The Long-Term Benefits of Sticking to Your Values—Lisa Druxman, Founder and CEO, FIT4MOM

Are you aligned to your and your company’s values and purpose? What about during a rapid national expansion, do you think you will keep to your core values or change course?   

Our guest today is Lisa Druxman, the founder of FIT4MOM, who shares with us how sticking to her values and mission for her business has produced a national franchise system with more than 300 locations.


Build a support community.


Lisa Druxman is a mom on a mission. She is the founder of FIT4MOM, the country’s largest fitness program for moms with 2,600+ locations, 1,500 instructors, and 310 franchise owners and mompreneurs nationwide. Lisa has won many awards, including the National Association of Women Business Owners 2008 Woman Business Owner of the Year..She is also a noted speaker, author, podcaster and powerhouse of energy. A self-proclaimed idea monkey and #momboss, Lisa is passionate about helping women get out of overwhelm and in to a life of health and happiness. She shares her lifehacks and experiences to help you live a more passionate and purposeful life.


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Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:01):

Welcome to the Multiply Your Success podcast, where each week we help growth-minded entrepreneurs and franchise leaders take the next step in their expansion journey. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team. And as we open today, I am wondering how aligned you are to your company’s values and mission or purpose. Is there alignment there all the way throughout the organization? And would there continue to be alignment as you started to expand rapidly across the country?

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:33):

Well, our guest today is Lisa Druxman and she’s the founder of FIT4MOM, and she shares with us how she was able to stick with those values and purpose as she grew the business from the very humble beginnings when she started, all the way to where it is today.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:52):

Now, Lisa is a mom on a mission. She’s the founder of FIT4MOM, as I had mentioned earlier, which is the country’s largest fitness program for moms, with over 2,600 locations, 1500 instructors, and 310 franchise owners. Lisa has won many awards including the National Association of Women Business Owners, the 2008 Woman Business Owner of the Year Award. She’s also a noted speaker, author, podcaster, and powerhouse of energy, a self-proclaimed idea monkey and #momboss. Lisa is passionate about helping women get out of overwhelm and into a life of health and happiness. She shares her life hacks and experiences to help you live a more passionate and purposeful life, and you’re going to love our interview and some of the nuggets of wisdom that she shares throughout. So let’s go ahead and jump right into it.

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (01:42):

My name is Lisa Druxman, and thanks for having me on the show. I am the chief founding mom of FIT4MOM. We teach fitness classes for moms across the country. We are the franchisor, and we teach fitness for every stage of motherhood. If you’ve ever seen a brigade of women working out with their strollers, that is our signature program, Stroller Strides. It’s the program that started it all and that we’re most known for.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (02:05):

Well, I love this focus with really a target market, as you described of moms out there and we have three kids in our home and watching them grow through school, and as they’re growing up here, I love your model and what you’re doing. So just as an intro, what led you to really want to focus on moms as a core audience?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (02:27):

Well, I wasn’t looking to start a business, if I’m being honest. Gosh, it’s been 22 years. I was a brand new mom on maternity leave. I was a fitness professional and in fitness management. And my maternity leave was precious to me, so I didn’t want to have to leave my son to work out, so I created a workout that we could do together and kind of had one of those light bulb moments where I figured, “Hey, I can help other moms get back in shape after having a baby and they can help me with all the things I need to know about motherhood from sleep deprivation and nursing and all the…” I knew nothing about motherhood, which is ironic since now it’s my entire life. So I started a little class in my neighborhood called Stroller Strides, and that was really how it started. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one looking for both the fitness and the connection because it did take off.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:15):

I’m pretty sure that my wife was involved with Stroller Strides when our kids were newborns, and at that age of being in strollers and rolling around, so happy customers on this end. And tell us a little bit, as the business started to grow, our audience is a mix between entrepreneurs that are contemplating maybe franchising their business to emerging and growing franchisors. So what led you to make that move into thinking about franchising as you started the business?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (03:44):

Well, it’s funny. So this is August 2001 when I started it. Within three months, we were starting to get emails, requests from all over the country from women who either wanted to start classes or join classes. And I want you to remember, in 2001, there is no Facebook. There is no social media. So this is pure word of mom. Mom’s telling their sister, cousin, and friend that they had a great experience and it was a unique experience, and so moms were wanting to join us. So long story short, I didn’t know if it was going to work in places outside of San Diego. So I said, “All right. We’ll sell six franchises. We’ll start with hot places like Texas and Arizona and cold places like I think New Jersey and Chicago and let’s see how it works.” And they all took off. They had different experiences, definitely needing more indoor venues, but it was a win for those moms leading their business as much as it was for me in San Diego.

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (04:39):

After that, we knew it was time to roll it out. And I felt such… I had everything I needed with the San Diego business, but I had such a need to share it with other moms. The opportunity to have a career that integrates with motherhood where they are such a positive impact in their community, they get a chance to have a flexible business that works with their kids. So it was my opportunity to be able to share it.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (05:07):

It’s really interesting. So have you found over the years of doing this, and I’m just curious, being in the franchising world, have you found that a lot of your franchisees end up being current customers or former customers of yours that come through? How does that generally work for you?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (05:23):

Absolutely. We really find that that is what happens, that clients become instructors, and instructors become franchisees. Sometimes we’ll get a client who will move, maybe their spouse had to change jobs, and they move, and there’s no FIT4MOM in their community, so for that reason, they want to start it. So it’s a really unique business because, for so many of our business owners, they weren’t looking to start a business either. They were really looking to start and bring this community into theirs.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (05:52):

Very interesting, and as I’m thinking about just the business model in general, with franchisees coming on board, and you have multiple options within your network for someone to get involved with, is this something that one franchisee often owns just one brand or one option within your network? Do they own multiple? How does that usually play out for you?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (06:14):

That’s a great question. Well, it was always meant to be a low-cost, very turnkey business. So a franchisee will get a small territory and they can offer any of our programs. We certainly give them the training and recommendations of which ones to start with because we started as Stroller Strides, but now, I think we’ve got eight different programs. We really are fitness for every stage of motherhood, starting with FIT4BABY, going all the way up to Body Well, and Body Boost. So a lot of franchisees will start with teaching a few classes themselves, hiring an instructor to open another location. And then what’s kind of funny is, as their own kids grow up, the business grows up, and so they start expanding their team, expanding their class offerings, and for many of them, they will start to expand their territory as well.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (06:58):

And did you find as… I’m just curious, for your own business, for the original territory that you started running and operating, did your business grow as your children started to grow and expand that way?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (07:11):

Absolutely. Yeah. The original territory in San Diego still exists. We still are running classes at the same places I started two decades ago, and so that certainly expanded, but I certainly don’t think I get any credit for that. Once we really started franchising, I really built a team, and so I have a team who runs our San Diego territory and they do a great job with it.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (07:32):

How do you see this expanding? You have a target focus here. Where do you see the business growing, expanding to, and impacting more communities and more moms around the country or even around the world?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (07:44):

Well, it’s funny because I feel like FIT4MOM is a great story and we’re very proud of what we’ve done. We have over 200 franchisees, over 1500 instructors, but at the same time, we have barely scratched the surface. There are almost 4 million births a year. So when you think about that, there are so many moms we are still not touching. It sounds a little bit corny, but these classes truly do change the lives of a mom. Physically, she is going through so much. She probably, if she went through pregnancy, has changed more in nine months than a man will in his entire life. She has hormonal changes, sleep changes, there are just so many things. So to be able to help her physically, emotionally, creating that community is life-changing. So to answer your question, we’re just ready to do it at a far bigger, more expansive level. Really we’ve grown the business pretty organically for two decades, and we’re really going to start doubling down to start expanding and making sure we can get into more territories.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (08:45):

Amazing. Well, let’s just start some of that buzz going here at the very least.

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (08:49):

I hope so.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (08:50):

If there’s maybe a mom listening in or someone that’s tuning in that says, “You know, I know someone this might be a great fit for.” What would you say is maybe a next step or a first step for them to take?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (09:00):

Yeah. I mean, the best thing to do is go to our website, go check it out. It’s It’s fit with the number four, and I host a free webinar every month. And the webinar is not just about FIT4MOM. It’s really important to me that moms do find their best career path after having a baby. So I talk in the webinar about different kinds of opportunities if your career is no longer fitting you. So it’s not necessarily that FIT4MOM is the right fit for everyone. Certainly, they can go onto our franchise page and get some more information and just explore a little bit. There’s no commitment to find out about it. Like I said, I know that I’m on Big Sky Franchise right now, but it’s a very different franchise model. It’s a low-cost franchise. Most of our franchisees work part-time. Certainly, again, as the business grows up, we do have franchisees who work full-time, but usually when they get started, they’re looking for a more flexible business model.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (09:53):

Yeah. And that’s a great point. And it’s one of the things that I’ve always really appreciated about your brand. I’ve been in franchising for a long time, just observed that as you get different accolades and recognition within the franchise community for the things that you’ve been doing. And you’ve really stayed true to that original model. Oftentimes, I’ll see these franchise brands that maybe start in a part-time capacity or really focused on an owner-operator, as they start to grow and mature, they’ll end up moving into a multi-unit operator or a larger type of franchise. So talk through your decision in keeping with where you are and the mindset around that.

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (10:29):

I now know moms, and I know how much they are juggling. And I believe so much in the power of moms, especially if they’re taking care of themselves and being healthy role models for their family. And so it would feel out of alignment with our values if we were offering this really big business where moms can’t be present with their kids. It just was never the purpose of the business. It was really just me wanting to share the experience that I had with other moms.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (10:56):

One question that I thought would be a fair question to ask and get your input on. So let’s address this for the dads that might be tuning in, who maybe have a new mom at home, or soon-to-be first child that might be born. How can the dads out there help support the new moms, and maybe going into a venture like yours because they’re going through maybe a career mindset change?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (11:21):

I think there is. I think that whether it’s FIT4MOM or you’re just becoming new parents, to have conversations about what do you want your family to look like. How present do you want both parents to be? How divided is the workload going to be? For most of our franchisees, it’s interesting. Our franchisees are everything from accountants to attorneys, graphic designers, teachers, nurses, all kinds of careers where the women realized this no longer fit who they wanted to be since they became a mom.

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (11:53):

I highly suggest, with all of our franchisees, is talk about, what is your why? Why are you buying this business? What is your purpose? What do you want it to look like? And make sure that you’re on the same page with your spouse, because if your spouse is expecting you to be bringing in six figures from this income, from this business, but you’re only working a few hours a week, that probably is going to be a little out of alignment, so really making sure that you’re both aligned in your values, in your vision and your expectations for who’s going to take care of these little nuggets, because they really do take a lot of time.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (12:25):

Those were great questions. I remember our first, when she was just about on her way to arriving, we were really having those in-depth conversations about what was going to happen. And she was kind of figuring out how her career might end up changing once the baby arrived and did end up changing once that happened. So, Lisa, this is a great time for us just to make a transition here in the show where we ask every guest the same four questions before they go.

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (12:50):


Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (12:50):

And the first question we like to ask is, have you had a miss or two on your journey and something you learned from it?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (12:59):

Whoever says they only had one or two? It’s like almost a miss a day, right? It’s part of life and being an entrepreneur to make mistakes. I think that one of the benefits though is if you get through it, the more you get through, the more confidence you have that you can get through hard things. So we’ve had many misses over the years. Where do I even begin?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (13:21):

I would say that a couple of the misses that I had were probably not getting more help in those early years, believing I was just a superwoman, trying to run this business and being full-time mom, and probably even taking care of the house. It’s not realistic. So I really have redesigned my life to do what I do best and the things that I love to do and to delegate out the rest. So whether that’s delegating out housekeeping or errands or things at home or delegating out parts of the business. So I probably would’ve added and built more team members and taken that risk sooner because you are so limited if you are only building the business by yourself.

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (14:02):

You’re limited to yourself to your own experience, to your own hours, your own strategy. So the bigger my team gets, the more lives we’re able to touch. So that was definitely a miss. And also just building community as support, I think is so important. I really didn’t start doing that, joining different CEO groups and founder groups, masterminds, until later in the business. Do that sooner because being an entrepreneur is a crazy ride, so to feel that you were in business for yourself but not by yourself is an important part of franchising, but also an important part of being an entrepreneur.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (14:40):

Very, very well said. Totally, totally agree with you there. Well, let’s talk about a make or two, some highlights that you’d like to share with us.

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (14:50):

Just like I said, there’s so many misses. There’s also so many highlights. For me, getting a chance to see the impact our franchisees are having across the country. We all put through social media, but I love social media because if I look up #FIT4MOM and I get to see the incredible things my franchisees are doing, like I just had the dream, but they’re the ones who carry it out every single day. So that is a highlight.

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (15:14):

When we get together for our national conference. And you’ve got the energy of two to 300 women who are just raving fans of FIT4MOM, that is a highlight. And we’ve certainly had some really fun media highlights. I mean, we’ve done Today Show, Good Morning America, all the big ones, and all of those are advertising that you could never get from advertising and certainly make you feel like, “Okay, you know what? I’m doing something that matters and it’s getting some attention.” So those have been some big highlights for us.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (15:42):

Well, how about a multiplier that you’ve used to grow yourself or your business personally? Professionally?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (15:48):

I’m going to stick with community on both sides. I really believe that is what grew FIT4MOM. There’s a million fitness programs out there. People come for the fitness, but they stay for the community. So we’ve been very intentional and we continue to be intentional about how we build community within our classes. And my original group of moms from 20 years ago are still the best of friends and have sent their kids to college together. So I think that is one of the things because if you build a community, more and more people want to be a part of it. And then I would say that’s also how I’ve grown and developed myself is the communities that I put myself in again. And it always changes. I’ve done different masterminds, different CEO groups, because, at some point, you’ve probably learned all you have to learn from that group of people. So I find that every time I do evolve and into a different group, my mind is open to all new thoughts, new visions, new strategies.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:45):

Yeah, that’s a great point. I think I remember joining a mastermind group at one point, and they said, the average kind of turnover, I think they said was around three years, where people that stick with it for a while, even those that stay around, it’s about three years, they make that turn and maybe either find a new group or go to another organization, so that’s interesting. Well, Lisa, the final question we like to ask every guest before they go is, what does success mean to you?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (17:13):

Oh, such a good one. Isn’t that different for everybody? I feel like success is a really personal concept. For me, my definition is going to be living in alignment with my values and just having a sense of fulfillment from leading a purposeful and meaningful life. That’s success for me. So it’s not about a certain number or reaching a certain accolade, it’s really about living a purposeful and meaningful life. That’s my definition of success.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:47):

Yeah. Well, and Lisa, as we bring this to a close, is there anything we’re hoping to share or maybe get across that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

Lisa Druxman, FIT4MOM (17:55):

No, but I’m sure that even if you’re listening and FIT4MOM is not right for you, you probably know a mom, you probably know someone who could benefit from joining our community, becoming an instructor, or franchisee, so if you’re curious, just come on over to, and if there’s not a location near you, we also have FIT4MOM On Demand, so we also have ways that you can work out with us online.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:18):

Lisa, thank you so much for a fantastic interview. And let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. So takeaway number one is when Lisa shared that she started the business to fill the need of hers, which turned out that there were other women interested in doing what she was doing and becoming clients and customers of hers. And that led into takeaway number two. And she said within three months of opening her business, there were moms all over the country asking if they could start one. And so she listened and followed that interest that those customers or prospective customers were showing. And she saw that there was a need to share with other moms this opportunity to become franchisee. And now, as they’ve grown, and the business has grown, they have eight different programs for every different stage of motherhood.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (19:13):

Takeaway number three is really important, and one that I found fascinating that Lisa said, which is that she started originally as a low-cost franchise model and has stuck to that the whole time. And she said she’s done that and really focused on an owner-operator initially here because it was in line with her values and the purpose of why she was doing that. So I found that very interesting. Sometimes you hear these stories of franchisors over the years that start as owner-operated and then eventually grow to become only accessible to large multi-unit franchise operators, and Lisa and FIT4MOM have kept it focused on that owner-operator, and I love that approach that she’s employed to keep growing and building their system nationally.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:01):

And now, it’s time for today’s win-win. Today’s win-win is really summarized as building and maintaining a community. And Lisa referenced community multiple times. In her miss, she referenced not building that community soon enough. In her make, she referenced building a great community. And the multiplier was building and creating a great community. So having that community to support you is critical. And I think that’s if you’re buying a franchise, your community of franchisees and the franchisor to help you as an owner or leader of your organization, having that opportunity to have, whether it be a mastermind group or trusted experts or professionals, or sometimes just close friends and family who have opinions that you value, keeping that community, and then maintaining a trend to transition to expand that community or change members of that community over time as your needs and business needs change. So I thought that was a great takeaway. That’s going to be a win for you, for your staff, for your team, for your company, for all parties involved.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:15):

And so that’s the episode today, folks. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast and give us a review. And remember, if you or anyone you know might be ready to franchise our business or take their franchise company to the next level, please connect with us at Thanks for tuning in, and we look forward to having you back next week.

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