Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Diana Goodwin, who launched AquaMobile Swim School to offer clients high quality swim instructions at their home and condo pools in an intimate and productive setting. What advice does she have for other young entrepreneurs? Find out in today’s profile…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I’m President and Founder of AquaMobile Swim School, which offers high quality swim instruction at clients’ home and condo pools in cities across Ontario and the United States.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I was a swim instructor when I was a teen, and I started a business very similar to AquaMobile where I would travel to clients’ pools to teach lessons. I eventually transitioned away from teaching and hired others to do the teaching while I took care of growing the business.
I’m very passionate about swimming. I feel that it’s an important skill that everyone should learn, and it can be a hard skill to learn in big classes of 8-10 kids. This can be very intimidating for some students and they can lose their confidence quickly. By offering high quality swim lessons in a private setting that is familiar to our clients, we see results much quicker, which is really important
I’ve always been very entrepreneurial; even as a kid I was always trying to start businesses with varying degrees of success. My first corporate job was working at a management consulting firm and in my free time I worked on building my own company in the form of what would become AquaMobile. They were very supportive of my entrepreneurial endeavour right from day one. I then did a one-year MBA at Kellogg School of Management in Chicago and used that opportunity to rebrand and build out a solid business plan so that I could take my business to the next level. I’ve been running AquaMobile full-time since finishing my MBA in 2011.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of what I do is knowing that every morning I’m waking up and getting to do something I truly love and am passionate about. I’m lucky that I get to see my efforts translate into a growing business that is continually trying to improve our customers’ learn to swim experience. I’m always looking for ways improve what we do.
The most challenging part is feeling like I’m being pulled in multiple directions because I have to be on top of all the different parts of my business from sales to marketing, HR, etc. As the company has expanded, I have people managing the various departments, but it’s still up to me to set the tone and make sure everything is being properly taken care of. There is never a boring day!
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
My first corporate job out of undergrad was working as a management consultant, where it can be challenging to have a good work/life balance when you are travelling all the time and either the client or your boss deems every task urgent. When you become unreliable outside of work – frequently having to cancel dinner plans last-minute or show up late for events – that’s a good sign things are off kilter.
I’m very cognizant about how unbalanced my life felt during those times and I really try to make sure I take the time to live a balanced life now that I have more control over my schedule.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
For the AquaMobile brand, I’d like for AquaMobile to continue to spread across Canada and the US so that AquaMobile is the first brand that pops into people’s heads when they think of at-home swim lessons. I also see myself starting a spin-off company similar to AquaMobile but for other services and activities.
Personally, I’d like to spend a good chunk of each year working virtually from different locations around the world so that I can immerse myself in different cultures at the same time. I’m lucky in that I can do my job from anywhere as long as I have my laptop and a wifi connection.
I also want to continue to increase my involvement as a mentor and advisor to young entrepreneurs and startups. I find it very rewarding to share my knowledge and expertise with others and to have a hand in shaping up and coming startups. Hopefully my input can help lead to their own success.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
For me, success is the ability to have control over my time and the ability to have a positive impact on people’s lives. These are the things that make me happy.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
When AquaMobile first became an international business by launching outside of Canada in the United States. Going cross-border has been challenging and rewarding.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Focus on something you love and are passionate about – that’s what will drive you to a successful and happy life.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
There are so many good options in the city these days. I love Edulis Restaurant. Soho House is a great place to grab a great cocktail or glass of wine with friends.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I’m super active and I love to be outdoors – I like to get up early when the city is still quiet and head to Riverdale Park and do hill sprints and then pass out in the grass in between sprints. There’s also a breathtaking view of the city skyline from the top of the hill.
I get energized being around others, especially around entrepreneurs who are innovating and trying to make the world a better place, so I also like to spend a lot of time with friends and family.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Istanbul. I love the mix of East meets West and old meets new. It’s an ancient city that’s so beautiful and vibrant – it has a unique feel that I have yet to experience elsewhere.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Some other entrepreneurial venture or start up – that’s what gets me excited.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I’m a supporter of the local arts scene; I’m a member of The Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Circle for young professionals, and I’m also a Committee Member for Power Ball in support of the Power Plant Gallery.
Through AquaMobile we support a number of schools and community organizations in various Canadian and US cities – too many to name!
What to you is notable?
People who are game changers and innovators; those who are never satisfied with the status quo.
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#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)