Freelance Writers: When to Invoice Your Client

Freelance Writers: When to Invoice Your Client

Having your own freelance writing business is like consistently balancing a scale of pros and cons. While it can provide freelance writers with a wealth of benefits, like being your own boss and taking home a bigger slice of the pie, one major downside is actually getting a client to hand over that cold, hard cash.

You’ve plugged yourself into a project—pouring in hours, days, and sometimes even weeks. You’ve cultivated it to the caliber of receiving a commendation, and you can’t wait to cash in on your efforts.

Your rent is due soon, the dog needs to visit the vet, and your partner’s birthday is only around the corner. You’ve practically spent the money in your mind.

You go to invoice your client immediately after project completion and a moment of hesitation paralyzes your hand. “Is it too soon to send the invoice?” You ask yourself if they’ll think you’re desperate for the dollars. You begin to analyze the past 5 years of your life’s social interactions as your mind conjures up multiple scenarios.

Invoicing a client is a tricky topic amongst freelancers and the self-employed. With the myriad of variables involved, invoicing isn’t quite a science but more of an art that requires the finesse of a scalpel (not an actual scalpel).

Timing is everything. Here’s how to do it right.

The Waiting Game

A common misconception is that you should wait a few days, a week, or even two before sending an invoice to a client. You don’t want to come off as desperate and pushy, but you’ve slogged over a project, and you need to be compensated for your efforts.

While waiting to issue your invoice may seem like the smart move—the longer you wait, the more your content depreciates in value. It’s like staring at a selfie for so long that it loses its value (we’ve all been there, am I right?).

When the content is fresh, like a shiny new toy, the client is more inclined to believe that they have got a good deal out of hiring you.

Strike While the Iron’s Hot

Invoice fast and invoice often.

Whether you’re creating content or building websites—in the self-employed world of freelancing, leveraging every tool at your disposal is a must. Seventy-eight percent of invoices are sent via email across all industries. The most common method of delivery is also the most convenient, and yet, why are freelancers and SMBs struggling to get paid on time?

Does an invoice need to be sent immediately for it to be more credible? In short, yes.

Invoice while the content is still fresh in your client’s mind. Psychology calls it the Serial Position Effect or “Recency Effect.” Research over the last 56 years has proven that people are more likely to remember and act upon tasks that are at the top of the list or “still fresh in their mind.”

What does this mean for people who want to get paid? Send out your invoice as soon as you’ve completed the work.

Additional Reading

Suggestions from the nDash AI-powered content brief:

About the Author

Anup Sohanta is a full-time freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, financial services, and other topics. To learn more about Anup — or to have him write content for your brand — check out his nDash writer profile.