Sunday, May 19, 2024

An invoicing guide for freelance writers

A man calculating his invoices.

If you consider yourself someone who has a way with words, then the idea of becoming a freelance writer probably really appeals to you. You get to write all day, every day, be creative, and decide for yourself what kind of projects you take on. You can work in your own time and create deadlines that suit you. Best of all, you can work from home or a virtual office anywhere in the world! That’s the dream, right?

It may sound easy and enjoyable, and there’s a reason why freelance copywriting ranked as the most popular job on Upwork in 2022. However, there are a few aspects of real life that are really important to get right if you want to be a successful freelance writer. Mostly, these come down to managing finances. 

So, let’s go back to basics—invoicing. Invoicing may seem simple, and it may not even seem that important, but many people consider it to be the key to keeping everything together and being a successful freelance writer.

Without further ado, let’s get straight into it. 

Why is it important for freelance writers to manage invoicing properly? 

Invoicing is an essential part of any business, but when you’re a freelancer, it’s up to you to manage every facet of your business. 

For freelance writers, there are plenty of different factors to consider and focus on if you want to be successful. Of course, there are the main points like quoting, signing on clients, managing projects, and meeting deadlines. But holding all of these things together is your invoicing system.

In their most basic form, invoices include all the most important details of a job—descriptions of the project, your fee, payment terms, payment or banking details, and any other related information that ensures you get paid correctly. 

Sending clients an invoice is also a professional way of reminding them and yourself of the entirety of the project you’ve been working on, especially if it’s been a long period of time. It’s a great way to keep organized and keep track of your work.

But more importantly, it’s an important way to keep track of your finances. That is, how much work you’re doing each month (and each year), how much you’re charging clients, and when you’re expecting payment. Sending out organized and professional invoices helps you to keep your affairs in order, it reminds clients that they need to pay you, and it exudes an important feeling of professionalism and seriousness. 

As a freelance writer, you probably have many different projects on the go at the same time. They may range drastically in genre, style, and length, and they’re probably for different clients with varying deadlines. Naturally, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. But the last thing you want to do is miss a deadline or not get paid for a project because you forgot to invoice a client. Thus, having a good invoicing system can help freelance writers create a little bit of order in a world of creativity.

How to master the art of invoicing as a freelance writer 

We’ve now established that it’s important to have a good invoicing system, especially for freelance writers, but it takes effort and understanding to put this kind of system in place. 

We’re going to give you some advice on how to master the art of invoicing as a freelance writer.

Be organised and track invoices

Make sure you keep proper records of the invoices that you’re sending clients and always be organized. Know who you’ve invoiced and when so that you don’t double invoice them or forget to invoice them at all!

One way to ensure you never miss a project or a client is to start creating the invoice as soon as the project is commissioned, filling in the details that are confirmed. Create a spreadsheet for the month (or whatever your invoicing period is) and make a note (no matter how simple) of each project as it comes in, and go through this spreadsheet when you’re sending out your invoices. 

That way, you’ll have a two-layer system to help prevent missing anything.

Use a professional template

You always want to come across professionally, and the best way to do this is to make sure your invoice looks neat and concise. These days, you don’t need to waste time creating a document from scratch. There are plenty of printable invoice template options available online that’ll save you time and create a professional impression. All you need to do is find a suitable template, customize it to suit your brand’s aesthetic, and fill in your details.

Include all necessary details

Ensure that you include absolutely everything that you could possibly need to communicate to the client on your invoice. Your descriptions need to be detailed. Your objective should be for your client to never have to ask you questions! 

Capturing all the necessary details is also important for you. If you need to refer to past projects, you can simply check the invoice and the job description to know what you’re dealing with. This also helps you with your taxes and staying on top of your bookkeeping. 

Send Invoices Promptly

Create a schedule for sending out invoices that you stick to without fail. In doing so, you’ll never miss sending out an invoice, and you can incorporate the task into your weekly or monthly routine. 

In addition to helping to keep you organized, it also comes across as very professional to your clients so that they can always know what to expect. The last thing you want is for a client to have to ask you for an invoice!

Set Clear Payment Terms

The one area where you never want blurred lines is payment terms. Make sure you’re upfront about payment terms before you even start the job, and reiterate those terms in your invoice. 
Follow Up on Payment Defaults 
Unfortunately, there are always people who miss payments, whether it’s because they can’t pay, they’re disorganized, or they have an issue with the content of your invoice. Whatever the issue is, make sure that you follow up about payment defaults in a timely and professional fashion. Sometimes, a polite reminder is all that’s needed to expedite payment.
Whether you’re freelancing from your sofa or working in a virtual office, having a proper invoicing system is crucial for freelance writers. Once you’ve created a system, you can focus on your creative endeavors, secure in the knowledge that you’ve got your financial management under control.



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Nina Sharpe

Nina Sharpe

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