The good news is, your blog is in business. You've got your first project approved by the client, and now what?
You need to GET PAID!
Sometimes business is done with a handshake, but for tax purposes, both for you and your client, having a paper trail is a must. Having your invoice and many times your W-9 ready is important to making sure you get paid in a timely fashion. I personally like to send the invoice before the work commences so there is no doubt about the charges for services rendered. If additional services are needed, then another invoice can always be issued.
Even if you haven't gotten a gig yet, it's good to just create one, first of all because it gives some clarity to you as to how you want to bill your services. Also, it puts intentions out into the universe that you will be making money with your blog. That's not a bad thing, no?
The IFB Invoice Download:
Click the image of the invoice to download an Excel version:
Components of the Invoice:
- Your Information: Be sure to include your BUSINESS name, or whatever name used to deposit your checks. If you've set up a business, then your business name. If you have not done this yet, then your legal name is just fine. I've included tax information, so clients can have this as a reference, because I normally send a W-9 form along with it. If you like, and if you anticipate wire transfers, your routing number and account number can also be included on the invoice.
- Your Client Information: Be sure to include their legal business name, address and contact info (for your sanity). I like to include an invoice number for tracking payments.
- Date: ALWAYS have a the date sent on your invoice. This can come in handy when collecting past due invoices.
- Payment Terms: Many businesses have a 30-90 net on payment, especially bigger brands. They rarely pay upon receipt. I usually like to put in, “Payment upon receipt.” Then follow up if they have not paid in 30 days.
- Project Description: This is where you describe the project. It doesn't have to be long, but, say you are working on a campaign. “Social media promotion for X campaign” is good enough.
- Itemized list of services: The project description may not outline all the services you are rendering. Say you are giving the brand a sponsored post, a dedicated newsletter and a banner ad. This is where you break down the costs for each service.
- Grand Total: This is where you put the final amount you are asking to get paid
- Payment instructions: At the bottom repeat your payment terms and the way you wish to be paid.
- Thank you! Always thank your clients!
My accountant jokes, “If you find $5 on the street, the IRS wants you to claim it.” It doesn't matter if you have reached the $600 threshold, established a business or not, you will have to claim all money made from your blog. Clients will need your tax information to issue payment (so they can write off the money spent on the project). In the US, they will most likely ask for a W-9 form. You can have this filled out in advance, and keep it on hand whenever you need it. I generally send this along with the invoice to avoid delays in getting paid.