4 Reasons Every Freelancer Needs Invoice Management
by Catherine Rozyczko on September 14, 2020
TRUE- Creating invoices, sending them, and keeping track of them sucks.
FALSE- You have to do this yourself and figure out your own system.
But most people aren’t efficient with their time...
If you have more than 1 client, the absolute overriding reason to get project management in place is to manage your invoicing. This is your livelihood and how you get paid. You can’t afford to make errors. And you can easily irritate clients with incorrect invoices, late invoices, etc.
I speak from experience. For years, I had no solid project management in place to handle my invoices. I’ve done the mind-numbing Excel spreadsheets. I’ve made the manual errors. I’ve left cash on the table.
But not anymore!
I started using smart invoicing and I’ll never go back. If you’re in business for yourself, especially if you are a creative with multiple clients, this is a godsend that will change the way you work.
Here are the top 4 reasons ALL (yes ALL) freelancers need invoice management.
1) Long-term client relationships
Invoice management for freelancers is an important aspect of maintaining the ever-important, long-standing client relationship. As consultants, our lives are easier and more rewarding when we have a great relationship with a client who keeps us around. It’s not rocket science -- you have to keep these people happy.
An easy way to annoy clients is with shoddy invoicing -- late, misdated, error-filled, etc.
I’ve been there. I’ve let invoices go with trusted clients (because I knew they were good for it), and while they never outright said they minded, it’s a total negative for their experience.
Keeping long-term clients means looking out for their best interest, and in this case, my clients didn’t have a good handle on what they owed for my services. Luckily, they put up with my lackluster invoicing before I finally adopted a project management solution…
"Better invoicing = Keeping long-term clients happy"
Now it’s a new ballgame. With smart invoicing, you can create an invoice, invoice long-term clients at chosen intervals, and keep track of the invoice -- without actually doing any of this yourself. The result is a seamless experience on both sides. Your favorite clients always know what to expect, and that makes them happy. Keep them happy and they stick around.
2) Getting new clients
But no matter how comfortable we solopreneurs get with our trusted clients, as freelancers we can never lose sight of the nature of the business. Inevitably, you will have to go out and get a new client at some point.
I have found that the best way to get a new client and keep them is to provide value RIGHT AWAY.
And it might not seem like it, but the way you invoice will say a lot about you at the onset of the new client relationship.
Think about it from the client’s perspective: At the beginning of the relationship, would you want to receive consistent, automated invoices that are always on time and always correct? Or do you want to be unsure of when/how you will be invoiced?
"Better invoicing = Better chance at nailing new clients"
Having invoice management in place is just a better look. It implies that you’re on top of things and that you care about the client experience. It may seem like minutia, but an invoicing solution is a great way to show new clients the value you provide.
3) Avoid the timesuck.
I almost put this one as the #1 reason freelancers need invoice management because it’s so obvious. While the client relationship is the most pivotal reason every solopreneur needs to get invoice management, efficiency cannot be understated.
How much time do you spend in an average week on invoicing? A month?
Before I started using a project management tool, I’d say I spent at least an hour a week on invoicing. That’s 4+ hours a month, 48+ hours a year. And those are conservative estimates.
To someone who doesn’t work for themselves, that might not seem like a lot of time. But for a solopreneur, that’s a huge chunk! That’s over 2 whole days that could be spent actually billing clients, spending time with family, or doing something enjoyable.
"Better invoicing = Better time management"
At the end of the day, it’s just not worth your time to keep invoicing yourself, especially when you can automate invoicing for free with certain platforms.
4) Get paid faster and accurately.
If you want to get paid faster and accurately as a freelancer, invoicing is where you get it done. You need to be sure that your invoices:
- Are accurate
- Go out on time
- Are paid on time
- Are paid accurately
It’s all about accuracy and efficiency. Many of us creatives are not numbers people, and that’s OK. The key is to be doing this with as minimal manual entry as possible. Keep the human error out and let technology keep track of this for you.
"Better invoicing = More money"
If you’re doing the tracking and invoicing yourself, you’re way more likely to let payments lag and even receive incorrect payments (the worst). I was guilty of this for years, and the sobering fact is that I left a lot of money on the table.
Better Invoicing for Freelancers with Project Management
By now, there should be no doubt that as a freelancer, you need to do something about your invoicing.
That is, you need to take yourself out of it as much as possible.
One of the options is to get some kind of invoice management platform, but these aren’t as holistic as project management software.
"My advice is to use smart invoicing within a really easy project management solution."
This way, you can save even more time and leverage integrations that can say, automatically invoice a client based on my time tracking. Without me lifting a finger.