The professional world is changing for many of us. Gone are the days when a salaried job was the hope of many, and the current economic model is veering more and more towards freelancing and contracting. In large part, this is a boon, since as a freelancer you get paid for exactly the amount of work you do, meaning the harder you work, the more cash you bring in. However, that might not always be true.
The bureaucracy of freelancing is such that as a small business owner or freelancer you're liable to be spending a healthy amount of time doing paperwork. And often this is time that you're not billing, and therefore not being paid for. In order to maximize your income, you need to minimize this unpaid time.
Online invoicing is the latest way to ease the burden of all that paperwork, leaving you free to spend as much time actually earning as possible. But there are many other advantages as well. And in today's economic climate, where every cent matters, the switch to an online invoice creator could be the difference between success and failure.
What Makes Online Invoicing So Great?
The initial draw of an online invoice maker for many is the pure ease of use. This is something that an online system shares with regular desktop software. You fill in the blank fields, and boom, you're ready to go. No more spending hours messing around with Microsoft Word software to get the look that you want.
But more than that, an online system stores all the information that you need. This makes creating that invoice even easier, since most fields will auto complete. Obviously, this is going to be a huge time saver, leaving you free to get back to earning. You take a minute to fill out the invoice, then simply attach it as a PDF to an email and you're done.
However, there is another major benefit to using an online invoice system. The majority of software these days come with a one click payment option. This allows you to add the possibility for clients to pay you immediately through the click of a button, generally into a PayPal or other online account.
Research has shown that adding this easy payment to your invoices results in bills being paid around twice as fast. And if you're operating on a tight budget, fast payment is important. Plus, there's a whole host of time and energy saving features, including the ability to send regular invoices automatically at set times, and the convenience of having all your paperwork in one place when tax time rolls around. Most online software also tracks billable hours and send payment reminders as well, thus lightening your busy work load even more.
A Win Win Situation
From the point of view of a small business owner or freelancer creating an online invoice is simple, fast and results in a professional looking statement being sent to a client. From the point of view of the client, a clear, electronic invoice is received quickly and has the option of immediate, one click payment.
There's no arguing that investing in online invoicing software is going to be of benefit to both parties here. Should you be investing? That's up to you. There are free online invoicing programmes available, though they're going to be lacking in some features. But even a paid option is going to end up saving you valuable cash.
Amazon Price: $249.95 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 9, 2016)
The truth is that in general small businesses and freelancers both work with extremely thin profit margins. There is little to no margin for error, and every cent counts towards you making a profit at the end of each month. Yes, an online invoicing system is going to save you time. Yes, if you go for a one click payment system you're going to get your money faster. Yes, you're going to have a more organised and therefore efficient billing system.
Do those things add up to saving you or your business money?
There's a solid reason why more and more people are switching to an online invoicing service: it works and it saves. Whether you're a computer programmer, an artist, a translator, or any one of a number of professions that are becoming more dependent on the freelance economic model, you should seriously consider this switch. It might be the best business decision you make this year.
A Worthy Investment
As we're all frequently reminded, time is money. And for nobody is that more true than for the independent worker. You know how much your time is worth, down to the minute. An average paid online invoicing tool is going to set you back anywhere from five to twenty bucks per month.
Prices vary depending on the amount of users you want to add to your account as well as on the features that individual programs have. Even taking the most expensive paid plan at around twenty bucks a month, users are still looking at paying less than an hour's worth of work to get the ease and flexibility of an online invoice system.
Is this worth it? That depends on how much time you spend sorting out your paperwork each month. But for most of us, an online invoicing system is going to save us significantly more than one hour of work, and therefore is going to more than pay for itself on a monthly basis. Not only is time money, but in the words of another adage, sometimes you have to spend money to make money.
A Business Saving Decision?
Is it too much to say that switching to an online invoice service will save your business?
How tight is your budget exactly?
Can you afford to work unbillable hours?
Can you wait those extra few days for payment to come through more traditional channels?
Are you paying a CPA by the hour to wade through reams of paperwork to get your taxes filed on time?
Amazon Price: $949.99 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 9, 2016)