Why Your Invoicing Should be Set Up The Day You Launch
I learn so much and am often so inspired by my voice over students. Recently, a very talented student new to voice over who had all his demos done and his website up and running booked his first gig! YAY! He reached out and wanted to know how to send an invoice. I was surprised by this. I was less surprised that he did not know, and more surprised that I did not make it clear. So here I am, making it clear: if you are at the point where you are auditioning for work and ready to accept booked work that the universe sends your way, you had better have your business bank account up and running, and your invoicing software set up and ready for use. Even though we had talked about invoicing and talked about CRMS, apparently I did not make it straightforward enough, so this is me making it clear. Do not start looking for work if you do not know what you are going to do when that work comes in. Why? From start to finish, you want you your client to have a seamless, professional experience, and if they have not taken every single step that you have discussed, then they are not ready to launch yet. Period.
My Personal Preference: Wave App
Over my years as a working voice talent, I have tried many different types billing programs. I strongly prefer Wave App for several reasons. First of all, it’s free. Next, it is integrated rather seamlessly into the CRM I use, Voiceoverview. Because of this integration, I can create the invoice, modify, edit, and send it all within VOV. I can create shareable links and download PDFs of the invoice. I was able to customize the design to include my logo and the fonts that I prefer. All in all, of every option I have tried for invoicing over the years, this has been my absolute favorite.
I very much liked using Fresh Books and it’s features and the only real down side is the heft monthly cost. I liked the look of the invoices it created. I liked that I could accept bank transfers, credit cards, and PayPal! I liked that I could add taxes for different countries. I very much liked the time tracking features. When I have done copy writing work, I used this feature and could do precise, to the second invoicing with ease. I also liked that for clients in other countries this program could sort out VATs and all of that and my effort was very little. Again, if it were free I would likely still use it.
I love that you can create invoices for free. I do have some clients who specifically ask for PayPal invoices and I am happy to send them. Because they do not integrate with my CRM, I prefer Wave App to this, simply for ease of record keeping. This is fine, but not as great.
I tried Square for several months several years ago. Other than to say it was lackluster compared to other invoicing systems, I do not have much to see. The look of the invoices was “ehh.” It was not as easy to work with. My overall experience was mediocre. Not bad, just not exciting.
I have never endeavored to use Quicken, but much like Fresh Books those who do use it seem to love it very much. Quicken provides many features, and can both invoice and work as your accounting software. Again, like Fresh Books, you have to pay to use Quicken.
As small business owners with a client-centered approach, we need to be mindful of what is best for out clients. Typically, every time I deliver finished audio I invoice within the same email with a shareable payment link. As my billing software will also invoice directly, after that email, I also send a specific invoice only email. Some clients specifically ask for either a downloadable PDF or for a PayPal invoice, and if that is the case I send that upon delivery of the email. In my invoice, I also have a “footer” message giving very clear and specific instructions with all the ways that I accept payment. I do know some nice talents who invoice weekly, but I prefer to send the invoice as the job is completed. The only time I make an exception is when I have a client who requests a monthly invoice. If that is the case I hold the invoice until the end of the mont and invoice for everything at once.
Sometimes, it can be hard as business owners to balance what is right for our clients and what makes the most sense for us as voice talents. For example, sometimes clients request sessions at times that conflict with out family responsibilities. In this instance, it is actually possible to both meet our clients needs and to make the sound choice for our own business.