This month we talked to Sarah Swainsbury, Ashford Mumpreneur who runs Celebrity Circuits:
My name is Sarah Swainsbury and I created my fitness business, Celebrity Circuits, in 2014. Celebrity Circuits is a bespoke personal training service aimed at women of all ages and abilities. As well as 1:1 training we also offer small group training, and an extensive timetable of fitness classes based in and around Ashford, Kent, including BabyFit and Buggy Burn, our specialist workouts designed for new mums who want to get fit and tone up post-baby.
- What made you start up as a Mumpreneur?
Before I started Celebrity Circuits, I was an account executive at a financial firm in London. My career has always been important to me and when I decided to have a baby I was worried that, while on maternity leave, I wouldn’t be working so I set about starting my own business. At first I wasn’t sure how to go about it, but it’s actually been easier than I thought. If you’re prepared to put in the time and do the research, it can be a really rewarding experience. I was already a qualified fitness instructor and knew that having Dylan meant I would need to work that little bit harder to keep fit and shed the baby weight. It was a bit of a juggle, but I used my commute to study for my ante and post-natal exercise qualification, in preparation for the launch of my business.
- What have you most enjoyed about being a Mumpreneur so far?
One of the things I enjoy the most about being a Mumpreneur is being able to work around my children, and in the case of BabyFit and Buggy Burn, my kids get to come to work with me! It is a very rewarding job to be able to make new mums feel good about themselves through exercise, and the majority of my clients have also become my really good friends! I never had much time to socialise when I was working full-time in London, so becoming a Mumpreneur has been a huge lifestyle change for me – for the better!
- What is the main challenge you’ve faced as a Mumpreneur?
It’s not just working mums that struggle to get the work life balance right – Mumpreneurs have the same problem! When I’m teaching my baby/toddler friendly classes then it’s all good, my babies are with me, BUT when I’m answering client emails, designing personal training programmes or writing new blog posts it’s almost impossible to give it 100% attention with my children around! As a result I tend to get my admin work done late in the evening when the kids are in bed – I’ve had to accept that I no longer have standard working hours and I just fit things in when I can!
- What, if anything, would you have done differently?
When I first started Celebrity Circuits, I launched a huge class timetable with numerous classes held on different days, times and at various locations. Unfortunately not all of these were a success (low class numbers!) and since then I have learned to take a step back, research the days, times and types of classes that potential clients would actually want to attend, and then planned my current timetable around this feedback. As a result I now have full classes every day of the week. I think if I had done this research at the start then I could have saved myself a lot of wasted time putting on classes that were never going to be popular – it has taken nearly 4 years to get it right but you live and learn!
- What key piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of taking the plunge?
Go for it! Being a Mumpreneur gives you the control you need over your working hours whilst enabling you to generate an income – unfortunately you just don’t get that flexibility when you work for someone else. Find something you love whether it’s fitness, food or fashion and share your passion with the world – it won’t be easy at first but it’s so worth it. I love the fact my kids can tell people that ‘Mummy has her own business’ – I feel like I’m setting a positive example to them.
- Ia there anything else you’d like to add?
“Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”
Mums in Ashford – supporting, celebrating and inspiring local mumpreneurs