Getting started as a freelance graphic designer takes a lot more than being creative and highly talented in your field. You definitely need to be adept at graphic design, but that is not enough to carry you through the intense competition that is characteristic of freelancing. What you need is an attitude that complements your skills and separates you from the large number of competing freelance graphic designers. You should appear to be one that is professional yet is never hesitant to seize learning opportunities. For that, you may need to train yourself to adopt certain habits that help you with your career. After all, you became a freelancer to be happy with your work-life balance. You do it to be your own boss and the opportunity it offers you to enjoy all the benefit associated with working for no one else but you.
A happy attitude sets you apart from all the other freelance graphic designers. You can learn to be a happy freelancer. In the freelancing world, this is largely dependent on how well you are paid for your hard work. This is not just about the amount but the time that you are paid too. Obviously, you need to please your clients if they are to pay you well and on time. One other factor that affects your payment is how well you invoice the clients.
The main problem regarding your business you will be facing is that of being paid. Few clients are noble enough to actually pay you on time and without causing any problems. Most clients pay late, not pay the full amount or sometimes do not even pay. With the prevalence of such clients, you should adopt the widely recognized business practice of invoicing clients, which solves many levels of problems you have to face as a freelance graphic designer. Important as it is, invoicing clients is an issue many freelancers struggle with.
Last year, the New York City Council passed an act to protect freelancers from late payments. Under this act, clients who wish to hire freelancers must first agree on a few things. First, they should agree on a timetable of payment. Next, they must agree on a procedure for payment. Whatever they agree on must be out down in writing. New York is probably the first city to pass such an act, which is known as Freelance Isn’t Free Act. A freelancer graphic designer working in New York should be familiar with this act.
Apart from that, the freelancer must also learn how to present a good case before the council or courts in case a client refuses to pay or defaults. This protection is not available in law in every state. Therefore, freelancers must adapt other means of ensuring that they are paid well and on time.
A good tool for encouraging prompt payment is the use of a freelance graphic designer invoice template. The template is a learning tool. It is the closest you will get to a learning or teaching aid. It shows you how to prepare a freelance graphic designer invoice professionally and accurately.
Invoice templates are probably the best invoicing resources you can take advantage of. With a good template at your disposal, you can quickly prepare a professional looking invoice that is ready to be sent out. You do not need to waste much time on making a new invoice for each of your contracts since templates are made for reuse. Because you can reuse, there’s hardly any need to prepare an invoice from scratch or get a new template frequently. All you need to do is make sure that your invoice template contains spaces for the information below.
Invoices are official documents, so there needs to be proper business information included in it. They make mutual correspondence much easier and add a touch of professionalism to the invoices.
The template contains a section for this information. The client’s physical or postal address and any other necessary piece of information must appear on the invoice under this section. Any contact information that helps to distinguish the recipient better should appear under this section of the invoice.
Take care not to enter the wrong details in this section. Otherwise, your invoice will go to the wrong person, which would mean non-payment or late payment.
Study the freelance graphic designer invoice template, and you will notice one thing – it is well formatted. Take time to study how to format the invoice properly. Make it as attractive as possible. Some freelancers see the effort of making an invoice attractive as an unnecessary bother. After all, the important thing is that it is delivered to the right person and that the right amount due is quoted. This notion is however not correct. Well, formatted invoices please customers. They present you as a professional who takes clients seriously. Aside from formatting, the invoice should be free of:
Not taking the time to format the invoice properly or rid it of errors makes you appear sloppy. Again, it is good to reiterate the importance of appearing professional. Clients will doubt your professionalism after seeing the poorly formatted invoice you just sent them. It is thus good practice to double check the invoice before sending it out to any of your clients. This should not be viewed as an insult to your ability to prepare error-free business documents. Rather, making your invoice error-free and well-formatted means you take your work and clients too seriously to send an error-filled document. Further, failure to double check and eliminate errors could mean a delay in getting your payment on time.
This part of a template is the most utilized one. It contains spaces for the billable items, quantities, hours worked and prices. A good template is designed in a way that it is easy to see how the final price is calculated. This is where you enter all the figures and amounts for work done and tell the client the amount to pay. It is also where you indicate details of the work you did.
While the entire invoice should be error-free, there are two especially crucial parts where you cannot afford making a mistake. These are the address and the billing sections. With the guidance of the template and double-checking the details, you should be able to ensure that this section correctly done. There are other crucial mistakes that you should avoid making in the invoice.
A freelance graphic designer with a small business should avoid a number of invoice mistakes. One of these mistakes is entering incorrect details. Additionally, the freelancer should make the invoice itemized. Itemization means explaining each charge.
Itemized invoices are very attractive to clients as they help clients to understand what they are paying for. This improves the likelihood of the customers paying on time. The invoice should never include fees you never discussed with the client. The last thing you need in this section is one or two unexplained fees. Clients would never agree to settle or pay a fee whose reason for being on the invoice they know nothing about. Therefore, avoid including additional or extra fees, which the client knows nothing about, on the invoice.
Accuracy in preparing this section of the invoice is crucial because it can break your relationship with the client. If you mistakenly include items that aren’t supposed to be there, you risk looking dishonest in the eyes of a client who is not so forgiving. Similarly, omitting some items, you won’t be paid the entire amount you are owed on time. You will have to talk to the client explaining the mistake and requesting for the unpaid amount. Either way, mistakes in this section can damage your reputation and relations with customers if not handled correctly.
Therefore, use the Freelance Graphic Designer Invoice Template and double-check it before you send it.
You need a set of policies that help you be paid. For example, you can add payment deadlines, late fees, interest rates and other things of the sort to this section to make invoicing more effective.
Now what remains is how you get your hands on such a comprehensive invoice template. The answer to that is Bonsai; we have the best invoice template options for freelance graphic designers out there, which have guaranteed success for many, like they will do for you.
The policies on the invoice – regarding your terms and conditions – should be as clear as daylight. The clients should never have to call you complaining about their inability to understand what your policies mean. In fact, the policies in the Freelance Graphic Designer Invoice Template should ideally have been communicated to the clients during the contract signing stage. This way, what is on the invoice would serve as a reminder. This way, the client is not surprised by policies s/he has not seen before.
The goal here is to make it impossible for clients to blame you for sending payments late. The policies should help you convince and encourage the client to not only pay you, but also do so on time. For example, let clients know that you charge late fees for delayed payments. Let them know there shall be consequences for late payments. The longest period should be 30 days. However, always try to work with a shorter timeframe.
While setting the payment period, do not forget to ask clients about their pay cycles too. In fact, you should endeavour to familiarize yourself with the clients pay cycles since they are unique for every cycle. Find a compromise, which does not hurt either you or the client and Synchronize the two pay cycles.
The invoice should offer clients multiple payment options. This way, you make it easier for clients to identify an option with which they are more familiar. The reason for doing this is to make it impossible for clients not to pay you.
Offering more than one payment option takes the thunder away from your clients. It denies them one more excuse they would have used for not paying you. Remember, a freelancer gets clients from all over the world. Some of them may be unfamiliar with your preferred method of payment.
Make life easier for your clients. Let them know you consider and value them too.
Some of the options you should consider presenting to your clients include:
Offer clients the safest, fastest, and most efficient payment options.
A freelance graphic designer is a creative individual. The invoice offers the freelance graphic designers an opportunity for displaying their creativity. A good invoice should also have a business logo that helps market the business and make the invoice look more professional. Research shows that freelancers who add a logo to their invoices are three times more likely to be paid. Therefore, any freelance graphic designer invoice template should accommodate a logo.
A logo serves several purposes. First, it clarifies the fact that you not only run a professional but also a well-established business. It establishes the fact that you run or are building a brand. It sets your invoice apart from all the others the client receives from other freelancers.
A good invoice template has a provision for this thus make sure you utilize it. Design a good logo and make it a permanent feature of all your invoices.
Branded invoices also have:
The invoice is a marketing tool. It is not only a tool for obtaining money but also for creating and increasing awareness about your business. It is good at attracting or drawing attention to your freelance graphic design business. Therefore, you can use the invoice to make the discounts and referral incentives you offer known.
Your clients deserve kindness from you. It is a bit irresponsible for you to send an invoice full of foul or rude-sounding language. Instead, learn how to frame your words from the example offered through the freelance graphic designer invoice template.
Phrases worth using in the invoice include:
It costs nothing to be kind. Your business will enjoy the benefits of being kind for years to come. In fact, showing a bit of kindness, especially with the tone and language of the invoice, increases your chances of being paid by up to five percent.
Kindness can help your business to grow. Some clients may prove difficult to work with or serve. Others seem to have a thing for causing you sleepless nights. It might be too tempting to give such clients a dose of their own medicine. Nevertheless, don’t fall into this temptation in any way, especially with the tone of your invoice.
Once again, study and learn from the freelance graphic designer invoice template closely. Kindness also does wonders for your brand. Customers are more willing to relate to you based on the kindness you extend to them.
How flexible are you? Flexibility is not something you can derive from the freelance graphic designer invoice template. It comes from taking time to examine your unique needs and circumstances. You are the only person who knows how flexible you can be.
It is good to stick to the payment terms and schedules that you set. However, allow a bit of room for wiggling. For example, you probably send weekly invoices, which you expect the clients to pay each week. A bit of flexibility is good if the client has a monthly pay cycle.
Failure to exercise some measure of flexibility creates the room for huge disappointments.
In fact, you are likely to grow angry with the client for not paying you weekly yet they only settle invoices on the first of each month. In some cases, the client might not have the money with which to pay the invoice. Offer the client some reprieve by extending the payment period.
Do you offer warranties and guarantees? If you do, make sure that all your clients know about it. Check the freelance graphic designer invoice template once again. You will see the portion talking about warranties and guarantees.
In fact, warranties and guarantees do wonders for your business. They make your business appear more credible and legit. Apart from that, warranties and guarantees put the customer’s mind at ease. They should appear under the section labelled ‘Terms and Conditions’ on the invoice.
Let customers know the factors or situations that could cause them to be ineligible for warranties and guarantees. Otherwise, they could do anything, especially the things that hurt your business, while still benefiting from the warranties.
Therefore, study the freelance graphic designer invoice template closely. Use it as the template upon which you write an excellent invoice that’s free of errors. The template is a useful tool; hence, the need for treating it as such.