Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Julie Clabby, Founder & Franchise Director of Busylizzy, located in Midhurst, West Sussex, United Kingdom.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Busylizzy was established in 2011 in response to a lack of good quality, fun, and professionally run classes for pre and postnatal mums, babies, and toddlers. At that time, baby classes in Surrey took place only in term time, classes were bookable separately, payment was taken largely manually, and class venues were usually municipal buildings, libraries, and church halls. In contrast, our classes were available 51 weeks of the year, bookable online, no childcare was required, and were held in stunning venues in and around Guildford. When we launched, Busylizzy was a unique concept in Surrey, and we defined a new category of family entertainment – 'The Family Club.'

Busylizzy has grown into a members' club that provides pregnancy & postnatal fitness classes, baby classes, talks & events for parents and their little ones. Our programme of face-to-face and online classes is tailored to new and expectant parents to enjoy both in the studio and from the comfort of their homes across the U.K. To date, over 29,000 parents have participated in classes - delivered by a network of 380+ instructors.

Tell us about yourself

The whole Busylizzy concept was born from my own maternity leave experience of a real gap in the market for decent fitness provision for mums. So Busylizzy's roots lie firmly in the physical and mental well-being of mums and were extended to encompass mums to be with its pregnancy class provision to keep pregnant ladies fit and active during pregnancy, prepare them for childbirth and connect them with a network of other mums to be in their area.

I also sought to bring mum and baby class provision into the twenty-first century and lessen the culture shock of maternity leave for many high-flying career women taking time out to look after little ones. No more cups of tea out of plastic cups in dusty old village halls once a week. I introduced a modern gym membership model and ethos not only to exercise sessions for mums but also to baby classes. Nice venues, professional instructors, and flexibility to attend a range of classes to suit changing diaries.

The Busylizzy franchise platform has also been built around working mums and the increasing desire and needs to create a flexible work-life balance around a career and young children. All Busylizzy franchisees are mums; many have had second or third babies while also running their businesses.

My experience before Busylizzy was in health and well-being - managing health clubs in London from 1999 - 2010. During maternity leave in 2011, I discovered the gap in the market for good quality and flexible classes for new and expectant parents. In 2014, I franchised the Busylizzy brand and now support new business owners on their journey to setting up and running their own Busylizzy clubs.

Do you have daily rituals for work / wellness / fitness / mindfulness? If yes can you please explain your rituals so we can include them as well?

In the pursuit of work-life balance and personal well-being, each week, I prioritize attending regular yoga classes, dedicating time to reset my body and reboot my mind amidst the demands of work and family life. These sessions offer a sacred space to recalibrate, fostering a sense of inner calm and clarity that enhances my productivity and creativity. I also allocate one hour daily to engage in marketing activities, a deliberate effort to nurture the growth and expansion of my business. This consistent commitment ensures that strategic efforts are continuously invested, propelling the business forward. Furthermore, I carve out moments to listen to business podcasts whilst walking my dogs across the South Downs, leveraging the insights and perspectives shared to broaden my own personal development.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Winning the HSBC Emerging franchise 2016 was a highlight. This national award underpins ethical franchising in the U.K., and to be nominated and go on to win was a huge accolade.

Growing the business from a kitchen table start-up to a multi-side business is incredible. Thousands of parents attend sessions each week, and being part of their support network during the transition into motherhood is a privilege.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I think everyone underestimates the challenging hoops any business has to go through to win customers. It's probably the toughest part and is often overlooked by new companies. Operations usually get in the way! When you nail marketing and retain customers, your business will fly!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Marketing is key - the best business in the world will fail if you don't have any customers.
  2. Surround yourself with great people. My franchisees access a supportive community of fellow business owners and a support team. Business can be lonely on your own!
  3. Cash is king. Make a plan. Forecast your cash flow.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.