Sometimes tools and systems can feel daunting for creatives, but I promise that learning and using tools like Trello are totally worth it. I’m sharing about how I use Trello for my photography business because it’s been such a game-changer to the way I’m able to work smarter, reach my goals, and have more clarity around my time each year. No matter what season of life I’m in, I’ve been able to lean on this system to keep me on track.
I’ve been using Trello for my photography business since 2016, but the way I’ve used it has changed dramatically. I first started using it as a client management and workflow tool. (Not a great idea.) As my business grew, I realized there were way better tools for that. (I’m a big fan of my CRM Sprout Studio for all things client related!)
Still, I needed something to keep the rest of my work-life organized. There is so much more that goes into running a photography business than managing client workflows. Think things like email marketing, social media marketing, bookkeeping tasks, brand development, blogging, continuing education and basically all those other random small tasks that creep into your week or help you further grow and support that client work.
As I grew my business alongside my family, I found it more crucial than ever to know exactly what I needed to work on anytime I got a precious one hour window or block of babysitter time.
I hated the feeling of having so much I wanted and needed to work on, but then never really feeling like I was getting closer to my goals.
I needed a simple way to keep track of projects in my business and to hold myself accountable for that trajectory.
What is Trello?
Trello is a project management application centered around lists and notes. Think of it as a really robust digital post-it note tool.
Trello utilizes a system of boards, lists, and cards. You can customize individual cards with tasks, including additional elements like checklists, color coding, tagging, comments, attachments, and due dates.
Each card is grouped into it’s applicable list, which then goes under the umbrella of a larger board.
It may sound tricky, but it’s really very self explanatory once you get in and just start playing around with it.
I have four main boards that I use for my family photography business – All the things, My Month, My Week, and Personal.
The All the things board
This is where I keep a master list of links so they’re easy to grab without logging in and getting sidetracked. Things like links to important resources, sign-ups forms, affiliate links etc.
There’s also a list for cards with annual projects that I want to make sure I work in at specific intervals throughout the year.
I use due-dates to help me stay up to date with these.
The My Month board
The My Month board houses the repeatable marketing and back-end tasks for each month that I need to make space for in my weeks. This includes things like 4 newsletters (a huge priority for me; they go out every Wednesday night), social media planning (if I’m not taking a break that month) and my regular CEO Duty Day.
The My Week Board
The My Week board is where I work on a day to day basis. Here, I set my Top 3 most important tasks, distribute tasks across days when I have childcare vs days when I’m fully hands-on with my young kids, and make sure my available time is lining up with my workload.
If things aren’t getting done, it’s easy to see when there’s misalignment. I need to either adjust my workload (by outsourcing, simplifying, or eliminating) or increase my time to get those things done.
It takes the emotion out of it and helps me make wise decisions that are aligned with both my work and personal values.
The flexibility of using Trello for my photography business
Trello is super customizable and non-destructive. You can keep fiddling with it, keep iterating and trying new things and moving things around within your boards till you land on a system that makes sense with your brain.
The visual drag and drop component also works so well for creatives with unpredictable time and work hours. I’ve been using this tool through drastically different iterations and growth of my business over the last 8 years, 3 maternity leaves, 3 newborn years, and lots of variation in workweeks and childcare, which says a lot about its longevity and flexibility.
I can add or subtract systems, goals, ideas, etc. as I make tweaks and learn, both as a business owner and through different seasons of my life.
This basic method, though, has stayed pretty steadfast for the last 2-3 years. And I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s made a world of difference in my productivity, movement, and growth as a family photographer.
Want to go deeper with how to use Trello for your photography business?
Amazing. Even though it’s a simple system, to learn the details in the most helpful way, it’s gonna take way more than I can put in one blog post.
That’s why I made this mini course that’s packed with video, audio, and written pdf’s to teach you my exact system however you learn best. It’s just $35 and you can digest all the material in just under one dedicated hour. I’m not kidding – this tool + the systems and habits I’ve created within it has helped me finally move the needle on projects and build a strong, sustainable business on my terms.
I work an average of 15 hours a week and make a full-time salary as family photographer, and this system is the backbone of how I do it.
If you want to learn how to save time and get smarter about your work using Trello as a family photographer, I’d love to take you behind the scenes!
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