You’ve nailed the hard part.
You’ve found a few quality clients, you’ve completed some freelance work, and now it’s time to get paid.
The problem is – you have no idea how to go about creating and sending invoices.
Never fear, I am here to help.
For a bit of background on me – I am a six-figure freelancer and blogger. I quit my last salaried job in 2017 to pursue a life of self-employment.
And over the years, I’ve used just about every invoicing method known to man.
This is why I thought it would be helpful to create this handy dandy list of real tools and techniques that I and other professional freelancers use on a daily basis to create and send professional invoices, and even collect payments.
But before we get started, let’s address the elephant in the room: What’s the best way to invoice someone?
What is the best way to invoice someone?
The best way to invoice someone is to use either a template or freelance invoice software.
Ideally, the more you grow as an entrepreneur, the more invoices you’ll need to create over time. And you really want that process to be as automated and painless as possible. This means you don’t want to recreate the wheel every time payday rolls around.
Templates can be a cost-effective time-saving tool as most of us already own Microsoft Word and Excel or at least have access to Google Docs and Google Sheets (the free and open-source versions of Word and Excel).
However, most pro freelancers, like myself, are using software to automate the entire process. Sure, there’s a bit of cost involved with this option, but to me, it’s a nominal expense given the time it saves every week.
Can I create my own invoice?
Yes, you can create your own freelance invoice. In fact, most small businesses usually handle invoice creation on their own, or, occasionally, hire a Virtual Assistant to lend a hand.
And again, the best way to do so, at least in my opinion, is by either using a template or CRM software.
No matter which way you decide to go, just remember to include the following information in every invoice:
- Your company logo and business name
- Your contact information (phone number, email and address)
- Payment terms
- Invoice number
- Invoice date
- Invoice due date
- Payment due date
- The client’s company name
- The client’s contact information
- A breakdown of services
- Project rate or hourly rate
- Payment options and preferences
- Discounts (if applicable)
- Total amount due
- Sales tax information (if applicable)
You may also want to add some verbiage about a late fee if it’s not already clear in your contract.
Now, without further ado, below you will find a list of my favorite invoicing templates and tools to help you get started.
1. Microsoft Word (or Google Docs)
If you’re just starting out and on a tight budget – you might want to consider creating a template using Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
Google Docs is the ultimate budget-friendly solution as it’s free to use as long as you have a Gmail account. And, in my opinion, much more user-friendly than Microsoft Word.
You can even download free Word Invoice Templates here.
2. Excel (or Google Sheets)
Excel is another great option for invoice creation.
It offers a little less design capability than Word or Google Docs, however, where the program is lacking in design, it makes up for in function.
Excel – and its counterpart, Google Sheets – can incorporate reusable mathematical calculations and functions which make the process easier while improving overall accuracy.
Again, if you aren’t sure how to create your own invoice in Excel or Google Sheets, you can check out Microsoft’s free selection of templates here.
3. ETSY Templates
When most people think of ETSY they think of custom handmade goods like t-shirts and custom koozies.
But ETSY is actually also a treasure trove when it comes to digital downloads and business tool templates.
It’s a great place to find templates for invoices, receipts, order forms, proposals, business cards and more.
These templates aren’t free – but they are quite affordable. In fact, you can generally pick up an invoice template for between $3-$5 which could potentially save you hours of work versus creating your own.
ETSY templates are usually available in Word, Excel, Canva and even PDF.
All three of the above methods work great if you only have a handful of clients and are accepting payments primarily through cash, check, or Paypal.
But what if your needs are a bit more complicated? What if you want an additional payment method like a credit card?
In that case, it may be wise to upgrade to a professional-grade invoice generator or CRM, like …
4. Fiverr Workspace
This is what I personally use to manage my online invoicing.
In recent years, my needs have grown too great and too complicated for simple Word or Excel templates.
I normally work with somewhere between 40-60 clients in a given year. This means I’m usually toggling multiple projects at a time and sending out multiple invoices each month.
This is why I use Fiverr Workspace.
And no, you don’t have to be a freelancer on Fiverr to use this service. In fact, I don’t freelance on Fiverr at all.
It’s a completely stand-alone piece of in-browser software that you can use to manage and invoice your real-life clients. Nor does it take out any sort of processing fees (unless you’re accepting credit card payments through PayPal or Stripe, where standard processing fees may apply).
It’s essentially a mini CRM where you can create individual client profiles (with contact details), manage projects, create proposals, create contracts for new clients, track your time (both automatically and manually), track expenses, create invoices and collect payments.
You can even send late payment reminders and follow-ups. You can also track online payments, all with a click of a button.
Plus, it’s simplified my bookkeeping by keeping a record of my cash flow and business transactions in one place.
It streamlined my invoicing process tenfold.
Fiverr Workspace also integrates with over 5,000 applications including Dropbox, Mailchimp, Slack, Google Sheets, Trello, Toggl, Asana, Google Drive, Wave, HubSpot, QuickBooks and Gmail, just to name a few.
And finally, we have Bonsai, the premium option.
Bonsai is similar to Fiverr Workspace in that it works like a CRM capable of handling client invoicing, contract and proposal creation, tasks, time tracking and payments.
The main difference between Bonsai and Fiverr Workspace is that Bonsai offers a bit more wiggle room for scalability.
For instance, Bonsai offers three plans: Starter, Professional and Business.
Their starter plan is similar in functionality – and pricing – to Fiverr Workspace. And the features include pretty much everything a freelancer or a solo entrepreneur could ever want.
But they also offer upgraded Pro and Business plans, which are catered more toward larger and multi-member companies.
Pro features include a completely white-labeled customer experience, a number of workflow automation, a client portal and up to 15 project collaborators.
Business features include subcontractor management, 1099 contracts, accountant access, multiple bank accounts and unlimited collaborators.
Bonsai, like Fiverr Workspace, also integrates with a number of other popular business suite applications including Gmail, Google Calendar, Zapier, Slack, QuickBooks, Calendly, ClickUp, Trello, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Xero and Hubspot.
How do you invoice your clients? Let me know in the comments section, and don’t forget to connect with me on social media using the links below.