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Staying organized as an online entrepreneur can sometimes be a nightmare. How do you keep track and manage all of your projects?
This week we’re going to talk about project management tools and how you can use them to stay organized and on track with all of your big ideas, projects and collaborators to help sell your digital products better!
Today, I’m super excited to have our guest this week, Jenny Suneson from Confetti Social, on episode 024 of the Rebel Boss Ladies Podcast.
Jenny has tried a lot of product management tools – and she’ll tell you why Asana is her favorite. She uses Asana to help her organize her business, podcast, and digital product launches.
Get ready to take some notes because this episode and post is going to be really practical. we’re going to share with you all of the helpful and interesting features you can use in Asana to help you plan your digital product launches, and some screenshots so you can see how I use Asana to keep my business on track.
There are a ton of project management tools out there – Trello, Asana, Monday. How do you choose the best one for you and your business?
Jenny says that choosing the best project management tool really boils down to personal preference. She’s tried a LOT of different tools.
She recommends Trello for solo people. It gets a little complicated when working with a team, “because stuff can get lost.”
In Jenny’s opinion, Asana is a perfect happy medium.
“I love Asana because I think it's a really good tool for when you're solopreneur, but also when you're expanding too… So I think Asana is the happy medium between “I have a huge team” and “I'm a solo business owner”.”
She also loves the different features that Asana has available, like recurring tasks and different layouts. These features are super accessible, even if it’s your first time using Asana. “You're not overwhelmed because it's just too much information and too much software that you don't actually need.”
The best part? The majority of Asana’s features are free. You can upgrade to a paid plan, but the free product is incredibly functional and has the majority of the features you need to manage your business.
Both Jenny and I love the features in Asana that allow you to adapt the tool to suit your own needs.
First, Asana lets you choose your layout. You can use the list feature, the boards feature, or the calendar feature to make your project as easy to manage as possible. Unlike in other platforms, these layouts are included in Asana for free.
Jenny and I both use the board view to organize our podcasts – it lets you easily see the different status of your tasks and projects. You can move tasks and projects to different columns to see what tasks haven’t been started yet, which ones are in progress, and which ones have been completed.
The list view is a great way to put all of your tasks in order, and is how Jenny sets up her product launches in Asana.
You can even switch back and forth between these views, depending on what you want to do and “how your brain works.”
A product launch can be a huge undertaking. “a lot of people kind of underestimate it because not only do you actually have to create the product itself, but you have to figure out when you're going to launch it.”
There’s a lot of things to consider: what type of launch will you have? Will you run a challenge or a webinar? And with that, what types of materials do you have to create for your launch?
Jenny keeps track of all of these details in Asana to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.
How does she keep everything organized?
Most importantly, she makes sure to set a hard date for everything she needs to get done, and then works backwards on all of her tasks from there.
“I think the good thing about a project management tool is that you can put your hard date, like ‘I want to launch on May 5th and it's going to go through May 10th,’ or whatever you decide, and then you can work backwards.”
She recommends that you use that hard date to map out everything you need to get done, what date you want everything done by, and which days you’ll have time to work on all of your subtasks.
This can help keep you on track if you work with a lot of clients or have to balance other work with your business. It’s essential to not overwhelm yourself and set reasonable deadlines for your work.
“It helps you kind of be able to move things around so you have a better balance versus like you have 20 tasks on one day and that's a little crazy. So I think that helps better than just like pen and paper or even just like a Google Calendar or something.”
The thing I love about Asana is it’s neat and organized, and I don’t have to remember what tasks I need to keep track of and what I need to get done.
Jenny agrees – and uses the amazing features in Asana to help her map out and organize every step of her product launch.
To start the process, she creates a new project that’s broken down into three sections: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. This helps her keep track of every step of the launch and everything she needs to do during each phase.
During the pre-launch, which is usually the biggest out of the three sections, Jenny focuses on audience building. Pre-launch includes a lot of different parts and tasks, and this can be a lot of work, especially if this is the first time you’re launching the product.
The launch section includes everything that she needs to create in order to actually launch, including the email sequences, the launch content, actually running the launch, and hosting Q&As.
Jenny’s post-launch section is more focused on feedback. Figuring out what worked and what didn’t, send out surveys to interested people, and more are examples of what she does post-launch.
Usually the pre-launch phase is the biggest undertaking out of the three phases. Jenny emphasizes that it’s essential to not cut corners when planning your pre-launch, because it will definitely affect your launch later on.
To go through your pre-launch, Jenny recommends first picking the date that you’re going to launch your product. Make sure you consider the time of year and what else may be happening on that date – it’s usually best not to pick any major holidays or days that other products are launching.
Once you know your date, start working backwards. When do you need to have all of the pre-launch tasks done, in order to actually make sure your launch happens when you want it to?
For launch specific tasks, consider what you need to do to be ready before the launch. If you’re running a challenge, when do you need to make sure the content is created, and the sign up page is ready? If you’re hosting a webinar, make sure you create the slides and content, make the event on your page and the sign up in advance so you can start building buzz and getting people to sign up.
Don’t forget to consider any kinds of ads you want to run, graphics you want to create, and details about how you’re going to promote the launch.
Separate these tasks into mini checklists with subtasks, so you can be aware of the different things you need to get done and check them off once you’ve completed them. Jenny emphasizes that it’s important to break your sections into manageable lists, and not create mile-long tasks that could be overwhelming.
“There's just so much going on, the pre-launch phase is going to be probably your most stressful. But if you don't take these steps in this phase you're going to know your results might not be as great because you cut some corners somewhere.”
You can also make this much easier for yourself in the future and for future launches by using the duplicate feature. Asana lets you duplicate tasks, boards and more, so when you need to launch again you don’t have to recreate it from scratch.
One of Jenny’s favorite features in Asana are the tags. She uses them to keep track of all of her different tasks.
She’s a very visual person, so she likes to color-code her different projects and know what she needs to prioritize on her to do list.
Jenny picks one color to tag everything for her launch, which makes it easy for her to see and identify which tasks she needs to do to make her launch happen. When she’s looking at her task list and sees the color of her product launch, she knows she needs to prioritize that task.
She also suggests assigning a color for the most immediate and urgent tasks. Color-coding tasks into “immediate” and “wait” is also a good way to make sure that the most important, money-making things get done.
Adding collaborators to projects and tasks in Asana is very easy, and you don’t have to add them to your entire workspace.
“You can add them to specific either teams or you can even just add them to just that one project, so they're not seeing every single thing.”
Once you’ve added a collaborator to your workspace, you can assign them tasks and subtasks and give them deadlines. You can also use the platform to communicate and keep track of all your conversations relating to the project.
It saves a lot of space in your inbox, because your collaborators don’t have to email you every time they have questions or updates on the project.
Jenny likes to make videos for her collaborators and virtual assistants to show them what she wants them to do and how they can do it. “for the more visual people you can make videos, like you're teaching someone a process you can make a loom video or something and show them, ‘OK here's the steps that you need to take’.”
Asana lets you attach all kinds of files, videos, Google docs, photos, and more. It’s a very easy way to make sure that your collaborators have the materials they need to do the tasks assigned to them.
Once the project is done, it’s easy to remove that collaborator from your workspace. Or if they’re working with you longer-term, you can keep adding them to new projects and assigning them new tasks.
Asana has a lot of really useful integrations with other platforms. Jenny’s favorite is the Slack integration – she uses it to keep her conversations and inbox organized. “I do have a couple of people on my team so it's nice to just having it go in slack or vice versa.”
Having Slack integrated with Asana removes a lot of inbox congestion. It also streamlines communication, because you don’t have to send an email with every question.
She also recommends integrating Google calendar with Slack. This is really helpful because you can easily set up appointments, keep track of calls, and more. Jenny puts all of her podcast calls in with this system, and she says that it makes her Google calendar a lot easier to read.
Ultimately the choice of project management tool depends on the business and personal preference, but Jenny recommends Asana as the best choice.
“I would say my main thing that I always preach to you is how easy it is to use. like a lot of people really want that ease of use because you don't want to spend hours and hours and hours learning. Because what if you're not getting paid to do that obviously.”
It’s flexible to fit your business needs and can adapt to whatever layout or style you prefer as a user.
Asana is also a great tool for collaboration. “I do love being able to collaborate and have conversations. There are there is a conversation's tab on every single project.”
Asana lets you see the progress of your project, and keep track of what’s been completed, even if you have a remote team.
“I also do like the progress function… But basically you can kind of see the status of a project. You can kind of set it at if it's on track if it's off track or if it's at risk, which is cool for things like product launches because those aren't really things that you want to get derailed because you have your hard dates that they'll be launching.”
With that being said, there are a few key things to keep in mind about what a project management tool can and can’t do for a business owner.
First, keep in mind that a project management tool will not make your product launch a success. It’s going to help you keep it organized, but it won’t do the work for you to actually make the launch successful.
Jenny says, “it's preventing extra stress because you forgot to do XYZ that really need to happen. So it just kind of helps you get to your goals. But it doesn't mean you're actually going to achieve those goals. You have to stay with them.
Also, a project management tool may have a lot of great features, but they only will work well if you use the tool properly.
If you set a date but don’t check something is complete, the project will inaccurately say that you’re off track or not where you’re supposed to be. If you don’t stick to your dates, then it could derail the whole project.
The tool also won’t be effective if you’re not putting in all of your tasks, leaving out due dates, or not putting in the work to make the tool work for you.
“I know there's some people that get frustrated because they're like this isn't working for me but they're also not like putting in the effort to actually make it work for them because they're just not utilizing it the way it should be used. I mean you can use it in so many different ways there's no one clear way to use your project management tool but I think it's just really good to find what works for you and stick with it instead of like being really great with it for two weeks and then for two weeks like completely neglecting it.”
If you want more Jenny, check out her freebie, a digital product launch checklist that is SUPER helpful for anyone who wants to break down what an actual product launch looks like. Check out the link below!
Also check out Jenny’s podcast, The Savvy Social Hour. It’s a podcast for female entrepreneurs who are looking to take their business to the next level, and they cover everything that is business-related.
//LINKS IN THE SHOW//
Check out Jenny’s website, Confetti Social –
Follow Jenny on instagram here
Find Jenny’s Digital Product Launch Checklist freebie here
Listen to Jenny’s podcast, The Savvy Social Hour, here –