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Having the Courage to Take that First Step

Boulo is an idea born to create opportunities for return-to-work moms and help working moms (and all caregivers) remain in the workforce. Before Boulo became a reality, Founder & CEO Delphine Carter had to take a courageous step to leap out of her comfort zone, quit her job, and launch a new business.

With host Kerri Mccauley and Delphine Carter, this episode of Choose Unstoppable discusses how we often disqualify ourselves from achieving a goal before we even begin. This concept applies to those launching a new business, return-to-work moms, those seeking to change their work situation, and many other cases.

The discussion walks through Delphine’s inspirational story. She shares how she tested her idea before committing to it. If you are passionate about a dream, take the first step. Dare to believe that you will do whatever it takes to figure it out. It takes courage to transform yourself, grow, and learn.

Don’t take yourself out of the game. You’re not qualified to answer on behalf of your future self!

Choose Unstoppable: How She Generated Over $1MM Helping Women Return to the Workforce


Kerri Macaulay: The question is this, what is it that has some of us find our way to the top of our game, to overcome adversity and challenges, resistance and self-sabotage to rise from the ashes time and time again? What is it that causes everyday people just like you and me to act boldly in the name of their passions and live out their wildest dreams in this lifetime? That is the question. And this podcast has the answers. My name is Kerri Macaulay, and this is Choose Unstoppable.

Today my friends, we are here with Delphine Carter. I can’t wait to share her story with you.

She’s the founder and CEO of Boulo Solutions, a career matching service that helps women stay in or return to the workforce. I think it’s so beautiful. I can’t wait to hear how that came to be.

The company has also helped over 1000 women and has generated over a million in revenue. I can’t wait to hear all your wisdom on how to create a business like this.

But I’d love it if I could ask you to take us pre-business. What was your life like? Was this like a lifelong dream of yours? How did this all come to be? Who were you before Boulo Solutions?

Fear of Leaving the Workforce

Delphine Carter: I’ve always focused on my career. I came to a stage where I had kids, wonderful kids. But by the time the second came around, I realized that I felt like I was going crazy.

I could not leave work because I was so fearful that it would be a massive challenge to get back in if I stepped away from work. When women go on maternity leave, I had read that they start to lose their confidence and their ability to return to work 11 months after birth.

Kerri Macaulay: I’ve never heard that stat before, but I have experienced it myself. I know so many others who also questioned their value, even though they were completely confident when in the workforce.

Were you scared or doubtful to start Boulo?

Courage to Chase a Dream

Delphine Carter: I was petrified. Because, again, my biggest fear is leaving my career. Could I get back in? So, I was hitting my fear head-on.

Courage to Chase a Dream Go Forward Graphic

Second, we were revenue-generating but nowhere near profitable. We knew that there was a demand for these women. And we knew that the women wanted to get back to work. We also would get emails about the women we placed succeeding. We just knew this was a good thing for everybody.

Finally, what gave me the most peace was knowing I had to decide. I had built a career, and so I had a brand in my community. If it didn’t work out, yes, I would have lost some money. But I would have chased a dream that I really wanted.

I knew that I had built a brand for myself. It was having trust and confidence in myself, killing all that self-doubt, and saying, “Go do this. You will be okay on the other side.”

Kerri Macaulay: The reason why we started this podcast was for these kinds of stories like you’re sharing right now so that we can begin to shine a light.
We’re all just figuring it out. We all doubt ourselves and hit these bumps in the road, and are petrified. But we still go after our dreams and figure it out.

You Are Not Qualified to Disqualify Yourself

Delphine Carter: My son just came back from this amazing camp. He kept a journal as part of the camp experience. He and I went through his journal together.

One of the things they learned was, “You are not qualified to disqualify yourself.” As I read that, I thought, “Oh my gosh, they’re teaching you this as a kid! I wish I had this throughout my career.”

There’s a lot of women that come to us that have already disqualified themselves. But you don’t know enough about what’s out there and how valuable you are to disqualify yourself!

Kerri Macaulay: Agreed! Tell me a bit about starting Boulo.

Test Before You Commit

Delphine Carter: We started by testing it. If anybody has a great idea, the only way you’re going to find out whether it’s worth contributing 100% of who you are into it is by testing it.

I went to my network of businesses and said, “I’ve got this theory. I bet you’ve got jobs that need filling. There’s no risk to you. Let me try this, and then if I find you someone, you pay us a percent, and we all go off happy.”

Then I would go into my community and have these coffees with women right after carpool. It was “come as you are, we want the yoga pants.” Then sign up! Give us your information; it’s free for you too.

We started slowly putting people together from Excel spreadsheets and online forums like Survey Monkey. At some point, it became unwieldy, and we realized we needed to put real technology and real processes in place.
We finally got to that phase. That’s when I knew it was getting bigger than anybody can do part-time, or even less than part-time, since I was still working full time. It just began flowing.

Kerri Macaulay: I’m so inspired. I’m so proud that this exists. I didn’t know that anyone was doing this before. It used to be that women (who left the workforce) were entirely wasted as a resource.

Now we’ve staked our claim, and we’re going ahead to bring moms back into (and help them remain) in the workforce. But there’s a long way to go to have a workforce designed for women and their strengths.

test for testing an idea

Flexibility for All (or it’s a Women’s War)

Are there ever flexibilities with the jobs that you place people in?

Delphine Carter: We only work with businesses that offer flexibility. The role either has flexibility in hours, location, or culture. In a flexible culture, the company measures me on whether or not I accomplished my goals versus was my butt in the seat at the office.

We must hold businesses accountable when offering flexibility. It should be written down and clear. A big thing that I want to emphasize is that if you are a business owner, you have got to offer those same accommodations to the men.

If the men can’t leave to take the children to the dentist, and everybody thinks that’s totally normal, women will never be able to have that equal footing.

We work with companies that appreciate caretakers in general.

Kerri Macaulay: That’s an incredible way to view it. It must be an equal platform, or it’s always going to be a women’s war. It will always be segregated if we’re not all playing by the same rules.

Delphine Carter: The younger generation is going to force this issue. The younger males want to spend more time with their children than their fathers did. And so slowly, the demand is going to start coming together.

We’ve got to figure something out. There is no developed country where it is as hard to be a caretaker as the US.

Tough Day? Take One Step Toward Your Dream

taking a step forward

Kerri Macaulay: I agree with that. And it takes a toll on so many areas of life, not just inside the family and not just inside the workforce, but overall mental health. It’s how we raise communities; it impacts so much.

I’m so grateful that you had this great insight and then found yourself in a position to say this is going to be my legacy. That takes real courage.

Delphine Carter: If the messiness (divorce) hadn’t happened, I don’t know if I would be here today. I was so comfortable before that I think I would have just stayed comfortable. But something bad happened.

I figured out this is what I need to do to be fulfilled. There are still tough days. One day you’re at the top of the mountain, then suddenly, the rocks start crumbling underneath you. Okay, it’s still not easy, but it’s so fulfilling.

Start heading towards your dreams. It’s literally taking one step forward. Whether you’re in a great or tenuous place, take one step forward in some direction. Make a choice.

That’s when you start seeing a difference.

Finding Light in Darkness

Light in Darkness to move forward

Kerri Macaulay: Often, the darkness in those moments makes us feel as if there will be no more light. But, that thing that was your darkness is actually necessary. It was an essential piece to your story.

The number of women’s lives you’ve impacted, over 1000s of women, would never have been touched otherwise.

Delphine Carter: It’s also surrounding yourself in those moments with people who care about you and encourage you to push through it. Some people who care about you may want to keep you so safe so that you don’t get hurt anymore. But that attitude can leave you in a very stagnant place.

So, meet people who have taken a step forward during a rough patch. Or do yoga, or whatever it is for you that helps you get deeper into your mind.

Figure out what your path is and pursue that. It could be a great friend, a mentor, or a spiritual experience that helps move you. It could even be an activity. Whatever it is, pursue it to get to the answer you need to move forward.

Kerri Macaulay, the Choose Unstoppable podcast series host, focuses on how ordinary individuals find the courage to act boldly in the name of their passions and achieve their most valued goals. The podcast features guests’ insights and tips on dealing with adversity, obstacles, resistance, and self-sabotage.