Being a freelancer is fun. You decide your working hours. You decide who you want to work for. And you decide how much should you be paid. Unlike a traditional workplace, you don't have to work when you're not in the mood, your ability to take breaks has no bound, and you never have to feel overpowered by a boss. The only thing you are expected to do is to meet the requirements of your clients and get paid in return. Sounds exciting, right?
As they always say, "the grass on the other side is always greener until you step in." Likewise, the life of a freelancer is not always as easy as it seems. An individual working as a freelancer has a responsibility to get the work done on time, ensuring quality as well. Moreover, the self-employed worker is solely responsible for invoicing and billing clients on a regular basis, which brings me to the main topic of this post.
Invoicing is a pain all freelancers have gone through. It can be a confusing as well as a difficult process. Until recently, invoicing was tackled with manual invoices prepared with the help of spreadsheets. These invoices were printed and sent to clients through the mail. However, that process is really irksome and exhausting, as it takes a just a little bit too much effort to bring in cash after slogging for weeks to get rewarded. Who wouldn't love the sight of money coming in sooner rather than wasting time preparing invoices and waiting for them to be paid?
The trend of paper invoicing kept on going until online invoicing was invented. Technology saw the advent of online invoicing applications, much to the relief of hard working freelancers. Things were made much simpler with the new technique.
How is online invoicing more beneficial than traditional paper billing?
That's a good question indeed, since the invoice you send speaks volumes about you as a professional freelancer. Clients usually notice your approach, such as your choice of a layout for your invoice, so it must look professional. A way freelancers can create professional-looking invoices and get paid faster through online invoicing include:
- Standardizing Invoices– Invoicing applications usually come with a template customization feature. This lets an individual send different sets of layouts to its clients. Out of the many invoicing templates available, a freelancer could use a standardized, branded template for a particular client. This way, the client knows who it is from when an invoice comes in. What this does is that this nudges the client to pay instantly, or at least sooner than before.
- Communication Customizing– Freelancers usually serve multiple clients. Out of these multiple clients, they may have better relationships with some clients than with others. For these "top-priority" clients, a freelancer could give discounts or some sort of relaxed payment terms. This could be highlighted on the electronic invoice. Reminding them of this gesture through electronic invoices encourages the client to do a return favor to the freelancer by paying as quickly as possible, sometimes even before payment is due.
- Timely Payment Cycles/ Automatic Reminders -You always come across clients that find joy in not sending the payment in unless an invoice reminder is sent. Such clients could be well-tackled with invoicing applications that bill them on time and send automatic reminders if there is no response. You could always charge a late fee or interest charges if a payment is overdue. Penalizing the client in this case would completely be legit. After all, business is business. Just make those terms clear in your contract.
You might have now guessed why online invoicing is a better deal. Yes, it saves time, cost, and most importantly eliminates all the hassles of creating and sending handmade invoices. It's all done in minutes. And the sooner you get an invoice to your clients, the sooner you can get paid for your hard work.
- How Freelancers Can Make the Most of Online Invoicing - March 18, 2013