What’s the Best Way to Invoice for Your Jewelry?
Net Profits: The Invoice
I recently asked several small-business advisors what jewelry artists should know when they start to sell their work. We started with common mistakes such as not tracking business expenses and relying too much on personal credit. (See my column in the November 2016 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist for more.)
Then I asked: What’s the most common question small business owners ask before launching?
That’s easy. Everyone wants to know the best way to get paid, says Mark Bartels. The former CEO of StumbleUpon actually researched this and found that the term most commonly searched by small business owners was “invoicing.” Now Bartel is CFO of invoice2go. The idea behind his app is to make billing fast and simple. It’s designed for individuals, not corporations.
“When someone is starting a business, the #1 term they start to look for on Google is ‘invoice,’” Bartels says. “We focus on one thing: create a template, put your business name on there, charge for services, and get it to your client as quickly as possible. A lot of offerings have a ton of features that small businesses don’t need. If you’re a one-person shop, the goal is to get the invoice out and get paid.”
Payment on the Go
It’s important to set up a payment system that’s as simple and mobile as possible. This is important especially if you do the craft show circuit and find yourself on the road a lot. I use PayPal for billing. It’s robust, widely used, and trusted. Its online invoices are professional and easy to use – they even let me incorporate my own logo – and payment is immediate. It makes overseas payments fast and easy.
PayPal recently introduced their own mobile app for invoicing on the road. Many jewelry artists who need to process credit cards on the road rely on Square, which has its own mobile app. Both of those systems charge a processing fee.
If you need to invoice the old-fashioned way, for payment by check, for example, one option is an invoicing app. “Anything that gets you paid quicker is going help you run your business, and allow you to focus on your craft or the service you’re delivering,” says Bartels. “Being able to bill from your mobile device saves you time because you can keep track of it in one take and do it on the go. You can now run your business from your phone.”
This is particularly useful if you’re running a jewelry business around a day job. Bartels surveyed users of his app recently and found more than a quarter of them start businesses while working a full-time job. “This stuff starts slowly on the side,” he says. “One big take-away from the survey was that 26 percent of people are doing work on top of their regular employment.
“One main concern of a business owner is inconsistent cash flow,” Bartels says. Two-thirds of the small business owners his company surveyed said the biggest allure of a regular job is the regular paycheck. “You can depend on it. When you move into a small business environment, you don’t have that dependability. But you also have the upside: you can work your own hours, choose your own clients.”
And, most importantly, you can spend more time doing what you love to do: making jewelry! Just be sure you have a user-friendly system in place to get paid for it.
NET PROFITS is a regular feature about using the Internet for jewelry selling of special interest to those with a home-based jewelry business that appears in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Learn more in “Launching a Small Jewelry Business Right.
CATHLEEN MCCARTHY has written about jewelry and business for Town & Country, Art & Antiques, Washington Post, and her own site, The Jewelry Loupe. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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