Left Right Labs provides web design and digital marketing services to health and wellness coaches around the world from their headquarters in Decatur, Illinois (USA). For more than a decade, Left Right Labs has been building websites that align branding, capture attention, build a strong, loyal following, and establish a reputation that’s worthy of top-tier rates.
Gretchen Cawthon, president and lead developer of Right Left Labs, went on the hunt for project management software that could help manage the workload of their expanding agency and keep clients, contractors and their three-person team working together seamlessly.
“We love that Teamwork Projects gives us the flexibility to build our processes and workflows in a way that makes sense for our business.”
After eight years of building websites for clients in every type of industry, Gretchen and her business partner Katrina Fisher chose to focus on the niche market of health and wellness services. In addition to web design services, they added marketing and branding, and soon their company was at peak production.
The only thing holding them back was a tool that could organize the tasks, files, messages and other collateral that they needed to complete each individual project and help them coordinate several projects simultaneously.
“We outgrew our personal time management and project tracking tools and needed something that would allow us to collaborate and communicate in real time. With two people needing to be in the loop on all projects, it was becoming harder and harder to keep all the pieces together.”
Messaging was complicated because clients would forget to hit “reply all,” leaving one partner left out of crucial conversations. Since there wasn’t a clear repository for files or documents, they were easily misplaced in overflowing email inboxes, resulting in stressful searches for a piece of information or a meeting reminder.
Getting accurate estimates of the time they were investing in each project was also an ongoing struggle. They tried apps and paper time logs, but nothing was really working, leaving them without a clear sense if their billing was accurate.
“We did our best with what we thought were common-sense tools, but we knew the numbers weren’t always right. I couldn’t effectively estimate for new projects because I didn’t have accurate data from previous projects.”
As their growth began to significantly outpace their systems, Gretchen went on the hunt for project management tools that could help her streamline her workload and collaborate more effectively with clients. When she found Teamwork Projects, she knew she had found software that she could depend on.
“I reviewed at least a dozen different applications, and Teamwork won, hands down. We fell instantly in love with its capabilities. And our clients love it, too. They feel more involved in their projects and it really does feel like we are all on the same team together.”
New clients are onboarded immediately during project kickoff meetings, and then everyone stays in touch via email. Comments and files in each email are instantly attached to each task item, so the Left Right Labs team and clients don’t have to scramble to find important information.
Feature-packed task functions drive each project. Every action item is listed as a task with related subtasks that can be assigned to one or more people. Because due dates, time tracking, triggers, and milestones can be added directly to each task, every detail is available.
“Our entire business is run from Teamwork tasks. Our workdays are driven by the Teamwork tasks overview, which gives us an instant snapshot of what is on our plate along with the time estimates, so we can adjust as needed without feeling stressed.”
For Gretchen’s team, the workhorse feature within Teamwork Projects is Task Templates. With it, they are able to standardize commonly-used workflows, which allows them to create more consistent projects and start new ones with just a few clicks.
They can build tags, time estimates, milestones, and boards into the templates so everything is in place from the starting line. When changes are needed, adjustments can be made to the individual project or to the template itself, so improvements are automatically integrated into the next project.
“The task templates allow us to easily put together projects and get an instant estimated total. We refer to them as bricks (like LEGO) because we can pick the ones we need and scope a custom project quickly.”
Integrations were also an important part of the decision to choose Teamwork Projects. Using Zapier, the team has created several automations that trigger notifications and tasks, which can range from a simple reminder to the creation of a specific task complete with tags, due date, assignment and detailed instructions. Active Campaign is their app of choice for building sales funnels, and that has an integration with Teamwork Projects, too.
With these additional tools and strategies in Teamwork Projects, efficiency for Left Right Labs has improved dramatically, from each team member’s daily actions to regular check-ins. Gretchen says the team has significantly reduced the number of ad hoc meetings to clarify issues within a project since the task templates contain all of the details needed.
This level of transparency has also helped them deliver more projects on time and with fewer mistakes or revisions. Milestones focus everyone’s work and remind clients and team members of the deadlines ahead.
“Our greatest accomplishment with Teamwork has been productizing our services. Now that we can accurately track time, build processes, test and measure our efficiency, we are able to build more accurate scopes of work, even when the project has custom functions.”
Since time is money, Gretchen has also seen a noticeable improvement in her agency’s profitability. They have been able to simplify and hone their workflows, which has given them more control of their time and allowed them to increase their agency rates to reflect the value they provide to clients.
“Having a trusted project management system has allowed us to really measure our productivity and adjust our processes so that we increase our profits with every project we do. With Teamwork, we are able to test, measure, refine and repeat to be more efficient every time we use it.”
As Left Right Labs has added more service offerings for their clients, Teamwork Project has helped them gain clarity about which phases of the project are most cost effective, and which still need additional attention to be better revenue producers. Now that they know precisely which phases demand more resources, they price accordingly. And that means more money in the bank.
“Since we started using Teamwork, we’ve seen a huge shift in how we value our time and our skills. We’ve adjusted our workflows, our agency rates, and we have a much better handle on where our time goes throughout the week. We know what we bring to the table, and that has meant more revenue, month after month.”