Invoice Home Blog

Managing & Engaging Your Remote Employees

Published November 24, 2020


Now more than ever, offices are shifting to a digital workplace and allowing employees to work from home full-time. According to Review 42, 18% of employees work remotely full-time, and 55% work remotely at least once per week as of 2020.

Employers are new to this, and it can be difficult to manage and engage our employees when they’re not in the office with you. Luckily, we’ve put together a few tips for you on how to engage remote employees. 

How to Deal With Difficult Customers

Published November 18, 2020


1. Be Patient

Even though you may feel like what they’re saying is personal, it’s likely that your customer isn’t actually angry at you. They may just be frustrated and don’t realize they’re taking their frustrations out on you. That being said, it can be hard to separate those feelings of anger from work and much easier to lash back at your customer in retaliation.

On these occasions, take a deep breath and an extra moment to listen to what your customer is saying. Try to pinpoint the reason for their anger. Be patient, listen to their concerns, and don’t take their harshness in these instances too personally. Make sure you understand that the customer is human too. Don't take their anger personally or hold it against them. Hopefully they will do the same for you.

2. Explain Your Side

You’re the expert who’s been hired to complete a specific job. If you’re doing something a certain way, there’s a reason. 

When you explain your reasoning behind why or how something is being done, it’s good practice to break your explanation down by “chunking”. Chunking is the process of breaking a problem down into smaller, more understandable pieces (or chunks). Tackling one issue at a time allows for a more focused discussion, and makes each chunk more understandable for the customer.

3. Be Open To Compromise

Like the saying goes, the customer is always right. Well, maybe not always, but it’s important to hear them out.

Let the customer know what you plan to do to address their concerns. It might be something simple you can solve over the phone, or you might need to go through the process with them or even spell out your next moves. It may take extra time, but it will help the customer feel heard and at ease.

4. If it’s Important, Stand Your Ground

Sometimes, especially on issues of safety, there is no compromise. In fields like electrical and construction work, deviating from the plan is not an option. 

If there’s no room for compromising, don’t be afraid to stand your ground. 

It's important to let your customer know how important their business is to you and your business. Thank them for bringing their issue to your attention. Let them know what you plan to do to address their concern and get back to work!

How to Send an Invoice

Published November 03, 2020


Before You Send

Before you send an invoice (and before you even do the work), it’s important that you and your customer are on the same page. You don’t want to surprise them by asking for a payment amount that they weren’t aware of. 

Even if you are working without a formal contract, you should always communicate and have your customer agree to some preliminary payment terms. Once you and the customer have reached an agreement, send a services agreement before undertaking the project. It sounds intimidating, but don’t worry. You don’t need a lawyer for this. There are plenty of templates out there for you to use.

This agreement should detail a final price, payment due dates, and any late fees should a customer pay after the due date. When the customer signs this agreement, you have proof that they have agreed to all terms and conditions of the transaction. This also serves as a resource that you can refer back to if a price or payment dispute with your customer arises.

Creating an Invoice

Once you’ve completed the work, it’s time to create your invoice for your customer. Don’t worry, we’ve already put together a guide on creating your first invoice. Invoice Home makes creating an invoice easy, so head to our invoice generator and get started!

Sending Your Invoice

Your terms are agreed upon, the work is done, and the invoice is created. Awesome! Now let’s get you paid. 

Typically, it’s good practice to send an invoice to your customer immediately after delivering the final product. This ensures that you stay in the front of your customer’s mind, and makes it less likely that you’ll need to keep “chasing” that invoice.

Save a tree, and send your invoice via email. With Invoice Home it’s an easy 3-step process!

1. Select the document you would like to send.

2. Click the “Email” tab.

3. Fill out the form accordingly, and press send!

When you’re filling out the body of the email, make sure to keep things short and to the point. Don’t worry, it’s not rude. It’s professional. Something like “Please find Invoice #101 attached. Please respond with confirmation that you have received this message. Thank you!” 

If they haven’t responded within 48 hours, follow up and ask for confirmation that they have received your invoice. This is a small but helpful indicator that your message wasn’t lost or ignored, and will help you get paid on time. 

4 Simple Steps to Start Freelancing

Published October 29, 2020


Many want to go into freelancing, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. To learn more about how to get started in freelancing, follow these steps:

1. Choose a Specific Field

You probably have a general sense of the field you want to get started in. But narrowing that field down even further will help you get started, and get more work in the future. 

If you’re looking to start freelance writing, think about what sort of writing you would like to do. Choose a more specific subsection, whether that’s writing journalistic articles, blog posts, or ad copy. For those looking to go into freelance developing, are you looking to do frontend development, or more behind the scenes backend work? The same goes for designers, artists, and any other field you can think of.

Think about what sort of work interests you, and pursue that first. If you get more specific and start with a niche, you’ll have a much easier time getting started.

2. Build a Portfolio

You don’t need to have direct experience in the field you want to start freelancing in. But you do need to have some sort of proof of your ability. Imagine if someone came to you and said “I’ve never touched a wrench in my life, but I’d be happy to install your new toilet!” You (rightfully) wouldn’t let them anywhere near your house. The same goes for potential clients who are looking for freelancers.

To show a potential client that you are qualified to start freelance work, it’s important to have a portfolio to show them. Even if you’ve never worked in that particular field before, putting together some sample works to show off your ability can go a long way. 

For example, if you want to start freelance writing, write a handful of sample articles or blog posts about topics that interest you. If you’re a designer, build a portfolio with some of your art. Freelance developers especially should have a tangible thing so they can demonstrate their ability. 

Being able to say “Here’s an example of my recent work,” goes a lot further than “Here is a list of my qualifications”. So start building your portfolio!

3. Reach Out

Once you’ve got your field narrowed down and your portfolio wrapped up, it’s time for the least exciting step of your freelance journey: reaching out to potential clients. 

There are many ways to go about finding new clients as a freelancer. You can create a profile on sites like Fiverr or UpWork so that customers can come to you. New freelancers often share their content on social media sites, hoping to find interested people that way. Many also start by simply reaching out to people or companies in their desired field via cold email. It’s a great place to start! Just don’t get deterred by a long stretch of uninterested clients.

You might be wondering what the best way is to go about reaching out to new clients. Well the best way is actually… all of them! Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. By diversifying your approach to finding new clients, you’re giving yourself a better chance to find a winner. It’s a lot of effort, but it’s well worth it!

4. Follow Up

By now, you’ve had a few clients and done a handful of projects for them. Awesome! But don’t let them get away. It’s time to put your networking skills to the test and nurture that new relationship. You’ll be surprised how often seemingly one-time projects turn into long-term clients for freelancers!

Start with a simple follow-up email. Something along the lines of “I enjoyed working with you on this project, and would love to work together soon in the future!” within a week of project completion is typical. But don’t be afraid to check in more often. 

It’s good practice to send a client an email every month or two asking if they’re still looking for freelance workers. Even if there’s nothing on the table right now, it’s a great way to remain in the front of their mind whenever a new project does inevitably arise. So don’t feel awkward, follow up and keep that client!

How Your Business Can Profit From Halloween

Published October 25, 2020

It’s that time of the year: trailers for the latest horror movies are out, spooky decorations are up, and there’s a lot of talk about what your colleagues and friends plan to dress up as.

You know what that means... Halloween is right around the corner!

You might be ready for October 31st, but is your business?

Holiday-targeted marketing is a great strategy for brand-recognition, especially when ads are fun and get people in the holiday spirit. So why not use this Halloween as an opportunity to market your business and reach potential customers?

We’ll show you how you can do exactly that.

You’re Setting the Wrong Goals for Your Business

Published October 14, 2020


The way you’re setting goals is wrong. It’s not just you, it’s how we’re taught. And we’re not just setting the wrong goals in business, but everywhere. According to The Times Tribune, 92 percent of people don’t accomplish their New Year’s resolutions.

So we’re clearly not doing something right. To find the solution, it’s important to start with recognizing the problem first.

The Problem:

The problem with how we set goals isn’t that we’re being too ambitious, or not ambitious enough. It’s how we’re framing the things we want to accomplish in the first place. 

Take the most common non-business goal for example, which is “I want to lose weight” according to Who doesn’t want to feel better about their physical appearance? But let’s make it more specific and “better” by changing it to “I want to lose 10 pounds”. 

For your business, you might set a target of a 40p percent increase in sales by the end of the year. This is a good, specific goal right?

But “I want to increase sales by 40 percent” has the same core problem as “I want to lose 10 pounds”: We can’t control them. They’re output goals. 

The Solution:

To set goals that are more easily monitored and attained, the key is to set input goals. 

An input goal is one where you can directly control whether or not it is achieved. 

For example, let’s use “I want to lose 10 pounds” again. Without any real clarity of the work you’ll put in, it’s hard to measure the amount that you’ll get out. You might start a killer workout regiment with a healthy diet, get in great shape, and feel great about your body. But if you “only” lose 8 pounds at the end of it, you’ll feel like you’ve failed when you really haven’t. 

An example of a good input goal for getting in shape is “I want to exercise for 30 minutes every day and eat vegetables with two meals per day”. These are two clear and measurable actions that you can control that will almost certainly lead you to getting in better shape.

The same goes for “I want to increase sales by 40 percent”. If you launch effective marketing campaigns and get great customer reviews, but your sales numbers only increase by 35 percent, you’ll feel like you fell short of your goal.

In your business, don’t set output goals you can’t control. It’s great to have targets and milestones to shoot for along the way, but focus on the actions that will take you to where you want to go. If you want to increase sales, set goals that are within your control.

For example, set a goal of requesting 70 percent of your customers to leave a Google review, or reaching out to 40 new potential clients per week. Just like with personal goals, it’s important that your business goals are a good fit for you, and focus more on creating healthy habits than swinging wildly for an end goal.

Here are a few more tactics from LocalIQ that have proven to increase your sales on a budget.

How to Get Over Your Phone Anxiety

Published October 06, 2020


Nobody looks forward to meetings or interviews, but they can be even more uncomfortable when you’re not face-to-face. In today’s world, it’s increasingly more common to substitute in-person meetings with a remote phone or video call. 

If you find yourself dreading the next Zoom meeting or phone interview, follow these tips to overcome your phone anxiety:

1. Dress the Part

Let’s just get this statistic out of the way: 1 in 10 people in Zoom meetings aren’t wearing pants. (Sorry for putting that visual of your coworkers in your head.) On top of that, 75 percent of people surveyed said they wear sweatpants, pajamas, or shorts during digital meetings.

Preparing for a meeting starts with what you wear. If you were to show up to an interview in a sorority shirt and sweatpants, you probably wouldn’t feel too confident about getting the job. 

Now, by no means do you need to wear a suit and tie during every call. Think of it like a casual Friday at the office. The clothes you wear have a big impact on your mentality and work habits, whether you realize it or not. So please, for your own sake, put on some pants.

2. Rehearse Your Lines

It might sound oversimplified, but practice makes perfect. When you’re going to be on a call, practice the things you know you’re going to say. Like, actually practice out loud.

If you have to present something on a call, whether it’s with potential clients or just sharing with your colleagues, rehearsal is important. Go over the main details you know you’ll touch on, and prepare answers for possible questions that might come your way during or after your presentation.

For calls with interviewers, think about what kind of questions they’ll ask you, and practice the answers you’ll give. Talking to yourself and hearing your answers out loud before saying them in an interview can be helpful, and help you make sure you come across like the smart, knowledgeable candidate that you are. 

3. Find a Separate Space

If you’re working from home, it’s important to have a place in your home that’s a dedicated working space. You don’t need a full office setup; the corner of your bedroom or even the kitchen table is perfect. The most important thing is that you’re able to separate your work and personal spaces. 

Use your work space for your work calls as well as your daily work tasks. The human body is easily influenced by habits. Train your brain so that you’re working when you’re at the table, and relaxing when you’re in bed or on the couch. The lines between your work life and personal life are blurred enough when you work from home, so make it easy on yourself by separating spaces.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting a Business

Published September 30, 2020

Business Invoice

Starting your own business is an exciting moment that you’ve likely waited years to realize. Once the moment finally arrives, it’s tempting to jump right in. But it’s important to slow down and consider a few things first.

Before you take the leap and start your own business, ask yourself these 7 questions:

4 Steps to Take When Taking on a New Client

Published September 23, 2020

Business Invoice

When you’re taking on a new client, it’s important to follow certain steps to make sure that the relationship will be a healthy one. Here are four steps we think all small businesses and freelancers should take with new clients, from the start of the relationship to the end.

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