Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Ben Scholl, Co-Founder at Toolbox Education

Ben Scholl is the co-founder of Toolbox Education, a company that provides wellbeing workshops designed for students by psychologists.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I studied law but was always drawn to education without necessarily wanting to be class-room based. I came across a role as a study skills presenter for Elevate Education, which allowed me the opportunity to live and work in the UK for almost 4 years.

Whilst travelling to schools all across the UK, I learnt how to present to large groups and engage an audience of teenagers, as well as the skills required to build a business.

Off the back of the COVID years and seeing teenagers dealing with the mental health effects of the pandemic led me to co-create Toolbox Education with psychologist David Berlinski. At Toolbox, we took the tools someone would learn with a psychologist and put those tools into short, interactive workshops for teenagers, in a way students can relate to.

My current role involves growing and scaling the business. I’m split between operations, sales, account management, recruitment, training and finance. I’m also involved in co-designing the content of our workshops and program with David, our Head of Content.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

A typical day is spread across a few different areas of the business. Firstly, reaching out to new school contacts and setting up meetings through calling and emailing. I’ll also spend some time meeting with current clients to gather feedback from workshops and ensure we’re helping them maximise the impact of the program.

As I’m also involved in training and coaching our presenters, I’ll often be out at schools watching workshops to give our team feedback and help them improve. On most days, I’m dedicating some time to reviewing new workshops and coming up with new ideas and ways to make our content as engaging as possible.

Finally, the day-to-day operations of the business involve rostering presenters onto different workshops, sending out invoices for work delivered and managing payroll.

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

As a business owner, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain strict boundaries around work hours. To counteract this, I try to ensure that I’m still doing a bit of what I love outside of work each day.

Whether that be spending time with my wife, catching up with friends, going for a run, watching football or spending time with family, I try to make sure those little markers are structured into my week.

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

During lockdown especially, life slowed down a lot and so was our movement. One of the most enjoyable routines I picked up was going for a walk each night after dinner with my wife. It was such a good way to clear our heads, share stories from the day and talk about what was going on for us. It also meant we were doing a bit of exercise each day.

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

One of my all-time favourite books is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. That book had a big impact on my life, especially in terms of noticing when our minds spin a story for us to believe.

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

My brother-in-law, Elliot, is a fantastic example of someone who has built his life around the things he loves and ensured that he is not a slave to his work. He has built and managed businesses but been able to maintain the flexibility in his lifestyle to be able to spend time during the day with his kids and wife.

I am always inspired by wife Hayley in this area too, who has always maintained that life is there to be lived, and there’s no point spending all your waking hours working if you don’t get to enjoy any of that time with the people that matter to you!

7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

One of the important things for employers to remember is that without a happy, fulfilled and respected workforce, most businesses would not last very long. The power-dynamic between employer and employee has often been skewed in favour of the employer or manager, often asking more than is necessary of their team.

It’s so important that managers encourage staff to set and maintain assertive boundaries when it comes to work and what is asked of them. Too often, we say yes to things we know we don’t have the capacity for or aren’t comfortable with, just to appease someone else.

Managers can encourage staff to set boundaries for themselves by role-modelling this behaviour themselves and encouraging honesty around expectations and output.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.