Choosing a project management tool as a small business can be quite challenging. The tool should be able to grow with you and integrate into other systems. Especially with remote team members, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page and that you have the ability to take a snapshot quickly of the progress of each project. For a long time, we used Google Spreadsheets to keep track of contractor activities, but soon found this to be too much of a nightmare as we grew. We’ve discovered Asana and Trello to be incredible resources for us and our client teams with whom we are working.

Though we all wish Salesforce was within our budget, Trello and Asana both have free platforms that you can utilize as you are just starting out. This blog compares the free versions of Asana and Trello to help make your project management app selection process easier as you are starting out with your business. 

A little background on Asana

Asana is a popular task management app that strives to manage team’s internal coordination. It has a simplistic UI design with the following features:

Asana for Task List and Project Management

Tasks: Tasks are the items that you need to complete or remember. They are organized into three groups: Today, Upcoming, and later. Each task can:

  • be assigned to one individual, but the task can be saved to multiple Projects. So, if two projects rely on the completion of a single task, you would include this on each.
  • have subtasks that relate to the main task
  • include tags for each sorting and organization
  • have set due dates including recurring due dates
  • have comments and descriptions making it easy to specifically communicate regarding one item.

Projects: Projects are made of all the tasks within one project. You can separate the tasks out into different Sections within the Project. The free version of Asana allows you to create 3 Projects. You can either view the tasks within a project as a Bullet Point checklist or using the Kanban system, which utilizes board to display the information.

Organizations or Teams: These are the divisions within Asana. An organization is everyone with a set business email address and then they can be broken out into teams. Within the free platform, you belong to one team, but can also have a personal workspace.

Drawbacks of Asana

Though Asana is a simplistic, it can be difficult to sort through which tasks are due when, specifically with recurring tasks. The future iterations of a task do not appear on your list or calendar until the current iteration is complete. Additionally, the integrations with other applications typically only works with the paid version. Lastly, sub-tasks can be difficult to work with as they can lose their connection to the parent task. For many projects, we’ve moved these subtasks to parent tasks and just named them to make it clear they belong grouped together.

A little background on Trello

Unlike Asana, Trello is a task management app that only uses the Kanban system to organize projects. It is much like using sticky notes on a white board to create a visual display of upcoming, in process, and completed tasks.

Trello for Kanban Project Management

Some features of Trello:

Board: A board is a process in development or a project underway. It is made up of Lists and Cards.

List: A list is a way to divide a board into different categories. These appear as a vertical stream of cards. We typically use each list as a step in the development process including lists for work in progress, needing approval, and complete.

Cards: Cards divide a list into the specific items that need to be completed. These can be made of checklists, uploads, descriptions, notes, and comments, and can link to documents and images. For each card you can:

  • add members
  • use labels for organization
  • create checklists
  • assign due dates (not recurring)
  • subscribe, copy, and archive.
  • move the card from one list to another until it reaches completion.

Drawbacks of Trello

Though I love the simplistic feel of Trello and how easy it is to visualize your progress, it does become a little messy once you have multiple cards, lists, and boards. When multiple people are assigned to numerous cards, you may lose track of an item that is your responsibility to complete. Lastly, our team has a lot of recurring tasks, making Trello inefficient for us to use as a management system.

Final Thoughts

I personally like both Asana and Trello, however we do utilize Asana for managing our own tasks and those for our contractors. This is because you can view items as a list, as calendar due dates, and as boards. Trello really only allows you to view the items through the boards (the Kanban system). Yes it’s great that you can move items between boards easily, but at the same time having that calendar functionality to see when a project is coming up and the ability to see a chart of the progression of a task is a great asset to have for your team. Also, we utilize the recurring due date function within Asana. 

Either free platform will work for a small team to manage their tasks and I highly recommend checking them both out. Be sure to let us know which you decide to use for your business!

Asana vs Trello | Business management with Asana | Business management with Trello | How to use Trello for business | Use Asana for business | Project management tools | how to manage projects | Free software project management | Tools to make business easy | Project management tools for small business - Trello vs Asana

Asana vs Trello | Business management with Asana | Business management with Trello | How to use Trello for business | Use Asana for business | Project management tools | how to manage projects | Free software project management | Tools to make business easy | Project management tools for small business - Trello vs Asana

Asana vs Trello | Business management with Asana | Business management with Trello | How to use Trello for business | Use Asana for business | Project management tools | how to manage projects | Free software project management | Tools to make business easy | Project management tools for small business - Trello vs Asana

What books have you read recently?

Business owners benefit from reading great business books, here is my list of business books to be sure to read. (Please note, this blog contains affiliate links).

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Author: Stephen R. Covey

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators and parents— in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations.

4.5 of 5 Stars (4,534 Reviews)

Read more about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Personal Workbook

2. From Good to Great

Author: Jim Collins

The Challenge:

Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice.

The Study:

For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

4.5 of 5 Stars (2,128 Reviews)

Read more about Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

3. Rich Dad Poor Dad

Author: Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad, the #1 Personal Finance book of all time, tells the story of Robert Kiyosaki and his two dads—his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad—and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.

4.5 of 5 Stars (6,013 Reviews)

Read more about Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

4. Raving Fans

Author: Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles

“Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans.”

This, in a nutshell, is the advice given to a new Area Manager on his first day–in an extraordinary business book that will help everyone, in every kind of organization or business, deliver stunning customer service and achieve miraculous bottom-line results.

4.5 of 5 Stars (368 Reviews)

Read more about Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service

5. Built to Last

Author: Jim Collins & Jerry Porras

Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day — as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations. Throughout, the authors asked: “What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the comparison companies and what were the common practices these enduringly great companies followed throughout their history?”

4.5 of 5 Stars (359 Reviews)

Read more about Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business Essentials)

6. The 4-Hour Workweek

Author: Timothy Ferriss

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:

  • How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
  • How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
  • How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
  • How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
  • How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

4.5 of 5 Stars (4,818 Reviews)

Read more about The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

7. Speak and Get Results

Author: Sandy Linver

We’ve all known the “naturals”– people who can get up to speak in any business situation and make something happen. They get the budget approved, win the big account, get the group’s support at the weekly staff meeting. When the “naturals” finish speaking people believe– and act.

Now fully revised and updated, “Speak and Get Results” helps you to be a natural– helps you to get the results you want, by teaching you how to:

  • motivate your listeners to reach your result
  • choose an opening that targets your ideas
  • design visuals that support you, not sabotage you
  • use your body and your voice to express your energy, authority, and commitment
  • handle tough Q & A sessions, audience resistance, and even surprise media encounters

4.7 of 5 Stars (6 Reviews)

Read more about Speak and Get Results: Complete Guide to Speeches & Presentations Work Bus

Must Read Business Book - What books have you read recently? Business owners benefit from reading great business books, here is my list of business books to be sure to read.

*Article contains affiliate links.

As a small business owner, the last thing you want to be caught up in is a legal battle and additional expense for an image you, at the time, didn’t think twice about using. Even though it is alright to share posts others have made on social media in most circumstances (typically because sharing a post gives credit to the source and links directly back to the original post), you should not assume that every image you find online is okay to use for marketing or on your website.

Watch out, you could be sued.

How to Find Appropriate Images (For Free)

Luckily, there are a handful of sites with tremendous databases of high-quality, “royalty free” images. Additionally, Google has a search feature to sift through search results to find images that have been marked for commercial use. As long as you are grabbing the images from one of the below sites and giving credit where asked for, you should be in the clear!

Can you use that image? The top sources to find free images that are labeled for commercial reuse, free tools to edit images, and what to do if you get sued for using a copyright image online.


pixabay for free images

With over 920,00 free stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and VIDEOS, Pixabay comes in at the top of our list. Even for commercial applications, attribution isn’t required.


FoodiesFeed top database for free images of food and beverages.

Food Blogger? Nutritionist? Just like food? This is the free image directory for you. With new images added frequently, FoodiesFeed offers a great selection of, you guessed it, food and beverage oriented photography.

Iso Republic

Iso Republic - Another great database of images offers images of architecture, food/drink, nature, people, urban, technology, textures, and other images. The wide variety is easy to sort and updated frequently.

Another great database of images offers images of architecture, food/drink, nature, people, urban, technology, textures, and other images. The wide variety is easy to sort and updated frequently.


Stokpic uploads new pictures every 2 weeks with a focus on lifestyle photography. These images are perfect for blogs and social media and the site is easy to navigate.

Stokpic uploads new pictures every 2 weeks with a focus on lifestyle photography. These images are perfect for blogs and social media and the site is easy to navigate.


The Superfamous database of images offers a vast variety of nature, landscape, and abstract images. These images are free to use for both personal and commercial purposes.

The Superfamous database of images offers a vast variety of nature, landscape, and abstract images. These images are free to use for both personal and commercial purposes.

Pin now and read later!

What Tools Can You Use to Add Text?

Adding text to images can also help make them pop. I used to tend to make templates in Adobe Photoshop, however, this was a little overkill for most situations. Now I use free tools that are available to anyone online. My go-t0 tools include:


Canva - empowering the world to design

Canva allows you to make streams for different image templates allowing you to easy copy a previous image to then adjust the background and text. Additionally, with Canva you have the ability to upload new fonts if your brand font isn’t a present and select your brand colors so you are sure to stay on point. Additionally, beyond social media sized images, you can create banners for blogs, ebooks, infographics, and more. Canva comes with free images, text layouts, and icons, but does offer the option to purchase some premium ones for $1.

Pablo by Buffer

Pablo by Buffer - An easy to use interface for creating image with text overlay and publishing directly through Buffer.

Buffer created Pablo as a way to make it easier to create images with text overlay. They offer a variety of different options you can control, such as filters and sizes, though much fewer than Canva. Pablo has free images you can use as backgrounds and various fonts preloaded. We use Buffer to schedule social media posts, so Pablo is a go-to choice for images with quotes that we wish to load directly to the client’s account.

What Happens When You Get an Email or Letter from Getty Images?

The goal should be to always use images that are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons, but at times everyone makes a mistake and overlooks using one image vs another. You may wake up one day to an email from Getty Images, for example, stating you owe $800+ for the use of a single image. My best advice here is Do Not ignore this notice.

Reach out to the sender and explain that you thought the image was royalty free and are incredibly sorry for utilizing it. Inform them that you have already removed it from the site (delete it from your image directory not just from the page it appears) and ask as politely as possible for them to work with you on the price of the violation.

Often they will come down in price depending on the number of copyright violations you have had. Just make sure you pay quickly and are more careful in the future!

The top sources to find free images that are labeled for commercial reuse, free tools to edit images, and what to do if you get sued for using a copyright image online.

This interview with Joe, the owner of Pebble+Oak, discusses the importance of speaking to your audience in both blog posts and on your website. We don’t expect our in-house team to be able to write coherently on every topic nor get the voice of all of our clients, so we rely on other writers to step up and fill in the void. Joe at Pebble+Oak is one of our go to copywriters who’s able to understand the vision of a business and articulate the unique selling points and their competitive advantage of their service.

interview with pebble and oak

BIMS: So Joe, how did you get into the biz?

Joe: I have always had a passion for writing, and after spending 10 years and the technology sector I saw the opportunity to begin working with clients to discover their own voice in an online world.

BIMS: When you write for your clients how do you ensure that you are capturing their voice not your own?

Joe: At the end of the day, writing is simply telling a story. Before I put anything down on paper for a client, I spend some time getting to know them, their company, who they’re trying to serve, and why they’re doing what they’re doing. I find that these conversations are incredibly insightful in terms of identifying and interpreting their voice and their message.

BIMS: How important do you feel it is for business owners to concentrate on SEO in the blogs and articles that they are writing?

Joe: Is SEO important? Yes. But, I found when business owners and writers concentrate too much on specific keywords, the message they are trying to convey gets lost. When this happens the connection with prospects and customers suffers.

I recommend coming up with a topic and outlining your article, then writing it without necessarily thinking about the keywords. If you need to, you can always add these in afterwards to make it a little more clear for search engines. Often, however, just the process of creating an outline for your article will innately highlight your intended topics.

BIMS: If we aren’t necessarily focusing on keywords in articles, what can we do to make sure that we are getting a big bang for our buck when we are writing blog posts?

Joe: There are a few tips that I highly recommend. First, make sure you or your IT person correctly knows how to load a blog or article onto a website. This means utilizing header tags and adding alt tags to your images. It’s great if you can break up the long content utilizing bullet points or numbers! Within your blog post don’t hesitate to add links to other blogs on similar topics or pages on your website that relate to the blog post itself.

Second, always make sure that you are sharing your article to external sources. My favorites are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, digg, delicious, StumbleUpon, and reddit. (In other words, the Internet….)

And third, I always recommend finding external websites to write articles for rather than just your own site. Common examples include LinkedIn articles and Often, however, online publications and niche trade journals have the option for experts to contribute articles and content, as well. Contributing articles to these sources not only increases your reach beyond your current network, but it also helps to position you as an expert in the field. Above all, these articles create backlinks to your website!

BIMS: I know you are very busy, so thank you for your time! I’m sure you will be back for more interviews in the future. Before we sign off, do you have any closing remarks that could benefit new and old businesses alike?

Joe: There are a lot of buzzwords and “Flavors of the Week” when it comes to marketing your business online. It is easy to get lost in the noise and think “I should be doing that!” While many of these new ideas have merit, don’t lose sight of your values and your brand. Trends will come and go, but the companies who are consistent with who they are the ones that last.

60 blogs in 60 days challenge

We wanted to invite you to learn more about some of these exciting new opportunities that the BIMS team is pursuing!

We are growing!

In 2017, Amber and myself have brought on 3 lovely ladies with diverse backgrounds to help us best represent our clients online! Brandy, Mari Ann, and Amanda each focus specifically on one or two social media networks or SEO tactics so we can follow the most effective strategies. Meanwhile Kathlyn and Joe continue to knock blogging out of the park for our clients!

Our first eCourse is about to launch!

With a long history of teaching courses and workshops in person, The BIMS Team is so excited to start helping businesses through eCourses! This first course, Blogging Your Business, launches May 1. This course covers:

  • Blogging 101: An Introduction
  • Building a Content Calendar
  • Tools to Manage your Content
  • How to Share your Blog
  • Tutorials for WordPress, Squarespace, and Shopify
  • and Free Editorial Calendar Templates

When you preregister through April, this course is only $47! Learn More.

Building partnerships in Florida!

Amber has been building incredible partnerships in Florida and recently helped to launch Your Social Garden, which provides in-person workshops each month and has partnered with SCOR. If you are near Palm Harbor, be sure to reach out for more information regarding these fantastic classes.

Odds are, you’ve seen and ad or two come across your Facebook feed with some “Business Expert” on a beach or in tropical paradise. Do all successful entrepreneurs strive to live their life jumping from one wave to another?


I’m lucky enough to call Colorado my home. My dream is right in my backyard. Yes, beaches are nice, but a cold jolt of fresh air as you click into your bindings beats laying still for hours on end and awaking to a massive sunburn. Rather than showing success through pictures from a beach, though my summer months are spent with my husband on boats in New Hampshire and beaches in Maine, I’m committing to showing pictures of success that ring true to those of us who work hard and play harder. Enough of these beach shots to signify success!

What does success look like for you?

Creating an editorial calendar for your marketing collateral is often an overlooked piece in designing your small business’ web strategy. These calendars create a easy to understand reference for your blog topics, newsletters, social media posts, and promotions. They allow you to keep ahead of upcoming holidays and make it so you don’t feel like you are always playing catch-up.

Because many of us wear different hats within our business, it isn’t unexpected that some things just fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, however, sticking to a content calendar really is an income-generating task that should garner a space in your list of top-priorities. It is also something you can outsource if it makes sense for your business.

What should your Editorial Calendar include and why is it important for your business?

Your editorial calendar should be broken down by quarter, month, week, and even day. Additionally, it should include a column for blogs, newsletters, promotions, social media posts, videos, etc, and a column for results.

When you put together your calendar, think about what you can commit to. Realistically, can you commit to writing a fresh article once a month, or every day? Do you have the systems in place to post daily to your social media networks or only a few times per week? Is there a social media network that you are most passionate about? Perhaps you should just focus on building this up rather than getting burned out trying to tackle too much at once.

The next step is figuring out which topics to discuss. To brainstorm this, I recommend the following process:

  1. Your products and services
  2. Your background
  3. Your clients and their success stories
  4. Common questions you receive
  5. Topics that interest your target market
  6. Following the topics trade journals (or even your competitors) discuss
  7. Holiday or seasonal topics
  8. National organizations and their promotional schedules
  9. Topics you are passionate about
  10. Other news outlets and articles

For each of these topics, brainstorm a short list of specific topics you can discuss. Add any necessary links in your notes or bullet points to provide more context.

Now, think of the context for posting these. Can you post once per month on certain topics while only quarterly for others? Are there natural sales promotions that go along with the topics? What about videos? We have one client who has committed to filming quarterly reports rather than taking the time to write and format his analysis.

Now it is time to add these to your content calendar.

We’ve put together this workbook to help you organize your topics and ideas.

Why follow an editorial calendar?

Editorial calendars make it easier to stay consistent and keep yourself from being reactive. Consistency can truly transform a business as prospects come to know what to expect and trust you before taking the leap to being a paying customer.

Additionally, being proactive about the content you need to put out allows you to be more mindful about your business and messaging.

Stay tuned for more information on how to build your social media posts into your content calendar for your business!

Blogging Your Business

My first introduction to Digital Marketing was back in 2006 with an internship I found through the Tuck Business School Bridge Program. This 1 month, highly selective, program gave students from liberal education backgrounds an extensive introduction from Tuck Business School professors into business courses. As a part of the course, we were assigned to teams that helped local businesses overcome their own obstacles. Our focus was on the branding and marketing for a digital mapping company in the area. As I am originally from the area, I continued working with the company a few hours a week trying to figure out how exactly this whole Google thing worked. We used data as a way to justify or disprove hypothesis we had regarding changes to the website and their effects on the organic ranking of the website.

Though during the starts of the recession I was a financial advisor, I quickly came back to marketing and the notion of using data to make educated business decisions. After a year of working for another business, I launched Boundless Marketing in 2011 and merged with Your Marketing Voice to form The BIMS Team in 2013. I wanted to share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned from owning a small marketing agency.

Lessons Learned from Owning a Small Business:

  1. If you can work from home, great! This take discipline, but can be extremely rewarding. We invested in office space one summer, but have decided working from home is our jam. It allows us to keep our overhead low and the flexibility to work hours that fit the best with our schedules.
  2. Join a networking group! I’m a huge supporter of local networking groups, but as an introvert, I’ve decided only to attend groups with consistency and that follow a set meeting structure. I’m currently the President of a local BNI chapter while Amber helps to run 2 networking groups down in FL. Because we aren’t working from offices, this not only creates new business opportunities, but also gives us the space to create relationships with other business owners in the area. Even if you are just starting out, I highly recommend attending a local networking group. If nothing else, it forces you to refine your messaging.
  3. Find contractors! We outsource a lot of our tasks. If you haven’t already, take a look at The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (affiliate link). Even following just a few of his recommendations can safe you time and effort. Some of our contractors are friends and family who just want to make a couple hundred dollars extra each month, while others live abroad. We’ve worked with one writer from the Philippines for the past 3+ years. Part of me thinks our business would shutter to a halt if we lost her!
  4. Work with clients you love. You are always going to have some clients who are absolutely draining. We use conversations and phone calls at the start of our relationships with prospects to try and weed out these individuals. It can just ruin your day/week/month when the client undoubtedly is difficult to work with, forcing you to bend over backwards. As a small business, you just don’t have the time or resources to deal with people like this.

Above all, love your life as a business owner! If set up properly, it can give you the freedom and flexibility you need to live the life of your dreams!

Free Ebook for Business Blogging

If you’re the content person for your brand, you’re probably busy creating pieces of content that aims to give out information about your products or services. You may also be focused in writing content that tell about your brand’s story. Amidst the churning out of content, have you ever stopped to think about why people choose to buy from your company? The answer is simple. It’s because they trust your company.

Whether you’re creating content for your clients, existing customers or new prospects, it is important to keep in mind that the real purpose of content marketing is to build greater levels of trust with your audience. Trust and credibility are important to win the loyalty of your customers.

Use these tips to create content that will help you enter your customer’s world and become an important part of it:

Put people first

In order to build trust and enhance your influence, you need to remember who you’re writing for. The content you create should be relevant to the people you are trying to communicate with. Know their demographics, determine your niche focus and stick with it.

Deliver high quality and relevant content to your audience on a regular basis. Overtime, people will see your brand as a trusted authority. They’ll keep coming back for more once they see you as a trustworthy source.

Be consistent

People don’t have an idea how reliable you are unless they start working with you. But by observing your activities and posting schedule, they can decide whether or not they can rely on you.

Choose your social media channels carefully and commit to being there regularly. Also, make it habit to post new content on your blog and update your site from time to time. By turning up regularly and publishing high quality and relevant contents on a regular basis, you will start to earn the confidence of your marketplace.

Interact with your audience

Newsletters, social media updates and blog posts are a great way for your audience to stay up-to-date with your business. But it’s not supposed to be a one-way communication. Find ways to interact with your audience online.

You can ask questions, encourage them to send photos of them with your products, share their stories etc. Don’t forget to respond to mentions on social media and reply to comments on your blog. Through this strategy, you’ll be able to build a relationship with your target audience. Through this relationship, they will come to trust you.

How to Use Content Marketing to Build Trust and Credibility