Small Business CRMs: How ClickUp Keeps My Business Organized

Did you know, on average, about 60% of work time is spent actually being productive? Crazy, right? (Well, maybe it’s not so crazy considering all that’s happened since last year. 😅)

As I started accepting more clients and growing the Carrylove Design team with more designers and copywriters, I knew I had to focus on how to optimize productivity to keep our team on track, make sure our clients were satisfied, and streamline our workflow overall.

After exploring many different workflow management platforms, the two that stood out from the rest and that offered the most modern services were Trello and ClickUp. We started with Trello as a small team, but ultimately, ClickUp’s sophisticated interface made the platform the clear winner — it even allowed me to expand from a two-person team to a nine-person team. Since switching, we’ve been able to give our clients a better experience and increase our productivity.

In today’s blog post, I’m breaking down why I moved from Trello to ClickUp, what that transition looked like, and what the benefits are (plus, my worst mistake) so you can determine if ClickUp is going to be the best tool for your business like it was for us.

Why I moved away from Trello

When Carrylove Designs was a relatively small two-person team, Trello worked great. But as our team grew and we started accepting more clients, Trello was getting more confusing and difficult to use. These were the main issues I had with Trello:

  1. Lack of efficiency — Trello wasn’t efficient enough for our growing team, mainly because it was difficult to share tasks among clients and our team members.
  2. Missed notifications — Our team wasn’t receiving notifications from clients if they didn’t tag the designers assigned to their project. This kept our clients lingering and dissatisfied.
  3. Not enough tools — Trello didn’t offer enough features that could streamline our work, the biggest being a lack of a time-tracking tool.

Though I still use Trello for storing internal aspects such as copy, captions, templates, and business blueprints, I needed something more powerful and robust for our entire business. ClickUp was able to fill in the gaps that Trello lacked.

How our team transitioned from Trello to ClickUp

  1. Hiring a workflow specialist

A specialist makes transitioning from your current workflow management platform to ClickUp much simpler — if you have the means to invest in a ClickUp workflow specialist, I highly recommend it. By hiring a workflow specialist, you’ll save a lot of time because you’ll have an expert by your side to help flatten the learning curve and troubleshoot any issues you run into.

Our team wouldn’t have been able to make the switch without a specialist since the Signature Experience, the service we offer our clients, was already well-established and so we needed an expert to help us implement that intricate process into ClickUp.

  1. Customizing our task map

What I liked about Trello was that tasks were mapped out by weeks, which made it easy for everyone to plan their work schedules ahead of time. We also were able to set up a client checklist that allowed our clients to check on the progress of their project. On the other side, we had a designer checklist so our team members could be on the lookout for their due dates. However, it was only useful after learning how to use the interface, so this was an obstacle we needed to remove.

When we hired the ClickUp workflow specialist, we used this basic skeleton to create our custom workspace, but with a more efficient and easier-to-read interface. Instead of mapping out our task flow by weeks, we matched each client’s schedule according to the Signature Experience’s four-part-process, which starts with onboarding and ends with the final website and brand launch.

By mapping out our tasks this way, both clients and team members can clearly see what stage their project is in according to the process we use, the Signature Experience. Overall, the user-experience became much more intuitive.

ClickUp is the easy-to-use CRM that keeps my business organized

ClickUp’s most beneficial features

Time tracking

A superb feature of Clickup is its time-tracking tool. With the time-tracking tool, not only can you and your team members track how long you work on a project, but you can also set an estimate of how long you think a task will take to complete. This allows your team to schedule out their workweek more efficiently and keeps everyone on-track and productive. Plus, clients benefit because they can see when they can expect to hear back from your team, almost in real-time.

Task labels

Our team relies on labels to keep track of what needs to be done still — some of the labels we use are “awaiting client details,” “assigned,” “needs revisions,” “accepted,” and many more. If your business operates similarly, you’ll definitely find this tool useful because no one is left in the dark about the details.


There are many automation options available on ClickUp, and it’s simple to set up. All you have to do is choose from a template which ones your team would need one time, and ClickUp will remember it. For example, our team uses six types of automation, so we are notified for specific tasks every time we onboard a new client, avoiding one of the biggest issues we had with Trello.

The worst mistake we made when switching to ClickUp

If I’m being completely transparent, I did make one mistake: Switching from Trello to ClickUp during the middle of a pandemic (doh, as Homer would react). Our team’s plate was already full from adapting to this unfamiliar lifestyle, so adding a colossal project (like switching work management platforms) was no walk in the park. So, pro-tip: If you’re going to make the switch, I recommend tackling this during your slow season when you have relatively fewer clients.

ClickUp is the CRM that keeps my business organized

Ready to take control of your workflow? 

Overall, ClickUp has been incredibly beneficial and useful for clients and team members alike. With the time tracking tools, automation, and labels, you can communicate with your team and clients easily, making your workflow much more productive and seamless. Ready to make the switch? Check them out!

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I am an award-winning website designer, brand strategist, and community leader. I help take our clients' visual brands to the next level. I am passionate about design and believe pairing a beautiful brand aesthetic with an intentional website strategy is the cornerstone for success, booking clients effortlessly, and creating a delightful online experience.

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