If you don’t send out invoices, you can’t complain when you aren’t paid. Some freelancers, however, may be better at the writing side of business than the billing side. But there are ways to simplify the invoice process.
First, make out the invoice when you get the contract.* If you have a set rate for the project, you’re all set. If you’re working at a per hour rate, fill out everything else and simply add your hours as you work them.
Second, go over the invoice when you are ready to submit your article, project, etc. If you know who the invoice is going to, simply e-mail it or post it at the same time. If not, ask and send it as soon as you hear who it should go to — don’t put it on your list of things to do.
Third, save your computerized version of your invoice and print out a copy as well. The printed copy should get filed with your contract with the company in question. You should also add a reminder on your calendar or ‘to do’ list of when you need to follow up if they haven’t paid.
Now, these three steps will only help if you do them every time. They have to be ingrained habit.
*If you don’t have a contract with whoever you’re working with, well, you’ve got bigger problems than figuring out invoicing.