In the previous post, I’ve provided some general information on Trello and how you can use it in your freelance business. In this post, I’ll share the setup of a few of my boards that are useful for most freelancers, that you can model and adapt to your liking.
I use Trello for anything and everything: business planning, blogging, client projects, personal projects, running a non-profit organization, masterminds etc. and these are just a few of the workflows I use on a daily basis.
Client projects – internal
I use my internal client project board to track all the projects I’m currently working on, as well as potential clients I’m in the process of on-boarding.
Here’s what my projects board looks like:
The lists represent different statuses: “To do”, “Waiting for feedback”, “Waiting for payment”, “Waiting for materials” and “On-boarding”. This enables me to see at a glance what I have to complete, who owes me money, and who I need to follow up with on my proposals. (You may wish to arrange your lists in a different way, where for example, each list represents a client.)
On the very right is the list containing all my templates. I made sample checklists for most common types of projects, and I simply replicate them on a new project card and tweak as needed. I’ve also attached email templates and my Standard Operating Procedure documents from Google Drive.
Labels mark the type of work I’m doing for the client (Logo & branding, Web design, Print design, Illustration) and payment status (Advance paid, Paid in full, Pro bono).
In case a client sends information or feedback by email, I copy it in the card comments. That way I have everything I need to work right here in Trello, and my inbox gets to zero much faster.
Client projects – collaboration
If you’re working on a more complex project, it would be better to transfer your client communication and file sharing from email to a project management tool like Trello.
Setting things up for your clients doesn’t have to be a hassle. If you do certain types of projects frequently and have a system you follow each time, you can create a template board and duplicate it for each new project you work on. Here’s what my website project board template looks like:
For each new project, I’ll make a copy of this board, change “Template” to my clients’ business name, and usually I’ll also change the background so it suits my client’s branding, which gives it that extra delight factor.
After I invite the client to the board, I’ll assign them to all the cards that correspond with their tasks, and arrange all the due dates per our initial project timeline. That way, the client is clear by when I expect them to perform certain tasks.
This topic could warrant an entire post by itself, so I’ll move on to other examples.
Blog editorial calendar
Managing a blog alongside your client work is challenging, and having an editorial calendar helps you optimize your content creation and promotion process.
On my Editorial Calendar board, each list marks a phase in the writing and publishing process, so I can see, at a glance, how many posts there are in any given stage.
The colored labels stand for different content types or statuses (I’m pretty flexible with labels): orange for guest posts, red for videos, blue for posts that need visuals, and yellow for ideas and drafts that have an outline.
At the very end is a list containing my checklist templates and links to Standard Operating Procedure documents.
Every blog post of mine starts as a draft in Google Docs, which I then attach to a card of the same title. I copy the template checklists to the new card and add labels (if applicable). From then on, it’s easy to access each draft and track its progress through the stages.
Here’s a card of a blog post in progress:
After I’ve published the post and promoted it in all the ways I intended to, I archive the card which removes it from the board.
Admin, business development and marketing
Separating working “in your business” from working “on your business” can be as easy as dedicating an entire Trello board to all your business activities that need to take place in order for your business to grow.
Here’s an example of what my business board looks like:
Each list represents a larger part of my business: business planning and branding, offers, marketing, administrative tasks, as well as temporary projects like writing and designing all my client process documents. There are also lists with random things that are currently on hold, for example ideas for stock graphics.
The labels represent the type of work that needs to be done, so I can easily filter and batch similar types of work.
Every time you hear of a new smart strategy that can help you boost your business, instead of filing it away in your mind (or Evernote), create a new Trello card and come back to it later when you have the time. When I encounter a blog post that can help me with a certain task that’s on my board, I copy the link to the card description, so that I can access it when I actually work on it.
Going through multiple courses at once? Juggling emails, password protected membership sites, PDFs? Dropping the ball and forgetting where you stopped? Use a Trello board to keep track of progress on all your courses.
I make a list for each course, and cards for each module.
On each card, I add checklists for tasks to complete, label the card with the type of activity (reading, video, workbook), paste links and passwords, attach files from Google Docs with my course notes etc.
These are just a few examples of how you can use Trello in your freelance business – I’m sure you will find many more uses if you give it a chance.
With the fact that it’s free, has a mobile app, and can be adapted to suit almost any process, you really have nothing to lose.