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Freelance copywriter? Make your invoices as easy to understand as your copy

With companies spending more on marketing and content in an effort to appear more genuine and engaging, the copywriting industry has boomed in the last few years.

As a copywriter, you can write well, explain complicated things in a simple way, and get your point across - but how do you go about billing your clients in a clear, concise, and professional way?

image of pad, pen, computer, and coffee on a desk as if someone has set up to start working

What do I need to do first as a freelance copywriter?

As a freelancer, for tax purposes, it makes sense to form a company so that you can keep your taxes and expenses in order. If you've done this, then it's very straight forward. If you haven't, then you'll need to set up as a Limited Company (LTD), or a Sole Trader.

There are a few differences between the two types of company. A Sole Trader will file less paperwork with HMRC, but also have their business finances (and debts) connected to their personal finances. This means that assets you have may be used to reclaim money if need be. On the other side of the coin, as a Limited Company, your personal assets are protected and completely separate from the company you have.

It also affects what things like how easy it would be to secure funding from a bank, and the amount/ type of tax you pay. This is a rather oversimplified explanation, so before you decide on which type of company you want to set up (followed by registering with HMRC), ask around and get some advice on what would suit you best from people who are already freelancing.

To read a bit more about how to get started with being self-employed, pop on over to the GOV UK site.

What does my invoice need to include, and how do I create one?

Although the word "invoice" can conjure up very stiff and formal images with lots of paperwork involved, the actual information that needs to be included is not too complicated.

As a freelancer, the information you need to include is the same as any other self-employed person (or company, even). This is your company name, address, the name and address of your client, VAT rate, what you're charging for (a description), the amount payable, and an invoice number.

When putting your invoice together, you have a few choices. Using Word is a common way, but doesn't always look particularly exciting, not to mention a bit of a pain to organise when you've got many items on one invoice. It can also be a hassle to keep track of invoices when you've billed more clients and need to keep records of them. Instead, invoicing software is a good way to make sure your invoice looks professional whilst having some personality, and makes keeping track of invoices much easier.

By using invoicing software, you'll cut down on the amount of time you spend sending invoices, and keep on top of whether they've been paid or not without a fuss. You'll also have automatic records, and can see real time expenses and cash flow so you know how well your company is doing.

Written by
on 27/09/2018