incorporate these practices into your routine. Once they’re solidly in place, you’ll find that you’re more likely to get paid on time.
Always Keep Your Records Up To Date
One of the simplest and most important things you can do to keep your finances in order is to keep continuous, accurate records of any payment-related information.
Commit to saving every invoice, pay slip, and payment confirmation you send to receive from your clients, and it will be much easier to gain control over your finances. That way, if you ever need to backtrack or double-check some information, it will all be ready and waiting for you.
It’s called “bookkeeping” for a reason. You need to keep all your books (or in this case, most likely digital invoices) in an organized fashion for easy access and verification.
Draw Up Rate Cards For Every Client
A rate card is a document that includes comprehensive information about your services, pricing system, and skills. It can also include testimonials from previous clients or a list of client brands who you’ve worked with in the past. It helps potential clients understand what to expect from hiring you.
Rate cards are useful for a variety of reasons.
First, they contain valuable and relevant information about what your rates are and how your pricing system works. Second, they boost credibility. Having a rate card makes you look more professional and can entice clients to want to work with you more.
But they also contribute to the organization of your invoicing system. If you draw up a rate card for every client, you have a clear file to use as a reference for any projects that you may be hired for in the future.
Always Invoice On The Same Date
Treat your invoice system as though it’s a business. And businesses always invoice on the same date, no matter who is receiving it. Plus, doing so keeps your admin consistent, and you stay organized behind the scenes.
This is especially important if you have recurring or retainer clients. But even if you don’t, it brings the necessary structure to your invoicing process. Remember to also invoice as promptly as possible.
Create Invoice Templates Per Client Or Job
You can save significant time and energy by creating an invoice template that can be reused and edited over a long period of time. It’s quicker and easier than making one from scratch each time.
You don’t need to have any major design skills to create a good invoice template. In fact, you might already have some installed on your computer as you can find them in Word and Excel. And if you don’t use this software, there are plenty available online for free too. Once you find an invoice template you like, you can edit and revise it to suit your needs, rates, and style.
Printable invoice templates are great for streamlining your accounting system because they’re incredibly easy to create and can be tailor-edited for each client, making sure you have a clear record of every gig.
Set Up An Invoicing System
As an independent contractor, you need to develop your own invoicing system. If you don’t, your financials and accounts will quickly become chaotic, fast. There are two main different ways to go about this: via an external invoicing app, or via a secure folder and spreadsheet system you manage yourself.
- Invoicing apps – these apps handle the development, processing, and security elements of creating watertight invoices. There are dozens of high-quality free options available online.
- Secure folder and Excel spreadsheet – create a secure folder on your PC to store all previous and current invoices. Use an Excel spreadsheet to quickly browse through all payments received over the last month, and track any overdue invoices.
These are your main two options for setting up an invoice system as a freelancer. The choice is up to you. However, invoicing apps are much better in the long run as they function automatically and accommodate the natural growth of your career.
Implement Payment Checks
In 2022, 29% of freelancers reported being paid late. This is not sustainable or fair. Late payments are usually the client’s fault, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for you to help prevent them—and implementing payment checks is one of those ways.
Payment checks are exactly what they sound like—checking up on the payments people have made into your account and noting when they are overdue. Some freelancer platforms include payment check options on your account dashboard, but if yours doesn’t, they’ll have to be implemented manually.
Have A Boilerplate For Overdue Invoices Or Late Payments
The term boilerplate refers to the standard wording used in documents. So, if you do find yourself needing to confront a client about an overdue invoice, you have a boilerplate email or document to send through without needing to make one from scratch.
Having a boilerplate for overdue payments or late invoices is great when you don’t have the energy to challenge someone about what they owe you, or you just want some consistency in how you handle these kinds of situations. Either way, a boilerplate is a good thing to have in your back pocket.
Streamline Your Invoicing and Get Paid On Time
Not many people in this world are born with natural accounting talent, so don’t be hard on yourself if you aren’t part of that bracket. As a freelance writer, your skills are geared toward storytelling and sentence structure, and that’s great!
But nonetheless, all independent contractors need to cultivate some basic financial skills in order to make a living in the freelance industry and establish healthy relationships with clients.
Fortunately, learning how to create, process, and manage invoices has never been easier, and there is an abundance of resources available to help you throughout. With these tips, you can become a freelance writer that is both successful and completely independent.