As a freelance writer, it’s up to you to put together and submit invoices for the work you do. There’s no accounting department to take care of billing. If you forget to submit invoices, you’re not getting paid. That means you need to get comfortable putting together invoices, and fast.
There’s nothing scary about submitting a bill. Presumably, you’ve already done the work, so you deserve to get paid. However, a lot of freelancers don’t put too much thought into their invoices, which can come across as unprofessional.
In this article, we’ll go over some quick tips to help you ‘improve’ your invoices. Then we’ll talk about the best invoicing tools for freelancers and which one is right for your needs. Let’s get you paid!
How to Make Your Invoices Look More Professional
You wouldn’t want to work with someone that submits an invoice on the back of a napkin and that goes for freelancers as well. As a one-man business, it’s important that you come across as professional. That means submitting detailed invoices, and if possible, making them look good.
Every invoice you put together should include the following:
- Your full contact information
- Invoice number and date
- When payment is due
- Detailed information on what you’re billing for
As a freelance writer, you can’t just submit a number and hope to get paid. Depending on what type of work you do, you can include the name of each project alongside the price, how many hours you’re billing for, etc.
The more detailed you are, the less room for misunderstanding there is, so spend at least a few minutes double-checking each invoice before you submit it.
4 Invoicing Tools for Freelance Writers
If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, it’s a smart move to test out multiple invoicing tools before you submit your first bill. That way, you’ll be ready when the time comes.
Keep in mind – some tools will only work with specific payment options (I’m looking at you PayPal), which is something I’ll cover below. Let’s jump in!
PayPal hardly needs an introduction – it’s one of the most popular payment processors in the world. Most freelancers rely on PayPal to get paid and you can also submit invoices directly through the platform.
If you prefer getting paid through PayPal, then it’s only logical to submit invoices through it as well. That way, clients can pay you directly into your account and you can withdraw that money to your bank right away.
There’s not much to say about the quality of PayPal invoices. They’re functional and to the point. However, if you prefer getting paid through other channels, then you can skip right on.
Due is my go-to invoicing tool for clients that don’t use PayPal. It’s an all-in-one service that enables you to generate invoices, accept payments via credit card, and even store your money with a digital wallet.
On top of credit cards, Due also works with eChecks and ACH payments. It allows you to keep track of all the invoices you’ve sent, who you’ve submitted them to, and how much money you’re owed. Plus, it offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to billing. For example, Due supports billing by the hour, day, item, and other options.
As far as design goes, Due also enables you to add logos to your invoices. It’s a simple touch, but it can make your bills look a lot more professional. If you haven’t done so yet, I recommend putting together a simple logo for your freelance business.
If you don’t want to sign up for yet another online account, Invoice Generator has got your back. It’s a simple tool that enables you to generate invoices (big surprise there) without any frills. Invoices can include multiple items, you can specify taxes, add notes, set payment terms, and everything else you might need.
The service even enables you to add a logo to your invoices. What it can’t do, though, is help you process payment or send the invoice itself. Instead, you have to download the document and send it via email. It’s a great option if you have clients that want invoices for accounting but pay you separately.
If you’re the kind of person that likes all-in-one tools, you’re to love Invoice Ninja. With this service you can:
- Track how much time you spend working as well as expenses
- Manage projects using Kanban boards
- Send quotes and proposals for new clients
- Generate invoices
- Process payments using over 40 gateways (including PayPal), credit cards, ACH, and even Bitcoin.
The best part is, Invoice Ninja offers a free plan that includes all of the features above. However, fees still apply depending on what method you use to process payments, so keep that in mind.
With Invoice Ninja, you get access to templates you can use to design your invoices. It’s a fantastic tool if you want to look extra professional. However, it can be a bit overkill if you’re just interested in invoice functionality.
Invoice Ninja is an excellent time-tracking tool. However, it comes with too many frills. For time-tracking alone, I like to use Harvest, which also offers a much more user-friendly experience.
With Harvest, I can track exactly how much time I spend working on any period and then generate client invoices within the app. The service supports PayPal and Stripe payments, which makes it all the more convenient. Plus, it can handle reminders for you, so you don’t have to send awkward “Hey, where’s my money?” emails to clients.
Invoicing is one of the most intimidating aspects of freelancing. If you make a mistake or submit the wrong bill, it’s going to affect the way clients see you. Using the right tool to put together invoices can save you a lot of time and headaches. Plus, some of them even enable you to process payments directly.
If you like getting paid through PayPal, then I recommend you use their built-in invoicing tool. For other use cases, Due and Invoice Ninja are killer tools for invoice design and they enable you to process payments using multiple other methods.
Do you have any questions about submitting invoices as a freelancer? Let’s go over them in the comments section below!