How to Use Trello to Keep your Freelance Business Organized
If you’ve been a freelance worker for some time, then you know the essential role organizations play in helping employees strike a healthy work-life balance. Adopting Trello, a flexible workflow management application to manage your work and clients, can greatly benefit your business.
For new freelancers, transitioning from working with one client to suddenly juggling several clients can be quite taxing. Although freelancing is known for its flexibility, the responsibilities that come with it can quickly become overwhelming.
In the world of freelancing, client and freelancer relationships are glued together by trust. You can’t afford to miss deadlines or forget to work on a client request. This not only destroys the trust your client has in you, but it can drive you out of business when your client decides to seek alternatives. For this reason, freelancers turn to Trello to build their relationships with clients, create new connections, and seek greener pastures.
Trello for Free
Teamwork leads to better results, whether you are combining efforts with some friends and family, or joining hands with a team of dispersed freelancers. Trello, a top-rated PM app, allows groups to collaborate better, be more organized, and improve productivity. With it, you can deliver results faster, efficiently, and in a structured way.
When Trello was launched, it was only available through a web browser. Now, there are mobile applications for Android and iPhone to help you access its features quickly and effortlessly. You can take advantage of its free plan to bring structure and order into your personal life and work life.
When we talk about systematic workflows, we think of labels and checklists. Trello has these and other amazing functionalities. Let’s learn some basics of this great application.
Trello uses a board to organize work and tasks. This system allows the user to easily visualize projects. You can set up different boards to split your work into different parts. A good number of freelancers prefer to have one board to represent a client or project.
Every board has cards that are displayed in lists and columns. Enhancing teamwork with other group members, contractors, and even clients is what makes Trello a popular tool for freelancers.
When we want to remove clutter from our homes, we always group items into various categories. Some are marked as important and others are labeled unessential. You can use Trello to create a similar sorting system. Tasks are arranged by columns in their order of importance.
Lists are like divisions of a project. If you are new to Trello, you can start by setting up basic lists like To Do, Doing, and Done for every board you create. As your experience with the tool grows, you can add the number of columns based on your work needs.
Cards are the meat of Trello. Think of them as the colored sticky notes on a whiteboard. Cards contain detailed information and are moved from one list to the other within a project board. They represent the tasks that need to be done within a list or subproject. There are many things one can do with a card, including:
- Attaching files, photos, and documents from your desktop, Google, OneDrive, or Dropbox
- Allocating cards to team members
- Adding detailed information to it
- Setting up a checklist
- Creating a start and finish date
- Commenting on it
- Adding emojis to enhance communication
Just like other project management tools, Trello allows its users to combine it with other efficient tools. This is meant to make work easier for users so they don’t have to jump from one tool to the other any time they need to do a specific task. Power-Ups improve the capabilities of Trello and make your processes easier. Some of the most important Power-Ups are:
- Card Repeater
- Addition of Custom Fields
- Bridge24 for Trello
Trello’s free plan gives users access to its basic functionalities and the power to invite an unlimited number of people to a project. You can attach files of up to 10 MB, and add one integration per board. This is quite a good deal, especially for small teams that don’t need a host of features.
If you are looking for some advanced features to handle some of your complex projects, you can opt to upgrade to the Business Class account. This package is packed with some amazing features that can benefit the entire team. Find the latest pricing here.
Tips on How To Use Trello
Trello is highly flexible, making it a great addition to your suite of freelancing tools. It gives users many options for arranging their boards regardless of how complex their project is. Let’s take a look at how you can maximize your experience with Trello’s free edition.
1. Visualize things better with colored labels
Visuals are one of Trello’s key strengths. It has ample features that allow users to visualize things at a glance. One feature is the labels. You can color mark tasks to help you locate them faster on the board. You can also use labels to filter cards and prioritize important tasks.
2. Customize your card text with Trello Markdowns
Block texts are not only unattractive to read but also difficult to gather points from. Trello applies a formatting system on cards called Markdowns. It helps split texts using headers, bullets, page breaks, and bold letters. For a full list of these shortcuts go to their Help Page.
3. Add images and stickers to cards
Images used on web pages spark interest and attract the reader. To encourage users to work on tasks, Trello has great photos and stickers. The cover images help users visualize cards better. You can further spice things up by using an attached picture as a card’s background image. You can also deploy Trellos color-marked stickers to prioritize work.
4. Activate your notifications
With Trello, you don’t have to glare at your board all day checking for notifications. This tool can be connected to your email, and it will send all alerts there. When something related to your cards happens, such as edits or comments, you will immediately be notified. This ensures you are on the same page with everyone and you are never in the dark.
5. Activate your calendar
To prioritize work and plan how to deliver on time, you need to know the amount of workload you have. With the Calendar view integration, you can visualize all the cards and learn which works will be due today, within the week, or by the end of the month. In this view, you can also move cards around. You also have the option to go back to your regular view.
6. Organize your boards
There are many methods you can use Trello to keep things organized. The most used route is to set up a new board for each client. In each board, you can make lists that display the process you will use to get the project done.
Trello utilizes a Kanban-style workflow where you move lists from right to left. If you have just started using Trello, you can start by creating basic lists like To-Do, Doing, Done. For more complex work, you can always modify the list.
In my writing profession, I use lists like, To Do, Doing, Completed for Review, Approved, Reviewed for Payment, and Paid.
Each writing assignment I work on comes with a different topic, therefore, I don’t set up recurring tasks. Instead, I use the Calendar integration to view my writing board so I can visualize the work that is due within the week and month. This view also allows me to determine whether it’s possible to accept more work or accommodate extra clients.
When working on other projects, I usually set up a new board for every client. I then back up the workflow of each particular task. Here, every step of the process is contained in a list that has cards with deadlines. By using Trello business class, I can manage to add both the Calendar and Card Repeater integrations. The calendar view helps me visualize the day’s pending tasks and ensure I don’t miss something.
There are plenty of other third parties that can help freelancers like web developers, graphic designers, and photographers work more effectively. Trello’s site has a resourceful help and support page which can help you get the best out of the platform. There is also a blog that has great tips to help users manage their work and projects in a more professional way.
Trello for Freelancers
If you are wondering whether Trello fits your freelance profession, there is no harm in trying out its free version. It’s a popular tool that is actively used by millions. Individuals, teams, and organizations employ it to organize tasks, projects, and objectives. Freelancers love it as it helps them coordinate work with people in diverse regions.
If you think that a basic PM application can help you bring more structure and order to your work, then consider getting a free Trello account to explore its features. If you want to learn more about how you can utilize Trello and other project management tools to widen your networks and expand your freelance business, read through FreeUp Freelance Tips.