ClickUp Case Study with Five Star Commerce

McKay Salisbury
McKay Salisbury<
If you’re in client services, you know the importance of the billable hour. What if a project management software could improve that billable time?

Impossible, right? Not when you use ClickUp to streamline your workflows, providing your team with more time to actually do the work that counts for your bottom line.

McKay Salisbury(Founder/CEO) of Five Star Commerce can attest to what ClickUp can do. Even as CEO, he is the project manager for many clients and consults with dozens of brands every week on how to succeed on the Amazon platform. He also builds the processes and structure in ClickUp to help his team work together.

“Because we use ClickUp so seamlessly, a project manager can handle 20+ clients. Now some of that is because those clients had more worked involved, but I would guess that 60% of that difference is just due to better processes and the use of ClickUp!” he says.

Five Star Commerce is a marketing firm that specializes in the Amazon platform to help grow sales for physical products and brands. Five Star specializes in hourly contracts for customized engagements that give clients more time and attention.

This relentless pursuit of quality has given them a 100% approval rating on Upwork. And because of ClickUp and an efficient business model, Five Star can afford to bring on more clients, and pay their employees more than competitors.

“We can charge more than our competitors, which is due to multiple factors, but a lot of that is because ClickUp lets us produce more value/hour than our competitors and it helps us deliver consistently for every one of our clients,” McKay noted.

McKay agreed to answer a few questions for us about how ClickUp works in his business and how it compares to other projects management tools he has used in the past.
Why did you start looking for project management software? What prompted your intial search?
I was starting my business, which at this time was just me freelancing on the side, and I needed a way to track all my tasks and all my different clients so nothing fell through. I knew I wanted to start with the right software tool from the very beginning so I would never have to switch as I expanded and added more people.

I wanted to use something that had recurring tasks and an accessible interface that looked pretty (hey, I’m in there a lot, it makes a difference). I also needed a solution with a list view, great apps for all devices, sensical organization, excellent notification options, and fast load times— not to mention a free plan for the beginning stages of my business.
What were the major pain points of your productivity tools / project management software before using ClickUp?
Before ClickUp, I actually had a job training companies to use a different project management software (Teamwork Projects) in their businesses.

In that job, I saw a lot of the issues companies were having, such as project managers not knowing the status of their team's tasks, service firms not knowing how they were spending their time, and tasks slipping through the cracks. I also learned how difficult it can be to switch tools and get a team to start using a new software tool effectively.

Teamwork eventually became a jumble of different features. Since they didn’t start off with the end in mind, as they added new features, it became disorganized and hard to navigate. It was also very slow and they drastically raised their prices; their free plan was way too limited, even for when I was the only person in the company.

At a different marketing firm I worked at, we used Trello, which I now cannot stand. It was not a good fit for our type of company at all. It didn’t have recurring tasks and the board view, for me, is not a good way to sort high volumes of tasks. It made it very difficult for an employee to see exactly what they had to get done each day and lots of tasks would slip through the cracks.

What did you think of ClickUp once you got going? Anything about the onboarding or other aspects that stuck out to you?
Using ClickUp was great. The hierarchy made a lot of sense and it’s been pretty easy to train new employees to use it effectively.

“I learned when I was helping other companies adapt new software that it’s very important leadership to ensure the team adopts the software 100%. I made sure that I used ClickUp in every part of our business.”

If an employee would tell me something in person, I’d say, “Thanks for telling me, put that in ClickUp as well.” I also made sure that I put every task into ClickUp. I think because I did that, the team used the tool effectively and they all love it.

I made sure that every new employee learned exactly how we used ClickUp, adopted it 100% and kept it updated from day one.

What do you love about ClickUp and why?
I love it because it keeps everything so organized and easy to manage. At my old job, a project manager could typically handle 3 or 4 clients. Because we use ClickUp so seamlessly, a project manager can handle 20+ clients. Now, some of that is because those clients had more work involved, but I would guess that 60% of that difference is just due to better processes and the use of ClickUp!
Anything about ClickUp you were surprised to find?
Their team is constantly coming out with new updates. I really like the weekly emails where they show off their new features. Every time I get that email I look through it and brainstorm on how we could use the new features in our team. I’m also really surprised how useful assigning comments has been. Tagging a person ensured they got a notification, but assigning the comment helps it show up in your list feed so you don’t forget to actually take the action described in the comment.

What We Learned from Five Star Commerce

By organizing their accounts into individual Spaces and utilizing Projects to separate clients, 5 Star Commerce has created a dependable structure that makes it easy to find and delegate action items. Additionally, the team's use of custom statuses and priorities enables them to highlight the urgency and progress of tasks so they're done on time.

Five Star Commerce utilizes many of the amazing features of ClickUp. Here’s what you can learn:
Automate your repeat processes with recurring tasks:
Five Star uses a great hierarchy structure, with Projects for each client, and Lists denoting the different responsibilities/services they provide:
hierarchy structure
They use a mix of custom and simple statuses depending on the Space:
Custom and simple statuses
Simple statuses
Task priorities are used to indicate task urgency:
Task priorites

Favorite Features

The screenshot tool makes it super easy to create easy markups (circles around) on your screenshots and send them to people. I also love being able to quickly attach my emails to tasks from within Chrome
I didn't expect to use this but it's actually very useful. Often the comments may get bogged down with information so assigning comments helps you make sure all action items get completed. It's also great for when you want someone else to review your work, without reassigning the task or creating a subtask
A lot of our work involves recurring tasks and management of advertising accounts; recurring tasks in ClickUp are very robust. They make it very customizable so I can plan out how to approach anything for our projects that needs to be checked and managed continually.
The notifications are very customizable and help one project manager constantly know everything that is happening in their project without having to ask their team.
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