Small Business Diva

December 6, 2007

Should WAHMs pretend they don’t work from home?

I’ve recently been part of several discussions regarding Work At Home Mums – and in fact, Work At Home Parents in general as there were a couple of Dads in on the conversation.

Some people are extremely open with the fact that they are parents who work from their home, blending work and family. Others disagree with their methods, believing that this image is unprofessional and therefore Work At Home Parents (WAHP) should portray the image of working in a ‘more professional’ setting.

These conversations usually digressed into various related topics, but supporters of each view were adament in their beliefs.

So what do I think? I don’t think there is a right or a wrong. I admit it… I work from a home-based office and I have a child (albeit he’s now in his mid-teens).

My business IS A REAL business. My office is real and is set up just as it would be were I renting premises outside of the home. I believe I am no less professional because it’s at my home. I work virtually – via the Internet, emails, fax – so I don’t have people visiting my office. In fact, I did have an office in a business district a couple of years ago and hated it. I was much less productive, wasting time driving there and back, plus there was too much noise and too many distractions around (including the tantalising aroma coming from the coffee shop next door!)

I believe that in order to run a professional, successful business and still be available for their children, WAHP need to have firm boundaries and systems in place. Children should be made aware of what is and isn’t acceptable and in times when your attention is distracted by family matters, don’t attempt to make business phone calls. Diverting your phone to a Virtual Assistant or Telephone Answering Service is not that expensive and ensures that your customers are still attended to without them feeling like they’re not important, or that your focus isn’t on their needs.

There’s no need to go shouting, “I’m a Work At Home Parent!” from the rooftops, but there’s no reason to hide the fact either.

Many WAHP I know don’t work standard hours. They may take time out during the day to spend with their children, but then they usually make up for this after hours. Some clients may not like the fact that you’re not necessarily always available from 9-5 Monday to Friday (but then who is?), yet I’m sure they won’t complain when you are there to help them with some urgent task after hours.

In summing up, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here. The main thing is to find what works for you and your customers.

What are your views? I’d love to hear your comments on this topic.

Here’s to your business success…

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10 Comments »

  1. […] love to hear your comments so if you have a spare 2 minutes, pop over to Small Business Diva and check it […]

    Pingback by donnamarie » Blog Archive » Are you a Work At Home Parent? — December 6, 2007 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

  2. […] presents Should WAHMs pretend they don?t work from home? posted at Small Business […]

    Pingback by Mothers in Business Carnival - December - mydayoff.com.au — December 15, 2007 @ 5:43 am | Reply

  3. It’s an interesting question that each WAHP needs to answer for themselves. The key as you state is to ensure you portray a professional image, which is true for anyone regardless of their office location. I think also that the view of working at home is changing and with advances in technology and the internet, customers in many cases have as much confidence in work at home professionals as in those with their own office.

    I found your article in the Mothers in Business Carnival – I really liked it and have linked to it in my blog.

    Comment by Liz Fuller — December 17, 2007 @ 2:36 am | Reply

  4. […] has a good round-up. Among other great articles, Donna-Marie asks the provocative question Should WAHMs pretend they don’t work from home? posted at Small Business […]

    Pingback by Carnival Daze - More Than WE Know - Information, Inspiration and Support for Women Entrepreneurs — December 17, 2007 @ 2:59 am | Reply

  5. I agree with you Donna-Marie – it is definitely possible to run a professional business from home as well as from an office, and there are advantages to clients as well as the WAHP and their family.

    The main reasons I keep quiet about being a WAHP on my website are that I don’t like my children being exposed online and it isn’t actually relevant to my services.

    Comment by tashword — December 28, 2007 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  6. That’s a good point Tash.

    I think there are many factors involved and it comes down to being a personal decision.

    Comment by smallbusinessdiva — January 2, 2008 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

  7. One of the reasons I let people know I’m a WAHM is because my clients are. I agree that WAHP don’t need to shout it from the rooftops, sometimes it can work against them. I don’t like seeing sites that start with “I’m a WAHM, so use my services” – that is more offputting than encouraging, to me anyway. To protect my kids, I publicise a PO Box as my postal address and don’t give out my home address.

    Comment by Melissa — January 3, 2008 @ 8:18 am | Reply

  8. Good idea. I have always used a PO Box for business.

    Relevance is a big part of each individual’s decision and this can change for me from one client to another.

    Comment by smallbusinessdiva — January 3, 2008 @ 11:51 am | Reply

  9. I am a WAHM in a field where most people work from an office, so I try not to let on that
    I work at home until and if it becomes relevant to my client and if I think they’ll not be put off by it.

    Comment by eMom — January 29, 2008 @ 10:32 am | Reply

  10. I am also in a field where most people work from an office….

    At one stage of the business i let on that i was not a work from home mother which resulted in me losing a big client…. so now i am up front about my position if the need arises…

    I am lucky as my husband has a consultancy and I use his board room if i need a meeting.. or meet them out on site.. however i do not have any family to rely on so i have a restrict my meetings to 2 days a week when my 2yo is at day care… not easy!

    Comment by PlanCheck — May 15, 2008 @ 5:07 pm | Reply


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