Heather and Lewis run the successful Swimtime franchise in Edinburgh together. We thought it would be interesting to speak to them separately, asking them the same questions about their business success to see how much their answers differed. Here’s what happened…
How did you get started with Swimtime?
Heather: By accident. Another teacher that I was working with mentioned they had started at Swimtime, and I wasn’t enjoying the company I was working for at the time. I started at Swimtime as a teacher and I now have over 30 years of experience in that role.
Lewis: Heather got me started here. I was an assistant at another pool, where I had completed my training. I was impressed with what Swimtime had to offer and made the move to become a swim teacher here.
Why did you want to become a Swimtime franchisee?
Heather: Before Covid, I was approached about becoming a franchisee and it didn’t feel quite right at the time. Then, during the pandemic, like many people, I had the opportunity to take a step back and assess how life was going. With the space to think things through properly, I made the decision to make the leap. I liked the idea of running my own business and was ready for a new challenge. As well as being something I really wanted to do, it also made sense. I’m not as young as I used to be and I realise you can’t be in the pool forever! But I couldn’t afford to take the franchise on by myself, and that’s how I ended up partnering with Lewis. I had worked with him before and thought he was exactly the right type of person to start a business with.
Lewis: That’s an easy one for me. It was Heather who came to me with the opportunity when I was a teacher here. I really liked the job as a swimming teacher and thought that becoming a franchise holder with Swimtime was the next natural step for me to make. Career progression was appealing, and I went for it, even though I was only 27-years-old.
What is your favourite thing about being a Swimtime franchise owner?
Heather: I love the challenge. Despite running the business, I still get a huge kick seeing people that I have brought right through the process from a swimming point of view. Being able to swim is so important and means so much to people. There’s no better feeling than giving people that chance. It’s brilliant being able to put it out there to get more people swimming.
Lewis: It’s great having control over your own schedule and being able to make decisions for yourself. That’s the great thing about running your own business. And being a teacher first means I can see things from a teacher’s point of view. That helps me run things better and change the things that maybe aren’t working so well.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Heather: Emails coming in, booking enquiries, phone calls asking the same thing, getting people registered, looking for other venues that we could expand the business into and learning all the new IT skills that are vital for running a modern business.
Lewis: To be honest, I’m still getting into the swing of things at the moment. It’s so, so hectic. Lots and lots of meetings, checking the systems, dealing with customers, managing people, and various challenges keep the day interesting. There are so many different things going on and I’m trying to get myself into a bit more of a routine so I can keep it all under control. I’m still loving every minute of it though!
What does the future look like for you at Swimtime?
Heather: Hopefully we can keep growing the business, getting more venues on side and more days within those venues. To manage the growth, we need to get more staff in. Once that happens, I might be able to focus more on developing the business rather than just the ‘doing’. Having said that, I’ll always keep one day of the week set aside for teaching because that’s still part of the job I really enjoy.
Lewis: Very hopeful for the future and happy with how everything’s going at the moment. We’re working hard to grow the business. I’m so glad Heather asked me to go into partnership with her and so glad I made the move.
Inspired by Heather and Lewis?
If you'd like to talk to us about starting your own journey with Swimtime, please don't hesitate to get in touch.