You’re probably reading this blog post in a browser window pointed to the Invoice Ninja website, so in all likelihood, you already know that it’s a web app that covers the basics of getting paid for your work and wares. No need to explain that our platform includes all of the invoicing, billing and time tracking functionality you’d expect for free, with still more advanced features available to Pro account holders.
There’s a lot you can do with Invoice Ninja beyond the basics, though. As an open-source project, we’re all about the potential that can be unlocked via hacks, mashups and integrations. That’s why our code is available at GitHub, it’s why we built a robust API, and it’s why we’ve integrated with over 500 other tools by leveraging the magic of the Zapier platform.
Besides, in our experience, it’s always fun and exciting to discover uses for something you already have that other people don’t even know about. To that end, here are some unconventional uses of Invoice Ninja that can help you streamline your business operation processes, provide your clients with better value than ever before and even earn you some extra money.
- Automate Data Pushes to Your CRM
Zapier works well with over 60 different CRM apps, so no matter which one happens to be your favorite, you should be able to integrate Invoice Ninja with it. These range from SalesForce, which is the industry standard, to HubSpot’s free CRM product. All you need to do is set Zapier up, using what they call a Zap, to automate a data push from Invoice Ninja to the CRM of your choice. A Zap is what you have when two apps connect, where one is a trigger and the other an action. That is, whenever the trigger event happens, Zapier makes sure that the action event follows suit, as it should.
This way, every time a client pays an invoice, the client record in your CRM will be automatically updated. As a result of the automation, you’ll save time and eliminate errors. You can also set up a Zap to push data in the reverse direction, allowing you to bill your clients with Invoice Ninja directly from your CRM dashboard.
- Embed Invoices in Web Pages
With a Pro-level Invoice Ninja account, you can get a vanity subdomain, so that your clients can pay you in a branded environment like yourbusinessname.invoiceninja.com, for example. For complete custom branding of the app experience, there’s also the self-hosting option for Invoice Ninja (more on this below), which allows you to host the entire experience within yourbusinessname.com. Then there’s the iframe method, which is the easiest of all – and arguably the most impactful too.
If your business’s website includes a login-only section for clients to track progress and view materials, then this is already their go-to hub for all activity with you. Using a simple iframe tag in your html code, you can embed your Invoice Ninja-powered invoices here, allowing your clients to access all of these documents in one place and even to pay you from within their logins in your site. In terms of professionalism and impressive UX, this is a sleek option. In terms of efficiency, it reduces friction, as you are offering your clients one-stop shopping, which likely means you’ll get paid faster.
- Monetize with Referrals
If you’re using an invoicing app, then you probably earn income by selling products or services. But you might still be interested in an additional revenue stream. With the Invoice Ninja referral program, you can earn up to $100 per referred Pro user – that’s $25 per year that they’re using Pro, for up to four years.
If you love our app and are inclined to sing its praises to your social circles, then why not earn some money for it? Your unique affiliate link can go anywhere that people will click on, too, including emails, social posts, published content and banner ads.
- Onboard New Clients with a Form
Once you close on terms with a new client and are ready to get to work on their projects, what are your next steps? You probably have a long list of onboarding tasks, whether this list is in your head or actually documented somewhere. At the very least, you’re going to need their contact details entered in your invoicing system. At the most, you’ll want them to share their thoughts, goals and sentiments when it comes to the projects you’re taking on. A web-based form can be a great solution for all of the above, and Zapier supports integrations with some 40 different form products.
Once you’ve mapped out your form fields in Zapier, you can set up a Zap to send the data to Invoice Ninja, automatically opening a new client record. Again, no human error and no time investment necessary. Even better, though – in this case, you’ve got zero data entry to do, as your client is essentially taking care of this on your behalf.
- Host Your Own App
The option to self-host may be the biggest differentiating feature that Invoice Ninja supports. Let’s say you want to use Invoice Ninja’s invoicing, but you don’t want to encourage your clients to leave your website. If you self-host, you are fundamentally incorporating the entire app into your own website.
To do so requires a certain level of comfort with your hosting infrastructure, but if you’re already running php 5.4.0 or newer along with the MCrypt extension, it is a relatively straightforward procedure. You can follow the same link for instructions using other environments, and if you aren’t confident enough with your own tech prowess to make it happen, then you can also use self-installers and containers powered by third-party providers like Softaculous and Bitnami to get your self-hosted Invoice Ninja up and running.
Thinking Outside the Black Box
As an open-source product, Invoice Ninja is highly versatile, but you don’t need to be a coder to enjoy these advantages. Get started with the Invoice Ninja hacks, integrations and lesser-known features listed above to unlock its true power and take your business to new heights.