How to Make an Invoice

According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, the founder of Handshake Media, Incorporated – that would be me – is one of the 530,000 people per month who created a business in the United States last year, 2008.

A significant number of those hundreds of thousands per month are starting businesses as freelancers and we are grateful for the fine work done by freelance content creators for Handshake 2.0.  For several of our content creators, we're very honored that their first sales have been to Handshake 2.0.  We've asked them to submit an itemized invoice to receive payment.  They reply:

"How do I make an invoice?"

Wanting to be of assistance, but not having the time to write a detailed explanation, I thought I would quickly seek and find a link to send.  I went to Google and searched "how to create an invoice."  Omigosh:  Links and links to invoice-creating software, both free and fee-based, and complex directions on how to use the templates in that most ubiquitous of word processing programs.

After several hours of search over several search sessions, I've found only two sites that offer a freelance contractor straightforward, business-sound guidance on how to create an invoice – and freedom from dependence on here-today-for-free-possibly-gone-tomorrow or "for a minimal fee" software:

How to Invoice – What Goes on The Invoice and a Sample Invoice from
How to Make an Invoice from Of Zen and Computing

To those stellar sources, I'll add this from me as a company founder – and head check-writer - to a freelance contractor:  Help me pay you. 

Who are you?  What's the name you want me to write on the check?  Are you doing business as yourself or doing business as (D.B.A.) a company name?  When both are on the invoice, I don't know which to choose.  "Make checks payable to X" on the invoice would help greatly.

Where are you?  Yes, I have your address in my files, but if I have to look it up, frankly, your value to my company decreases because you're costing me time.

What's your EIN?  To avoid risks associated with sharing social security numbers, you take good care of yourself and your contracting company if you have an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

What am I paying you for?  Tell me, using my company's identification system – for us, the title of the post in which your work appeared and the date it appeared are ideal - what you did for our company.  If you did it more than once, list each work product separately.

When did you do what I'm paying you for?  Is this invoice for this month or last month?  Was this work product created this week or last week?  Did you already get paid for it?  Did you never get paid for it?  Checkpoints are in place when you, the company, and our company's accountant all have dates to use to track what we're all doing and when we've done it.

How much do I owe you?  What is the fee for each work product?  What is the total?  When I receive an invoice with no total, I think of the frequent exclamation from retail shoppers, "No price tag?  It must be free!"  If I have to figure out what I owe you, I'll probably only do that once…

Which invoice is this?  If you were our only contractor, you're right that it's the one after the last one you sent.  With so many contractors and so many invoices, if each invoice has an invoice number, then it's one-of-a-kind. 

No, you are not just a number to us.  Yes, your work is one-of-a-kind.

A Trust Score - T* - Derived from Chris Brogan's Trust Agents
Today's Eclipse - Laxas Albarino

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