One of the best parts of freelancing is when you finish a task send it over and the client likes it and tells you to send them an invoice.
I like that part so much. And so do many online freelancers.
So, how do you send an invoice to your direct clients?
There are several ways to do it. The most popular method is using the invoice feature inside PayPal.
Here is how you do it.
Say you are hired to write an article at a flat fee – 50 US Dollars for example, follow these steps:
Log into your PayPal account.
Click on the Send & Request tab
Next, select Request
Click on Create an invoice
Give your invoice a number / title / name for quick reference. You can do this in the Invoice Number and Reference fields.
Leave Frequency to Once Only (default setting).
Enter a due date.
Type the client’s details on the invoice (their name and email is usually enough – though you can add their postal / physical address as well). Do this in the Bill to section.
List the items you want to receive payment for. For example, the article title. Use the Item Name field for this. You can also opt for a detailed description to go along with the item name.
In the quantity section, just enter 1 (for 1 item – the article).
Then enter the amount in the Price section. So, in this example, enter 50. Make sure, the USD – U.S. Dollars option is selected.
If you want to attach files (4MB maximum), use the Attach Files button.
You can also add a note to the recipient – for example a link to the Google Docs file where you have uploaded the article.
Since it is not a physical product, you can uncheck the physical address / return address option.
Then just look over all the details on the invoice to make sure everything has been entered correctly.
You can also preview your invoice before sending it to the client.
Once you are satisfied, click Send, to send the invoice.
Waiting for the client to pay you
Once the invoice is sent, just wait for your money. Some clients pay immediately – if they happen to have been online when you sent the invoice.
Others may take a couple hours or days before they pay you.
So, sit tight. Wait. Find something to preoccupy yourself with in the meantime. Work on your projects or on other assignments outsourced to you by other clients.
The good thing with PayPal is that when you are paid, they will immediately send you an email informing you of the new payment.
So, if you use Gmail (or use another email that forwards its content to your Gmail address) or a Mail client like Outlook / Thunderbird / Mailbird, you will get a notification the moment you turn on Mobile Data on your smartphone or tablet.
Withdrawing your money from PayPal to M-PESA
Once the money lands in your PayPal account, you can use the Equity Bank PayPal withdrawal service or use the PayPal Mobile Money service.
Go to the PayPal Mobile Money Service with M-PESA page and click Log In / Sign Up.
Enter your PayPal email and password to log in.
Then click the Withdraw from PayPal button.
Enter the amount you want to withdraw and click Continue to Withdraw button.
Once you are done, just log out.
Other methods / platforms freelancers can use to send invoices to clients
Apart from using PayPal, there are other services you can use.
From within your WordPress site, you can use a plugin such as WP-Invoice to bill your clients.
It is a simple but really time-saving plugin (allowing you to create invoices with all the features above from within your WordPress dashboard).
Another cool thing I like about it is that you can send the client a link / URL to the invoice you create. They can then click the link, see your invoice and send you your money (to your PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout, Authorize.net or bank account).
The plugin is also free. So, if you don’t like logging into PayPal every time you want to invoice someone, you can just log in to your site’s admin area, create an invoice and send it.
Payoneer is another great platform affiliates and freelancers use to get paid. You can request for payments from within your Payoneer dashboard. And if you already have your Payoneer MasterCard debit card, you can just to any bank ATM to withdraw your money.
Note also that Payoneer allows withdrawals to bank accounts as well. So, you can bill a client, get paid, withdraw the money to your Equity Bank account in Kenya and then go to an Equity agent to withdraw the money right there in your neighborhood / estate / town.
Accounting and bookkeeping software also have invoicing features built into them. If you use one such as FreshBooks or QuickBooks, you can use them as well to create and send invoices to clients.
Other extra things you need to know about invoicing freelance clients
- Agree on the amount before you begin the work – before you even think about sending an invoice.
- If you are going to receive a big payout, split the amount into multiple invoices. I tell you why in this article.
- If you have previously used PayPal to create invoices, you can just copy the template you used on your old invoices in the new ones you create. Go to the list of your old invoices, and copy the one you like then just make some changes to it and click Send.
- Some clients won’t wait for you to send them an invoice. They will just wire the money to you once they take a look at the work you have done and are happy.