We had the good fortune of connecting with Ellis Raymond and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ellis, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
My work life balance has changed drastically in the last year ironically due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to our “new normal” I spent a majority of my time either physically at my business or stationed on a computer trying to keep up with my administrative duties. I missed many soccer games, cheer classes and a whole bunch of family time trying to keep driving business growth and maintain order of the business. My kids knew that I was working hard to keep the swim school the best it could be and if I hustled now we could have more time together as they got older. My “village” was amazing helping me take care of them and kept them regularly attending their activities. Since the pandemic I re-focused my time to purposefully have the ability to be present at more of my children’s events. I am not perfect, and I still do not make it to everything but I have been able to be both a business owner and a mom with much more success. The first few years of any business are crucial and you will be challenged to find time to finish everything on your plate. I found myself going non-stop and burning out at times where I could not keep up with everything. It is very important to give yourself grace and know that you are not a superhero. We are not created to go non-stop but working hard is important and keeping your best foot forward benefits you not only in the beginning times but as your business continues to grow and succeed. I think of it now as creating time for my family and myself makes me a better person who is able to pour more into my business and gives it its best chance to be amazing.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am incredibly proud of the business and brand we have built here at the Jim Montgomery Swim School. We are known as being a professional, clean, kind and inclusive swim program. The thing that makes me the most proud would be the constant shout-outs and recognition my team gets from our customers. We strive to make our business feel like a family environment where all are important. From the minute you walk in to the minute you leave we make our priority to make your swim lesson experience fun and as stress free as possible. Getting here was not always easy, it is challenging to find a good balance within any company. We are firm but fair when it comes to our policies and we try to help wherever we can with each of our students. I believe JMSS is a great place to be and I thank each team member for their contribution to making this happen.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would definitely have to take them to Lockwood Distillery on the weekend to grab a drink and some food while listening to live music. I would love to go visit the arboretum on a beautiful day and have a bite in the gardens. I love to fish so we could also take some poles or kayaks over to White Rock Lake and enjoy some time in nature. One of our favorite activities is heading to the zoo and feeding the giraffes as much as we can. We have visited the Frontiers of Flight museum with our children and we love seeing all of aircrafts! We have had the best time over there seeing everything on display. To end our trip I always love to head over to Kuby’s german restaurant in Snider Plaza. When I was 15 I was lucky enough to work in the bakery at Kuby’s and everyone there is amazing! Their food is out of this world and they have the best treats in their store.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people I could shoutout for getting me where I am today. I think it is important to really thank my parents who ultimately raised me to be a hard working, strong and appreciative kind of person. We would not be where we are today without the values they hold and have placed in their children. Being a family-owned business is very important to us and I tribute our success to the drive my parents have had to make JMSS the best swim school it can be. My husband has spent countless hours “volunteering” his time to the swim school and helping me to make sure I had whatever I needed. If that meant he was going to fold towels so they were ready for the next shift, or it meant that he needed to come do some maintenance with me to make sure it was done he was always there to assist me!