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International Women's Day: Your Day, My Day, Our Day

The “Housewives With Hobbies” Problem

Make Money at Home By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter

Over a glass of vino the other night, a fellow businesswoman did an eye-rolling riff on “Housewives with Hobbies.”  Now - before I go on – let me state for the record I have nothing against housewives (or stay-at-home Moms), hobbies or hobby businesses. (My Mom was “stay-at-home” and also had a full-time bookkeeping service AND helped my Dad start and run a business, all from a desk in the laundry room. She was also hard-nosed, a terrific money manager and worked about 26 hours a day.) Further, hobby businesses can develop into very successful full-time companies. Many hard-working women have supported their families and put kids through college selling Avon, Mary Kay and Tupperware (and they were deadly serious about it)...BUT...

here’s the problem (and marketing challenge.)  Just as there are dramatic differences in “target market” individuals – there are dramatic differences between types of businesses.  This makes it impossible to build “one size fits all” B2B marketing plans or business support organizations.

For example:

I served on the board of a local women biz owner group for several years.  We grew like Topsy for a bit, with a flood of "spare timers" and cosmetics, vitamin, basket and other network marketing reps joining.  Many of these were, in fact, housewives with hobbies, married to successful men who actually paid the bills.  That didn’t make them bad people or stupid - simply the reality. At the same time, a group of young, dynamic women with full-time, bill-paying, put food on the table businesses joined.

Trying to build programs and benefits for both groups turned out to be impossible. The hobbyists loved the “fun” life coaching-type topics and seemed to think that - by simply showing up and smiling - they could sell products. The full-time bizwomen were looking for quid pro quo business connections and advanced education on topics such as financing, marketing, and employee management.  Never the ‘twain shall meet.

If we brought in a heavy-hitter for a marketing or financial seminar, we bored or bewildered the hobbyists.  If we had a “Let’s all do a group hug and sing Kumbaya” speaker, we lost the full-time biz owners. (Personally, I like Kumbaya, but singing it doesn't magically generate business.)

So, some of the hobbyists started dropping out since the group could only buy so many lotions, vitamins or baskets...Then the full-time biz owners didn’t renew their memberships, because they didn’t see any tangible, bottom-line benefit…Frustrating for everyone. We simply couldn't be all things to all people, even though we were - yes - all women. 

And so it goes in any type of target marketing.  "High-tech" companies have different needs than "low-tech" sole proprietor service providers.  A early-stage start-up needs different things than an established company. Someone who gets most of their business from referrals (like me) isn't interested in mass marketing advertising. A franchise owner has a different business model (and obligations) than a locally-owned company...etc. etc.

P.S. My Mom would have rolled on the floor laughing if someone had pitched a "Work At Home Mom" spare time scam to her...spare time??? What's that?

Happy Friday - I'm looking forward to pursuing some of my hobbies this weekend.

Comments

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Types Of Hobbies

This is nice article to be followed to gain the proper and suitable hobby which can be manged for as per our life process.keep sharing.

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I've always solved the issues of niches-within-niches by providing the same material at different levels. That way, the experts are satisfied as are the beginners as well.

Dee-Ann LeBlanc

This is another one of those reasons that I kind of hesitate to join groups that are too broad, like focused on a particular gender, even if it is "women in business."

Writers' groups actually have the same problem, as there are fiction writers, non-fiction writers, poets, adult fiction writers, childrens' fiction, etc. There's such a broad range of genres that it can be very difficult to arrange and balance programming to keep everyone happy. Not to mention that you have the professional writers and the people who like to write a little but really are mostly there to just hang out and never actually finish anything.

And I'm not really knocking that group. It's just hard to do programming for them and professionals at the same time.

Some writers' groups address this issue by forming sub-groups, like people in similar genres who want to get together to critique each others' work.

Of course businesses have the same problem too. :) You need a core competency somewhere or you dilute everything.

Mary Schmidt

Barbara,

You hit right on my point. Different people need different things. However, there has to be some commonalities in perspective and requirements before one can do different levelse of the same material. And, it's impossible to be all things to all people in a single event, program or seminar.

The other challenge is that in member/business organizations often all the work is done by volunteers. So, there is limited time to spend on truly customized programs or approaches.

Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach

I've always solved the issues of niches-within-niches by providing the same material at different levels. That way, the experts are satisfied as are the beginners as well.

veronika

Great post! We have the same quandary in our group... lots of MLMs who don't have to design their own marketing materials, and they have "scripts" and make money of other people's sales. We're also including bankers and other "business supporters", some of which have never owned a business.
I like the BNI model but $300-$400 a year and weekly 7:30am meetings are not for me - although I like the rest of their set-up.
We set up a local mastermind group which accomplishes much of the quality networking connections we're looking for...
Not sure if there's an answer... but it is an interesting issue.

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