Invoicing

What a Horrible Invoice Says About Your Business (and maybe You)

Feb 21, 2022 • 6 min read
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      There are people tuned in with the universe who can read your palm to tell you about your personality: how confident you are, what makes you nervous, why you keep investing in Dogecoin in 2022. Some read tea leaves, or chicken bones, look at your horoscope, or maybe root through your garbage when you’re not home.

      Us? We read invoices.

      Invoices aren’t just a crucial part of getting your small business paid on time. They’re more than that. Invoices are a direct extension of your company’s brand, and even your own personality. At Lendio, we are invoicing experts, and we’ve seen it all. Which means we can accurately diagnose by your invoice the type of business owner you really are. We’re so good that if we saw only your invoice on Tinder, we’d know immediately whether to swipe right or left.

      These are the ones we’d swipe left on.

      1. The Newbie

       

      Your invoice is a mono-color Google Doc template you found on your first page of search results. It’s so generic, it looks like a hospital bill. Everything is typed by hand, you forgot to put in your payment details, and it literally says invoice #1.

      Newbie Invoice

      Your invoice is a mono-color Google Doc template you found on your first page of search results. It’s so generic, it looks like a hospital bill. Everything is typed by hand, you forgot to put in your payment details, and it literally says invoice #1.

      You are the adorable newbie just starting out in your small business journey. Extremely willing to please your first client by doing too much work, and asking for too little in return—and you’re still terrified to ask.

      Maybe they won’t pay, you think. Maybe I should have charged less. You set your payment window to a net720 and stay up every night on your futon until the direct deposit finally comes into your overdrawn checking account.

      Hey, we all start somewhere, right? Many business owners look back on old invoices and shake their heads at how low their rates used to be. It only gets better from here.

      2. The Boutique Try-Hard

       

      Boutique Invoice

       

      Your invoice is handwritten on plumeria-scented stationery that costs almost as much as the quill you wrote it with, rolled into a scroll, tied with hemp, and carefully placed within a vintage wooden wine carrying box for safe shipping down the street.

      You are the boutique try-hard that puts their whole love and craft into every stitch of the upcycled, reupholstered tufted mid-century ottoman salvaged from an underground jazz club in 1960’s Brooklyn. You know your customers by their first name and food allergies. Your online store uses Papyrus font.

      Sure, your invoices are almost always late, and the only payment methods you accept are vintage stamps and acts of service. And sure, your past invoices are in stacks still waiting to be properly scrapbooked so your business history is a mess. But what’s a profit and loss statement anyway? Credit scores aren’t even real, children.

      3. The Efficient Coder

       

      Coding Invoice

      Your “invoice,” if you can call it that, is a python offshoot script that autoruns in the background anytime your mouse stops moving for more than five minutes, and mints into an NFT so it can’t be tampered with by your clients. It’s very efficient and you don’t know why everyone doesn’t ctrl+c your code from Github to do the same.

      You’re the efficient coder that works on three monitors (one vertical) connected to your Alienware PC because the one you’re building is being hampered by the microchip supply chain disruption in Taiwan. You recently switched to gunpowder macha because it’s actually a more potent stimulant due to its taurine content. Your tendonitis is acting up real bad, which is why you’re on the waitlist for the Plaid. It has the best self-driving.

      You don’t really care if your clients don’t like your invoice, or understand it at all. If they don’t pay the Solana that you’re owed, you’ll shut their back-end down and they can hire someone else just as expensive as you are to redo three weeks of code (that you actually did in five days watching Bojack). So they’ll pay, alright. I mean, do they want their CRM working come Monday or not?

      4. The Sloppy Freelancer

      Freelancer Invoice

      You don’t bother with invoice templates at all because a blank Word doc works just fine. Hey, your invoices are informal and chill, just like you, Besides, invoices that get paid are too corporate for your tastes anyway. It’s not unprofessional, it’s modern. It’s Work 3.0. It’s a Gen-Z aesthetic, even if you’re an elder millennial. It’s fine.

      You are the sloppy freelancer who works from home now, which gives you more time to play your Kalimba during your four-hour lunch breaks because you can always start your client’s blog at midnight (you’re more creative after midnight anyway). You have a dying succulent on your standing table. You Amazon Fresh your groceries, Amazon Prime your replacement Airpods that fell in the toilet, and Amazon Video Yellowstone at night.

      Your Word invoices are saved in a folder on your desktop. Well, most of them. Your clients don’t care what they look like—you’re pretty sure. Yes, a couple have said something about them being sent late, but you always eventually send them out. Just like your rent. Wait, is it February? You forgot to pay rent.

      And you forgot to attach the invoice to this email…Again.

      5. The Automated Pro

      Lendio Professional Invoicing

      Your recurring invoices are automated and sent on a regular monthly schedule after a quick manual review. Your online payment options are clear and integrated with your business bank account. Paid invoices are automatically logged into your archives, and late ones are flagged and populate a “reminder email” to send to that client. You follow all the invoicing best practices.

      You’re the automated invoicing pro and invoicing is so easy and error-free that they’re nearly an afterthought. Your income is steady and predictable, and your clients respect your professionality, timeliness, and ease of payment. You also have perfect skin and can bench press 400 pounds.

      Ok, so maybe we’re attributing a little too much to invoices in general. But they do reflect more on the business you run, and the businessperson you are, than you might think. Bad invoicing practices can lead to not just late payments, but frustrated clients and lost business.

      So what does your invoice say about you? Something positive? If not, you may want to give Lendio’s software a try to boost your invoicing game.

       

      About the author
      Robert Woo

      Robert Woo is a freelance writer and marketer. He focuses on the tech and finance industry, has been a featured contributor of Lendio, and regularly shares his experience with software via blogs and articles. During any remaining free time, he's obsessing over fantasy football, writing for television, and playing guitar just enough to maintain the calluses on his fingers.

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