As a freelance writer, a reliable (and affordable) task management tool is a game-changer, and Trello and Asana are two of the most popular options.
It’s easy to see why: they both offer sturdy free products.
But which one is the best?
If you’re struggling to make the call, this guide breaks down the details of each platform and their strengths and weaknesses so you can determine which one is best for you and your independent business.
Trello vs Asana: the basics
We’ve established that both Trello and Asana are solid and well-known project management tools, but let’s go into detail.
What is Trello?
Trello is an online tool that organizes your projects and tasks in Kanban style boards.
Kanban is a workflow framework that helps you visualize your tasks. In Trello, you can set up individual boards, and in those boards, you can create tasks, which you can then move to different lists.
Take a look at an example Trello board:
I have set up several lists in my “Freelance Tracker” table example: To submit, Assigned, In progress, Submitted and Paid.
Below each list, I’ve added task cards, which I can easily click and drag from board to board. For example (and don’t get as well meta here), this article I am writing would have started on the “To pitch” board. Right now he would be sitting “In Progress” while I write the article.
You can add more details to each task card, including a due date, checklist (like subtasks), or attachments.
What is Asana?
Asana is another must-have project management tool that can help you organize and track your freelance assignments.
Asana works similarly to Trello in that you can set up different projects and within those projects create tasks, which you can then move from section to section.
Take a look at an example:
Again, you can see that I have set up my sample “Freelance Tracker” project (this could also be the name of a specific client if you prefer to organize your tasks more granularly by client). Then I set up sections and within those sections are my tasks.
Like Trello, you can add information to these tasks, including recipients, due dates, task descriptions, and subtasks.
Trello vs Asana: pros and cons for freelancers
So far, you can see that these two tools have a lot of similarities, but let’s get into the details and break down the pros and cons of managing freelance work.
Pros and cons of Trello
In a world where there are so many apps, tools, websites, and “solutions,” the ease of Trello is a huge win. You will spend little time asking yourself, “How can I do this?” or “Where the fuck is that button ?!” Moving tasks around in sections is as easy (and satisfying) as dragging and dropping them.
With Trello, there is also a lot of flexibility when it comes to setting up a workflow. You can set up a single “Freelance” board, as in the example above, and track assignments and projects there, or you can easily create boards for each client.
There are plenty of other ways to get creative and tailor Trello to your needs. For example, freelance writer Adryan Corcione explained how they use Trello to follow pitch ideas and target publications.
And if you don’t want to start a board from scratch, Trello offers templates. Oh, and don’t forget to customize the chalkboard background. This is the best part!
If you’re on the go, the Trello app makes it much easier to save tasks or add cards – we all know story ideas come at the most random times. You can also set up notifications to have Trello give you a boost when a mission is 24 hours away from a deadline. (Note: Asana also has an app, but I found it a little less intuitive.)
Trello also has something called Power ups, which allows you to add various integrations to your maps. For example, you can sync your Google Mail account and create tasks directly from emails. Or, if you bill some of your customers by the hour, you can add time tracking integrations.
These can be useful, but seem a bit complicated at first. You can also only use one Power-Up per card if you’re using the free version of Trello, so you’ll have to choose what’s most important to you.
Another drawback? Trello’s Bread and Butter is Kanban style boards, so you can’t see your assignments in a full to-do list or calendar view unless you want to pay for the upgrade.
Advantages and disadvantages of Asana
While Trello is simple and straightforward, Asana is a bit more sophisticated and may require more patience until you find your rhythm.
The advantage of Asana for freelance writers is clear: you can view your assignments and projects in different formats. It offers Kanban style boards like Trello, but you can also view your projects as a list (see above for example) or calendar view – for free.
You can also see all of your tasks, no matter what project they’re hosted in, and Asana will sort them by Today, Upcoming, and Later based on due dates.
If you want to “improve” your Asana skills, you can add over 100 app integrations to your boards, also for free. And Asana even did its own application integrations for tools like Slack, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and harvest time tracking, so you can be sure the process is smooth and secure.
Asana’s free product is also designed for team collaboration. You can easily add subtasks and assign them.
For example, if you’re working with a graphic designer or photographer on a story, create a subtask, set its due date, and assign it by name or email. (Note: Trello is also a great tool for team collaboration, but if you want to get this specific with subtasks, you’ll need to upgrade to the Business Class plan.)
The biggest downside to Asana is that it’s a bit overwhelming at first. Please be patient when you browse the platform for the first time. You will probably find that you don’t need a lot of features unless you are working in a multi-faceted team or project.
Trello pricing vs Asana pricing
As mentioned, Trello and Asana have free versions of their tools, and those free versions should give you access to everything you need as a freelance writer.
In the free version of Trello, features include:
- Unlimited cards
- Unlimited members
- Up to 10 boards
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited activity log
- Assignee and expiry date
- IOS and Android mobile apps
If you want additional table views, including timeline, dashboard, team table, and calendar, you’ll need to upgrade to the Business Class plan, which starts at $ 10 per month. This plan also offers unlimited boards, unlimited power-ups, advanced checklists and more.
In the free version of Asana, features include:
- Unlimited tasks
- Unlimited projects
- Unlimited messages
- Unlimited activity log
- Unlimited file storage
- Collaborate with up to 15 team members
- 100+ app integrations
- IOS and Android mobile apps
You’ll need to upgrade to the premium version of Asana (starting at $ 10.99 per month) if you want access to additional project management tools like start dates, task dependencies, milestones, and templates. personalized. You’ll also have access to advanced reporting tools, unlimited free guests, and more.
What is the best?
Trello and Asana can dramatically transform the way you run your independent business. By using one of these platforms, you probably feel much more in control of your work and will be able to meet your deadlines and payments more easily.
Ultimately, Trello will be your easiest choice. It is easy to use and does not take a long time to understand. Asana, on the other hand, may require a little patience, but the free version offers more features.
Ultimately, you can’t go wrong either.