News & Updates

???? Like the rest of Philly, our coworking space is temporarily closed due to COVID19.
Read more, and stay safe out there:

News & Updates

Feeling confused or overwhelmed by all this online stuff?

We know remote tools are new for a lot of people, and we don’t want anyone to feel left out if you’re not familiar. 

There is a wide range of people who join our Indy Hall community. Some people – especially those of you on remote teams – are already very familiar with popular tech tools like Discord and Zoom. (Also, what a silly bunch of names these apps have!) We’re learning new things from those folks all the time.

However now is a good time for us ALL to remember that not everyone’s used to, or comfortable, with video chat. Learning new tools can be confusing and frustrating. 

With that in mind, we’ve compiled some info that we hope will help you engage with online experiences, whether that’s with Indy Hall or off in the world wide web!

Here are two tools that Indy Hall is using a LOT and what they are:

Zoom is kinda like facetime but WAY more powerful and supports groups better. It works really well on Apple and Windows computers, and even on mobile phones (iOS and Android). It’s free to install

Once Zoom is installed, following any Zoom link on that device (computer or mobile) will automatically take you to the correct group video chat. (Some chats require passwords, so if you aren’t sure message the host ahead of time. They’ll probably make sure you have the password if it’s necessary)

Discord is a text chat tool, so it’s a bit like texting BUT has different rooms to organize conversations (and people) into interests, topics, and kinds of conversations. It’s great for sharing links, asking quick questions, and friendly banter. Plus we’re enjoying a bit of unscheduled serendipity with video + audio chats!

We do have and use other tools, but these two are going to be the MOST IMPORTANT (besides email) over the coming weeks. 

These are some of the most valuable and popular channels to join!

✅ Daily Goals

Feeling unproductive? WHO ISN’T right now. If it’s helpful, this channel is a place to share your daily goals, be kind and encouraging to each other, and help each other be accountable. #1 rule of #dailygoals is “don’t be afraid to ask for help”

Tip: Check out this page for some member-suggested guidance on getting the most from this channel.

☀️ Brightside

Need a break from bad news? Share something, anything, that makes you feel delight. Though this channel is one of the newest to be added to our Discord, it’s quickly become one of the most active (and necessary) resources for much-needed relief. One of our amazing members made this room to share “an escape from the worries of the world”, and every little post of optimism and happiness does just that.

All of these rooms (and many more) are available in our members-only Discord “workspace”. If you don’t have access to Indy Hall’s Discord (or can’t remember how to get in) send us an email and we’ll help out!

We hope these notes are helpful and empowering. We invite you to join us, (test your new skills!)

Whether you want to dip your toe or dive right in. We’re here to help any way we can. ❤️

Have other netiquette suggestions? We’d love to hear them! Email us at

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Open Hall like never before. You’re invited!

Did you ever come to Indy Hall on a First Friday? If you’re like me, it probably feels like a lifetime ago! Hopefully, you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. 

We skipped April’s First Friday “Open Hall” as we had just closed our coworking space in response to the virus. In the last few weeks, a LOT has changed, but thankfully the things that have always made Indy Hall tick haven’t gone away. 

We’re just doing them online!

We’re still staying connected to each other and supporting one another, maybe even more in some ways. Our members continue to find new ways to lift each other up. 

But we miss meeting new friends (like you!) 

Open Hall was our monthly opportunity to invite members and friends to spend some or all of their day together. It was a mix of the “shared energy” of working in a cafe or other shared space, but with a bit of extra structure to help people connect. 

And honestly, we’ve been a bit stumped on how to fit that piece into the online puzzle.

So we are going to try something new, and you’re invited!

This Friday, May 1st we’re hosting our first-ever “Open Hall @ Home.” 

We’re experimenting with a blend of online tools and ways to come together to work and connect. If all goes well, it will let us share the best parts of our community’s online experience for a special day. 

We may not be able to recreate everything we miss about Open Hall, but we are excited to see what we can do and create some new experiences, too!

???? Guests: find more info and RSVP here. (We have limited spots available for guests, so please RSVP if you can make it!)

???? Indy Hall members: please RSVP here

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New PPP money approved, friendly bank for self-employed & small biz

Hey friends, some possibly good news for you.

If you’re not paying SUPER close attention to the news you might have missed that last night congress approved another half-trillion dollars in coronavirus relief, with includes a pool to help the small businesses like ours who couldn’t get their PPP applications in before the money ran out.

BTW: in case you you missed them, here are my previous updates on PPP loan confusion and Unemployment for the self employed/freelance community.

Another hot tip? Apply with Centric Bank.

I’m going to recommend trying an application with Centric Bank, even if you’ve applied with another bank AND/OR do not have an account with Centric.

???? Centric Bank’s PPP page ????

They’re a local/regional bank that specifically wants to work with truly small businesses, including self-employed people like us, even if you don’t have an account with them.

Note, there are NO penalties or risks applying through multiple banks…you’ll can only be approved by one, but whoever gets there first “wins.”

The official dates for accessing the new funds aren’t live yet, but banks like Centric are “pre-processing” applications so that they’re ready to submit to SBA as soon as they are allowed to again.

I personally began the process with them 2 days ago (I wanted to make sure it was decent before I recommended it) and have already been getting MUCH more personal communication than from any of the previous attempts.

Still not sure what you need to apply?

You might also want to look at this PDF “information sheet” which outlines the latest details of the program. Nothing really new is in here from previous updates, it’s just written in some the plainest language I’ve seen (though it’s still vague in some cases especially around self employment – that’s systemic).

The big thing for YOU to know is on page two:

Payroll costs can include:
For a sole proprietor or independent contractor: wages, commissions, income, or net earnings from self-employment, capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee.

My sources tell me that your best bet while working with centric is to pull together as MUCH of your 2019 finances as you possibly can to help demonstrate your average monthly income, even if you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes yet. That can include tax forms like client 1099s but also, bank statements, paid client invoices, whatever it is. Treat it like “building a case.” The banker at Centric you’re assigned to will have to figure out how to work with what you have.

But don’t lose focus on your business

Next Tuesday’s session will include a live demo of techniques you can use for Online Client Prospecting that Rob from uses to power his job board for freelance designers and how to apply it to your business.

RSVP and details are here, including a chance to have him use YOUR business as an example by filling out a brief survey linked on the event page.

Schedule a free 1-1 tour online.

Like what you see? Membership is just $20/month and we can help you get started right away.

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Update: Pennsylvania Unemployment for Freelancers is now available (kinda)

This morning I heard news that PA’s “PUA Portal” aka the unemployment claim registry for freelancers, gig-workers, and self-employed people is live for PA residents.


The link is below, but before you click:

1. The site is currently getting slammed with people trying to apply, so it is very slow and full of errors.

“Feels like using the internet on Dial Up” is something I’ve seen multiple people report.

2. The application includes a qualifying survey to make sure that you’re self employed, but I’ve heard that many people who SHOULD be eligible are being told by this survey they are not.

For example, I’ve heard from multiple sources that anybody who has any w2 status for any period of 2019 is being incorrectly identified by the system and being told to use the standard unemployment system. And that’s just one of several bugs. 

The good news is that this error appears to be temporary, so you might want to avoid frustration and try filling it out later when the site isn’t being crushed by applicants.

You might also try using your EIN (if you have one) instead of your social security number.

Other people are reporting that they’re able to finish the initial application, but the final step is to “file a bi-weekly claim” and that form is currently not working.

3. If your claim is accepted, your payment will be a percentage of your provable past income (details on the page of what qualifies as proof), with a minimum of $195/week and a maximum of $572/week. In addition to those base payments, the Federal Pandemic

Unemployment Compensation Program (FPUC) adds an additional $600/week ON TOP which will likely be paid out in a separate payment from the standard claim.

Note that these payments will specifically be added to payments dated back to the week of April 4th, while standard unemployment bi-weekly claims will be allowed to be retroactively claimed to January 27th.

That said, the extra $600/week is a federal program, which the federal government can decide to end that at any time.

Additional Updates from Philly Legal Assistance

“While the Department was trying to get this application out quickly to help the thousands of people waiting for PUA benefits, it was not ready for primetime and has experience significant glitches.  For example, the system is not letting through workers who have any W2 wages, it is telling them to go apply for regular UC.  That is hugely problematic as a large portion of PUA applicants are those who had insufficient wage history for UC, or are mostly self-employed/IC/gig workers with minimal W2 income.  The Department is aware of this problem and is working to fix it. 

For now, tell those who have W2 wages to WAIT and apply for PUA once the problem is fixed.  We will keep you updated and I believe the website above will be updated by DLI.

For workers who have been able to get through the application, there has been a lot of confusion with the questions.  We also know some people have struggled to upload documentation.

In better news, our understanding from DLI is that they expect anyone not eligible for UC (with the exception of undocumented workers) to be eligible for PUA.  Even workers who do not have a recent separation but are struggling to get back into the job market.  

As soon as the application is functional, we will be encouraging everyone to apply.

Some things to note: 

  • PUA eligibility is based on when someone lost their job, not when they applied for benefits (unlike regular UC).  So they will not lose benefits if they need to wait a little longer to apply.
  • If someone cannot upload documentation or does not have it at this time, that is okay.  Regulations allow applicants to provide documentation within 21 days (and there is a currently a request to extend it to 90 days).
    • If someone has no documentation of their earnings (like a cash worker), or had no earnings to report, they will automatically qualify for the lowest base rate of $195 per week.
  • Our understanding is the PUA system is spitting out a weekly benefit rate at the end that may not be accurate. We are waiting to hear back from the Department.
  • There are no PINs for PUA – the system has a username and password you must set up.
  • The PUA system is not yet set up for weekly filing.  You read that correctly, PUA will have weekly claims filing (but you are also able to file biweekly without the claim going inactive, it will simply let you claim two weeks).
  • PUA will have a much more accessible and information heavy claimant portal, but it will take a few days after an application is processed for anyone to be able to see real information in the portal.

Additionally: PUA is NOT a limited pool of funds like the PPP loans. The only caveat is that I’ve heard the automatic $600 weekly bonus is only authorized in the CARES act through a specific date, like July. 

More FAQs about this special program are answered here.

Ultimately, if you want to avoid staring at a “loading” indicator forever, or the endless frustration of errors that don’t make any sense (and that might be outright wrong), my advice is to wait a few days for them to iron out the bugs.

Official PUA Application ????


I’ll keep this page updated with details that I hear, and expect that this portal will be fully operational very soon. Once it does, I hope this helps you find a bit of relief if you lost work or contracts in the last month, and buys you some time to get your solo business back on track.

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Feeling Shaggy? DIY Quarantine Haircuts

During our morning coffee chats at Indy Hall, I’ve been hearing that a lot of folks (especially men folk) are really wanting haircuts right now.

I successfully* cut my husband’s hair yesterday. We got a clipper and a set of guards, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos, and it went reasonably well.

Here’s an assembly of the videos that I found most helpful. The first video is also geared for folks who are cutting their own hair without anyone to help.

Here’s a good overview of cutting your own hair with clippers.

Clippers and guards for beginning barbers.

Scissor techniques for beginners.

Other things that I learned:

  • Starting with the largest guard was helpful. It gave me a chance to get used to the tool without doing irreparable damage to the haircut.
  • Stand on the side that you’re cutting. Also, regularly take a step back to look at things.
  • A comb and a spritz bottle of water were also really useful for seeing how the haircut was shaping up.
  • Cutting the sides and back was pretty straightforward. We decided to forgo trimming the top until (1) the hair is longer and (hopefully) easier to manage, and (2) we have a better pair of scissors.

Hope this helps!

If you find other resources or tips, please let us know and we’ll add them!

* Success = My husband still has hair. Said hair is shorter than previously. No one is bleeding.

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