How Upside Foundation executive director Jen Couldrey automated business growth

With any venture, the leader will walk a lonely road (at least to start). When you can’t afford more people or it’s not the right call, let process be your ally, colleague, and efficiency booster

Time prioritization

As a team of one, Couldrey felt the weight of “doing it all” and realized she needed to better prioritize her time. One of the Upside Foundation’s best sales channels is going to events, so Couldrey found herself at over 50 events in one year, talking to founders and funders.

But the problem was that not every event was worthwhile. One useless event cost anywhere from 3 hours to 2 days when you factor in commuting + event time.

the upside foundation focused on business growth

To combat this, Couldrey set up the core principles of events she would attend. The principles are based on which types of events she had success finding new Upside members or meeting other business growth goals.

Prior to attending events, she sets a specific goal based on the type of event it is and how it may align with Upside’s goals. After attending events, she does the following analysis to see if they are worth attending:

  • Was it fun?
  • Was it interesting?
  • Did I cement important relationships?
  • Did I achieve the specific goal I had for the event?
  • Did I get visibility the organization?
  • Was this an event that should have been great, but wasn’t? If so, why?
  • Was it worth it, overall?

After doing this for as many events from the past as possible and adding new events every time, Couldrey was able to create her “Event Manifesto”. This document outlines the type of events – or specific recurring events – that make the best use of her time.

It’s a living document, but she outlined the kinds of events that are best-aligned with Upside’s goals. If an upcoming event doesn’t meet at least one or two of the criteria, she now passes on it.

“The goal is that I will go to way fewer events–and only the ones that have a high likelihood of being valuable,” she said.

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