This month we talked to Victoria Rowley, Ashford Mumpreneur who runs Puddle Ducks East Kent, who provide Baby & Pre-school swimming classes (from birth, through to toddlers and pre-schoolers), Swim Academy classes for primary school children and Aquanatal classes for mums-to-be.
- What made you start up as a Mumpreneur? I’ve always wanted to run my own Business, and after giving birth to my eldest, I knew I wanted a balance of a great career in something I am passionate in, whilst still having the opportunity to spend quality time with my son and be there for the big moments in his life. When I started taking my son to swimming lessons with Puddle Ducks, I just knew it was meant to be! I started as a Teacher, then earned promotion to Senior Teacher. Before long, there was an opportunity to buy the Business, and I knew instantly it was the right decision.
- What have you most enjoyed about being a Mumpreneur so far? By far, it has to be seeing the babies and children love their lessons and seeing them progress. There are toddlers swimming with us now and I taught their Mummies at Aquanatal years ago when they were just a little bump! I love seeing how far children can go, hearing a girl winning a race for their swimming club and knowing that they learnt to swim 5 metres with you years ago is an amazing feeling, too. It can also be what may seem like “little” things, too. I’ve taught many nervous children, and parents, over the years, and watching a child go from not wanting to get in the pool to swimming 50 metres in a few years is a heart-warming feeling. I’m so fortunate to run a Business where moments and milestones like this are happening everyday because of the work of all of us.
- What is the main challenge you’ve faced as a Mumpreneur? Initially, it was finding a good work-life balance. I have a Business Partner, Caroline Brown, and we are fortunate that we have each other to bounce ideas off one another. In the last few years, we have started using an external Office, hired an Office Manager, hired a Marketing Assistant, taken on an extra Administrator in our Office, promoted a Teacher to Technical Administrator to help ensure all Teachers’ paperwork is up-to-date, promoted a few other Teachers to Senior Teachers who carry out frequent random assessments on our Teachers to ensure our standards are the highest, and more! All these different additions and changes to our team has meant that our operations run more smoothly, and our customers receive the highest service without compromise. I am confident that everyone in our team is performing at their best at all times; not just because it is required, but because they all have a genuine passion and love for their jobs.
- What, if anything, would you have done differently? I honestly don’t think I would have done anything differently, perhaps a day off now and then would have been nice! I’m glad I learnt each part of the role before promoting team members and hiring additional members, as I feel every Business Owner should confidently know every aspect of their Business.
- What key piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of taking the plunge? Plan, research, and be prepared to work really, really hard! In the early days, my “bedtime” was regularly 3am, as I could catch-up on so much extra work when my eldest had gone to sleep! It was so hard, but I don’t regret it at all. I knew I was dedicated and passionate and had complete faith I would put the work in, alongside my Business Partner.
- Is there anything else you’d like to add? At Puddle Ducks, we like to “live life swimmingly”. I am so proud of the work we do every day, and the confidence and life skills we give to so many children.
Don’t forget Mums in Ashford members receive a free taster session and a free rubber duck when you sign up to 8 classes! Sign up to become a Member to access this discount and many more.
Mums in Ashford – supporting, celebrating and inspiring local mumpreneurs