There’s a growing community of women who have made the choice to work from home, whether as telecommuting employees, home-based freelancers, even “mompreneurs” who run their businesses out of the house.
Typified as “work-at-home moms” (or simply, “WAHMs”), this diverse group of mothers is proving every day that women can contribute to the family financial situation and still be fully present for their families.
As a WAHM myself, I realized that even though we work-at-home women are quite independent, we still all have that need for connection with other women. I needed to relate with and share stories with other women who were, like me, striving to make a living while making a home.
Thus came about the WAHMderful Life, a new online community for—you guessed it—WAHMs.
Initially a blog, the website offers practical tips and motivation for moms, and is supported by social media channels, where WAHMs can contribute to discussions and offer each other support.
Stirring up a movement
“[A] movement happens when people talk to one another, when ideas spread within the community,
and most of all, when peer support leads people to do what they always knew was the right thing.”
— Seth Godin, “Tribes”
The WAHMderful Life—apart from the website—is already, in itself, a movement, a tribe. The group grew by word of mouth throughout 2012, mostly from friends of friends, and readers of my mommy blog, Dainty Mom, which I was using as a platform for conversations about the work-at-home life.
Some time in June 2012, I met with Manila Workshops and pitched the idea of creating a workshop that would empower and inform work at home women about different career and work options. This collaboration resulted in the first WAHMderful Life Workshop, which was aptly dubbed “It’s a WAHMderful Life: A Work-at-Home Moms 101.”
Reinventing a niche and creating an online base
Much of the communication between WAHMs happens on online platforms, such as social media and blogging. And, with the blogging world having become increasingly segmented, more people — such as the WAHM niche — are able to tune into the topics that interest them while tuning everything else out.
The result: A highly attentive audience, eager for information and empowerment that will add fuel to their mission as hands-on, work-at-home moms.
The winning mix: Social media, blogging, and workshops
Officially, the WAHMderful Life website has three main components: Social media, blogging, and on-location workshops. Together, they are the winning mix that fuels the WAHM community.
The Blog: The site’s blog generates free content for WAHMs, and also provides WAHMs with a platform to market their skills and stories as work-at-home women. It accepts guest posts from other WAHM bloggers and freelance writers, on topics such as productivity, freelancing, tech, and more.
Social Media: The website is complemented by a private Facebook group, a public Facebook community, and a growing base of Google+ users. These platforms have enabled WAHMs to provide job leads, share resources, even find collaborators and business partners.
Events: Each quarter, the WAHMderful Life Workshops provide the WAHMs with a local, live event that empowers them with practical lifestyle tips and work-at-home career advice and information. Each time we hold an event, the community grows, both online and among the local WAHM network.
Community features and perks
Having an online hub for WAHMs has several benefits for the home-based community. These are the aspects of the home-based working mom lifestyle that WAHMderful Life website and workshops advocate.
Idea-sharing: The WAHMs in the community specialize in a diverse range of skills: writing; SEO; graphic design; transcription, etc. The community provides like-minded WAHM with opportunities to talk about their jobs, to seek advice and brainstorm ideas pertaining to their work-at-home life.
Job lead generation: Because the community is made up primarily of freelancers, we are quick to support a fellow WAHM in need of work. It’s not uncommon to find several job leads posted in our private Facebook group, or in the Google+ group.
Collaboration: WAHMs have been known to “pair up” or collaborate through the community. After a WAHMderful Life workshop, it’s not surprising to find out that WAHMs have networked, even formed business partnerships
The WAHMderful Life community will soon see several additions to the site, including a business directory for members, coaching programs, for those who need mentoring or dedicated support as work-at-home women, international events with other “work-at-home”/WAHMpreneurial groups we’ve connected with online, and WAHM webinars and online events (launching in the second half of 2013).
For the work-at-home mom (and for those considering this option), both online and offline support are crucial. A network of support—a tribe—helps them meet their needs for interaction, networking, and even friendship.