I want to keep this short and sweet. Let’s talk about the best way to invoice as a freelancer.
Not long ago, I saw a threat on Twitter about invoicing. Many self-employed individuals (read: freelancers) were complaining about how it takes them months to get paid by their clients. If it takes you months to get paid, you have the wrong clients. You do not have to follow their rules for invoicing. The response I received to that? I wish it were that simple.
Unless your sole business is pitching magazines, and for most of you, I know for a fact that isn’t your sole business, it really is that simple.
Here is the “secret sauce” that makes up the best way to invoice when you’re self-employed.
The Best Way to Invoice: Treat Yourself Like a Business First and Foremost
I know, I know – you don’t want clients getting “mad” at you and taking their business elsewhere. If they do that, they aren’t professionals anyway and you don’t need them.
I do not care if you’re a DBA, an LLC, an S-Corp, a C-Corp, a partnership, or anything else under the setting or rising sun. If you want to get paid on time and, again, you are not solely pitching magazines, you get to set the rules for payment because you are a business just like your clients are a business… Unless, of course, you’re just doing a solid for everyone know and giving them the “friends and family discount.”
Take Upwork for instance. If you’re on there then you know that if you do hourly work then you get paid about two weeks after you do the work. Your clients receive a week to review the time log and then you get your money. Flat rate on there works differently always make sure escrow is funded before you do the work!). Upwork created those terms, not the clients who signed up.
Related: How to Become Top Rated on Upwork
You select your billing software (Zoho Invoice is free for small businesses. Visit my resources page for a link.). You decide if you want to bill weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. You inform clients during your on-boarding process what you do for billing. If they don’t like your billing process, have a discussion. At that point, it is up to you what you decide to do. It is rare that I make an exception to my billing practices.
The best way to invoice is what works for you…but if you’re going to sit on social media and bitch that your clients aren’t paying you, you need to do two things:
- Evaluate your billing and payment cycle.
- Evaluate the type(s) of clients you work with and fire them if necessary.