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Client Story: How Wingspan Integrated Marketing Scaled Their Intake of New Business and Got One Step Ahead of the Work Using Our ClickUp System

Jakub "Kuba" Grajcar is the Content Marketing Manager at ZenPilot. His obsessions include interviewing smart people; productivity methods; project management; and playing bass in a progressive metal band.

"We didn't have the next step always in place. We only had what was in front of us.

And in life, that's great. You have to handle whatever's in front of you.

But when you are a marketing agency, you always have to be one step ahead."


Can you imagine being in an Operations role at an agency of 20... 

...with 300 clients in your system, and more on the way?

How do you handle all of that workload? How do you react when inevitably, timelines shift around and unexpected changes happen?

That's the situation Emily Turi, Operations Specialist at Wingspan Integrated Marketing, was facing.

I spoke with Emily to ask her how she handled it, focusing on two aspects:


  1. Emily's unique skills and approach that helped her achieve high operational efficiency;
  2. How ZenPilot helped Wingspan set up repeatable processes in ClickUp and dramatically scale how much business they could take in.


It was honestly an energizing conversation. Emily's joyful personality—and, admittedly, the nice things she had to say about ZenPilot—had me grinning from ear to ear!

I recommend you watch the full conversation here (it includes Emily's #1 tip for better operations, which is not included in this article):


For a written summary, keep reading.


Quick summary

Here's a quick rundown of Wingspan's work with ZenPilot.


Wingspan's challenges:

  • Client base growing rapidly without sufficient processes to handle the workload
  • Limited flexibility to handle unexpected changes and shifting timelines
  • Always in the midst of daily work, making it difficult to plan ahead effectively


Solutions provided by ZenPilot:

  • Training the Wingspan team on ClickUp best practices and optimal habits following the ZenPilot system
  • Setting up repeatable processes and templates in ClickUp
  • Implementing the right dashboards and views to visualize capacity and upcoming tasks
  • Training on and supporting the implementation of time tracking to collect data on client delivery efforts
  • Dedicated coaching and support, including weekly meetings to review progress and answer questions, personalized guidance, and rapid response to issues



  • Ability to onboard 50+ new client communities with ease
  • Improved efficiency and profitability, able to handle more clients without expanding the team
  • Greater visibility into time spent on clients and projects
  • Clarity for team members with views indicating what they should work on next
  • Calmer, more focused, more zen work environment for the team!


For a more in-depth view of the story, see below.


About Emily and her agency, Wingspan Integrated Marketing

Let's first paint the picture of Emily, her company, and her role.

Wingspan is a marketing agency with a niche in senior living, real estate, restaurants, and more. 

Emily first found her job at Wingspan out in the wild.

"I drove by this beautiful white building, saw the name Wingspan on the front, very interested. And I was like, wow, what is this all about?"


And she really loves where she ended up.

"I have trouble calling it just a job because I get to work with really great people and pursue passions that I didn't realize could be put into place in a workplace environment"


During her time at Wingspan, the team grew to 20 people—but their client base scaled much faster. That was part of their initial challenge.

"Our company started very small. Brad Caldwell, our CEO, started by himself, and then with just a couple other people.

And they started doing digital advertising on screens and government facilities around the city.

And suddenly we went from a few digital screens to now having over 200 communities."


Emily started out as an account coordinator.

"My job started as being that liaison between 'what does the client want?' and then moving it through our team to bring out the deliverables and supporting them with what information we can send and receive.

Making sure both our clients were taken care of just personally and then how we can foster and take care of their brand, their company, their service.

And that includes what work we do for them.

So whether that's creative deliverables, digital marketing, advertising, their websites—building from the ground up and then maintaining them—all of that stuff."


Wingspan's challenges

So what made Wingspan realize they needed to spend some time focusing more deliberately on their operations?


Lack of processes

"As much as we wanted to say everything was working smooth sailing and perfect, we realized we were growing faster than our company size.

We went from this small clientele to very quickly growing into, you know, over 200, you know, borderline 300 different clients for all intents and purposes.

What we realized is we did a lot of things the same way or similar ways...

...but putting it into tangible processes where we could say 'this is exactly what we do, and this is the way we do it either every time, and this is how we adjust if that's not working'...

...that didn't really exist for us. "


This prompted a role change for Emily—she became Operations Specialist. Her role became to triage everything coming in from clients, and navigating how the teams handle their work.


Difficulties in responding to project changes, filling in for team members, and onboarding new clients

I asked Emily to share more about the frustrations they were dealing with at Wingspan.

"We had a general flow of, 'Hey, this is how we receive stuff from our clients, our requests, their needs. This is how we are looking at their information. This is what we need to do.'

But everything felt like we're on this train...

We're doing great, we're all on the same car together, it's going great.

But if something would get slightly turned on the track, it was like 'wait'.

It felt jarring, even if it was a little bit and we could correct it right away.

But then something else would be off!

It could be as little as, 'Hey, we never expected this type of change or request from a client mid-project.'

Or 'we never expected these team members to be out this week because of XYZ reason'.

So for lack of a better phrasing, we had no lottery-proof method."


"What's the lottery-proof method?", you might ask.

It's our way of saying that your company processes should be so solid that if one of your team members suddenly wins the lottery—you're happy to congratulate them and let them leave, because their processes, their know-how is all saved in your work system.

Here's our Client Coach Hannah talking about it on our YouTube.


Other issues Emily's team was grappling with included situations like:

  • moving due dates,
  • technical obstacles impacting timelines,
  • sudden influx of clients.


All of it happening while they were in the midst of working on their daily deliverables.

"We would be doing our daily processes, and then suddenly we had 20 communities, 50 communities, 60 communities we would have to onboard, create websites for, create collateral.

And it was like, 'How are we supposed to allocate this? We have to do it, so how do we do it?'"


Emily described it felt like a fire drill, with questions about timelines and allocation and resources flying in all direction. A very hectic atmosphere.


How to increase productivity without scaling the team?

Wingspan's dynamic growth was catching up to the team—but scaling the team was not something they wanted to pursue. They needed efficiency.

"Our clients were growing on a weekly basis, it felt like.

And it's beautiful and it's wonderful.

But we are very intentional about who is in our company. So we're not quick to [say], 'hey, let's just hire a bunch in'.

So if something happens, so whether it's a lottery, people are out or something is coming in that we didn't expect...

...we have to make room for it without being able to expand our building."


This led Emily and her team to think about their project management platform.

"So that's when we [said], it would be great to have a platform that didn't feel like a collection of folders we were assigning to people and saying, 'hey, you do your work and we'll figure this out over a communication channel'.

We wanted a flow."


"We could never get one step ahead of the work"

Another way Emily described the problem is that they were always in the midst of their daily work. Never able to get one step ahead ahead of it to see and plan for what's coming up.

"We didn't have the next step always in place.

We only had what was in front of us.

And in life, that's great.

You have to handle whatever's in front of you.

But when you are a marketing agency, you always have to be one step ahead."


How Wingspan started solving their challenges with ClickUp and ZenPilot

So the challenge was getting ahead of the work, being able to react in a more flexible way to unforeseen changes, getting timelines under control...

And this all leads into how Wingspan started to use ClickUp.


Initial reservations about a new tool

It was the director of Wingspan's web team that initially found ClickUp, and suggested to the rest of the company that it could be the platform for them.

But as much as Emily loves ClickUp now, the first weeks had some anxiety around the change.

"I was a little nervous about the transition, I'll be very honest, because we had been using the same platform software for a long time.

I was a little bit nervous about changing things up, but I was very reassured by our team.

I knew it was gonna be muddy at first, but I was like, the only way that we're gonna do better, be better is to find ourselves in the mess and clean it up."


Finding out what ClickUp can do: "this is game changing"

It didn't take long for Emily to see the power of ClickUp though.

"Probably within, I kid you not, the first couple of weeks before we even connected with a team from ZenPilot for ClickUp, when I was just getting around in it...

I was like, okay, there's something here."


One feature in particular caught Emily's attention.

"The minute I started creating my first template, I thought, oh, this is game changing."

With templates, Wingspan could dramatically scale not just how much they could take on—but how much they could take on with ease, without dropping into "fire drill mode" again.


Take a look at this before-and-after:

"Before, we would be in the middle of doing our daily work and say...

'Hey, we have 12, 16 clients that we need to onboard in the next two, three, four weeks.'

And it would be like, all right, how are we gonna do that?!"


Compared to...

"We just got through a project of onboarding a brand new website of almost 50 communities and we're starting to work on their collateral.

And my heart doesn't race a bit.

It's so even keeled.

And I could not have predicted this is what would come."


What made such a dramatic difference?

"It's not because of we're perfect. It's because finally, there is always a next step.

There is a lottery-proof method to having templates.

[We have] templates that our team can just implement and say, 'hey, we know we can just start'."


Emily specifically stated that templates (and other ClickUp features) made it possible for Wingspan to bring on significantly more business than they would otherwise be able to.

"We didn't have date remapping. Our accounts team was trying to get the information while implementing one thing at a time, one task at a time from our previous platform.

And so if we had the same clients and the same onboarding and the same projects this time last year.

I would have said no, there's no way.

We would love to, our team would love to, but we just can't."


We've found this to be a key outcome across all of our clients: with ClickUp and the ZenPilot System in place, you can simply take in a lot more business, without having to scale the team with new hires. Just like Wingspan did.

All while feeling more zen about the work, despite the fact that more is getting done.


On working with ZenPilot

Obviously ClickUp was a game-changer for Wingspan.

But specifically working with ZenPilot made a huge difference in how the migration went, and its subsequent success.


"I had a fear going into it that I was gonna be doing it on my own"

Emily shared about her worries after the decision to migrate into ClickUp was made—before engaging ZenPilot.

"This was a wonderful opportunity because our company gets really excited about doing more...

But my fear going into this was:

We're gonna try this process platform, hoping that people start feeling zen about what they're doing—and not, 'oh my gosh, we can't handle another thing'.

But then implementing ClickUp whilst our company was still doing the work that they were doing...

I was nervous.

I had a fear going into it that I was gonna be doing it on my own."


"Maggie and Nicole became our true friends"

That's when ZenPilot entered the fray.

"And then our fearless team, Maggie and Nicole came in and they were, I mean...

They were just our coaches—but they became like our true friends.

Always there when you need [them] and saying,

'Even if you don't think you need us, are you sure?'"


With our Client Coaches to support her, Emily found she had someone to lean on during Wingspan's ClickUp transition. That she didn't have to go it alone.

Maggie and Nicole provided dedicated support to Emily throughout Wingspan's ClickUp transition.

They became trusted partners, encouraging Emily to surface issues in their weekly meetings and always being available for follow-up questions.


Emily had been worried that her requests for help would go into "the abyss of customer support".

The exact opposite happened.

She went as far as to say...

"There's that saying that to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

ZenPilot made us feel like we were their only client.

The way we were trained, coached and encouraged by them made us feel like we were their world."


In the end, ZenPilot helped Wingspan achieve a whole new level of operational efficiency.

"We have a saying: we take our clients to new heights.

ZenPilot took us and had us soaring.

We didn't realize how much more we could be capable of.

And everything was personal and tailored to us and to what we needed.

And even to me, they started to pick up on how I operate and how I receive information."


Specific aspects of ClickUp and the ZenPilot System that Emily and Wingspan appreciated

Clearly Emily found a lot of value in the ZenPilot process on many levels, so I prodded a little more to find out the specifics.


"Red light means go"—the power of dependencies

One hugely valuable change was introducing dependencies—finally giving team members clarity on which part of a project is ready to work on vs. the parts that they don't need to be actively thinking about yet.

"For our company the template process was huge.

Inside of the template for the very first time, we had 'red light means go'.

And so that was something we had to adjust to.

I suddenly had messages like 'Where's my red light? Am I ready for it?'"


The red light Emily is referring to is the "blocking" symbol in ClickUp's dependencies feature. There are two common symbols:

  • red for blocking (meaning, you can unblock something by working on this),
  • yellow for waiting (meaning, something else needs to be finished before this can be worked on).

Check out the example below from one of our templates:Screenshot 2024-04-12 at 19.41.27

Tasks with a red symbol (in this case, Identify the Webinar Topic and Content) are especially important precisely because completing them unlocks further tasks and steps in a given workflow.


In Emily's words:

"Whenever it was someone's time to finally work on something, they had this nice red dot that said, 'You are a go. You're blocking the next thing.'

But it's a good thing!

It means you don't have to see 20,000 things on your horizon, or in the next month.

Because before, all our team would see, each individual would see the next month, two months, three months of work they were going to get into.

And they never knew (unless they got a ping) that it was time for them to edit something or time for them to create something.

And so it was a constant game of, 'Are you ready for me? Is this ready? Do I have the information yet?'

Now, our accounts team doesn't even have to trigger our team to start!

And we've created views and dashboards to filter out things that are not ready. So things that are in waiting, meaning it's not ready for them yet.

I helped work with all of them to have dashboards and views that say, hey, these are the things for today and this week that are ready for you now."


All of this really contributes to a feeling of day-to-day zen and relaxed productivity.

"People are saying, 'hey, it says it's not ready for me, so I can keep working on the things that are ready for me'.

[They are] rarely interrupted in the middle of a project, because they have what they need to do for the week.

And then suddenly if something comes up that's ready for them, it pops up on their dashboard, it pops up on their view: 'hey, ready for you to work'.

And there is just that zen comes into play where people feel comfortable knowing that things are ready for them when they are ready for them.

So having templates and having all of the little pieces literally connected, you have all of your dependencies ('this can't start until that happens')—was game changing.

And suddenly, there was also a zen in our culture because it wasn't people shouting, 'hey, we need this, we need this'.

People could finally say, 'hey, I only have to work on things that are ready for me'.

Novel idea, we just didn't realize that simple idea was missing this whole time."

Aside from "red light means go", Emily also appreciated...


Dashboards and time tracking: "We didn't realize we went up 300% in the work we were doing from them!"

Implementing ClickUp and working with ZenPilot helped Emily and Wingspan to start diligently tracking time, drastically increasing visibility into how much time client work is taking, and how the agency is making money.

"Previously we were not taking into account how much time we would be spending on clients both on a daily basis and then just over the month.

We weren't time tracking, to be very honest. Our people, our teams, myself included, were not actually tracking time per client.

And so we were not seeing—our CEO, our President, our Chief Growth Officer, vice president, they were doing the work to foster the communication and grow our business...

...and we weren't able to see, oh my goodness, this is how much time we're spending on this client, this community, this project."


This all changed when Emily's ClickUp setup and the ZenPilot system came in.

"Suddenly it was so easy to hit a little timer on the top of our screen and say, 'alright, this is the task it's gonna apply to' and then start your work on it!

Stop the timer, and you don't have to think about it again."


This helped Emily's team uncover insights about where they were overservicing clients.

"Suddenly we went from 'well, we spend a regular amount of time [on this client, to] 'oh my goodness, we didn't realize we went up 300% in the work we were doing from them!'."


We've often heard that going hard into time tracking can be met with some resistance at first. Emily shared how they got over that hurdle, and how they framed time tracking in a positive way.

"At first it was hard to get used to as it felt like, 'Oh, this is another thing we have to do. We have all this during the day, how are we supposed to keep up with our time?'

And for us (me and the Vice President of Operations), we're like...

This has very little to do with your time in and out of the office or time in and out of remote work (being online).

But more to give you credit for [situations like]: 'this is the very least hours that we're spending on this client, this project on a daily basis.'

And the time wasn't even just for our clients.

What about the time that was spent on the backend doing research to better services for our clients?

What about that time we spent in meetings to find this vendor that is gonna work well for printing for this client and to help our company?

And so we started taking an account and [made] it very easy."


How easy can time tracking get? ClickUp offers a simple solution...


Time tracking and timers helped the team focus

ClickUp's timer for time tracking is not only convenient to clock in and out of tasks—it's a huge focus booster too.

"My favorite thing is the timer.

If you are not in ClickUp yet, there's literally a timer on the top right of your screen right there and it's got a little play button on it.

It allowed us to say, instead of working on six things at once to the best to a 70%... about I put my timer on and while that timer's on, it means I'm working on this one thing."


Using the timer turned out to be the antidote to inefficient multitasking.

"I'm setting that timer, I'm devoting that time to this one thing. So we had very focused time."


In the end, timers and time tracking helped improve both productivity and visibility—including clients' visibility into the effort Wingspan was putting in.

"So there was two wins. One, you could focus your time by setting a timer.

And then we were also seeing, and our clients were seeing how many hours we're putting in to serve them to the best of our ability—and with all the care and purpose and intention we have in the world.

We are finally able to see how that was being distributed across our portfolio of clients."


Emily's advice for navigating the ZenPilot process: "be patient with yourself"

Working with ZenPilot is quite a transformation.

So what did Emily have to share as advice for others embarking on that journey?


"Be patient with yourself.

And know that you are going to have to live in the mess to see it clean up.

It was hard at first because I wanted to see it cleaned up before I saw the mess, but the reality is you don't know what you need until you're in [it]."


Emily shared openly about her emotions throughout the journey:

"The more that I got frustrated, the more I realized I needed ClickUp.

But being patient with yourself... That sounds very simple, but that was my hardest battle.

And I was my own roadblock from the beginning.

I wanted everything ready and in place right away.

I would freeze when I realized how much I could do with ClickUp.

And how much I wanted it to serve my team, taking that all at once and saying, 'great, I just want this all done at once!'

And then getting frustrated with myself for not having it all figured out right away.

Even with migration, I wanted to have all of the answers before I knew what questions they were gonna ask.

And so I feared that—but it helped me learn."


Emily brought up a specific situation where her ambition got the best of her.

"I remember my infamous last words...

Maggie was introducing us to templates and she was like, 'let's get a few templates just to see how they work'.

And I said, 'what if I get all the templates our company needs by next week, by our next meeting?'

And [Maggie said], 'oh, okay'. And she knew [that that wouldn't work], but she wanted me to see that you got to take the intention with every little thing.

And so I was able to say, okay, Emily, you can only do the next thing.

And so whether that means one template at a time, one process at a time, whatever it was.

Be patient with yourself and know you can only take the next step at a time when you are are in it, when you are learning."


Be like Emily and team up with ZenPilot

Using the full power of ClickUp with the help of the ZenPilot System was a revolution for Wingspan in terms of productivity, visibility, and profitability.

They can take on more clients, and serve them better, and know more about where they're spending time, all thanks to the ClickUp platform and the habits our ZenPilot training helped them build.

More importantly though, it's thanks to the effort the Wingspan team themselves put into the process to make the most of it.

Because gold-standard operations doesn't just happen on its own.


You too can embark on a journey just like Emily's, and turn your agency into a well-oiled, systematized, process-driven machine—all while helping your team members be as excited about their work as Emily is.

The first step is to book a call with us.

We're ClickUp's #1 Solutions Partner—we were also their first ever such partner—and we've helped 2,700+ service companies streamline their operations with ClickUp.

Go here to book a call, meet our team, and get a free consultation on your project management issues.


That call is the fastest way to improving your operations...

...but if you're not ready for that yet, we share a lot about the ZenPilot System on our YouTube channel and in our free 56-page ebook, The Ultimate Guide to ClickUp.


Thanks for tuning in to Emily's story. And good luck in making your operations as good as it can be! We're rooting for you.

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