Indy is the brainchild of Sebastian Gere and Jonathan Ramos, with the former currently heading the company as CEO (CEO). The brand is basically a single platform designed to help freelancers and others in the freelance economy.
Like many innovations, things for them started in a small apartment in Palo Alto. Having outgrown its initial founding in 2014, today Indy is a formidable force. They are constantly adding new features to the service, building real value for those who need them most.
Understanding self-employment and the self-employment economy
Technical innovations over the past decade have fueled a systemic shift in the global economy. For example, Uber, one of the largest carriers, does not own much of its fleet. Vehicles are owned and operated by independent individuals who provide the transportation service component.
And Uber is not alone in this. Business models such as Uber’s have transformed the economic landscape, creating a field in which relatively independent individuals unite to serve the essential functions of a larger body.
However, little thought goes to those individuals who now make up a large part of the workforce. From managing contracts to processing invoices and payments, freelancers need to spend a significant amount of time outside of their primary role.
This is where Indy comes in – fulfilling these needs.
What can you do with Indy
Indy is a full featured service that aims to help freelancers and even small business owners. These features address the different parts of the business chain that they need to deal with, and link them into a single dashboard for added convenience.
There are two obvious areas where Indy offers support – business management and operations.
- storage file
- time tracking
Key Features of Indy
On the strategic side of things, Indy’s business management features are all about helping you build and grow your business. You can create customer accounts, prepare proposals for them, and handle customer engagement without different tools. Of course, there is also billing and payments management.
It all starts with the people you need to deal with, and in Indy’s case, that means potential clients or clients. Start your journey by building a database of everyone you want to work with.
Your people database is the basis for many other features used later. Since you are using an integrated platform, you can simply select the records instead of filling them in frequently.
Once the people are in place, it’s time to work on starting the business. This area is something that Indy can help you save a lot of time. It provides a set of standard templates that will get you started quickly.
Templates are still highly customizable, so don’t worry about cramping your style. You can easily add or remove sections and even change them to suit your needs. Once you are done, simply add your digital signature and send it directly to your potential customers with a single click.
If all goes well as it should, it’s time to color things black and white. Here you can use the Indy Contract feature. Again, it is model dependent, and achieves the same advantages as the suggestion system.
Simply choose from over a dozen pre-built contract options such as non-disclosure agreements, consulting contracts, content creation, or more. Now, you will be able to see the benefits of the integrated system as you can define client profiles without having to add them manually again.
All templates provided by Indy are subject to audit by attorneys, so you don’t have to worry about the legality of those created using this system.
By the way, creating a contract is convenient for both sides of the coin, being either the service provider or the customer. The pre-built templates have the necessary regions to modify, so ignore the modular template and work on those bits.
4. Invoicing – including accepting payments and tracking time
The invoicing system is one of the most integral parts of running an Indy business. This area is where you create the invoices that customers need to pay. It is a standard invoicing system with coverage of all critical areas such as automatic numbering, formatting, and more.
There are two main advantages of the billing system and they are exceptional. The first is the integration of accepting payments through different sellers such as Stripe, PayPal, and even wire transfers. This means that customers can pay directly via a link on your invoice.
This integration is not rocket science but it does mean that you may get paid more quickly. Once the customer opens the invoice, they click on a link, fill in the payment details, and voila; In the credits roll.
The second feature is the ability to append timesheets, which can come in handy if you’re making hourly payments. Indy has a time tracker that you can use to keep records of how much time you’ve spent working on specific projects.
The ability to allow you to create forms will likely add a new dimension to your freelance account or small business. Again, using the same template system, you can create multiple types of forms for different reasons. You can use forms for everything from onboarding the client to getting feedback or providing project summaries.
It uses the same easy build system thanks to a pre-designed formwork system. The whole concept of Indy is about making things easier and simpler, so that you can focus on your core business.
Indy’s calendar feature allows you to get an overview of your schedule. It is populated with the dates you specify on various projects or to-do lists. In addition to that, you can also integrate your own Google Calendar as well.
7. File storage
Instead of emailing files to your customers, give them direct access to relevant files in Indy’s cloud storage. Your account comes with a certain amount of storage space that you can drag and drop files into.
Choose sharing rights for each file, track version changes and more – it’s much more convenient. Files can also be linked to specific projects, so there’s no risk of making a mess.
8. Time tracking
We all operate in different ways and bill customers accordingly. However, one of the most challenging areas is meeting customers’ need for greater accountability. This is where Indy’s time tracker comes in handy.
You can turn it on and run the timer to keep track of your work while you are at it. If you forget, just add the time manually, and it will be recorded in the logs. You can also associate timers with specific projects and add custom rates to each for faster billing later.
Indy’s not perfect
As a small business owner, I can see the obvious benefits of using a system like Indy. There is a huge benefit to reducing time spent on administrative tasks, plus operational assistance is a blessing as well.
However, there are some concerns even about the very obvious cool features.
1. Not everyone likes integrated payments
While having the option to pay the bill sounds like a great idea, companies operate in a variety of ways. Not everyone will want to click a link and make a payment. The exception may be if you work with other small businesses or freelancers.
Most large organizations have their billing flow, and your bill will need to flow through their system for final payment. Although this does not affect the usefulness of the system much, it does mean that you may not always see the obvious benefits of the integrated payments option.
2. Add time manually to the tracker
While the automated time tracking is excellent, I can’t help but wonder what customers would think if they found out that you can add time slots manually. This scenario is a kind of losing proposition where the ability removes the very element that the feature seeks to address – accountability.
On the surface, Indy offers two pricing tiers – Free and Pro Bundle. However, the free plan’s limited benefit makes it suitable for little more than an extended offering of the platform. However, time is not blocked, and you can access everything they have to offer.
Even better, the Pro packages only cost $5.99 per month. There are no extended contracts you have to worry about; Simply pay as you go. It is important to understand that many similar services often want to charge an annual fee payable up front. Indy doesn’t do that.
It’s also a flat fee and doesn’t increase no matter how many clients you decide to accept. You can keep almost everything you earn, which is great.
The only complaint I have about the pricing system is that you can’t pay with PayPal. Indy currently only accepts credit card payments via Stripe. I found it a bit strange since their system allows you to accept PayPal payments.
Conclusion: Indy is worth a try
Indy is not unique in the freelance work productivity space. However, it seems to have gone the extra mile, and you can’t easily compare its features with others on the market. The level of flexibility offered with their tools takes them to the extreme.
This flexibility is vital in the space for freelancers and small business owners because we have such diverse needs. Thanks to Indy, you can improve your workflow without changing your work habits to fit their system. It’s an ideal scenario for most people.