As a freelance writer, you know better than anyone else just how important it is to invoice clients correctly. But even if you’re doing everything right, some clients still fail to pay up. Here are four common billing mistakes freelancers make, along with tips on avoiding them.
1. Not including payment terms
When you send out an invoice, make sure you include the date by which you want to receive payment, whether it’s 30 days or 60 days. If you don’t specify a due date, clients often assume you’ll wait forever to bill them. And if they do pay within the specified timeframe, they might feel like they’ve been shortchanged because you didn’t give them enough notice.
2. Sending multiple invoices
You shouldn’t send separate bills for different projects unless those projects are related. For example, if you work on several marketing campaigns for one client, you should combine them into one invoice. Otherwise, you could end up sending three invoices to the same customer for three unrelated projects. This makes it difficult for customers to keep track of their payments and increases the chances they’ll miss deadlines.
3. Failing to follow up
If you haven’t heard anything about a project after you sent it off, it’s probably safe to assume the client isn’t paying you. Even if you hear nothing for weeks or months, it doesn’t mean the project is dead. You should always follow up with clients to ensure they received your invoice and let them know you’re still waiting for payment.
Your invoice template is unprofessional
Freelance writers often struggle with creating professional invoices that are easy to understand and follow. They want to make it clear how much money they’re owed, what work was done, and where payment needs to go. But it doesn’t always come naturally.
There are many different ways to approach invoice creation, and some people prefer to do it manually. Others use software, such as FreshBooks or Xero, to automate the process. And there are even online tools like Invoice Ninja that allow you to design your own templates.
But no matter which way you choose to do it, you’ll still need to write out the information that makes up each invoice. This includes things like client names, contact info, dates, rates, descriptions of the work performed, and totals. If you’re struggling to figure out how to format your invoices correctly, here are five tips to help you along the way.
1. Make Sure Your Client Has All Necessary Information
The most important thing to include in every invoice is the name of the person you’re working with. You should also provide contact information, including email address, phone number, mailing address, and social media handles. It’s also helpful to include your terms of service agreement, which states the rules of engagement for your relationship.
2. Include Dates
Include dates whenever possible. For example, if you worked on a project over several months, list the start date, end date, and the total amount billed. If you’re doing freelance writing, include the date you submitted the article or blog post, the date it was published, and the final price.
You’re not numbering your invoices
When it comes to invoicing clients, many businesses are still struggling to come up with a system that works well enough to make sure that every invoice gets paid on time. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Invoice2Go, nearly half of small businesses don’t even bother tracking their invoices because there’s no way to know whether they’ve been received.
But while some companies just rely on memory to remember what happened to each invoice, others are taking steps to ensure that everything goes smoothly. One such step is to start numbering their invoices.
Asking yourself why you want to do this might seem like a silly question, since most people already use something to keep track of their bills. But the answer is simple: You’ll be able to see exactly how much money you owe to each client, and you won’t have to worry about losing track of any invoices. Plus, it makes it easier to send out reminders about payment deadlines.
So how does adding an invoice number to your invoices actually work? Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can start implementing this strategy today.
Sending paper invoice
Paper invoices are old-school. They require printing, mailing, scanning, filing, and tracking. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. There are many online invoicing solutions out there that make managing your invoices easy. Here are three of our favorites:
Square Invoice is one of the most popular options because it provides a free app for iOS and Android devices, making it very convenient for mobile workers. You can set up recurring invoices, view payment history, and even automate bill payers. Plus, Square offers discounts for businesses that sign up for multiple accounts.
This web-based solution makes creating invoices fast and easy. Simply enter client information into the form, choose how much money you want to charge per project, and select whether you want to include taxes. Once you’re done, you’ll receive an invoice via email within minutes. If you’d rather print a hard copy, you can do so directly from the site.
If you’ve ever used Zapier, you know how powerful automation tools can be. With Zapier, you can connect apps together to perform actions automatically. For example, you could use Zapier to automatically send invoices to customers based on what products they purchased.
You are inconsistent with billing.
Invoicing is one of those things you know you should do, but it seems like such a pain to set up. You spend hours trying to figure out how to make sure everything gets sent correctly. And even though you’ve done it once or twice, there are always mistakes along the way. If you’re anything like most small businesses, you probably don’t want to go through that again. So what do you do? Well, you could just stick with paper invoices, but that’s inefficient, expensive, and doesn’t scale well. Or you could use an online invoicing system like Square Invoices. But what happens when you run into problems? Do you call customer support? Are you stuck waiting around while someone fixes something? Not anymore. With Square Invoices, we’ll take care of all of that for you. We’ll help you set up recurring invoices, and we’ll handle sending them out automatically each month or week. Plus, our team will work directly with you to ensure that nothing goes wrong. All you have to do is sign up.
Professionalize your invoicing
Invoicing is one of those things that many people don’t like doing. But it’s a necessary evil, whether you’re running a small business or are working for someone else. Being able to quickly invoice clients and receive payment is essential to growing your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I even require a freelance agreement?
When you sign up for a freelance gig, you’ll likely agree upon terms and conditions, payment schedule, deadlines, etc. But what happens if something goes wrong during the course of the work? A lot of people don’t think about this part of the process, and often times, it doesn’t matter because most contracts are written very loosely. However, it’s important to understand the basics of a freelance contract and ensure that you’re covered legally.
What problems do freelancers face
1. Time management
Freelancing is not just about working hours; it’s about managing time effectively. You need to set aside enough time to complete tasks and projects. If you don’t have enough time to work on them, then you should either cut down on the number of clients you take on or find ways to speed up the completion of each task.
2. Money Management
You may think that you’re making good money, but if you’re spending more than you earn, then you’re going to struggle financially. Make sure that you keep track of how much you spend and try to reduce unnecessary expenses.
3. Client Communication
It’s important to communicate well with your clients. Clients want to know what they’re paying for and if their expectations aren’t met, they’ll likely leave unhappy. Be honest with your clients and let them know if something isn’t right.
4. Work-Life Balance
If you’re trying to balance both your personal and professional lives, then you’re probably having trouble doing both at once. Try to make some changes to your schedule so that you can focus on both aspects of yourself.
Self-care is important for everyone, especially freelancers who often put themselves last. Take care of yourself first before taking care of others.