Freelancer Tips: Free Invoice Software for Small Business Owners
Freelancers, here’s a recommendation for you: Look into some of the free invoice software solutions out there. This may be something you’ve never really thought much about. Freelancers and entrepreneurs often start their own enterprises out of the desire to do whatever it is they do—graphic design, website construction, grant writing, or what have you. Seldom do people become freelancers just so that they can deal with the financial aspects of running a small business, and in fact, a lot of freelancers tend to dislike things such as bookkeeping and invoicing.
This, of course, is precisely why it is smart to look into free invoice software for small business owners. Invoicing may not be something you particularly care for, but it is necessary. If you want customers to pay you, you have to send out invoices, and you have to manage your outstanding and outgoing invoices properly. The best way to do this is to automate it, ensuring accuracy and consistency and also enabling you to spend as little time on it as possible. Automation is a breeze, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg: Just look into free invoice software for small business owners, many of which are available in the Windows Store.
This is the first and most significant step you can take toward invoicing like a true professional. There are, of course, further invoicing tips that freelancers might consider—and we have a roundup of them in the paragraphs that follow.
Using Your Free Invoice Software
Once you have obtained your free invoice software for small business owners, you can start to really invoice like a consummate business person. Some additional tips include:
- Avoid being generic with your invoices. You’re probably going to be working from a template, and yes, most invoices—even ones generated by free invoice software—follow basically the same layout. With that said, freelancers are encouraged to make their invoices theirs in some small way, perhaps simply by affixing their logo to the top of each. This is an added touch of professionalism that should not be undervalued.
- Include unique invoice numbers to the top of each invoice. This is something your free invoice software will probably do for you, but nevertheless, we will make mention of it here. You’ve got to include invoice numbers for your own records, but also because it makes your invoices look more professional, more “official.”
- Develop payment policies, articulate them, and stick to them. How much time are you willing to give your customers to pay their invoices? What are the penalties or fees assigned to payments that become overdue? Freelancers should first think through these questions and develop strong, written payment policies. They should ensure that these policies are expressed on all invoices, as well as proposals sent out before work is done. Finally, these policies should be enforced consistently; nobody likes surprises in the invoicing process!
- Invoice as soon as you complete a project. True professionals and seasoned business owners never delay their invoicing—and neither should you! When you drag your feet in invoicing, the message you send to customers is that their payment is not especially urgent or important. That’s obviously not the message you want to send.
- We’ll say it again: Always automate the process! It is impossible to overstate how time-consuming invoicing can be, or how liberating the automation process can be. And with so many options for free invoice software for small business owners, there is no reason not to systematize the process.