Scrappy Startup Advice on Business & Brews

Cover navy background with HOH Military Spouse Professional Network (MSPN) logo host Debbra Hooks photo and Boulo's Founder & CEO, Delphine Carter's photo for their discussion and news blog

Watch for some scrappy startup advice on the FIRST episode of Business & Brews. Hosted by Immediate’s Matt Pierce, founder and CEO of Boulo Solutions, Delphine Carter shares her best startup advice, lessons learned along the way, and the problem she is trying to solve. Or browse below if you’d rather, transcript arranged for reading ease.

Little Professor Shout Out

Matt Pierce: Hey everybody, Matt Pierce here with Business and Brews Birmingham. We’re excited to be at Little Professor in Homewood with Delphine Carter, CEO and Founder from Boulo Solutions.

Delphine Carter: We’re in Little Professor Bookstore, so it’s real live books that you can touch and feel and read through and figure out what your next hot pick is. And then they’ve got the best coffee. So there’s a chai latte, not what I’m drinking right now, their ice drip is really good, but the chai is amazing.

So Why Are We Here?

Matt Pierce: Really looking forward to this conversation today. Let’s get kicked off.

Delphine Carter: So what do I do? I started Boulo Solutions to help women stay in and return to the workforce by matching them with flexible job opportunities. And so that’s what I do.

The Driving Force

Matt Pierce: What exactly drove you to start this business?

Delphine Carter: You know it’s like all businesses. Half of it is trying to solve a personal thing, and then seeing something in your community and knowing I have an answer. I’ve got to be able to solve this.

And so I saw all these, we call them “carpool geniuses,” all these amazing women who had this brainpower, but they couldn’t find a way to get back into work or stay in work while they were being moms and caregiving. And so I thought, we can solve this. We’re going to find innovative companies that are really appreciative of what a woman can bring to the table, and we’re going to get them jobs.

Scrappy Startup Story

Matt Pierce: This is my favorite question. I love asking this. Tell me your scrappiest startup story.

Delphine Carter: Every day for your startup is pretty dang scrappy, like scaling it and trying to adapt. Probably the scrappiest was that I was in the middle of moving the entire house by myself, and I had to do a pitch for one of my biggest fundraising opportunities. And so I was sitting there, disaster, trying to clean myself up, boxes all around me and trying to look super professional and like I was the person you wanted to invest in.

But I bet every one of my team members has got an incredible scrappy story of where we just had to get something done, and we did everything possible to get there.

Be BOLD, Hire Fast

Matt Pierce: So, give us the best startup advice you’ve ever received.

Delphine Carter: Be bold, and hire fast. And so the be bold part was: ask people for favors. I think that was the toughest thing for me was to just go to my network and say, “Will you do this? Just do this for me!” Will you talk to me, will you introduce me, whatever. Just ask and be bold, that’s probably the best one.

The second one is to hire fast and know when you need an expert. Get them on the team so you can execute quickly. To me, it’s the scariest thing. You’re about to put cash out on something that you know you could kind of do, but you have to say no. I have got to pay the dollars for it, because then we’ll get this far, instead of this far. But it’s scary.

More Scrappy Startup Advice: Be the Orchestra Master

Matt Pierce: It’s also like taking the ball out of your hands. That’s an exercise in humility. It’s also an exercise in trust and empowerment.

Delphine Carter: You’re basically just the orchestra master, just sitting there trying to get the entire concert to play in sync. But you’ve got to have the violinist. You can’t be the violinist and play the drums and all of the other instruments. But you’re right. It’s saying, I know cash is king. But I also believe in this person, and I know they can take us to the next level. It’s scary, but it’s the right thing to do.

Excitement for Women Returning to Work

So what I’m most excited about is women finding the childcare solution they need and getting back to fulfilling a side of themselves that is really important to them being a whole person. So I’m ready to watch Moms be able to get back, feel confident about where their kids are, and just grow.

Final Thoughts

Matt Pierce: Little Professor, thank you so much for hosting us. Delphine, any final thoughts?

Delphine Carter: Let’s just grow community! Like you reaching out to me. We’ve got a great little ecosystem here of helping small businesses and helping growing companies. So I love that you’re doing this. I love that you’re bringing people together.


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