Ching ching, bling bling, cut the chatter
You ain’t talking money, then your talking don’t matter
Ching ching, bling bling, pattin’ pockets
You make the dolla dolla, can’t a damn soul stop it
Shock it (uhhh)
– Naughty By Nature
Hands up you find money and finance one of the worst parts about business? Hopefully, a few people put their hands up, and I’m not just sat here waving my hands in the air like I don’t care.
Money is an awkward conversation to have, regardless of who you have it with. Whether it’s a loan from family, who picks up the bill when you go out or chasing invoices from clients – money is one of those conversations we’d all rather ignore having.
I’m no financial whizz when it comes to business. I’m sure seven out of ten times I undersell myself. So if that’s true, perhaps I still wouldn’t be juggling a full-time job with a freelance career. However, I’m not going to talk about how much I don’t make, because you can find that out for yourself here. I’m going to discuss invoicing and how I’ve changed my approach to them, to better business and the fear of when I’m getting paid.
The first invoice
Typically when you complete a project, you send your invoice to the client. I am notorious at being late with sending my invoices as I would usually wait until I have an admin day at the weekend to sift through all the paperwork side of the business.
The first invoice experience should, however, be pain-free. Send it as soon as possible. Say it was nice working with the client on your final email. Then attach the invoice or say the invoice will follow depending on whether you create your own or something like FreeAgent or Quickbooks (who I have just swapped to using – more on that in a bit.)
I’ve only just recently included this, but make sure you give them a deadline for when the invoice is due. That way the client knows where and when their money is going, and in theory, you know what date you can be expected to get paid.
I’m new to the reminders of invoices. Like I said, I used to be awful at sending invoices and therefore even worse at chasing them. I know that’s because I have the salary of my full-time job to fall back on. However, as I’m pushing to make freelancing my full-time gig, I’ve got to be better at invoicing as that’s how you get the money.
I’d send an invoice reminder after a month without payment. However, with apps like Quickbooks, you have the option to send reminders straight from your dashboard. It makes it so much easier. You can see how long until the invoice is due and send a quick reminder to the client.
I’ve been sending reminders at two weeks and one week until the payment deadline. The two-week reminder is a friendly nudge. When the one-week reminder gets posted, I add a tagline of ‘if this payment is late, a fee of 10% will be added per week the invoice is overdue.’ Do you know what? That fear of a late payment gives clients the kick up the arse they need sometimes. Even if it does mean you get paid on the very last day the payment is due – no bonus money for you this month, sorry.
What is your invoicing process, and do you do anything differently? Alternatively, perhaps you’d like me to send you an invoice for some work you need doing – let me know below!