Indy: Agile Workflow Optimization for the Modern Freelancer
Indy is the brainchild of Sebastian Gyr and Jonathan Ramos, of which the former currently heads the company as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The brand is essentially a one-stop platform designed to help freelancers and others in the gig economy.
Like many innovations, things for them started in a small Palo Alto apartment. Growing past its initial establishment in 2014, Indy is today a formidable force. They constantly add new features to the service, building real value for those who need it the most.
Understanding Freelancing and the Gig Economy
Tech innovations over the past decade have fuelled a systemic shift in the global economy. For example, one of the largest transportation companies, Uber, doesn’t own much of its fleet. The vehicles are owned and operated by independent individuals who provide the transportation service element.
And Uber isn’t alone in this. Business models like those of Uber have changed the landscape of the economy, creating a field where relatively independent individuals combine to serve essential functions of a larger body.
Yet little thought goes into those individuals who now make up a significant chunk of the workforce. From contract management to billing and payments processing, freelancers need to spend substantial time outside their primary role.
That’s where Indy steps into – address those needs.
What You Can do With Indy
Indy is an integrated service that offers distinct features intended to help freelancers and even small business owners. These features address various parts of the business chain they need to handle, associating them on a single dashboard for greater convenience.
There are two clear areas that Indy in which it provides support – business management and operations.
- File Storage
- Time Tracking
Key Features on 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 client accounts, prepare proposals for them, and handle client engagement without various tools. Of course, there’s also billing and payments management.
Everything starts with the People you need to engage with, and in the case of Indy, that means customers or potential customers. Begin your journey by building a database of everyone with which you need to work.
Your People database is the basis for many other features used later. Because you’re using an integrated platform, you can simply select records instead of filling them in repeatedly.
Once the People are in place, it’s time to work on getting business. This area is something in which Indy can help you save a lot of time. It provides a set of standard templates that’ll get you off to a quick start.
The templates are still highly customizable, though, so don’t worry about it cramping your style. You can easily add or remove sections and even shift them around to suit your needs. Once done, simply add your digital signature, send them directly to your potential customers with one click.
If things go swimmingly well as they should, it’s time to ink things in black and white. Here you can use Indy’s Contract feature. Again, it’s template-driven, bringing the same advantages as the Proposal system.
Just choose from one of over a dozen pre-built contract options like non-disclosure agreements, contracts for consultancy, content creation, or more. By now, you’ll be able to see the benefits of an integrated system since you can select client profiles without needing to add them manually again.
All the templates provided by Indy are lawyer-vetted, so you don’t even need to worry about the legality of those created using this system.
Incidentally, the contract creation is suitable for both sides of the coin, with you being either the service provider or the client. Pre-built templates have the necessary areas to modify highlighted, so just ignore the boilerplate and work on those bits.
4. Invoices – Including Payments Acceptance and Time Tracking
One of the most integral parts of Indy’s business management is the invoicing system. This area is where you create the invoices that clients need to pay. It’s a standard invoicing system with all the crucial areas covered like automatic numbering, formatting, and more.
There are two essential features of the invoicing system that are exceptional. The first is integrating payments acceptance through various vendors like Stripe, PayPal, and even wire transfers. That means customers can pay directly via a link in your invoice.
This integration isn’t rocket science but does mean you might get paid a lot more quickly. As soon as the client opens the invoice, they hit a link, fill in payment details, and voila; in roll the credits.
The second advantage is the ability to append timesheets, which can be helpful if you’re billing by the hour. Indy has a time tracker you can use to keep records of how much time you’ve spent working on specific projects.
The ability to let you create forms potentially adds a new dimension to your freelance or small business. Again, with the same template system, you can create multiple form types for various reasons. You can use Forms for everything from client onboarding to getting feedback or providing project briefs.
It utilizes the same easy-building system thanks to a system of pre-designed templates. The entire concept of Indy revolves around making things easier and more streamlined, so you can focus on your core work.
The calendar feature on Indy lets you gain a birds’ eye view of your schedule. It gets filled with dates you set in various projects or to-do lists. Plus, you can also integrate your Google calendar as well.
7. File Storage
Instead of emailing files to your clients, give them direct access to related files in Cloud storage on Indy. Your account comes with a certain amount of storage space into which you can drag and drop files.
Choose the sharing rights of each file, keep track of version changes, and more – it’s so much more convenient. Files can also be associated with specific projects, so there’s no risk of creating a mess.
8. Time Tracking
We all work in various ways and bill clients accordingly. One of the most challenging areas, though, is addressing customers’ need for more accountability. That’s where Indy’s time tracker tool comes in handy.
You can launch it and run the timer to track your work while you’re at it. If you forgot, simply add the time manually, and it goes on the records. You can also tie timers to specific projects and add customized rates for each for faster billing later.
Indy Isn’t Perfect
As a small business owner, I can see the clear benefits of using a system like Indy. There’s a great benefit to reducing time spent on administrative tasks, plus operational assistance is also a boon.
However, there are some concerns even about the fantastic features that are so apparent.
1. Not Everyone Loves Integrated Payments
While having the option to pay an invoice sounds like a great idea, companies work in varied ways. Not everyone will want to click a link and make a payment. The exception might be if you’re working with other small businesses or freelancers.
Most larger organizations have their billing flow, and your invoice will need to flow through their system for eventual payment. While this doesn’t impact the system’s utility much, it does mean that you may not always see the obvious benefits of the integrated payments option.
2. Manually Adding Time to The Tracker
While automated time tracking is excellent, I can’t help but wonder what clients will think if they discover you can manually add time blocks. This scenario is kind of a lose-lose proposition as the capability removes the very element the feature seeks to address – accountability.
On the surface, Indy offers two pricing tiers – free and the Pro Bundle. However, the limited utility of the Free plan makes it suitable as little more than an extended demo of the platform. Still, it’s not time-barred, and you can access everything they have to offer.
Even better, though, is that the Pro Bundles only costs $5.99 per month. There aren’t extended contracts you have to worry about; simply pay as you go. It’s important to understand that many similar services often want to charge you annual fees payable upfront. Indy does not.
It’s also a flat fee and does not increase no matter how many clients you decide to take on board. You get to keep almost everything you earn, which is fantastic.
The one complaint I have about the pricing system is that you can’t pay by PayPal. Indy currently only accepts credit card payments via Stripe. I found that a bit odd given their system allows you to accept PayPal payments.
Conclusion: Indy is Well Worth a Try
Indy isn’t unique in the freelancer productivity space. However, it seems to have gone the extra mile, and you can’t easily compare their features with others in the market. The level of flexibility offered with their tools takes them above and beyond.
This agility is vital in the freelancer and small business owner space since we have such varied needs. Thanks to Indy, you can improve workflow without changing your working habits to suit their system. It’s an ideal scenario for most.
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