Being a creative freelancer and managing invoices can be difficult. Take a look at these 10 tools to help so you can focus on working.
As a creative professional, you most likely have a portfolio of clients that you do work for, which makes for an exciting and often hectic work environment.
In the midst of enjoying the creative process, there are those times where you have to put your energy on hold and divert some of your creative genius to more tedious operational tasks.
One of these very necessary, yet time-consuming tasks, is invoicing. Creatives, you need to do this task because it means that you will get paid. The sooner you do your invoicing, the more quickly you are likely to get a timely payment.
Creative professionals, like graphic designers, are notorious for not providing timely invoicing; these designers that the industry cannot do without - often - don't get paid what they fully deserve for their work - because they forget to invoice.
Why? The creative minds are so much into their work (your business) that their minds are always working on the design. A personal experience here: We're walking along a beach with our designer talking deep business topics. Suddenly, he stops, whips out his camera and takes a picture. Of the ocean - no - the sand, the sky - no and no. The picture was of a little pebble that had a line on it. "Oh, I'm going to use this for such and such business."
He took the design of a little pebble, put his genius to it and created a magnificent piece of artwork. But, writers and designers, to help you increase your cash flow while minimizing the time you spend on invoicing, many have developed online invoicing services that also help eliminate paper processes, monitor time spent on projects, and offer a more convenient way for clients to pay you.
Here are ten online invoicing services that you can use as a creative freelancer:
This online invoicing service is an effective solution because it has an extensive template library that shows the company understands that it matters how an invoice looks to the customer. These invoice templates are also customizable to match a brand identity. As a creative, you also may not be as adept at keeping financial records, so it helps to have an online invoicing service that offers a dashboard where you can see what has been paid and what is outstanding.
Related Article: Stop Watching the Clock: Time Tracking and Invoicing Shortcuts
It shows you when recurring invoices will be sent for you as well as provides reports on your overall revenues. This helps you make smarter decisions about workflow and time spent on marketing for further business or raising your rates. Additionally, there are other features like estimates, billing in over 100 different currencies, and PayPal integration. The free package allows you to invoice five clients and send two invoices per month. They are the only free lifetime account where you get what the others charge $100/month. They also have a freelance designers guide that will help you become better.
With little time to spend on invoicing, Blink Sale helps you get right back to your projects rather than spending all your time on billing. This online invoicing service automates a considerable amount of the process and offers a simple interface to click and send your invoices as PDFs. It offers multiple invoice and thank you note designs that can be customized with some skill.
Other features include estimates that can be converted directly to an invoice after using a collaborative process that allows the potential client to make comments and changes to the estimate. You can bill in various currencies as well if you have international clients and automate the billing process with recurring invoices for those clients where you charge the same amount each month.
The company also makes it easy to budget for adding this service because it has one plan and price of $15 per month that includes unlimited invoices, estimates, clients, users and recurring invoices.
This online invoicing service helps you to manage your time, projects, and cash flow all in one solution. You can track the progress and the time spent on each client project as well as generate professional estimates that instantly convert into a customizable invoice. While you may not bill by the hour, it is good to track your time to learn how to work more efficiently as you add more clients to your daily workload.
Other features include the ability to add a logo and color scheme to your invoice design, reminder and acknowledgment notices, and multiple currencies. While it comes with PayPal Standard, you can add Stripe, 2Checkout, Authorize.net or PayPal Pro for an additional fee. There is a free plan with unlimited invoices, or you can choose from different options and prices as well as customize your very own online invoicing service plan with the modules that best suit your needs.
This popular cloud accounting software used by many types of freelancers covers all aspects of your financial record keeping, including payments, accounting, and tax documents, and invoicing. Plus, it has project management and time tracking tools as well as online payment acceptance. It offers many features that simplify and speed the invoicing process, including customized invoices, billing reminders, acknowledgments, invoice tracking, multiple currency options and recurring invoices.
You can use it from anywhere, including your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Plans start at $9.95 per month for basic online invoicing and go up from there, depending on how many accounting features you need.
As another accounting-based system, this serves as a full-service Accounts Receivable department with numerous features that you and your clients will love. First, you can do customizable HTML invoicing with no PDFs to download or links to click. You can customize the invoice appearance and integrate a user-friendly pay now button.
Many functions are automated, including calculating late fees, reminding clients of past due invoices, and sending recurring invoices. It also comes with a customer portal, reporting dashboard to stay on top of cash flow, Quickbooks Online integration and branded invoice emails. For $19.95 per month, you can have unlimited users, clients, invoices and estimates as well as many other features. If you want to accept credit cards as payment, you will need to select the $29.95 per month version.
Invoices Made Easy
This is a very simple, yet effective, way to send online invoices. It looks and feels like an email application, similar to using Gmail or Outlook. Its basic features allow you to send an unlimited number of invoices and receive payments through PayPal or Authorize.net for just $9.95 per month. This is a good online invoicing service for those creatives that are starting out and just have very straightforward invoices to send and payments to receive.
While there are no special features like the others on the list, it’s a good option that saves time and resources like paper while offering clients two online payment options that cover PayPal accounts, credit cards, and ACH payments.
The highlight of this online invoicing system is that they offer hundreds of invoice templates and styles as well as a logo designer if you do not have your own to upload. You can instantly send an invoice from your smartphone, tablet, or computer plus use it to track expenses and store receipts and monitor invoice payments and past due invoices.
They offer a free trial where one user can send three free invoices to see how it works. From there, the first plan is $49 per year for 100 invoices and 50 clients while the most popular plan is $99 per year and comes with unlimited invoices, 200 clients, and the Apps2Go feature.
Here is another free, basic online invoicing system that offers an online form for you to fill in the information and create an invoice that includes itemized work, expenses, and any applicable taxes or fees. You can attach an estimate or project proposal to back up your invoice and charges as well as set payment reminders. This particular online service also provides free business forms and documents that you may also find helpful as a freelancer, such as employment agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and past due notices just to name a few.
Related Article: Top Tips to Ensure Clients Pay on Time and Increase Your Cash Flow
All types of freelancers rave about this online invoicing service because it provides a way to track your time and to track the time of anyone else you have assisted on a project. This ensures you account for all the time it took when billing for a particular client. Also integrating with BaseCamp, this time data then can be integrated directly into its invoicing system to save time and resources putting together what you did over the course of a month or other time period. Invoices can be generated in multiple languages in HTML, email, PDF or printed versions. It costs $12 per month, which allows for one to three users as well as unlimited clients, projects, and invoices.
Here’s one more free online invoicing service for those of you whom only need solo user access and will not be sending more than 30 invoices in a month. If that’s you, then you will also enjoy the incredible number of features available, including customizable invoice templates, estimate to invoice conversion, recurring invoices, multiple currencies and languages, online payment acceptance, and auto-fill capability. If you need access for more than one person, then you can upgrade to its $20 per month or $200 a year plan for multiple users.
With so many different types of online invoicing services, you can find one that is best designed for your business needs, capabilities, and budget. From there, you can get back to creativity and let your online invoicing service partner take care of the cash flow.