Doesn’t time fly? On Friday, it will have been a whole year since I was made redundant from my old job and over nine months since I set up my little social media agency, Cattington. While it’s not for everyone, I’m adamant that making the move towards becoming my own boss is the best decision I’ve ever made. I love the freedom of being able to choose my own clients, make my own hours and work from bed as and when the situation requires (which I anticipate will be ‘every goddamn day’ now the temperature has dropped.) On a more practical level, working for myself has provided me with so much flexibility about when and where I can work – something which has proved to be incredibly useful considering all the curveballs life has thrown my way in 2017.
However, if there’s one thing I hate it’s invoicing. It is the bane of my life and, from speaking to other freelancers, I know I’m not alone here. It’s one of those necessary evils – after all, you can’t get paid if you don’t send an invoice. But the process of invoicing can be hugely time consuming. Time which you often don’t have if you’re focusing on growing your business. And that’s before we get to the soul crushing, stress inducing rigmarole of chasing late payments. It can be an exhausting and emotionally gruelling process which frequently distracts you from the important things, like pitching for work, doing the work and deciding which cafe you’re going to be working in has the best cake.
Which is where Albert comes in. Albert is a free invoicing app which has been developed for freelancers by freelancers. I’ve been using Albert for a few weeks now and I’ve been really impressed by how easy it is to use. It’s simple yet powerful, including all the functionality you need to look professional while providing you with easy access to your businesses finances. Best of all, it can all be done through your phone which is perfect if – like me – your phone is your most vital piece of business paraphernalia.
One of my favourite features is the functionality to send out branded Cattington invoices while on the go and preview them before they’re sent over to the client. As someone who is never in the same place (or even the same city) for very long and always trying to juggle 101 tasks at once, this is a lifesaver for me. The same applies to their status timeline which provides you with the flexibility to change dates and backdate invoices. Best of all, it allows you to include payment terms, such as payment due dates which is something which every freelancer should include in their invoices (if you don’t know what these are – and what your rights are regarding late payments and charging interest – this is a super useful guide) as well as a status timeline showing you when – and if – your invoice has been read by the client. Once you’ve invoiced the client, Albert also allows you to download everything into a handy .CSV spreadsheet which you can email to yourself, your accountant or even your Dad.
I could go on at great length about Albert, but I’d suggest that you do your own legwork, take a look at their website and read some of their 5* reviews on the app store. It’s definitely one of the most intuitive freelance invoicing apps I’ve used and I feel like I’ve used practically all of them. Best of all, it’s totally free meaning that you don’t have to spend stupid amounts of money on getting your business’s finances into shape.
Loathe as I am to use the term #girlboss (particularly with the whole ‘being a 34 year old woman’ thing), I also don’t think that there’s anything cute in pretending that you’re too scatterbrained and creative to focus on your finances. Even if you think it’s boring, these are the things which will help your business – and yourself – thrive. Working for yourself can be hard, lonely and exhausting at times and anything which makes the process that little bit easier is always a win in my book. Apps like Albert help me stop fretting about money and start focusing on the things I’m good at. Now, if you excuse me, I have to get back to work…
Albert is currently available for iPhone and can be downloaded via the app store. This is a sponsored post, but all of my opinions are my own and 100% honest.