Tell us a little bit about you and the business that you run
Turtle Tots is an innovative and unique swimming programme, which begins during pregnancy with aqua-natal yoga, and continues once the baby is born with specialist baby and toddler swimming classes.
The classes have also been written in conjunction with experienced personal trainers to promote fitness through pre-natal and post-natal pregnancy exercises. Every movement can be adapted to suit individual ability levels and the classes provide an excellent toning work out for mums and mums-to- be. Of course all of our swimming classes for babies and toddlers are open to dads as well, who also love to come along, as they are so fun and enjoyable!
Since 2011 we have been selling licences and training people to run their own Turtle Tots businesses – running the Turtle Tots programme exclusively where they live. Almost all of our licencees are mums, because running a Turtle Tots business is rewarding and fun, and very flexible and family- friendly.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Gaby and I have corporate backgrounds, but after we had our children we both wanted a more flexible work-life balance.
Prior to launching Turtle Tots Gaby ran a baby swimming company in Berkshire and Oxfordshire, teaching over 1000 babies a week with a team of teachers. She sold the business in 2008 and moved back to Bristol where she launched Turtle Tots.
After having my second child started my own exhibition business. For five years I organised baby and toddler exhibitions across the South West, before selling my business in 2011, in need of a new challenge.
We have been inspired by a need for a role that worked around a family, and also by the knowledge we are able to offer the same to our licencees.
What has been your biggest challenge?
There are lots of challenges, but the one we always have is deciding on our strategic priorities. Like any enthusiastic business owners, we have lots of ideas in the pipeline, and it can be tricky to decide what to prioritise. We find that the structure of our regular management meetings enables us to discuss projects rationally and agree what the most important projects are for our business.
What have you learnt about yourself since you became self-employed?
I think we have learnt to work in a partnership and we understand and appreciate each other’s strengths. We have also learnt how exciting it is to work on your own business, where everything you do can have a tangible and positive outcome.
What has been the best thing about being your own boss?
The flexibility. Both Gaby and I work exceptionally hard, but we work around our families as far as possible. We also find modern technology, including Skype and smart phones, is invaluable in enabling us to run Turtle Tots efficiently and flexibly.
Stop talking about it and just do it!