Writing and Editing
Using Zoho Invoice since:
After her stint as a civil law paralegal for 15 years, this Oklahoma-based writer decided to be her own boss and started her own business in 2014. Meet Robin Bull, a self-made writer, editor, and the founder of Black Moth Media.
Freelancing brings with it the satisfaction of being your own boss, but it comes at a cost—Robin must manage sales, marketing, finances, and customer support single-handedly. However, just a glance at the diverse services Black Moth Media offers reveals that she’s a natural at multitasking. Robin helps customers with copywriting, digital marketing, SEO-optimized web content, editing, and more, all by herself.
During the early days of Black Moth Media, Robin used the Cashboard App for invoicing. But over time, she began to feel it was too complex to work through, and she knew the invoicing process was taking up far too much time. Since Black Moth Media offers a wide range of services, invoicing and payment collection depends entirely on which services each customer chooses as well as the corresponding time it takes for Robin to complete the projects. This means that each deal is unique and needs to be custom for that project. On top of that, some projects involve two-part payment, a retainer and a final settlement, while others call for weekly invoicing.
Catering to her business’ custom needs without adding unnecessary complexity spurred Robin’s search for an invoicing tool that could act as the one-stop solution for all her invoicing, project management, and payment collection needs. After evaluating multiple platforms, Robin decided to go with Zoho Invoice for its comprehensive feature set and intuitive interface.
Robin started using Zoho Invoice in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. The ability to manage both flat-rate projects and hourly contracts using Zoho Invoice’s timesheet module is one of her favorites. “Whenever I start working on a project, I’d start the on-screen timer in Zoho Invoice, pause it when I take breaks, and stop when I’m done. It sounds simple, but I love the accuracy of the time tracking functionality. I am able to account for every single minute I work,” Robin said.
Robin firmly believes that transparency is a key ingredient in customer success and always takes the utmost care to explain every single line item on the invoice as much as possible.“My customers should clearly know what they’re being charged for, and not have any surprises when they receive an invoice. The ability to add notes to every single time entry is a godsend! When it’s time to invoice, all I do is include the timesheet notes on the invoice. That’s incredibly convenient,” said Robin.
For customers paying in installments, Robin sends out a retainer invoice first, collects the deposit amount, and applies it to the final invoice with just a click. And for those who pay weekly, she creates a recurring invoice profile so that Zoho Invoice automatically creates an invoice each week, emails it to the customer, and even collects payments on her behalf. The best part is that this all saves time that she can put into what she loves: writing and helping more customers. And by integrating her Zoho Invoice account with PayPal and Stripe, Robin offers her customers the option to pay either via credit card or through their PayPal account.
But the functionality of Zoho Invoice doesn’t stop there for Black Moth Media—it’s truly become a source of financial truth for the organization. “Invoicing is what I use Zoho Invoice mostly for, but that’s not all. I use credit notes to track refunds, I record expenses for every single penny I spend, I’ve set up recurring expenses for my monthly expenses like Upwork fees, internet charges, and even my subscription for Zoho. I simply love that I can manage all my finances in one place,” said Robin.
Besides day-to-day transactions, Robin also uses Zoho Invoice to monitor her business health and make data-driven decisions. “I utilize the Zoho Invoice reports in various ways. At the end of each year, the ‘Sales by customer’ report helps me know which type of clients really benefit from what I offer, as well as which of my services are most in demand. I can use this to increase my marketing efforts in those areas and continue to offer and expand upon certain services,” said Robin.
Benefits and ROI
From day one, Robin knew spreadsheets couldn’t be an invoicing solution she could rely on because there’s simply too much room for manual errors. “Zoho Invoice does the math for me, while I focus on scaling my business and serving my clients better. And most of all, it makes me look professional. That’s why I continue to trust Zoho Invoice after all these years, though there are so many choices out there,” she said.
And time is especially important for a small business like Black Moth Media. “Imagine if I had to manually chase down the 4-10 invoices I average per week and process them by hand. Best case scenario would mean I’m still spending an hour and a half each week just collecting payment. Now imagine during my busy seasons or end of the month when I have 10 invoices in a week, that’s now almost half a day of lost billable work! And we’re not even thinking about any billing problems that may come up. If they did, I would have no choice but to hire someone or pay for a separate service to keep track of everything so I can focus on providing services to my clients,” said Robin.
Besides Zoho Invoice, Robin uses Zoho Writer, which she calls “most favorite thing on the planet” for writing and editing, Zoho Mail for email hosting, and Zoho Social for social media marketing.