Tag Archives: team

How To Use Trello For Planning Blog Posts

Writing is difficult. Writing multiple posts a day is even more so. That is the primary reason I use Trello for planning my posts and organizing content, marketing plans, and more.

Whiteboard for Agile

Trello is an app made for Agile process management. In software development, there are two main philosophies of development: waterfall and Agile. Waterfall process management gives each person on the team one task to do and the development flows from one station to the next.

As each designer is done their section of the program, they send it on to engineers, engineers to coders, coder to testers, and so on. Once the entire software is developed, it is released to the world. Agile, on the other hand, has a team of people who are experts in various areas but work on an entire section of code together. This requires intense levels of communication and planning so that the software can be developed without hangups and so that team members know what they are doing each and every day.

This communication process requires whiteboarding of each day’s task, as well as weekly and monthly goals. When you are managing a team with remote workers, it can be very difficult to communicate who does what, when over long distances. That was why the Trello team built their app. Trello gives people the tools to manage tasks and planning as effective as a whiteboard, without having to physically be in one place.

Trello for Freelancers

While Trello is designed for teams, a single writer can use it incredibly well. I would guess that a solo writing act needs the organizational tools of Trello even more than a team does. With a team, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, which means that eventually the job will be done. When you are working alone, you can always find some new shiny thing that needs doing, and never get to the jobs that bring in an income.

A freelancer and solo writer has to always do two things, and do them well. We have to provide quality writing to our current customers, and we have to be working on marketing, networking and sales to be getting new customers. Even if you never plan on growing beyond your own writing abilities, you need to be marketing because current writing projects end.

That’s where Trello comes in. It gives me and you the tools necessary to plan our business activities. I use Trello for planning out my daily activities, my weekly and monthly writing schedules for various customers, as well as specific projects I am working on.

Using Trello to Plan a Post A Day

Trello uses “Lists” to organize a single task, time period, or other grouping of activities. For planning my monthly posts, I created 4 Boards – One for each week of the month. Their next level of organization are cards. These are the activity or task level organizing tools. I created one card for each post I was planning. Seven cards per list, 4 lists per Board, planning out one month of posts.

I also created one list for post topics that got bumped as I was planning and changing things day-to-day. Some days news, comments, requests, or other actions gave me ideas that needed to be written about that day. So I could keep ideas in the queue for later, even if I did not want to use them in my thirty days of posts.

That is how I use Trello to plan my blog posts. What organizational tools do you use to build your content writing schedule?

Who Is On Your Team?

A freelance writer  is always wearing too many hats.

Entrepreneur. Writer. Marketer. There are many more roles an individual must fulfill. Here are a few of mine:

dad-pic
Being a Dad

 

lover
Being a Lover

 

 

violin
Being a Player

 

It is always tempting to try to do it all, but I was reminded of the need for team members today when I was struggling with mid-week brain fog caused by too little sleep (the whole being a dad thing) and a need to refresh my business focus.

Cue a phone call from my other half, an administratively-minded, creative person who loves to make lists (See her beautiful face kissing mine above). She was able to take 20 minutes out of her day and help me think through mine as I took a walk around the block (thus increasing my vitamin D intake for the day and getting some needed movement in).

Types of Personalities on Your Team

It is tempting to always do things on your own when you are bootstrapping a writing career, but it really does help to have other people to listen to you, to help you think through your business, and even to work on projects with you. These are some of the personalities that any freelance writer may need to find:

  • Designer – Yes, we writers tend to be creative. No, we don’t have time to do it all. An art and design portfolio is different from a writing portfolio. When it comes to creating logos, websites, color schemes and more, we often will need other people to look over our work or sometimes offer us a much needed “save.”
  • Administrative Assistant – Ever sit at a computer, staring at Facebook, thinking: “I have a reason that I logged onto here?” I do it all the time. Many times my administratively minded wife offers a great save by reminding me of what is on my list today.
  • Idea Sounding Boards – Thinking is hard work. When you surround yourself with people who wish you well and who engage in their own creative processes, you will be able to come up with great ideas and increase them through creative interactions. This post was an idea my aforementioned wife gave me. I also have an idea for a post on creativity that came from my son telling a story about how Nemo touched Captain Hook’s boat and then he and Dory fled from the crocodile by hiding in the whale (Creativity does not have to be creating something new, just improvising).
  • Financially Minded People – Accounting is hard work. I love math and accounting, but it is still hard work. When you are busy writing, you need to have people around you who understand finances.
  • Legally Minded People – Ditto.
  • People Persons – Many writers choose the business because they are introverts who love the idea of hanging out by themselves and writing. If that is you, you will need to ally yourself with some good friends who are extroverts; they would love to introduce you to their friends who need a writer.

Places to Find Helpful Personalities

OK. You get that you need help on your writing journey, but where do you find these people, especially if you are an introvert? The following are places that you can easily find people who want to help you with your business.

  • Coworking Spaces – I just landed a new client because of a contact I made in a coworking space. A coworking space is a place to get out from under your children’s feet or find a new place to make connections. If you are a people loving parent, you need to get out from home and coworking is cheaper than restaurants. If you are an introvert, you need connections, and a coworking space will encourage networking.
  • Family – Spouses, children, parents, cousins, and even your great aunt are all great sources for proof reading, sharing content, and other necessary parts of a successful business. One of my best posts on The Writer’s Cue connected with several of my extended family members, who then shared the post.
  • Customers – Once you land a customer, they can provide you valuable resources, both in finding new clients (referrals) and in their own creative process (as a freelancer, you become a part of their team).
  • Friends – I had a friend in college who I loved to sit with. I knew that if I sat with Jackie, I would meet someone new. When you make this kind of connection, do not be afraid to stay connected. People like Jackie are gems, because they usually take joy from helping other people connect. There are other friends who have helped me with cars, with non-profit volunteering and more. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

So, even if you are alone, your freelance carreer cannot be lonely. You need help, and there are many people around you who love you and are willing to help you out.