Motherhood is one career that doesn’t come with a dress code. But as a mom, we wear more hats throughout our days than questions a four-year-old asks in a week. After Glynis Nelson became a mom, she hung up her hat as a financial analyst and bought her own Stroller Strides franchise. A few children later, and Glynis continues to be a full-time mom and business owner—a Momtrepreneur—helping other mothers find their stride, strollers in hand.
How many children did you have when you started the business? How many children do you have now?
One child when I purchased the business, two when I started offering a full schedule. I have three now: Brighton, Rigley, Adleigh, and one on the way.
When did you start your business?
One would think this is an easy question to answer, but it’s kind of tricky in my case. I purchased my Stoller Strides franchise in the fall of 2007, just after my oldest child turned one. I was getting my group fitness certification renewed, testing to get other certifications, and gearing up for a January 2008 grand opening. During my preparation, I found out I was pregnant with my second child. I don’t always have easy pregnancies and was not sure how long I would be able to teach classes during the pregnancy. There were two moms who had found out about the program and asked about starting, so I taught Stroller Strides classes on a trial basis for about five months in early 2008 until complications from pregnancy caused me to stop. The official start of classes was when I returned six weeks after having my second baby, September 2008.
What did you do in your past life before being a momtrepreneur (career wise)?
Up until I had my first child, I was a financial analyst for a municipal government. I have come full circle—my undergraduate degree is in Business Administration with Health & Exercise Science concentration. I changed my mind about the career field after getting that degree and a Masters in Public Administration with a Public Finance concentration and worked in that field for a while. Even after having my first baby, I did some consulting in public finance.
Why did you decide to become a momtrepreneur and start your own business?
Though I was good at public finance, it didn’t excite me. I was trying to balance motherhood with consulting, and it was draining me because I had to push myself to do the work and hated it. We moved to Springfield just before my oldest turned one year old. I started looking for fitness programs that I could do with him and couldn’t find any. Once I looked into the programs more, I realized that I had the right background and passion to bring the program to Springfield. I know that I never want to go back to a full-time, 8–5 job answering to someone else. I am a mother first and love having the freedom to be with my kids when I need to or just want to be.
What was the toughest part of starting/sustaining your own business? The most rewarding part?
The hardest part is just managing all of the aspects. I can teach the classes and give my all while I am there, but trying to juggle the needs of home and kids while trying to keep up paperwork and all the other behind-the-scenes aspects is what can trip me up.
The most rewarding part is that I get to model a healthy lifestyle to my children—my youngest was doing her own version of push-ups at barely a year old! Also, I get to meet the most amazing moms, and they let me join them on their journey of motherhood. I absolutely love that Stroller Strides is not just about fitness; it is about building a community of mothers that support each other. I am so excited to expand the class offerings to all mothers and get to join them in the various phases of motherhood, not just in the beginning.
What kind of advice would you give to moms thinking about starting their own business?
First, and foremost, make sure it is something you love! I could have made a great income doing public finance consulting, but it would not have made me a better mom. Don’t look for what you can make the most money doing; look for what will make you the happiest.
Next, make sure you research. My personality is the type that wants to know everything about a subject (much like Sid the Science Kid, I want to know everything now!), so before I decided what to do, I researched all of the different options for fitness programs for moms. I called others who were running various programs and even took a road trip to visit classes. Don’t just jump in based on one flyer. Talk to people and go see things yourself.
Talk to your significant other. It is going to make it much easier if your family and support system is on board with your new venture. Think through what your business will require and talk about how that will affect your home and family responsibilities.
As a mother of three, what has been the hardest part of being a mom? The most rewarding part?
I’ve adjusted really well to never sleeping! I think the hardest part is everything about having your first baby. From the adjustment from just being a couple and doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, to having no idea what to expect (despite having a bookshelf full of baby’s first year books). And if you are doing things the “right” way or not, that was the really hard part. Don’t get me wrong, adding another baby to the mix is never without its challenges, but we have relaxed so much that it isn’t overwhelming.
The most rewarding part is the hugs, kisses and smiles. My 6-year-old tells me that I’m the best mommy in the whole world. While it might not be true, it’s what he holds to be true and that’s all that matters to me.
On the web at: ThriveFitnessForMoms.com
By phone at: (800) 970-7451
By email at: GlynisNelson@StrollerStrides.net