In Focus: Making a Big Splash in Business and in Love

Roschelle Bickmore loves to swim before, but now, it has become her way of life. Roschelle and her husband, Ark, were married for 21 years. But tragedy struck when Ark was diagnosed with lung cancer. He put up a brave fight for 3 years but ultimately lost to the deadly disease.

From then, water has become Roschelle’s sanctuary. The sea gave her peace of mind.  “Thinking of Ark, I learned to be tougher. I know that my kids still need me.” The mom of three drove with her dog to the beach everyday, not minding the 45-minute drive.

She went to Thailand alone to face her fears. The overseas vacation was supposedly their anniversary gift which they bought together. “During that time, I felt I’m not alone all throughout my journey. My flights were full, but the seat beside me was always vacant.”

For Roschelle, time heals all wounds. Slowly, she started to rebuild her life with the support of her loved ones. With her children as inspiration, she found not only success in entrepreneurship, but in love as well.

Tell us about your business and why you started it.

Roschelle and her husband with a student of The Swim Academy

My new husband and I were thinking how we can encourage kids to be active and do physical activities. Since we were water lovers, we thought of using our swimming credentials to start a business where we can inculcate the wisdom that swimming is not only a sport but (also) a survival (skill).

Who is your target audience?

Anybody who wants to learn how to swim, 3 years old and up. We ensure the safety of everyone by limiting the maximum number of students per session to four. The ratio is 2 students to 1 coach. With this set up, we guarantee that we can focus on each student and their skills will be developed.

What three professional accomplishments are you most proud of?

Roschelle in one of the events she hosted.

1. Conquering the events industry by hosting (events of) big companies and networks.

Roschelle winning the 1st runner up place in Mrs. Palawan 2019

2. Being a role model to fellow mothers by winning 2 grand titles in beauty competitions, Mrs. Palawan 2019 (1st Queen) and Mommy Universe 2018 (Grand Winner) It’s not too late to discover other avenues in life.

Roschelle training her students

3. Being a professional mermaid diver at Scuba School International.

What makes your business story unique?

My business story is unique (because) as we are building skills of the students, we are also enjoying it. 

The swim academy, one-on-one training

We have playtime after every class because we want to give them time to enjoy (playing in the) water as much as we do.We award certificates during graduation and have photoshoots upon program completion. Parents treating us to food is an added bonus. (laughs)i

How did you know when you had the right idea?

I knew it was the right idea when the (parents of our) students kept on pushing the program into the next level. Maybe because they see the improvements of their kids. Another factor is their referrals. (They) tell their colleagues to enroll, too.It’s a sign that we’re heading to the right path.

What are some of the mistakes you wished you could have avoided?

Being so overworked to the point that some clients and colleagues took advantage. Confirming without proper documents and incomplete information or details. In the end, I found myself on the losing end.

I realized the more knowledge and skills (I have), the better I can market my services or products.

How do you stay organized?

Since I’m a forgetful person, I keep a notebook or records of all our transactions. 

To what do you attribute your success?

Roschelle and her late husband, Ark.

I never forget to attribute everything I am now to my late husband. We started everything and he makes me a strong-willed woman.

Roschelle together with her children.

(I also attribute my success) to my kids and my new British better half. They were the ones with me for better or for worse.

(I also credit) my parents and my brother. We may be apart, but we stick together through good and bad times.

Any advice to moms who dream about being entrepreneurs but just can’t get started?

It’s never too late to try everything and take chances. Know your passion because when you’re doing what you love, money is just secondary. What matters most is the  happiness and fulfillment as a person and an entrepreneur.

Karen Vanessa Tayag

Karen Vanessa Tayag

Karen is a mom of 1, a digital strategist, tech integrator, and community builder. She is the founder of online communities Nanaygosyante Tribe, Freelancing Mamas PH, Limitless Pinays, and To the Next Mama PH. She is always up to talk about design, marketing, entrepreneurship, motherhood, and food over a coffee.

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