97 episodes

Can you build a business based on… “calm?” On Beyond Margins, host Susan Boles looks beyond the usual metrics of success to help you build a business where calm is the new KPI. With over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, CFO, and COO, Susan shares the business strategies that lead to a business with comfortable margins—financial, emotional, energetic, and scheduling margins. Join her and her guests as they counter the prevailing “wisdom” about business growth, productivity, and success to provide a framework for making choices that align with your values and true goals. Episode by episode, you’ll get a look at the team management, operations, financials, product development, and marketing of a calmer business.

Beyond Margins: Build a calmer business with comfortable margins Susan Boles

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 11 Ratings

Can you build a business based on… “calm?” On Beyond Margins, host Susan Boles looks beyond the usual metrics of success to help you build a business where calm is the new KPI. With over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, CFO, and COO, Susan shares the business strategies that lead to a business with comfortable margins—financial, emotional, energetic, and scheduling margins. Join her and her guests as they counter the prevailing “wisdom” about business growth, productivity, and success to provide a framework for making choices that align with your values and true goals. Episode by episode, you’ll get a look at the team management, operations, financials, product development, and marketing of a calmer business.

    Lazy Training, Fire Drills & Expecting the Unexpected with Layla Pomper

    Lazy Training, Fire Drills & Expecting the Unexpected with Layla Pomper

    What happens when you unexpectedly need to step away from your business's operations? How can you prepare your business not just to survive but to thrive, even when key team members are away?
    In our continuing series on planning for leaves, sabbaticals, and breaks from your business, we’re shifting our focus from the personal side to the backbone of any business: operations.
    Layla Pomper, creator of Process Driven, joins me to delve into the empowering process of building operational resilience in your business. This process not only allows you to take a break more easily but also ensures your business runs more efficiently day to day, putting you firmly in control of your business's future.
    Layla shares a range of practical strategies, tactics, and systems you can implement now. These will not only prepare you for a break but also instill confidence and peace of mind in your business operations.
    Listen to the full episode to hear:
    Why clearly defining each team member’s “what, who, when” is the crucial first step to managing an absenceHow your business model impacts your options for taking leaveHow lazy training gives team members exposure to and familiarity with your processWhy you should be using shorter absences and vacations as fire drills for your systemsSteps business owners can take to remove themselves as bottlenecksHow to build a network that you can lean on during a breakLearn more about Layla Pomper:
    Process DrivenYouTube: @laylapomperConnect on LinkedInLearn more about me, Susan Boles:
    Beyond MarginsConnect on LinkedInWe value your thoughts and feedback. Feel free to share them with Susan here. Your input is not just valuable; it's crucial in shaping future episodes.

    • 37 min
    Planning for Parental Leave with Erica Courdae & India Jackson

    Planning for Parental Leave with Erica Courdae & India Jackson

    How do you step away from your business for a necessary break without losing momentum or compromising your values?
    Deciding to take a leave or sabbatical, and then figuring out the best approach for you, how to maintain client relationships while you're away, or even ensuring you have enough financial security during your break are all complex challenges that many of us face.
    As part of my exploration of breaks, leaves, and sabbaticals and all of the different ways you can plan for them, I’m talking to Erica Courdae and India Jackson, the partners behind Pause on the Play, a resource library, podcast, and consultancy committed to guiding individuals in defining their values, diversifying their networks, and disrupting systems of oppression.
    India has just returned from parental leave after having her first child. Together, she and Erica have navigated the operational and financial complexities of planning for leave, including their decision to shut down the Pause on the Play Community.
    While the context of Erica and India's experience is parental leave, the strategies they employed are universally applicable. Their unique approach to planning and managing their leave can be a practical guide for anyone considering a break from their business.
    Listen to the full episode to hear:
    How a desire for openness, simplicity, and sustainability shaped their conversations about the business even before planning for India’s parental leaveHow Erica and India went about simplifying processes and closing loops with their clients and community leading up to going on leaveHow the business maintained some revenue during leave, and how they planned an on-ramp for India’s return How joy and ease are informing their decision-making as they return to full operationsWhy they have clear containers around what platforms they use to discuss work and personal lifeHow they are building opportunities to connect with their communities as people without always making it about work
    Learn more about Erica Courdae and India Jackson:
    Pause on the PlayInstagram: @pauseontheplay
    Learn more about me, Susan Boles:
    Beyond MarginsConnect on LinkedIn
    Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback with Susan here. Your input is valuable and can help shape future episodes.

    • 45 min
    Navigating Breaks In Business and Life: Inside My Unplanned Hiatus

    Navigating Breaks In Business and Life: Inside My Unplanned Hiatus

    Sometimes, you just need a break. I know I did. What was meant to be a quick breather turned into a transformative journey of two and a half years. The show (and my company) emerged with a new name, a new look, and a new perspective on what truly sustains a business—and a life.
    I say that I took a break from my business. But the reality is that I broke. I realized that I was burnt out to the point where I was physically, psychologically, and emotionally impaired. 
    In this episode, I share the whole story—the behind-the-scenes of what went wrong, what went right, and why I’m back. Today’s episode kicks off a series on, appropriately, taking a break.
    Whether you need a break because of burnout like me, you or someone you love got sick, you're getting ready to have a kid and need to plan for parental leave, or you just want to take a sabbatical to refresh, big breaks are hard to prepare for.
    How do you figure out how to pay yourself (and your team) during a break? What systems and procedures need to be in place to make sure things run smoothly? How do you handle managing and serving your clients while you're away? And, if the break is unexpected and unplanned, what then?
    After all, running a business is a marathon—not a sprint. If we’re going to be in it for the whole 26.2 miles, we better learn how to rest. And that starts with making calm your KPI.
    Listen to the full episode to hear:
    The challenges of pausing work and the reality of burnout recoveryWhy I made the counterintuitive decision to take a full-time job to restThe importance of building a business with comfortable margins and a focus on sustainability rather than relentless growthWhy I’m using calm as a key performance indicator (KPI) in business and advocating for a model that values space, margin, and a personalized definition of successLearn more about me, Susan Boles:
    Beyond MarginsConnect on LinkedInLearn more about Sean McMullin:
    YellowHouse.Media
    You can leave Susan a message with all your thoughts and feedback here.

    • 48 min
    Introducing Beyond Margins

    Introducing Beyond Margins

    Break the Ceiling is now Beyond Margins. I’m excited to bring back the show and introduce you to people thinking about operations, finance, and business-building with calm as their top KPI. 
    Do you know someone who could use a little more calm in their business? Someone who wants to think beyond margins? Share the show with them! And make sure you follow or subscribe in your favorite podcast app.
    ***
    Honestly, I don’t really want to 10x my business. There. I said it. 
    I want interesting work, enough revenue to be comfortable, and 10x the time spent riding my bike or paddling in my kayak. 
    Maybe that’s how you feel, too. 
    When you set out to build your business, I bet you wanted to build something you loved that made you money, supported your family, created great jobs for other folks, and gave you freedom and flexibility. 
    You knew it wasn’t going to be easy… but this?!
    You've worked weekends, early mornings, and late nights around your kids' soccer practices, and you've been exhausted and overworked. You've worn all the hats and done all the jobs. 
    Maybe you’ve been through burnout or burnt it all down (maybe more than once). 
    Now you just want a business that works for you, that feels fun, comfortable, and calm.. 
    Your goals are similar to mine: you want to take Fridays off, chaperone your kids' field trips, or hang out in the sunshine on a Tuesday afternoon, but still know that the work you’re doing matters. 
    For all the talk of entrepreneurship leading to more freedom and flexibility, you and I know those things don’t just happen.
    But we all want to be financially secure, to build something meaningful and important, to make the right decisions, the smart decisions. And when things aren’t going all that well, or there are just a million decisions to make, or we don’t really know what to do next, you make the choices you see others making.
    I call these default decisions.
    These are choices we make in our business, based on what everyone else is doing, without really ever thinking about them or whether they're the right choice for you and your business. 
    Default decisions sound like "best practices," or "what's working right now," or "my step-by-step method to X."
    The defaults are hard to escape. They're caused by something deeper - this culture that you probably started your business heavily influenced by, even if you wish you weren't - productivity and achievement culture.
    That's where it's about outlasting, out-hustling, growth = success, profit doesn't matter, reinvesting in the business, growth, growth, growth, 10x everything.
    And by following these default decisions, you can build a business that is technically "correct" by all external definition. But those default decisions end up anchoring you to a business that's only focused on your sales, your output, your efficiency, your productivity - because, well, that's the default.
    Default decisions are based on assumptions—that your idea of success is a permanent island getaway or a Lamborghini in the driveway, or maybe that “doing more” or “crushing it” is the key to overcoming any challenge.
    Those assumptions can lead you astray when they are absolutely not the things you want from your business. Remember, calm? Fun? Comfortable?
    Relying on default decisions might boost your bank account for a month or juice your social media following, but they won’t get you the calm, comfy business you crave.
    Here’s what I’ve learned over 15 years of building my own companies and acting as CFO for others:
    Your company is going to end up being whatever your top priority is. 
    If your top priority—is growth - the default? Well, your company will end up focusing on growth — potentially at the expense of your profit margins, your team's well-being, and sometimes even your ethics. 
    If you want to build something different, you have to solve for something different. 
    Instead of solving for growth, what if you solved for calm? 
    You can’

    • 3 min
    Taking a Break

    Taking a Break

    I wanted to let you know that we're going on hiatus, so we won't be releasing any new episodes for a while. I want to take some time to think about how I want the show to evolve, and I'd like to reimagine it a bit. So I'm taking a break from recording and releasing episodes here so that I can take this space.

    • 1 min
    Bake In Boundaries in Your Default Settings with Brittany Berger

    Bake In Boundaries in Your Default Settings with Brittany Berger

    What choices we make about where our boundaries are–or aren't–can have a huge effect on our overall capacity and how much time it takes to actually serve each client. Boundaries can be a really powerful tool when we're talking about streamlining or increasing your operational capacity.

    Today we're going to dig into them with my guest, Brittany Berger.

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

Mary Beth Simon ,

Thanks for making me smarter!

Thanks, Susan for all the gold you bring to business owners. I have learned so much from you and your guests. Each week you share info that I don’t yet know that I need. You keep me forward thinking and strategic!

TaraGentile ,

Bump, bump, bump...

I love what Susan is up to with this podcast. There are few things more frustrating than a ceiling you just can’t seem to bust through as you try and try to grow your business. I can’t wait to see how others have tackled this problem and learn from Susan’s expert perspective!

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