6 Tips for Creating Freelance Writing Invoices with Actual Sample

by Anne Wayman

When you write something for a client or even a newspaper or a magazine, you want to get paid. The easiest way to let the client (or editor) know it’s time to pay up is with an invoice.

An invoice is simply a dated bill you present or send that describes the work you did, how much it cost, the total owed and when and how it’s to be paid.

Invoice for one or multiple pieces

Your invoice may reflect a single piece of work or dozens all totaled at the bottom. It simply depends on what you’re writing. I often write blog posts which may mean I invoice for four or five posts at the same time.

I also charge for time spent on the phone with some clients, so some of my invoices show that as well.

Total them up

If I’m invoicing for blogs I list each blog by it’s title, and how much it costs then total the prices to get the amount due me.

I also make sure the date of the invoice shows at the top.

I state the terms, usually “due on presentation” unless some other arrangement has been made. If they are paying me by PayPal I put my PayPal email address prominently near the total.

Note, I get paid even though the posts may now show up on the blog for days or even weeks or never. It’s not my problem if the owners of the blog or the editors of a magazine decide not to use my work. I’ve done it and I expect to get paid.

Create it in Word

I create most of my invoices in Word® (you’ll see how they look below). I have a folder for invoices where I save each and every one – it’s easy to find them because I file them by client name and the date of the invoice.

Here’s an actual invoice of mine with the client info deleted. You can click on the image to make it larger.

writing invoice

Send it out

I send my invoices by email as attachments, but only after I make sure they client can receive an attachment. If they can’t I paste them into the body of an email.

Invoice through PayPal

I often now use PayPal’s invoice – it’s easy to do and I’ve got a record in my account there. Recently I had to send a reminder and PayPal makes that super easy. It’s also easy for the client to pay – they can do so with a couple of clicks right on the invoice.

I now up my amount I charge to include the PayPal fee.

Invoicing services

There are companies that will send invoices for you. I’ve never used one and suspect I won’t. But if I were doing hundreds of invoices a month I might consider it worth the fee. If you use a bookkeeping service they may be willing to do your invoicing.

Invoicing isn’t difficult. It’s part of doing business as a freelance writer. Asking for money owed is the business-like thing to do. Develop your own system so it’s easy for you to create and send an invoice when a piece of writing is complete or an agreed on milestone for payment is met.

Of course, you may want to automate the process. FreshBooks not only automates invoicing, but can make all of your bookkeeping easier. Try FreshBooks Free for 30 Days.

Any questions about invoicing? What’s your system? 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

John Soares April 2, 2014 at 9:06 am

Anne, I follow a very similar process.

The one thing I do differently: I save the Word document as a PDF file and then send that.
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annew April 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm

John, why do you turn an invoice into a pdf?

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Jennifer Mattern March 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Like you, I frequently use Paypal. Actually, I use it almost exclusively these days. Love it. Sure, the fees suck, especially when getting paid by international clients. But it’s a cost of doing business and, like you pointed out, you need to account for those things in your fees. I love how quick clients pay that way. I love how they handle so much of the recordkeeping. And you bring up a great point about their reminders. I don’t have to use it often because most projects are paid up front, but when I do have a larger project with split payments, I love that sending a reminder is as simple as a click.

Good overview Anne. :)
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annew March 20, 2014 at 8:58 am

Thanks, Jenn. Looks like we are doing it mostly the same way. I still have one client who pays by check… which I don’t mind at all.

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