Asana Review: Project Management for Your Online Business
One of the hardest parts of running a business is finding an efficient and effective way to manage your projects – this is true for companies of any size. Even if it’s just you going at it alone, finding a way to organize your tasks and manage your workload can be really freaking tough without the right tools.
Enter Asana… the project and workflow management tool that your entrepreneurial dreams are made of.
Asana is for businesses of all types and sizes. Solopreneurs, like if you’re running Facebook Ads for small businesses, can benefit from Asana just as much as large companies can. It’s used on a daily basis by our team over here at Laptop Empires, and there are also a ton of big-name companies benefiting from Asana. See if you recognize any of these names… Airbnb, GE, NASA, Red Bull… they’re all using Asana.
What is Asana?
At its core, Asana is a project management tool that businesses can use on a micro and macro level to organize projects. You create a project, add tasks and subtasks that break jobs down into more approachable pieces of work, assign people to each part, and give everything a due date. You can create complex and dynamic organizational systems around each project or simply use Asana to create a list of the projects you’re working on and when they’re due.
That’s actually one of the really great things about using it for your business – Asana is flexible and works for any project management style. Asana, basically, gives you the building blocks you need to manage your workload. And don’t worry, nitty-gritty project management functions (like the calendar, Kanman style tasks, and integrations) will be explained further down in this Asana review.
This should also be made very clear, Asana is good for any size business. Those huge companies listed earlier on are just that… huge! However, Asana is great for side hustlers and the type of online solopreneurs Laptop Empires helps.
Why you will love Asana for your side hustle or online business
The focus of Laptop Empires is to help you start and run an online business, so it’s important in this Asana review to show you exactly how you can use this project management software for your specific side hustle or business. And here’s how:
Using Asana to aid your Facebook Side Hustle
If you’ve taken our FB Side Hustle Course (or are thinking about doing so in the future), Asana can help you keep track of your clients, the FB ads you’ll be creating for them, and your larger business goals.
Once you’ve signed up for Asana, you log in and are taken to your homepage. You can create a project for each new client, using preset templates (the Cross-Functional Project Plan would work great here), and start adding tasks that help you organize where you are at with each client, including:
- Categories for things like ads, metrics, client information, milestones, even billing.
- Under the ads category, you can create tasks for each new ad you’ll be running.
- Upload images or copy you’ll put in each ad task.
- Put due dates on ads for when you need to have them finished and published by.
- Under client information, you can list their contact info, audience information, etc.
- You can also set reminders for billing, upload spreadsheets, and more.
You can mark off tasks as complete or set another category for archiving each ad you’ve run, allowing you to look back on what you’ve done for each client.
If you get to the point that you are hiring people to help you run your FB ad agency, you can add them to Asana and create a Loom video to help with onboarding. You can assign tasks to them and check in on their progress with each ad or client project.
How bloggers can use Asana
Using the calendar function, you can schedule posts for publication, keep a list of new post ideas, upload images, and link to Google docs (if you use them). Asana offers bloggers much more than content calendar tools – you can create a project tab for other important blogger stuff, like affiliate links, sponsor/brand relations and contact info, social media information and tasks, and organize any resource or training material, like courses.
If your blog is a one-person show, you can organize your daily tasks, set goals, and more. This helps you organize your day-to-day blog upkeep and keep you focused on growing your blog into the future.
If you have a team, like M$M does, you can assign tasks to your virtual assistant, editor, SEO manager, and more. Bobby, for example, creates a task (aggregated on the calendar) for each M$M blog post and subtasks for writing, editing, review, image, and publication. Once he writes a post, he marks it complete, and that passes it on to the next person, with each dependent task opening once the previous one is completed. Each assignee is notified in their Asana inbox, which also sends out an email notification. At any point, M$M can check in to see if posts are staying on track for their publication date.
Asana is perfect for freelancers
Whether you’re a graphic designer, writer, editor, or web developer, Asana can help you manage your freelance business. You can create projects and tasks for each client or job, similar to how you would use it for a Facebook ad agency, using preset templates or ones you create.
Here’s a note our editor sent us about how she’s using Asana to manage her freelance editing and writing business:
“I’ve made Asana my own by separating my dashboard into different days of the week so that I keep a highly structured work week despite working from home. I assign tasks for individual writing or editing jobs and set due dates for each job. Within each task, I link to the Google doc I’m working from, keep track of word count, keywords, affiliate links, and notes each client has given me. I have a separate project tab for billing, one for client information, and solo projects I’m working on.
I recently hired my first employee and I assign tasks to him and receive notifications when the work is complete. Asana is keeping me focused and productive and has made the boring stuff, like billing, run more efficiently.”
Overview of features
It’s probably obvious by now that Asana is a great tool for many different types of businesses, but what this Asana review has neglected so far is a breakdown of the different features you’ll find in Asana. Because there are different levels of Asana, some of these features are only available with a paid subscription. You’ll see a breakdown of subscription levels further down in our Asana review.
Whenever you put a due date on a project, task, or subtask, Asana puts them on your calendar, which you get to from your homepage. The calendar defaults to a M-F workweek, but you can easily set it to see the weekends if you need to. In the calendar view, you can click on projects to see what needs to be done, add to them, change dates, etc.
Asana lets you organize projects in a Kanman style (card-based) view that shows you a clean, bird’s eye view of everything that’s happening. You can add new projects in this view using one of Asana’s many templates, or you can start from zero to set projects up the way you like.
Your Asana sidebar lets you move easily between projects, check your inbox, find team members, see your tasks, and run reports. If you ever get distracted by your sidebar, you can hide it to keep you focused.
You can add color-coded tags to tasks for even greater levels of an organization. The tags are added when you click on a task. You can set followers to tags and click on a tag to see other projects with the same label.
You can use tags however you’d like – Asana is all about being flexible for your specific business – and that might mean a tag for different clients, types of work, what you need to bill for, etc.
If you upload any files to Asana, such as images, Asana stores them for you in their cloud so you can access them from anywhere.
Assignees and followers
If you have a team, even it’s just one more person, you can assign projects, tasks, and subtasks. You can also add followers to projects and tasks, and notifications will be sent to them as well when things are marked complete.
Asana has a ton of integrations that give you even more functionality. You can find a list of Asana integrations here. They include apps like Slack, Dropbox, G Suite, Salesforce, Adobe Creative Suite, GitHub, and more.
The templates have already been mentioned a few times in our Asana review, but that’s because Asana knows a thing or two about what might help you manage your workload. You can find templates for different types of businesses and projects. There are cross-functional templates for things like brainstorming and meeting agendas. You can also find templates for specific project types, like design, HR, IT, operations, marketing, and engineering.
Many of the templates are included with the free version of Asana, but you can unlock more with a paid subscription.
If your business relies on teams of people for different types of projects, the paid versions of Asana will let you build teams for each of your needs. It facilitates collaboration and communication, and let’s you easily check in on each team as they work.
This is one of the Premium functions Laptop Empires uses that allows administrators to manage workflow. Once a task is created, subtasks can be assigned that open up once the dependent task has been completed. This simplifies managing the chain of smaller tasks that build a larger project.
With a paid subscription to Asana, one of the cool tools you get that helps with larger businesses is the progress view. You can set urgency and priority levels to each project. And in the progress view, you can identify projects that are close to missing deadlines. You can see the number of outstanding projects, how many have been completed, and which ones are overdue.
Asana Basic will show status updates in progress view, but you can unlock the rest of the features mentioned with the Premium edition.
For each project you create, you can communicate with other team members through the conversations tab. It’s where followers and assignees of a project can upload files to share, ask questions, and brainstorm.
The desktop version of Asana is awesome, but you can also download the mobile app to check in on things when you’re away from your laptop. Say you’re on vacation but need to email a client about a Facebook ad. You can open the Asana app, grab the link you need, and send an email.
Your Asana inbox is where you’ll receive notifications about upcoming due dates, when new tasks are created, and when tasks and projects are completed. A little yellow light pops up when you receive a new notification. You can archive messages and turn email notifications on or off.
Asana has developed a pretty extensive support network run through their website. There are community forums, guides, and step-by-step instructions. Using real examples, Asana Use Cases will show you specific steps to build out projects for your business.
Asana Academy goes a step farther with training courses for all subscription levels, but you’ll get the most in-depth support and live trainings with Asana Premium. Here are some of the objectives in the Asana Academy:
- Productivity systems
- Time tracking
- Marketing use cases
- Coordinating work
- Identifying pain points
How much does Asana cost?
There are several different levels of Asana, and what you choose will likely depend on the size and type of your business. The free version alone is great, but even solopreneurs can find value in a paid subscription.
Jumpstart your productivity and sign up for Asana today. New users will receive a free trial of Asana Premium and Business.
Basic Asana – Free
At this level, you can create tasks and see the list, calendar, and board view. You can also assign tasks and set due dates. Basic Asana has a lot to offer and gives you the option to get used to using project management software before leveling up.
Premium Asana – $9.99 per user/per month billed annually
Or $11.99 per user when billed monthly. This version adds on the following functions:
- Advanced search and reporting
- Custom fields
- Private teams and projects
- Premium content in the Asana Academy
This is the version Laptop Empires uses.
Business Asana – $19.99 per user/per month billed annually
Or $23.99 per user when billed monthly. This version builds on everything offered in the Basic and Premium subscription and adds:
- Lock custom fields
- Build an onboarding team
- Upcoming- Resource Management
For large companies or organizations, Asana offers even more options at custom pricing. You can find out more and contact their pricing department here.
The final word in our Asana review
We love telling you about the tools and software we’re using to run our business so you can do a better job at running yours. You could say we’re test driving cars so you don’t wind up with a lemon. Asana definitely isn’t a lemon – it’s a powerful project management tool that can help any type of business run more efficiently.
It’s clean, intuitive, and flexible. Asana is easy to use for project management newbies and has the functionality larger businesses need to succeed.