Growing a Business: Flexible Jobs for Women with Delphine Carter
Laura: Welcome to the Know Grow and Scale podcast, where I, Laura Johns, founder and CEO of the business growers interview business leaders to uncover secrets of how to know, grow, and scale your business effectively. Let’s get started with Delphine Carter on today’s episode. Delphine, thank you for being on the No Gross Scale podcast. I really appreciate you being here. I’m so excited to talk about your story and Boulo and all the great things you are doing. For our listening audience, will you please introduce yourself and give us your title and a little bit of your background?
Delphine: Yeah, so my name’s Delphine Carter. I am the CEO and founder of Boulo. We were just talking about how titles, I think when you’re in a startup, Don’t matter. You’ve probably got a thousand of ’em. And then add in being a parent. Right. So I’ve probably got a few more that my kids have called me. Right. Um, but I’m a CEO and founder of Boulo. I started Boulo in 2019. Um, after, um, a career in product management and technology and really a non-linear career, like so many women of doing sales and marketing and customer success and just trying out new things and then accidentally ending up in my dream job.
Laura: I call myself an accidental entrepreneur too because, you know, it happens sometimes. Uh, entrepreneurship happens to us. We don’t necessarily plan for it. So talk a little bit about that. You went from corporate, the corporate world. into this and somewhat fell into it. So what, what did that professional journey look like specifically for you in terms of making that transition? Yeah,
Delphine: I was actually just talking with a group about that transition and how fear-based it was. How it’s, you know, you go from a a solid career, you’ve got a great salary and all the fluff that comes with a company and then all of a sudden a problem presents itself that you’re like, I really wanna solve this. Like, I think this needs to be fixed. And I’ve got, the problem that I saw was so many women who either were. Running themselves ragged at trying to be great mothers and great employees. And then the others who had stepped out because they felt like they were doing half of everything. Yeah. And could never find their way back in. And so that was very frustrating to watch people feel unfulfilled. And I just thought there was a lot more opportunity out there for businesses to access these women. So, I also thought about my daughter and wanting to be sure she didn’t struggle with the same things. Probably you and I and generations before us have struggled, like, why can’t we try and change it? Let’s just give it a shot. Right, right. And so I had fears over, you know, financial insecurity. I was a single mom, become a single mom, and I decided that. I would just try one little thing at a time, just start testing it with Excel spreadsheets and talking with peers. And then as traction was growing, I would wake up every morning at 4:00 AM and my brain would not stop. Thinking about it, and I felt like it was partially for me, a spiritual jour journey. I think we all have a voice if it’s meditation or if it’s, you know, a religion, a spiritual journey that says you’re kind of supposed to do this. And so one day I was like, I’m never gonna get any sleep. I’m just gonna try it and close my eyes and just like, hang on.
Laura: Did you, was it that day that you woke up and you were like, I’m jumping ship, or what? Because I know in my case you kind of a similar experience where it, the nagging would not stop. And so, but I’m too much of a, I wasn’t a single mom, but I was, you know, my income was essential for the function of our family. So I was like, quitting my job is not an option. And I had to figure out what that plan looked like. So did you have to balance that? Because that’s another thing that you know, a lot of times, I think women are too scared to either make a change or they make a change and sacrifice everything because that actual physical transition is so challenging. So what did you do?
Delphine: That was probably, and I wonder if you feel the, well, the way I tackled it is I got a contract job that was part-time to where I would do product work for another company while I worked on Boulo. And that was probably the most ragged I’ve ever. Trying to then have two jobs and a mother. And there’s millions in America that have two jobs and are doing that. And I have so much sympathy for them. That’s their every day forever. Right, right, right. Um, and that was a very tough time period for me, but it’s what I needed to do to feel safe.
Laura: Yeah. So during that time, how old were your kids and, and did that factor into. The craziness, the ragged.
Delphine: Mm-hmm. Yeah. The craziness of it. You know, I always thought that the baby stages were the most intense, and I think it just shifts. Then you become an Uber driver or you become a carpool, whatever it is. So mine were six and nine at the time. A daughter and then an older boy, both into sports extracurricular activities and. Yeah, so, so pretty reg, not as hands-on as the mom, but just, it shifts into a different, a different way of being hands-on, I think.
Laura: Right. So the idea of Boulo came to you, what were your first steps stepping out to create what you’ve created now? And I wanna talk about what it looks like now in just a minute, but what were the first steps? How did you, you said spreadsheets everywhere. Spreadsheets a blazing, which I understand that so, What did those first few steps look like? How did you hire, when did you hire?
Delphine: Yeah. It’s tough when you’re trying to balance two jobs cuz you can’t go out and put all over your LinkedIn and Instagram and say, I’m becoming this. When you’re still kind of in this old, when you, when you have boss-
Delphine: When you’ve got boss. It’s so well said. Yeah. When somebody else is Anyway, and so I would talk to, I, I just set up some Survey Monkey form. and reached out to women in my community on Facebook and was like, Hey, I, I think this is interesting. I was wondering how many people would be interested, and I only started with part-time jobs. How many of you would be interested in part-time jobs and what do those jobs need to look like? And so I asked a few questions along the journey there. And then I had a community of businesses that I knew from. Work and just being involved in my community. And I asked them, if I brought to you a mom average 10 years of work experience, who was great at marketing, sales, customer support, all these things, what do you think? Would you wanna interview her? And consistently it was Yes. Yes. And whenever I said that working mother, you can see like this light in their eyes. They could picture they pictured somebody who was that multitasking, get it done person.
Laura: Mm-hmm. So, are, are the, the women that you source to employers, are they, their skillsets vary? Is that correct? So do they fit in? I’m sure they, there’s a wide variety. So how would somebody, I, I feel like I’m jumping a little bit ahead, but I wanna understand the process that someone would go through and how you kind of worked that out. Is that a software? Is that, you know, how, how does that work when someone contacts you? Delphine: Yeah, so it was, it was really the onboarding process that we have women go through and we just released our new version actually. And so first off, we need to see what do you want, what does Laura need to feel successful? Is it part-time, full-time, hybrid, remote, or just culturally? , we have a lot of recovering attorneys that don’t wanna be attorneys, and so it’s what do you want to be? What is a skill that you’re trying to grow and would like to find a role in? And so the concentrations for us on the skills are marketing, administrative support, customer success, sales, project management, and financial services. I say that.
Laura: Financial services. Okay. Wow. Yeah. That kind of covers the gamut though, of what a business owner might be looking for. I would say that’s right. Delphine: Yeah. And 57% of our women are working a full-time job, want a full-time job, need that like you and me need that for their families’, health and success. And they just need a little bit of cultural flexibility.
Laura: Right, right. That’s wonderful. And you know, I think that’s just such a testimony of. You know, for women that you don’t have to be stuck in. You know, I know that some circumstances require you to be in, in scenarios that we don’t. Not every scenario is ideal, but there are options and you don’t have to be stuck in a. An environment that you don’t love or a, a work, you know, have that work, work-life balance struggle that we, we struggle with no matter what. So I think that’s, that’s such a, a great solution for them.
Delphine: There’s a study that they did out of Harvard. It was based on the s a t. They asked women and men who had the exact same education to fill out the s a t. And if you tried a question, you would get extra. Women consistently left questions unanswered if they weren’t a hundred percent confident about them when they removed the point system, and any scoring, the women answered every question. Hmm. And so I think it’s important for us to think through our perceived penalties for leaving a bad situation and really think through what those risks are, normalize them. And then just take a chance, which is what you did, what I did, and what many women do on their journey to finding what they’re really meant to be doing.
Laura: So I’m sure you’ve gotten a number of different success stories that you can tell. Do you have, and you may not be able to share details, but do you have a specific success story since you’ve been working with all these amazing women that you could share? You know, one particular placement that you think, man, this was just the best fit. Anything like that that you’d like to share?
Delphine: I mean, there’s one woman specifically who started crying because she had been looking for a job for about three years. Her family needed the income. She had like cobbled things together, but what was more important to her? It was not only the income, it was that somebody believed in her to give her the job, and that’s heartbreaking and that’s a positive thing, but it’s also makes you wanna fight so much harder for all these other women. The ones that really, we are so happy when we see somebody come through as women who are recently divorced. They may not have worked for a long time. They’re in a very scared place and just starting to kind of get themselves organized and going, and when they get a job, it’s. It’s re It’s beautiful. Truly beautiful.
Laura: I bet. Oh, that’s so great. So what about your business? What kind of growth has your business seen? Remind me the year that you founded the business.
Delphine: We start the whole Excel spreadsheet Day start in 2018. We really officially launched in 2019. Okay. And so since then we’ve had 173% revenue growth. So we reached 2.4 million in 2022 in revenue. We’ve got 12,000, over 12,000 members. and all of that is to show that there’s some amazing women out there and the businesses have recognized their value.
Laura: So if someone is looking to, let’s just say, I think that we, I know we have a lot of entrepreneurial listeners. I have another podcast that is specifically for working moms. So I’ve, I hope that some of those listeners bleed over into this podcast. But if someone is in that place where they’re either recently divorced or getting recently, you know, Maybe empty nester or I’ve gotten their kids raised, you know, where would they start with you and how would they, what would be a step for them and, and what does that process look like? I’m sure you do some vetting out. Um, in order to get in your, in your system, what would that look like?
Delphine: Yeah, so the onboarding process is about 15 to 20 minutes. You will start picking out the skills that where you feel like you shine, you put in some of your work experience. We are trying to make it so that you don’t feel like you have to have a resume. Ready to go. So there’s questions that kind of give the framework of the information that we need, and all of that information comes together and creates a 360 degree profile. It basically is a starter resume that you can download yourself and use elsewhere, or it’s what our system will use to help match you with a job. So the original commitment’s about 15 to 20 minutes, and we kind of guide you through what you need to put in. And then after that, the minute you come up with a match, we’ll reach out to you, make sure it’s the right fit for what you want to be doing, and continue process from there. We always encourage people to go to our website, Boulo solutions.com, to either look at the job board because it’s public, but we also have jobs that. We are keeping off the job board for privacy reasons or whatever, but to join the platform and to get on the platform, you can go to the talent page on solutions.com and start the process. And you can start it like you and I, I may not have 20 minutes all in a chunk, so I can do 10 minutes here or five minutes here and then get it done, and you end up on a dashboard where you can see what you’ve created.
Laura: Okay, so, and if I’m an employer, I just go fill out my, I, I can look for candidates that way, and I would have to fill it out on my side Yeah. As well. Is that right?
Delphine: If you’re an employer right now, you’ll fill out the form and provide us the job description, and then we’ll reach out to you. Okay? But we have big changes in June. We will launch a new lighter touch service to where the businesses can post their company profile and jobs that they have open and then be able to get matched and find people on their own without us. And that’s a more approachable price point. I know the economy’s tough for some people. Some I think a little bit perceived tough and yes, some of it actually tough. Yeah. And so, as you know with running a business, we’ve had people that are just a little. Fearful right now to take on additional costs, and so this will be a great value for them. Have you seen that in your business? I was, yeah.
Laura: I was about to say. I have a bit because I work in tech startups. I think that the technology part of it, you know, a lot of times technology is giving people better accessibility and the better, you know, a, a, a, an ability to. Do more with less. And so most of my clients are enabling their customers and their clients to do more with less. So in, in a lot of ways I’m not seeing that, but also in the startup funding realm and some of that, I am seeing it and I, I am seeing, uh, some customers that are strapped and it’s a little for me, you know, hiring. I will say I’ve, I’ve thought, okay, for the rest of 23, cuz I’ve been hiring pretty steadily. And it concerns me because the last thing I wanna do is let somebody go or have to, to lighten, you know, our headcount. And so I’m really trying to be cautious and careful of, I don’t wanna exhaust my team and max them out, but I also don’t wanna hire if there’s more to come. So what are you seeing? What’s the, what’s the consensus?
Delphine: We’re seeing people who start off being hesitant and then they realize, no, I really need somebody. But you made a huge. If you start taxing your team, there are still so many jobs open out there that it’s very easy for them to jump ship, right. And find somewhere that maybe has less burnout opportunity, right? Or less of a workload. And so it’s really hitting that to balance what we started. Doing is sharing more about why don’t, would you consider hiring somebody part-time? Would you consider hiring somebody on a contract or temp basis? And then hire them on permanently when you feel more confident that you’ve anchored a contract you needed. Uh, and so it’s building your team out in a more non-traditional way.
Laura: That’s perfect. I really feel like you’re gonna be my next call when I get ready to hire , because, you know, that’s really, uh, as a business owner, it’s really, you know, I think a, a very easy and seamless way. I do hire a lot of women. I can’t say that it’s been a hundred percent intentional. Maybe it has, I don’t know. But I’ve hired, uh, a lot of really hardworking women and I think that. Is what I want to continue to do. And so I really feel like this is a perfect solution for those, for those, like you said, until you get a contract solidified or until you really, uh, build up enough revenue to support that full-time hire.
Delphine: Yeah. Maybe you and I can do a mob deal. I’ll get your growth services. I love it. With every tech company service.
Laura: Look, I can’t say that I don’t have that with a hair stylist and a dermatologist, , you know, , I make sure I utilize all the, the trade resources I can. That’s it.
Delphine: That Fraxel was just, that’s right. One email series away.
Laura: That’s right, that’s right. So if someone were looking to get started, you mentioned the website below solutions.com. Are you on social media? There’s other ways that people can connect it or is just the website the best way to go?
Delphine: Really we’ll answer anyway that you reach out to us. But really, so for our, a lot of our B2C. Is on Instagram so you can message us there. We also have our Contact Us page. We launched a new community, so it’s the mom professional community. We’ve already got a hundred members who have joined and it’s really a space for women to kvetch about what’s going on, being a working mom to more empower as well, give each other resources and just feel maybe not quite so isolated in the journey of being a working mom. And then businesses can reach out to us from on LinkedIn, of course, and then our website.
Laura: Wonderful. Well, Delphine, you are a joy, a pleasure to have. I can’t wait to get to know you better and, and hire one of your ladies. And, and I really, um, am proud to see what you’re doing. I think it’s making a huge impact and I’m thankful for you and for your, the impact that you’re making. Um, in the lives of women and business owners. So thank you.
Delphine: Thank you. Thanks for shining light on all of us.
Laura: Of course. Make sure to like and subscribe so you’ll be notified of new episodes. And to learn more about the Business Growers visit our website at www.thebusinessgrowers.com.
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