I recently signed up with Freshbooks to run the accounting side of my blogging and freelance writing business.
Pretty quickly after setting everything up, I ran into what seemed like a big problem.
Despite a pretty solid year of profits and revenue, Freshbooks was showing me WAY in the red!
The reason? When I synced up my business bank account with the Freshbooks platform, direct deposits weren't automatically being shown as income.
I make most of my money each month through direct, scheduled payments from Amazon Associates, various affiliate partners that pay through PayPal, and direct deposits from MediaVine (my ad broker for my sites).
So you can see why this was a problem!
I reached out to the team over at Freshbooks with a simple question: How do you track non-invoice revenue, or direct deposit revenue, inside of Freshbooks?
The quick answer: You'll need to create an invoice for those separate revenue streams.
It's actually pretty quick and simple to do once you get the hang of it.
I'll explain in detail below.
(If you're not already signed up, definitely try a free trial of Freshbooks to see how you like it. Hit my link to get started! And psst, it's an affiliate link FYI.)
Why Freshbooks Doesn't Automatically Register Direct Deposits
Freshbooks is really set up to track your business revenue by:
- Allowing you to create & send invoices
- Receive payments or mark them as paid
- Those invoices then get tallied as revenue
This is perfect for freelancers and writers but not 100% ideal for bloggers and affiliate marketers.
At first, I was pretty annoyed that my direct payments from Amazon each month weren't being registered, but I understand why.
Random deposits into your bank account could be anything!
They could be income or revenue, sure, but they also could just be cash deposits, refunds from purchases, gifts, donations, or plenty of other things.
So it makes sense to separate out actual revenue streams in a way that can be properly tracked and tagged inside of Freshbooks.
How to Track Non-Invoice Income in Freshbooks - Step One
To track non-invoice income (meaning, you didn't actually have to send an invoice to a client for payment), or direct deposit income or revenue, here's what you need to do.
(Pssst, this is going to be really handy for bloggers and freelancers who get paid from certain sources on a regular basis without needing to invoice.)
Step one is to create a "Client" in Freshbooks for each revenue stream you have.
For example, I get paid by Amazon Associates every single month, so I needed to create them as a Client.
Inside the Clients tab on the left hand side of the app, click the green button "New Client."
You'll get a screen like this one below, where you'll have a chance to enter all of your client's information and contact.
Now, if you're not actually going to be sending them invoices (for example, you get paid on a regular in schedule in pre-determined amounts), just enter a name for the client and a valid email —— you can use your own email address, just not the one that's linked with Freshbooks.
When you're done, you'll get a little Client card like so!
Remember, you don't need to put in any REAL contact information for the client.
You're only creating them as a client so you can track your income through invoices you'll create, for your own purposes.
You won't actually be sending this client any direct communications.
(I know this seems like an unnecessary step, but you'll only have to do it once for each revenue stream you have.)
Once you've repeated this process above for each separate revenue stream you have, you'll be ready to start tracking your blogging, freelancing, affiliate, etc. income properly.
For me, I have a number of different clients set up like:
- Amazon Associates
- Amazon Associates International (they send separate payments)
- A handful of third party affiliates
- And some clients I have done freelance work for
Now you need to create unique invoices for each payment you receive from these "Clients."
What I do is sit down once or twice per month and batch this process together.
You can either do it ahead of time if you know what your next payment will be, or wait until the funds actually hit your bank account.
In either case, you'll go the "Invoices" tab on the left side of the Freshbooks screen, and hit the green button to create a "New Invoice."
Select the right client under the "Billed To" field and then enter a new line item.
(Just put a basic description of what you're being paid for, followed by the amount.)
This whole thing should seriously take 15 seconds.
Once you're done entering the invoice information, you can hit Send (this will send a copy to whatever email address you listed for the client, most likely one of your own.)
Or you can just Save the invoice and not send it.
Either is fine!
Now that you've created a new invoice for the payment you received (or will receive soon), you just need to mark it as paid once the money hits your bank account.
Remember, Freshbooks doesn't look at direct deposits to your account and won't register them.
So if you don't manually record this revenue, it won't count toward your bottom line!
Just go into your Invoices tab and scroll down to the bottom, where you'll see a list of all of your recent invoices.
Check one (or as many as you want), and from the Bulk Actions drop down, click "Add a Payment."
A little pop-up will come out.
Just put in the payment method (ACH, direct deposit, PayPal, whatever) and the date paid, then you're Done!
Putting It All Together
So whenever you get paid by a direct deposit, ACH, PayPal, or any method that goes right into your bank account without you actually having to send a real invoice to a client, here's how you'll track it:
- Make sure you have a "Client" in Freshbooks for that revenue stream
- Create a new invoice for each payment, and either send it to yourself or Save it as a draft
- Mark it as paid once the funds arrive
As far as workflow, there are a lot of options.
You can take a minute or two every time a new payment comes in to create a new invoice and mark it as paid.
Or you can create all of your invoices ahead of time each month based on the amounts you know they'll be in, and then mark them all paid at the end of the month.
Or something in between!
Do whatever works for you.
Once you get in this habit, though, the process is easy and it tracks and organized your revenue extremely well!
Freshbooks is a great platform for an affiliate marketing, blogging, or freelance writing business.
You just have to know how to use it to properly handle your exact business model.
Once I figured this out, I really began enjoying the platform and the way it gives me an easy look at how I'm doing.
I hope this helps!
If you're interested in giving Freshbooks a try, use my link and start off with a free trial to see how it fits your needs!
You can also check out all the other tools I use to keep my blogging business running smoothly right here.