When you have a side gig, one of the most challenging aspects of the business is managing your finances. Creating invoices, following up with clients, and marking bills paid can be time-consuming.
Though you can create your own invoices from basic templates, managing invoices manually creates a lot of room for error and can let costly mistakes fall through the cracks.
You may have put off getting invoicing software because you were afraid of the expense; some systems can cost hundreds of dollars. But there are a number of low-cost or free invoice software programs available that can streamline how you manage your business.
Below are five cheap and easy programs that can help your side hustle.
Best affordable invoicing software
BillBooks offers robust features and a mobile app so you can create and send professional-looking invoices from anywhere. Not only does BillBooks have several invoice templates to choose from, but you can also set up automatic reminders to send out to your clients, accept payments online, and run end-of-year profit and loss reports.
BillBooks offers a “pay as you go” payment model. Your first three invoices are free, then you’ll need to purchase invoice credits. For $10, you get 20 invoices; put down $60 to get 200 invoices.
Whether you are a freelance writer or a professional dog-walker, PocketSuite has the features you need to run your business. You can manage your side hustle and collect payments completely from the dynamic PocketSuite app.
Best of all, PocketSuite offers its pro membership for free. Under this tier, you can create and send professional invoices, collect credit card payments, send messages to clients, schedule appointments, and even add sales tax, for no charge.
If you want to add other features like online contract signing, recurring payments, or financial reporting, you can upgrade to one of PocketSuite’s paid membership tiers, which start at $10 a month.
SimplyBill is a web-based invoicing software system that is perfect for people who only need help managing invoices and payments, not scheduling appointments. It’s a great solution for graphic designers, writers, and social media managers, rather than people who do a lot of client interaction.
With SimplyBill, you can create estimates and invoices in minutes and send them to clients through the site. Clients can pay directly through the email they receive. You can track whether or not customers open the email, and send them reminders if they do not pay right away.
The basic version costs $5 and allows you to send 25 invoices a month, which is robust enough for most side gigs. If your business expands, the enhanced tier allows you to send out 100 invoices for $15 a month. If you would like to try it out, SimplyBill offers a free two-week trial.
ZipBooks is unique in that it’s completely free; there are no tiers or additional paid features. Instead of charging customers, the company makes money by charging a fee from its partners when you accept payment from a client.
ZipBooks is a full-service accounting software, offering everything from invoice creation to credit card processing, recurring billing, team management, and expense tracking. It even connects to your business bank accounts to make handling your taxes more manageable.
5. Zoho Invoice
With Zoho Invoice, you can create invoices, send out reminders, get paid online, and even track your time and expenses. It’s a feature-heavy dashboard that makes managing your business simpler.
You can create branded invoices, convert them to different currencies, and send them via snail-mail to customers who require a hard copy.
Zoho Invoice is free to use with all of its features, as long as you don’t invoice more than 25 customers a month. The next tier allows you to invoice 50 customers a month and costs just $7.
Managing your side hustle
When you are bringing in income from your side hustle, it’s important to treat it like a real business — not a hobby. Managing your invoices, following up with clients, and tracking your expenses can be time-consuming, but it’s pivotal at tax time.
While you could do it on your own with Word or Excel, Microsoft Suite-produced invoices can look amateurish to clients, and tracking and following up on invoices manually means you may make mistakes. Mistakes in a side gig lead to lost money, and all the time you waste managing invoices is time you could spend earning more money on the side.
Using one of these low-cost or free invoicing software programs can help make your life (and the life of your accountant) much simpler.
To find out more about how to manage your side hustle efficiently, check out this article on eight key things to do before launching your side gig.
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