How to set up Asana for Solopreneurs

As a solopreneur, I have a million hats to wear all. the. time. I'm constantly creating content, then making said content better, then promoting said content, then working with clients, connecting with people on Facebook, reviewing analytics, implementing ads, and let's not even go to the admin tasks like accounting and managing email.

And I need to do all of that while also having a life. Cooking, cleaning, the works. HOW?!

Sure, there comes a time and need for an assistant or just hiring other people to lessen your load. But it's hard to outsource when you don't even have systems in place.

Everything is in a mess.

You have to-do lists on your planner, notebook, Reminders app and in your brain. You have blog posts to write, Instagram images to pick, and Facebook groups to engage in. And because of all that, you're not performing at maximum efficiency. Heck, you aren't even performing at 50% efficiency. Things are dropping off your plate, you find that you're playing catch up all the time, and you just want a space for ALL. THE. THINGS.

I hear you. Being a solopreneur is hard work. You're on your own most of the time, and you have to deal with every aspect of your business. But the good news is, a little organisation and a little systems put in place will make everything so. much. better. I promise.

HowtosetupAsana.png

Quick Intro to Asana:

Asana is a project management tool that has a crapload of functionality. The kind of functionality you can use to organise not just your business, but your entire life. No kidding. I prefer using a paper planner for my day-to-day life, but Asana is my HQ for all my business processes and tasks. I use it both for my own business and for working with clients, as a client management tool.

I'll start by giving you an overview of the important terms in Asana, mainly:

  • Organisation: You set up your Asana account with an organisation most of the time, and this is where it trips most solopreneurs up. I find Organisation best used if you have a team that you regularly need to communicate with. Here, you can have teams and projects, so you can split tasks and manage your teams accordingly. If you are mostly flying solo, like me, then skip this.
     
  • Workspace: Workspaces are my secret weapon. I love them. I currently have two workspaces, one for The Petite Co. and one for The Petite Homemaker, a home organisation website I am planning to launch. Create a workspace for your main business, and let the magic unfold. Here, you can also have a team, but it is much easier to use Projects to organise a solo business. 
     
  • Projects: I use projects as categories, and also as my client management tool. That way, I have everything on the same dashboard (hallelujah!) and I never have to toggle between areas to view all my work (both internal and client) again. You can invite admins that oversee ALL projects, but you can also invite team members on each individual project. They will not be able to see the other projects in your workspace. This is how I use Projects:
Asana-Projects.png

Admin: For miscellaneous administrative tasks like paying bills, checking up on invoices, refining client systems... Anything on the back end that I need to deal with, that doesn't fit into any specific category. Just the blah work that needs to get done, y'know?

Marketing: I use this for my social media planning. You can see this in more detail later, as I will share another screenshot, but I use this for content creation for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and (eventually) LinkedIn.

Blog: The blog is part of marketing, but because of how intense blogging actually is, I decided to give it a project of its own instead of nesting it in Marketing. It would still fit there though, if I wanted. I use this to plan blog posts and write outlines and ideas.

Design: All my design-related tasks go here. When I am working with clients, I also go in to duplicate important tasks over in my own Design Project area. Because I like to batch tackle tasks, some days I just open the design project and bang it out, so the client tasks get done then, too.

Coaching: I use this mainly to remind myself of tasks I need to do for my coaching clients, as well as to record content I need to create for my coaching program.

VA Work: I use this to keep track of tasks from different clients who are not on retainer, but are just one-off projects.

Templates: These are Kanban-style boards, unlike all my Internal projects, that I've set up to duplicate whenever I have a new client. I duplicate according to the service they signed up for, and then invite them to that Project. You will see more of that later - but this is my client management tool.

  • Sections: Sections are basically dividers for your tasks. Because you can have a looooong list of tasks in each project, Sections allow you to categorise the tasks.
     
  • Tasks: Tasks are the meat of this system! Basically your entire to-do list goes here. I loooove brain-dumping on Asana and then categorising them into sections. I don't miss a thing that way!
     
  • Subtasks: I use these mainly for social media and marketing. Sub-tasks are the outlines, ideas and to-dos for each of my posts. You will see more of this later.
     
  • Tags: I only ever use tags on my Blog project. I tag each task (which is a blog post, again, you'll see more later) with the MM/YY and the category. That way, when I search or click on tags, I can almost instantly find any blog post that I've written. It works as a great archive and resource vault for when I need to pull something up or check on my new ideas.

Start with Hierarchy

So... Where to start? This is a lot, right? You can do so much with Asana, which is both its blessing and can be its downfall for many people who are just overwhelmed. But take heart, setting up a system is the hardest part. Once that is up and running, everything becomes so eas . So trust me, the time spent is worth it!

First, I list out the different moving parts of my business. For me, those are the categories I named my Projects after. These are the categories most of my to-dos fall into. If you find yourself struggling to find the right categories, you can either start with mine or list out all your to-dos, then try to group them. 

Get the bonus Asana Process Template + Video Walkthrough!

You'll also get free weekly tips on branding and systems. No spam, ever!

    Just brain dump everything in your brain and then sort them out later. Don't filter yourself. It's easier to organise more efficiently if you have everything out.

    Then organise the tasks into each category, and list the type of subtasks that you want to add to these tasks. You don't have to list every subtask or task, just a general description of how you want to use these parts.

    My Asana System for Solopreneurs:

    Because pictures speak way louder than words in this instance, I'll let the screenshots do the talking!

     Admin Project

    Admin Project

     Asana Blog Project: Categories organised in Sections, I brain dump into these categories then move the chosen 4 blog posts to the current month section and set deadlines for each. I use subtasks to map out the key points and to-dos, things I need to create etc. I tag each blog post with a date and year, as well as categories, so that I can always come back to look for them as needed.

    Asana Blog Project: Categories organised in Sections, I brain dump into these categories then move the chosen 4 blog posts to the current month section and set deadlines for each. I use subtasks to map out the key points and to-dos, things I need to create etc. I tag each blog post with a date and year, as well as categories, so that I can always come back to look for them as needed.

     Asana Marketing Project: I have a general to-do right at the top, where I put marketing tasks that aren't platform specific. Then I label each section under the platform. For tasks like "Schedule 5 posts for Week 2 August", I write the general idea of each SM post in the subtasks. Each subtask is one post. These have deadlines because they need to get out at a certain time.

    Asana Marketing Project: I have a general to-do right at the top, where I put marketing tasks that aren't platform specific. Then I label each section under the platform. For tasks like "Schedule 5 posts for Week 2 August", I write the general idea of each SM post in the subtasks. Each subtask is one post. These have deadlines because they need to get out at a certain time.

     Asana Website Project: Similarly in the Coaching and VA projects, this is how I organise my tasks. I have 2 internal sections and one client section. My internal sections are classified under Current or Later. Current are pressing to-dos needed to be done now. Later are ideas that I want to work on but don't have to do right now. The client section houses to-dos that I need to get to during my Design batch day.

    Asana Website Project: Similarly in the Coaching and VA projects, this is how I organise my tasks. I have 2 internal sections and one client section. My internal sections are classified under Current or Later. Current are pressing to-dos needed to be done now. Later are ideas that I want to work on but don't have to do right now. The client section houses to-dos that I need to get to during my Design batch day.

     Asana Kanban Template: I use the Kanban system for my client management tool. I duplicate this Project, and name it after each client. I invite the client to the Project (s/he will not be able to see my other projects) and populated each "task" or card with more info in the description, including links to files and appointment scheduling. This prepares my clients for what's to come, and they know exactly when and what to expect at every stage.  I can also assign each "task" or card to myself or the client, and s/he can also upload related files right to Asana and right to each task. That way, files are never messy and always right where you need to find them. And this saves LOADS of back-and-forth on email as well, since clients can find all the resources with this dashboard.

    Asana Kanban Template: I use the Kanban system for my client management tool. I duplicate this Project, and name it after each client. I invite the client to the Project (s/he will not be able to see my other projects) and populated each "task" or card with more info in the description, including links to files and appointment scheduling. This prepares my clients for what's to come, and they know exactly when and what to expect at every stage.

    I can also assign each "task" or card to myself or the client, and s/he can also upload related files right to Asana and right to each task. That way, files are never messy and always right where you need to find them. And this saves LOADS of back-and-forth on email as well, since clients can find all the resources with this dashboard.

    Get the bonus Asana Process Template + Video Walkthrough!

    You'll also get free weekly tips on branding and systems. No spam, ever!

      I use Asana mainly as a brain dump for all my tasks. For specific, larger business tasks, I sometimes just use my planner and jam it out in one session. But for all the small pesky things that need to be done, it's all on Asana.

      I hope you got something out of this "Asana tour" of my systems backend. Now it's time for you to organise your systems! Seriously, sitting down and doing it will save you so much time in the long run. I know it's not the sexiest thing to do, but I promise it'll become a catchall and you won't find yourself scrambling as often, again!


      Let me know:

      Are you an organisation ninja as well? What is your favourite way to use Asana?

      This post is not sponsored by Asana.