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Chapter
3

Make your invoice look professional

An invoice is more than just a document with nitty-gritty details about payment and transaction requirements. Rather, an invoice is an extension of your freelance business. When you’re a freelancer, every facet of your operations reflects your work, your expertise, and your professionalism—invoice included.

That’s why it’s so important to professionalize your invoice through two key avenues:

  • Smart formatting

  • Cohesive branding

There’s a lot of research out there about how people read online—from eye tracking to gaze patterns and beyond (just look at Nielsen-Norman Group’s findings over the years).

It’s important to make it easy for clients to find key information. One way to do this is by bolding, highlighting, or otherwise featuring the three most important parts of your invoice:

  1. Your name/business

  2. How much the client owes you

  3. When the payment is due

However you choose to spotlight these elements, make it consistent with every invoice so your clients know what to expect.

Pro tip: If you’ve payment integrations via a “Pay Now” button or something similar, make sure that stands out too.

Professionalize your invoice using cohesive branding and automation

Did you know that simply adding a logo to your invoice makes clients 300% more likely to pay up, according to a study from Quickbooks.

Brand your invoice with a logo and colors that match your website or portfolio. This increases brand recognition and ensures you’re paid on time.

Here are some tools you can use to professionalize your invoice.

Design tools

Automation tools

  • Zapier: You can integrate Zapier’s automation capabilities called “Zaps” with invoice generators like Quickbooks to streamline the process (here’s a how-to guide for Quickbooks integration, but dig into Zapier to see how to integrate other tools)

  • Airbase: You can automate the Accounts Payable process with Airbase (this landing page that describes how it works)

Compare these two invoices and see which stands out

Invoice A

Invoice B

In Invoice B, notice how the name of the business, total cost, and invoice number are all bolded and stand out. Additionally, the logo in the top left grabs your attention. Invoice A, which is a watered down version of the invoice from the last step doesn't draw your attention to the important piece of information on the invoice.

However, in the version of Invoice A hyperlinked through this playbook, we already bolded your name/business name, how much the client owes you, and when the payment is due, because we recognize the importance of drawing attention to this information. You can add your logo where we wrote "logo" if you have one. If not, don’t worry about it.

If you prefer Invoice B to Invoice A, you can access that template via this link

Recap 

  • Learned what makes an invoice look professional and will help you get paid faster.

  • Incorporated format and branding into your invoice to increase your chances of getting paid on time. Every time.

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