If you run a creative business of any kind, organization can be a challenge. Luckily, there are many tools available to help you keep your business organized and efficient. Of all the apps out there, Trello is one of the most simple and versatile ways to organize your business, using task lists, workflows and information databases.
If you would like a full list of resources for creative entrepreneurs, check out my Creative Business Resources page!
What is Trello?
Trello is a digital kan-ban board with tons of customization options. The app allows you to customize project boards with lists, cards, calendars and automations. It also offers a ton of integrations with other programs such as Gmail, Zapier and Evernote.
As a visual creative, I like Trello because it allows me to see my projects laid out neatly in front of me. I use Trello in a variety of ways to help me run my businesses efficiently.
Trello also allows you to share your board with other team members who may be working on a project with you. The program updates in real time, so you can see team members move through their workflows and get real-time updates on the progress of team projects.
One thing I love about Trello is that it syncs effortlessly between my various devices, so no matter what device I’m on, I can update my progress or access my information easily. This makes it an ideal way to organize databases and house information I use regularly.
When you first create an account, you start off with an empty Trello board that you can customize in a variety of ways.
Give your new board a name and a background image to start. You will label your lists and choose your power-ups based on how you plan to use your board.
The kan-ban style allows you to organize your board for project management or you can organize your board into different categorized lists to create a database of information or assets.
Information in Trello is stored in “Cards.” Cards live under lists, and can be moved around depending on your timeline or categorization.
Individual cards can have a title, description, cover photo, attachments, links, checklists, and more. Similar to index cards on a corkboard, they provide a useful way to organize bite-site pieces of information and keep all relevant content together.
Power-ups help you further customize your board for specific uses. Trello offers power-ups for automations, integrations with other software such as google drive, organization templates, and more.
My favorite power-ups are:
Custom Fields – allows you to turn your card into an entry form for data
Calendar View – puts your cards on a calendar by due date
Card Repeater – automatically repeats specified cards, such as weekly task cards, on a regular schedule
Ways to use Trello
There are 3 main ways I use my Trello boards to keep my business organized. I use them as To-Do Lists, Project Management Workflows, and Information Databases.
Trello To-Do List
Trello To-Do Lists are the easiest option to organize your business.
My trello task lists operate like a digital version of my weekly notebook planner. I start with a “To-Do Inbox” where I dump all the tasks I know I need to get done. There are even ways you can use Zapier to drop tasks into your Inbox automatically based on your calendar or other workflows.
Then, each task gets its own card that I can label with a different priority level. Subsequent lists are titled by the progress of these tasks. They include “Pending”, “This Week”, “Today”, “In-Progress”, “Postponed”, and “Completed”.
As I work on various tasks throughout my week, I move each card along the workflow. By the end of the week, I can clearly see which tasks I have completed, which tasks I did not get to, which ones are currently in progress, and which tasks need to be added to next week’s task list.
There are several ways to organize a task list, but I have found the “Task Status” method to be the easiest for me in keeping track of my progress.
Ways to use the Planner method on Trello include as a Daily Task List, Weekly Planner, and as a Content Calendar for social media and blog content.
Trello To-Do List Board Example:
Project Management Workflow
Trello was developed specifically to help people and companies manage projects. There are so many ways to use the project management system, depending on the type of project you are working on.
One of the easiest ways to set up your project management board is to use it similarly to the Weekly planner. Set up each list with the different stages of the project so that team members can move cards down the board as tasks get closer to completion.
Another way to use it is to set your project up for task delegation by making each list a separate category that different people can work in at the same time.
If you use this method, I recommend using labels to denote progress on specific cards so you can keep track of progress.
I have used Trello for workflows in many areas of my business, including merchandise order tracking, content creation workflows, communications tracking, and client project tracking.
The main thing to remember when setting up these boards is that your list delegations should complement the main purpose of the board to be most effective.
Perhaps my favorite way to organize my business with Trello boards is to use them as information databases. To build a database, I set up each list in that board as a category and each card is a piece of information in that category.
Card titles are searchable, so I can easily find the information I need. I can also organize the cards in each list in various ways, depending on what works best for that database. You can organize them alphabetically by title, chronologically by creation date or due date, or by added labels.
This versatility allows you to set your board up in whichever way is most beneficial for that type of information.
A few ways I have used the database mode in my businesses are as follows: Business Asset Database, Courses and Learning Resources Database, Business Systems or SOP Database, and Idea Mind-dump Board.
“Learning Resources Database” Board Example:
Trello offers many organization solutions to the busy entrepreneur.
Because it syncs in real time, it also offers a great solution for teams working together on a project. And because it is available on so many devices, it’s great for keeping your projects and information organized across your electronics and helping team members collaborate from different locations.
You can use Trello to organize your business in many ways. My favorites include To-do Boards, Project Workflow Boards, and Information Databases.
I plan to do a deeper dive into ways that Trello can help with specific business models, such as with your Professional Artist career or Author Platform. So, keep your eyes open for this future content.