Bookkeeping and Invoicing Tips for Bloggers and Freelance Writers





As a blogger you know that that your work isn’t done until you’ve created an invoice and been paid for your services.

But, let’s be honest, invoicing isn’t always a priority. Despite it’s importance, invoicing can be a headache-inducing task.

However, it doesn’t always have to be that way if you follow these amazing invoicing tips.



Know What You’re Worth

This is hands down the most important consideration as a blogger.

Why?

Because you want to make sure that you are getting paid fairly for your writing. However, you also want to make sure that your prices are attractive enough to secure bids or projects – even if you think you are asking for too much.

I have personally found that if you do outstanding work, clients will not have any problems with paying you what you’re worth.

There are also a couple of other things that you have to keep in mind when establishing your rates. These include:

  • How do you charge for your services? Are you paid hourly, by the word, or a flat rate per article?
  • Do rates change when writing sponsored posts?
  • Have you factored in ad rates or giveaway posts?

Projects vary depending on the assignment or the client, so it’s alright if your rates change accordingly. However, you should write down how much you charge for different assignments or clients so that when a job opportunity presents itself you can inform your client how much you’ll be charging upfront.

Agree on Terms

Now that you know how much that you are charging for your services, the next step is to have clients agree on the terms. The last thing that you want is not to get paid because there’s an issue involving how much you charged a client for a blog post or article. The client needs to be aware upfront on how much your work will cost them and agree on the deal.



Another part of agreeing on terms is letting them know exactly when you are to paid and how you’ll get paid. For example, do you expect to be paid within 30 days? Also, you don’t want to invoice them through PayPal if they don’t have a PayPal account of their own.

Consider Discounts

If you’re just starting out and want to build a portfolio it’s completely acceptable to offer a percentage discount – maybe even a couple of free articles – to any friends or family members that could use your help. It’s an effective way for developing your skills as a writer and getting your name out there.

Even if you are an established blogger, you can continue to offer a discount to friends and family, but charge a higher rate for new customers.

Let’s say that you’ve been writing for a company since day one, but you have now increased your rate. It wouldn’t hurt to keep your relationship solid by not increasing your rate for the people who have supported your work since the beginning.



Taxes

Something that most bloggers aren’t aware of is the fact that they are considered self-employed – which means that they are required to pay taxes. This means that you may have to set aside money to pay taxes each quarter.

Additionally, you may have to collect taxes depending on your location – which means that you would have to include this on your invoice. You should consult an accountant to double-check if there are any taxes that you have to pay.

However, it’s not all bad news when it comes to taxes. There are also deductibles that you should be aware of as a blogger. For example, did you know that PayPal and many other company fees and other expenses are considered a tax deduction?

Use Invoicing Software

It’s not exactly difficult to create an invoice template through Microsoft. However, services like PayPalFreshBooksInvoice Ninja, and Due.com save you the time of creating an invoice by providing invoicing templates.



All you have to do is just fill in the work that you’ve done, along with the hours spent on an article, and email the invoice out. It honestly just takes a couple of minutes, especially once you are set up.

Common Invoicing Components

You know your value and the client has agreed. Now it’s time to send out that invoice for your writing work. But, what exactly makes up the invoice? Here the most common components of an invoice:

  • Contact Information – Your invoice should include your name, address, and contact information. You also should include the name, address, and contact information of your client.
  • Invoice Number – Including an invoice number makes it easy to track your invoices, like which ones have been paid and which ones have not. Most of the time a simple numeric system, such as 001, 002, works just fine as a reference.
  • Invoice Date – This is the date that you sent the invoice.
  • Terms – Your terms were already discussed, but also include this information on the invoice. This would also include the due date, or when you expect the invoice to be paid.
  • Description – This can include the titles of the blog posts that you have written.
  • Unit Price – This was also take care of earlier, but you need to include this on your invoice. If you charge $15 per hour and a blog post took you 2 hours to write, the unit price would be $30.
  • Amount Due – This would include all of the blog posts that you have written for this client from the last invoice to the current date.

Additional Tips

Here are a couple of other helpful invoicing tips that every blogger should remember when invoicing:

  • Invoice Immediately – This doesn’t mean that the invoice has to be paid at that moment. It simply means that you send out an invoice following a project. It’s just an effective way in making sure that you get paid for your work. You could include an invoice with each article to make it easier, if you wish, or on a timeframe for example, like every Friday.
  • Follow-up – Don’t wait until an invoice is past due. It’s easy for an invoice to be overlooked, so don’t hesitate to send out a friendly reminder. For example, “A friendly reminder: All invoices due on Tuesday the first.”
  • Be Polite – FreshBooks has discovered that by using terms like “Please” and “Thank You” can increase your chances of getting paid 5 percent faster.
  • Check For Your Errors – Avoid any delays in payment, or misunderstanding regarding an invoice, by double checking for errors. This could include anything from checking spelling errors to adding your charges correctly, to making sure that your invoice is being sent to the right client.
  • Guide – Here is a really good guide to invoicing.

If you’re a blogger, what are some invoicing tips that you’ve learned along the way?




Writer on Laptop Photo via Shutterstock

8 Comments ▼


Loren Baker


Loren Baker Loren Baker is the founder of Search Engine Journal, hosts the podcast Search & Deploy on Rainmaker.FM and is a VP at Foundation Digital, a digital marketing agency. A long time digital entrepreneur, Loren has been in digital marketing since 1998 and over the past decade he has built & executed Search & Social strategies for leading companies in car insurance, retail shopping, professional sports and the movie & television industry.

8 Reactions

  1. So many good points here. Knowing what you’re worth is hard, but getting paid what you’re worth is critical to your happiness. Invoicing immediately is something I have never been good at, but when I have been diligent it keeps the cash flow much more consistent (and don’t be afraid to remind people about a past due invoice, just be non-accusatory and they’ll usually get it out).

  2. So true that this is often overlooked! Another factor to consider is that most of your customers want to pay you, intend to pay you but are not thinking about it. There’s so much noise around us all, life is busy. If possible make it so they can click and pay, better yet, line up a credit card for payment before the work is complete then just confirm you can run it when done. I think it’s worthwhile to suck up some merchant fees so that your customer can keep a credit card on file and not have to remember where they put the d&$* checkbook.

  3. Aira Bongco

    There is always a risk on being a freelancer. But the problem is solved once you find clients that can work with you for a long time. The relationship will always be based on trust after all. There are instances where you do work and you don’t get paid but you have to be willing to go through that risk until you find the clients that can work with you for a long time.

  4. Hi Loren,
    Thanks for the wonderful tips
    Paypal has been my great invoicing tool. I don’t have any experience with others and I think Paypal is perfect.

    Have a wonderful weekend

  5. I’m a freelance blogger, and I find that using Paypal to invoice each month works fine – most people are already familiar with it, and they can just click and pay. I usually create a billing spreadsheet that clients can view whenever they want to see their current costs.

  6. Hi Loren,
    Thanks for the awesome tips

  7. Thanks for your article about bookkeping and invoicing, Lauren. My dad owned his own small business growing up. It can be really important to make sure that you keep track of your expenses and income so that you stay out of the red. You also make a great point about how this can really help when tax season comes around. Having a bookkeeping service or accountant can make taxes way less stressful. I’ll keep your tips in mind.

  8. Accounting is the process of summarizing, reporting and analyzing the business transactions. Accounting Software Makes Managing Your Business Much Easier. Thank you for sharing your article about bookkeeping and invoicing.

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