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Sample Invoice

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I use a simple invoice that helps me to be paid immediately. Besides looking businesslike an invoice conveys a lot of information that Accounts Payable (A/P) departments need. If you give them the right details all at once, that will speed your payment.

  1. Give accurate contact information, including your daytime phone number. Make sure the address is perfect so your payments don't go elsewhere.
  2. For the invoice number, I use the date in numerical form, so 091224 for September 12, 2024 and add additional digits for the first invoice that day, the second invoice, and so on. So the third invoice on 091224 is 0912243. That's my own code, and you may want to use 091224-3, if that works best for you. Or something else, entirely.
  3. Itemize the invoice and be sure there are no mathematical errors. I use an Excel spreadsheet which calculates the numbers automatically. You really look dumb if you submit an invoice that doesn't add up. Give as much or as little detail as the client is expecting. There's nothing wrong with sending an invoice that says, "Strategic Planning—$24,000," if that's what you have agreed in advance.
  4. Include your Federal Tax ID if you have one, or if not, include your social security number.
  5. Employers may want you to fill out a W-9 before they pay you. Filling out a W-9 is easy. Just provide your name and Social Security Number, or the name and Employer Identification Number of your business. By submitting a W-9, you are certifying that the tax identification number you are providing is correct and accurate and that you are not subject to backup withholding. When I'm asked for a W-9 I try to return it by fax within the hour. You can get a blank W-9 here: www.irs.gov/.
  6. The Sample Invoice is linked as a PDF directly below the Google ads.

This sample invoice is in the form of a PDF. To view it in another window, click here.

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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.