Meet Shirley Liu - The strong & young mumtrepreneur behind popular fitness chain - Anytime Fitness (Bukit Timah). Various setbacks and uncertainties have shaped Shirley up as she now stands tall & proud as the guardian of her playground in this male-dominant industry.
We want to know more about you, Shirley!
Well, what can I say... Hmm... I have 2 daughters, they are 2 and 6 years old? Hahahaha! That sounds like I am ‘upselling’ my girls! Alright, a little secret: I really love fashion and also dressing up. Even more so when I’ve two beautiful girls to doll up! You might ask, why not open a fashion retail shop? And yes indeed, I went ahead and dabbled in entrepreneurship - Setting up a pushcart stall in school, and went on to become an accounts assistant for two years (My first full-time job!). And lastly, I was on my way to becoming a real estate agent. UNTIL, the opportunity for Anytime Fitness Bukit Timah came about and I decided to give my 100% to this venture into the unknown.....
Throughout all these years, I learnt so much, and have grown as a person as well. I found myself to be more people-oriented, I love working with people and interacting with them, therefore starting a fitness business gives me the energy due to the people & amount of positive vibes emitting from this place everyday!!
Can you tell me more about the journey from the start till now?
I wasn’t familiar with the industry at all, but we just jumped into it, while learning on the way. During the initial set-up of the gym, I was heavily pregnant with my second child. And I still had to take care of matters like renovation and recruitments. But of course, my lovely husband was helping me throughout all of this! I definitely had my difficulties when we first started out. I handled more of the backend operations which I was unsure of, so I approached my ex-colleague for help. But right now, I’ve gotten a grasp on everything and things just flows easily for me now!
I believe that with teamwork you can achieve so much more. And right now, along with my amazing team, it has been about 3 years since running Anytime Fitness at Bukit Timah! And, wow, I have to say it has been quite the experience.
How would you describe the experience of being a working mum?
It’s really not easy. I had to take care of my kids, and also had to focus on my work as well. Kids are kids, so sometimes they’ll disturb me when I’m busy! *laughter * But my mum will also help me in taking care of my kids when I’m really busy. So I would have a peace of mind knowing that my kids are safe! If not, other than that, I would look after my kids myself.
Even though I’m in the fitness industry, I don’t really do fitness! I actually tried a few of our PT sessions before, but I ached so much the days after! Okay actually, carrying my kids is also a form of workout for me. It’s like weight-training for me! *chuckles *
What are you most proud of throughout this journey?
I would say being a young mum entrepreneur. I think teamwork was what made this possible. Alone you can only go so far. But as a team, there’s that ability to generate more ideas for example, and the results are more promising.
I always look up to mumtrepreneurs.. Women are usually more home-oriented, like staying at home and being a housewife. But maybe not so in current era. I respect mums who go all out to pursue their dreams. And right now, I am more or less what I have always been inspired by, which I am proud of personally!
What do you think is the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself during these 3 years?
Hmm… That I am persistent & determined! There’s many barriers and challenges along the way. So I always think positively and try to overcome the problems as a team. Being persistent is very important in my opinion. You might have all the resources available, but if you do not pursue it, you’ll end up nowhere!
I’d say - Follow your heart. Procrastinating & justifying your moves will only waste precious youth. Shirley didn’t, she made full use of her youth to create her own playground and made it all possible despite juggling her society role as a mother. “Youth” & its friends (like Adventure, Wild, YOLO) only appear once in this life, grasp the opportunity to be a Dare-Devil when you can afford to!
Anytime Fitness (Bukit Timah) is the fitness center that fits your on-the-go lifestyle. At the Bukit Timah health club, you can exercise any time using your own security-access key! That’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Talk about no more excuses!