Or, Why Losing My Job Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me
Week 22 – In Which I Learn How to Invoice
Here we are at week 22 already! Hard to believe.
The sun is shining and we are finally getting into the best part of summer. We finally have warm days, warm nights and vegetables that are ready to be harvested. There are also weeds that need to be pulled and yard maintenance that really requires some attention.
That’s why I’m a day late on my post. It finally stopped raining for a bit. I needed to get outside and mow grass, trim things and pull weeds while the sun was shining and everything was finally dry.
Rain is great, but the greenery in my yard has gotten a little out of hand.
In some way, that’s how I feel about my freelancing journey.
I’ve laid the groundwork and have scoured an overwhelming number of articles, blog posts, courses, newsletters and information. I’ve made some good contacts, and have planted a lot of seeds – some of which are now starting to produce results.
Now I need to work on the maintenance, upkeep and mundane details that are required to run a freelance business.
So this week, I thought I would have a look at a number of invoicing programs. I had a couple of criteria going into my search.
In which I find an invoice program I like
First of all, I wanted a free program. Maybe I can eventually switch over to an upgraded system, but for now, I wanted a program that wouldn’t add to my expenses right away.
Second, it had to be easy. Technology and I have a tenuous and often frustrating relationship, so any invoicing program I found had to be ridiculously simple to implement.
Third, the program needed to have the option to create invoices in a variety of currencies.
Not that I have a lot of international clients right now, but I wanted the option. Just in case.
After some looking around, the program I settled on is BizXpert. I chose this one for a number of reasons:
- The program is made to work with Windows 10, which is what my laptop operates on.
- It’s free and will continue to be.
- It’s easy to work with, and provides a lot of useful information, tutorials and instruction.
- It is capable of creating international invoices, including templates for cover letters that are available in a variety of languages.
- It offers a number of invoice templates to use.
- Set up was very quick and simple.
It also has many other great features, which I will figure out as I go along.
Creating my first invoice
Activating up my account was pretty simple. Instructions are fairly clear and there are a lot of tips and pointers to explain all the features of the program.
The next step was saving all the settings that I wanted for my invoice. They have some great looking invoice templates. I found one that fit well with my brand and logo.
After getting my invoice template set up, I was able to go through all the sub-settings. I saved details like payment methods, currency and location. I could also create customized messages that would go in my invoices.
Once my invoice settings were set up, I put together a sample invoice for practice.
When the invoice is completed, it has an option to save and send it off to the client right away. It can also be saved for later, or saved as a PDF. The benefit of a PDF copy is that it can be printed off, in case the client needs a hard copy.
Once it was downloaded and set up, I put a link on my desktop toolbar for easy access.
Keeping track of client invoicing.
One thing I like about this program is that is has a lot of great features. It has tracking charts and comparison reports. These serve to track work load, clients, income and expenses. It also has a calendar option that allows you to make note of when projects and payments are due, and when they have been invoiced. At a glance, I can see where I am in a month, what is coming up and how this month’s numbers compare to last month.
Here are a couple screen shots of some of the reports and charts:
I’m quite pleased with this invoicing program so far. I like all the features and customization options that it offers.
For a technophobe like me, it does what I need it to, with a minimum of fuss.
And it’s free.
My takeaway this week: The programs that you need to run your business efficiently are out there. Look at some different options, try out a few different programs and choose a system that works for you.
Next Week: Pitching, pitching and more pitching.
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Remember, don’t ever be afraid to start something new or pursue your dreams. My goal is to encourage you to live a life of your choosing, find the strength you have inside you, and to use your gifts to add to the wonder of this world.