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Swimming is a beneficial activity for entrepreneurs, and for humans in general. Enormous fitness perks aside, swimming regularly makes you more goal oriented and confident, a better teammate, and honest to goodness, because being submerged in water increases blood flow to the brain, it makes you smarter. Water activities also reduce stress and anxiety and are possible for every ability level.

Swimming lessons also save lives. Drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death in children, and according to the Red Cross, research shows that if a child doesn’t learn to swim before the 3rd grade, they likely never will. Kids who swim also grow into more active adults.

The statistics for swimming-based businesses are few, so this week we interviewed Tiffany Boykin, a swim-preneur who has built a successful swimming lesson business in California. My Swim Buddy is a mobile team of instructors for all ages and abilities. Starting as one woman’s passion project, My Swim Buddy is now a growing business with a team of coaches.

Lendistry: What inspired you to take the first steps in creating your own business?

Tiffany Boykin: I started my first business as a child. My brother and I wanted to buy our own bicycles so we loaded all the car washing supplies we had into a wagon, and for weeks we walked our neighborhood knocking on doors asking if we could wash our neighbors’ cars for a few bucks. So a bicycle was the inspiration of my first entrepreneurial effort, and yes we were successful in saving enough to buy our bikes.

My Swim Buddy was inspired by something I heard while reading the book “Innovations”, by Steve Jobs. He asks in this book, “What would you do for free?” He said that is what you should be doing. I knew that teaching swimming is something I enjoy so much that I would do it for free if I could afford to. I’ve had nothing but continued growth and satisfaction since I decided to follow my heart.

Lendistry: What problem or solution are you providing clients?

Tiffany Boykin: We save lives and build confidence and passion for swimming in students we get to teach. My Swim Buddy also brings swim lessons to the convenience of a family’s own community pool. They can save time by not having to drive to a swim school.

Lendistry: What is your vision, and how does your business reflect it?

Tiffany Boykin: My vision is to reach as many young people as possible. To use the process of learning to swim to help build their confidence and inspire them to find satisfaction in doing the best they can. To show them what is feels like to be the best they can at something and have fun while doing it. I am also determined to create a personally and financially rewarding career opportunity not just for myself, but also for many who have been touched and forever changed by their coaches and a lifetime of involvement in sports. I hope to give those who have been changed and inspired by their involvement in sports a chance to make a comfortable living doing the same for the next generation. My other vision is to find and train the most qualified and passionate swim instructors that can also make an impact on our youth.

Lendistry: How is this business going to impact you and your family?

Tiffany Boykin: This business’s success allows me to continue to do a job I love everyday, to have a job that brings me satisfaction and provides for myself. It allows me to offer the same opportunity to others. It gives me a chance to keep waking up each day looking forward to what I do for a living.

Lendistry: You won a $2500 grant at The Center’s Access to Capital workshop. How did that money help grow your business and impacted your life?

Tiffany Boykin: The grant allowed me to acquire many resources that were and are vital to the next growth steps in my business. They include staff training, legal help with incorporating and reviewing contracts, and the development of our first website.  

Lendistry: Thank you, Tiffany!