Yesterday I wrote a blog post for ProfitableMommyBlogging.com asking whether or not labeling yourself as a WAHM (work at home mom) is a bad thing. It was my response to a guest video blog post by Scott Stratten (@unmarketing on Twitter) that appeared on JessicaKnows.com last year.
I must say, Scott is a very brave man to take on a topic as touchy as WAHMs and business identity. Scott (a WAHD) explained in his post that there’s nothing wrong with being a WAHM, but it’s not a good idea to promote yourself as one to every market. If you’re mostly marketing to other WAHMs that’s one thing. That can actually be a strategy that seals your connection to other WAHMs. But you might run into problems marketing yourself that way to other markets. Some businesses seem to have preconceived notions of WAHMs, the biggest being that their project comes second to a WAHMs children and home responsibilities. I imagine that’s the case for any working professional with a family, but I digress…
I’ve always been aware of the negative labels some clients attach to WAHMs. My first negative experience came about three years ago while lurking around the writer’s forum at WAHM.com. Someone over at Warrior Forum released a report for Internet Marketers detailing how to get quality articles written for as low as $2 each from moms "looking to make a little money" over at WAHM.com. As you can imagine that report sold like hot cakes, and then big surprise - the forum was all of a sudden flooded with brand new clients seeking writers for $2 and $3 article jobs.
Long story short, the forum blazed with biting comments and hurled insults to those poor, innocent souls who’d come looking for the guaranteed, cheap WAHM labor mentioned in that report. Writers themselves even got caught up in the melee.
The writers who had blasted the Internet marketers were even more incensed with the writers who responded to the offers. Then of course the writers accepting the $2 and $3 article jobs became defensive saying it was their right to accept the work if they needed it. It went on like that for a couple of weeks until I think the Internet marketers decided that the cheap labor wasn’t worth all the trouble they’d have to endure on that forum to get it.
Situations like that are what made me shy away from the WAHM association when I first started freelancing. I did so because I needed to be taken seriously because I was seriously trying to make a living as a writer. My website includes no personal information, only information about my professional writing services and my professional credentials (I don’t discuss being married or the fact that my twins each lost a front tooth during the exact same week on my “About Us” page).
Just because I happen to have kids and work from a desk in my living room doesn’t mean that I won’t consider a client’s project top priority and deliver as expected. I happen to think my being a mom is irrelevant to my business identity. I know lots of other WAHMs with similar professional ethics. At the same time I am a WAHM and make no apology about it.
Scott's video clarified that it’s not at all about shunning the WAHM label; it’s understanding when it is, and isn’t, appropriate to market yourself that way. After all the whole point of marketing is to appeal to your target market. What are your thoughts?