A question from a reader came in recently:
What’s the best and easiest way to send a professional invoice for my online business?
I have but one response: Freshbooks.
I began using Freshbooks ages ago and I have been more than satisfied with what they offer for my business.
Due to the fact that I have clients all over the world, I needed a multi-currency tool that made sending e-invoices easy and affordably. For anyone who is just starting out, Freshbooks is the perfect choice — it’s not overly complicated yet it’s robust enough to go further than just invoicing. Freshbooks also tracks your expenses, your time entries (if you do time tracking) and your team’s time / expenses.
Here’s how simple it is to set up your account and send your first invoice.
Step #1 – Register an Account at Freshbooks.com
If you register through my link here, we’ll both get a month free, so consider that when signing up.
Setting up an account is quick and easy. It’s also free to start and there’s no credit card required to sign up. This means you can try out the service, check out all the features and if you decide to use some of the more advanced features, you can upgrade to a paid account when you’re ready. You don’t need to mark the cancellation date in your calendar — just use it and if you don’t find it helpful, there’s no hassle to stop using it.
When you start the process, Freshbooks will walk you through a series of short steps to help you get your account set up. Take the time to fill these in — you’ll thank yourself later! You’ll choose a custom name for your Freshbooks account, set your billing terms and more. It’s quick and painless though!
Step #2 – Customize Your Invoices and Other Documentation
Once you’re in your account, and if you weren’t prompted to do it at start up, click on Settings > Colours & Logos. This will take you into the customization area of Freshbooks so you can add your own branding to the account and to your invoices, reminder e-mails and more.
Don’t forget to also click over to the Template tab as well as the Emails tab to customize your invoices further. You can choose to remove the pay stub (or keep it) and customize the text on every single e-mail that would be sent to your clients via Freshbooks. There are plenty of options here so leverage the choices to make it fit your unique business.
Step #3 – Choose Your Available Payment Options
Once you’ve got your invoice customized, be sure to set up your payment options for your clients. There is a mix of offline (check, etc.) and online (PayPal, Stripe, credit card, etc.) options, which will make it easy for your clients to pay your invoices.
I use the online options so that my clients can do everything they need to right from the e-mailed invoice versus having to mail a check or do bank transfers. It also makes my job easier, too! No running to the bank to do deposits and payments arrive in my business account much more quickly.
Step #4 – Send Your First Invoice
After your invoices are customized and your payment options set, it’s time to send your first invoice! Click on the Invoices tab and then on the New Invoice button. Here’s what the invoice creation screen looks like:
You can choose the client it is being sent to (or create a new one), add a PO number, check off whether or not you want to accept online payments for your invoice and then add the item, description, unit cost, quantity, taxes and more. Once done, you can save the invoice to print off (also helpful if you’re entering a manual payment from someone) or you can e-mail it directly to the client.
When they receive the e-mailed invoice in their inbox, they’ll be able to open the invoice with a single click and then submit payment online. You can even request a deposit or accept partial payments if you have unique situations that require either.
The best part? Freshbooks will even automatically handle your late payment reminders by sending out automatic reminder e-mails to your clients and has the option to apply fees if your business does that.
All in all, Freshbooks has been the ultimate solution for my business. Between the invoicing, time tracking and expenses tracking, I’ve been able to cut down my time considerably in the bookkeeping and invoicing areas. Instead of focusing on that, I can focus on getting paid by my clients and delivering a top notch service to them in their businesses.
Remember, if you are interested in signing up, use this link. You’ll get a free month if you eventually upgrade to a paid plan and who doesn’t love a free month of an amazing service?! (I will get a free month, too! But even if I wasn’t, I’d recommend this tool up, down and sideways — it’s game-changing!)