A Tale of 2 WAHMs

Ramblings of 2 WAHMs - Anita DeFrank and Kara Kelso. Partners in business discuss how we manage successful websites and young children at home.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Will The Next Real Guru Please Stand Up

There’s whispers in the corners...the instant messengers are going crazy…but still no one says a word. Sorry, I think it’s time to be said.

I’m a firm believer in putting money back into my business. I believe in educating myself to better my business. Most importantly I even believe in working hard to become successful. I know that nothing in life is handed to me for free…but does it really have to cost hundreds of dollars?

Honestly…If I have to read one more “You MUST buy my newest system or you’re gonna die” sales page…I just might scream.

I’m a mom…not an idiot. So, please don’t talk down to me. I don’t like hype. As a matter of fact hype looks a lot like a scam to me. See work at home moms are prey to scammers…I’ve been trained to avoid hype. Your “I guarantee you using my system will triple your sales.” Sounds a lot like “Make thousands of dollars! No selling required!” to me. Oh and you have to love the… “My secret system will show you exactly how to make millions for free.” But, that secret comes with a thousand dollar price tag?!? Yup, that makes perfect sense to me. You don’t need to change your sales page to sell to me…you need to change your price tag. I’m a natural born bargain hunter. I clip coupons and shop for sales.

How do I know which guru or system is right for me and my business? Quite frankly I’m not willing to shell out $197 a clip per system to find out.

Would I like to make millions while sipping Pina Coladas at my summer cottage in the Bahamas? Heck yes I would…I’m not a fool. Well maybe…remember, I am a MOM and my family comes first. Do I really NEED to make millions? No, I’m more than satisfied earning enough to pay the bills and have a little extra spending cash. Which by the way is pretty much exactly the same mindset of most work at home moms. Hmmm…Maybe I should do a poll? Besides, if every new “buy or die” system really did exactly what’s proclaimed…there’d be a whole lot more millionaires sipping right with me.

Now as I stand here on my soapbox…Don’t misunderstand me. I DO believe that there should be a price on valuable information. I’m not in anyway saying that it should be for free. The ‘gurus’ selling these things have done all their homework and research. They’ve put together their system and most certainly deserve to be paid. But, you know what? The average work at home mom doesn’t have that kind of money to spare. So, if you’re not willing to give me a more reasonable price…please kindly go on back over to the big boys table. Please stop telling me the only way I’ll be successful is to pay you…I’ll be just fine.


  • At 3:42 PM, Blogger Patty Gale said…

    Amen, Anita! I have to tell you, I've been in the offline business world and now I am a business owner. The only difference between what I was doing before and what I'm doing now is that I happen to be running my national company from the corner of my living room.

    I totally agree. We are moms, we are business-minded, bargain-savvy women. Not all of us are looking to be multi-millionaires. Most of just want a comfortable life, to support our familie, make a difference in the lives of others and go on some really nice vacations once in a while.

    Honestly? Many of the recent "buy it or die" websites and "systems" remind me of the diet industry touting the latest and greatest "you'll lose 20 lbs. in 2 days" mentality. If they really worked, we wouldn't need the next "latest and greatest" system.

    If I had a spare grand or two to shell out of the latest "make millions while I sleep" system, then I probably wouldn't need that system in the first place.... my business would obviously be doing quite well without it.

    I love the internet and the opportunities it affords to reach so many people, but I am a true believer in common sense business sense (cents), too. Marketing online is different than offline to an extent. However, you still have to treat people with respect and dignity and show them you appreciate them and how you will help them and serve their needs.

    Personally, I think the scare tactics of "buy this today or you will be a loser" mentality are a complete insult to my intelligence. These types of websites and emails remind me of nothing short of late-night t.v. infomercials who prey on the emotions of the desperate.

    I saw one email today that said the seller of this particular "make millions" system was only making a certain number of the product available and that was it... so I had better sign up to get mine today or my business will fail as a result.

    P-a-l-e-e-z-e! I'm not an idiot, the sky is not going to fall if I don't buy their thousand dollar, limited time offer product and my business will go on to be successful.

    Thanks for posting, Anita...


  • At 4:15 PM, Blogger Dianne - Wahms United said…

    Anita, I fully agree.. now that's not to say that I don't think that all of the products these so called *GURU's* are selling aren't worth it - I've actually come across a few that are really beneficial to work at home moms :)

    BUT.. that being said, I think everyone has to keep in mind the target market of these *Guru's* (and believe me, I'm using that term loosely lol), is NOT wahms.

    Their so calles sales letters are geared for their dedicated wannabee's - not for us.

    I too get really sick of seeing all these do or die.. your business will never survive with out this.. pay me or else the world will come to an end... blah - who needs it!!

  • At 4:47 AM, Blogger Alice said…

    I don't actually know which products you are talking about --- and which are promising millions, cuz that's just plain old crazy. :(

    But I think Diane hit the nail on the head when she said -- Anita, you are not the product's target market. You won't buy the product and that's fine. Somebody else will.

    Ladies, I have changed my viewpoint on all these "big ticket" products in the past year because my life has been completely changed because I listened to people who were truly successful and were making good money online -- and they happened to charge big ticket prices for their courses.

    I spent around $10,000 on my online education in 2004 and I made that back many, many times over. My learning curve was cut dramatically and I am lightyears ahead of where I'd be if I kept trying to learn everything for free.

    And I respectfully say you're wrong that moms won't buy these products. They do buy them because I sell the good ones to them. It's just that not all moms will buy them...and that's okay.

    You said: "The ‘gurus’ selling these things have done all their homework and research," --- I have a bit of an issue with this statement because the best products are not just based on homework and research, it's the people who have DONE what they're teaching and are living proof that it works. Just surfing around the net for information on how to make money online does not make a great product.

    So, if the product was created out of research -- then they can keep their $500 or $1000. But if they've proven what they say works...I'm more than willing to listen.

    I know you and Kara are about to launch a new project yourself...and I hope that you will value your work and charge a price appropriate to your product's value. If fewer people buy your product, who cares? If you make $97 per sale, rather than $27 -- you don't have to work as hard to make that money. Then your product is more exclusive; not as many people have the information you have and that is, in turn, very valuable to your customers.

    Great discussion, Anita. ;)

  • At 10:02 AM, Blogger Anita said…

    Thanks for your input ladies! I really appreciate it and agree…great discussion! I can't say that there are any 'systems/programs' in specific that I'm talking about. It just seems as though every day there's something new out. I completely agree with the fact that these sales pages aren't geared to 'me' or the work at home community. That I understand. But, somehow and somewhere along the lines all of the sudden they are targeted to moms. Let me try to explain. No, the sales pages may not be set up for us but...every time something new comes out I get 4 and 5 'invites/announcements' in all my newsletters/ezines. So, maybe the problem lies with me. Maybe I need to re-evaluate the groups I belong to. Maybe I was even to quick to jump to say moms (in general) won't buy them. What I'm trying to get across is majority of us can not afford them.

    I also do stand corrected with my choice of words of 'research and homework'. I agree 100% that I would much rather hear from someone who has DONE it and it has WORKED for the individual. That was just a poor choice of wording ;) The reason I used 'research and homework' is because we've been doing a lot of it for this project. We're not only including what's worked for us but also what’s worked for many others who are doing the same thing. We've written down the things that have worked for us then interviewed others on how it worked for them.

    I'm also not saying that some of these products/systems are not worth the money BUT, how do we know who? I've been speaking with someone recently who purchased a $200 info product. (I'd rather keep the name anonymous right now only because I don't have permission.) But, the way things unfolded were like this. She had purchased a smaller ticket item from someone dubbed an expert in a particular field who came highly recommended by many. The first product was excellent and was more than worth the money put into it. Then came along the second much more higher priced (about $200) so, she decided to sink the money. Guess what? This product turned to be nothing but fluff, telling her to spend more money on this that and the other thing, and basic general knowledge that she already knew. Now what? I also realize that I cannot compare all to this one situation. It just makes me extremely leary about what I purchase. I did try to make the first post as general as possibly (venting if you will) revealing my own thoughts on the whole situation.

    Yes, Kara and I are about to launch our own product and this issue has been discussed by us at great lengths. Yes, we are putting a lot of time and work into this and do plan to make some money. But, it is still an info product. Our bottom line of what we make per sale may be lower but, we will also be able to sell alot more because of who we are trying to reach. About the the comment of "If fewer people buy our product, who cares?" Sorry, but yes We do care Very much because we're not doing this project to get rich...we're doing this project to help the wahm community. We found a topic 'almost untouched' that would be a huge help to those in the 'wahm community'. We do also believe that we should be compensated for our work. But, we don't want to loose touch with 'where we come from' and the people it's geared to. The value isn't going to be in the price...it's going to be in the content itself. I think the idea of "If the price is low...then it's not worth it" is getting way out of control. My goal is to make a real product that is not only going to help my target but, also make it affordable so I'm not just making the rich get richer.

  • At 7:14 PM, Blogger Alice said…

    Anita...I admire your intentions to serve the community. I can't wait to see the product and watch it launch successfully.

    I hope your comment wasn't to suggest that I have forgotten where I came from...and I don't think it was, but I haven't forgotten, BUT I still value my time.

    I pump out tons of free information and offers to moms, so anyone who can't afford to buy something will ALWAYS have access to good information. And then I offer more expensive products to people who are willing to invest in themselves and who can afford it. I kind of like doing things this way.

    I think that you can wish away the "if the price is low...it isn't going to be worth it," thoughts..but the fact of the matter is that lower priced info products have higher refund rates and people are less likely to use the information you give them. If you charge more, they are more serious about their learning and they are more likely to act on what you teach them.

    Personally, I'd rather a nice group serious customers who can produce great success stories and testimonials...than a large huge group of people who have my product sitting on their hard drive.

    But ultimately, it's up to you guys and what you want to do..and how you want to deliver your product. Just putting another perspective on it.

  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger Kara said…

    Alice, Anita and I have been talking over the pricing on this product and what it finally came down to was not "how much of our time is in this", but instead "how much is it worth to those that buy it". What I look at when I buy an information product is if I can make my money back and then some, and how quickly. I'm not interested in a product that's going to take me 1-2 years to make my money back on, but rather a few months. That's WHY I'm buying the information to start with, and the main thing we have in mind. Yes my time is valuable, but what my customers gain from it is more important. Also, the more likely they are to recommend it. I would rather more people buy it and recommend it than just a few buy and say it was too expensive for what it was worth. This is moms we are talking about here, who I've often heard the price of milk is too high! Family comes first with mothers, don't forget, so if it comes down to buying an informational product verses something for their kids, they are going to buy the item for their kids. Yes they want to build their business too, which is why we want to keep the price low enough for them to afford. ;)

  • At 1:19 PM, Blogger Dianne - Wahms United said…

    Wow! This has turned into quite the conversation :)

    Both Alice and Anita are bringing up great points... but from where I'm sitting, I'm honestly seeing that we're talking about 2 different target markets both of which are being branded under the WAHM niche.

    I personally know many work at home moms that would definately love to be at the level of being able to afford to purchase a product or service that has a high ticket price tag on it... however they just plain and simply CAN'T afford it - yet. Just because they can't afford it doesn't mean they aren't serious about building their business.

    I can't say that I know Alice personally, but to the best of my knowledge, Alice's success has come from starting IB Moms - not working in direct sales, or making custom products (ie baby cloths & accessories) from home and selling them online.

    Most of the moms that I know that are in the direct sales field are looking for and really need help - but as I said, there's no possible way for them to fork out $100 or more for a product or service that *says* it can help them. They have to look for other options.. cheaper options, even if it means more work for them.

    That being said, I also know several moms that are just as serious about their business, that CAN afford to invest larger amounts of money in their business. And that is absolutely super! However I don't *believe* that these are the Moms that Kara and Anita will be targeting with their new product.

    Do I believe that my time is valuable? Definately! Do I believe that I deserve to get paid for my time? Definately!! Do I believe that having someone say to me... THANK YOU .. is worth my time and effort - I definately do :)

    Ok.. I know I could go on.. but I won't lol. One last thought however - everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on topics, just like advertising that works great for one person may not work at all for another.

  • At 1:12 AM, Blogger Alice said…

    Hey Dianne -- You're right, there are 2 WAHM camps and that's why I've given away more information for FREE than most people have ever sold. I will always continue to do that and it is my honor to serve the WAHM community. :)

    As far as where my success came from -- you're right. IBMoms eats up a lot of my time, but I'm not successful because I started Internet Based Moms. I'm successful because I learned the right things to make my business successful and lower maintenance -- search engine optimization, pay per click marketing, copywriting, finding and understanding my target markets and affiliate marketing.

    Those are all things that can be applied to direct sales or making your own products by hand...and that info is all for the taking right on my website. I don't charge a penny for it.

    I know your comment wasn't meant as a slight, Dianne...but I do want to make sure that people don't misunderstand and think that starting a mom site is the way to be successful. Not true it all -- it all comes down to finding and understanding your market; attracting highly targeted prospects who are willing to spend money and marketing to them effectively.

  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger Dianne - Wahms United said…

    I do fully agree with everything you said Alice, and no, my comment was not meant to slight you or anyone else.

    Full marketing plans including all the free & paid information on SEO, PPC advertising etc are definately necessary - no argument with me there :) However, many direct sales companies don't allow advertising, they provide the consultant's web sites and expect the consultant to succeed with what they're given. They are not allowed to use any graphics other than a banner or two the company has created. There is no way the rep can do all that is necessary with keyword optimization, and all the other necessary SEO techniques in these cases.

    And no, starting a mom site is not the answer for everyone. While Kara, Anita and Alice have successful sites geared for moms, and I dare say that my Wahms United has achieved it's own level of success, I do know of several other moms that *thought* starting their own wahm community would be their answer - and realized that it just was not for them.

    There is no right answer for any one person - we do what we can to help guide each person according to their wants and needs, how much we're willing to give away free and how much we charge for our services.

    lol... this conversation has certainly taken a different course! My thanks to you Anita, Kara & Alice - all of us provide products and services geared for moms, each of us has our own opinions on how to work our business/businesses, and I'm sure we each have our own unique visions for what we want to accomplish with our work. We may agree on many topics, while on others we disagree - and that's just great!

  • At 12:19 PM, Blogger Alice said…

    Hee hee...I'm still on the same topic -- helping moms find success and illustrating that spending money on your education is almost a necessity. :)

    Dianne, you said:

    "However, many direct sales companies don't allow advertising, they provide the consultant's web sites and expect the consultant to succeed with what they're given. They are not allowed to use any graphics other than a banner or two the company has created. There is no way the rep can do all that is necessary with keyword optimization, and all the other necessary SEO techniques in these cases."

    That is so telling. Then, if these moms want to do business online, they should probably do something else. That's the thing -- if you want to get serious, find a business that is not limiting, target a market that actually wants to SPEND money and go from there.

    That's not an excuse to say, "I can't afford this for my business,"(whether it's an educational product or some other tool) Because of the fact of the matter is you do have to spend money to make money. It doesn't matter if you're a mom, a single guy, a teenager or grandpa. Saying you're a mom doesn't justify anything...I'm sorry to say.

    I'd actually like to address Kara's comment that I missed because it's a very good point. When I said I value my time and other mom's value their time -- the ultimate deciding factor in pricing a product is still the value -- not my time.

    What I meant was that I'm not going to price a product low because I'm worried that some people might not buy it. That would be devaluing my work and time. And you're right, it's all about people being able to recoup their invest in a decent amount of time (if the product is a "money-making" product that is). If the potential buyer doesn't see that or understand that, then there's nothing I can do. They are not my target market.

    But Kara & Anita want to be accessible to all moms. That's cool...they've chosen their target market. And I hope that when moms buy their product it will be the first step for many of them in understanding the value of investing in their education, their businesses and themselves.

  • At 1:09 PM, Blogger Nell said…

    I don't go for hype either, but I'm willing to pay good money for the right information from the right person. I think we need to be more open to spending money on our businesses, as it does take money to really grow a business.

    And I don't mean just for advertising. I mean for growing our brains so we have the knoweldge to grow our businesses. I've spent more on my business in the past several months then I ever thought I would and it's paying off big time :)

    As far as hype though, I do agree....it's hard to see past the hype on sales letters but if I know the person then I will still buy because I know they aren'r writing it to me, a mom, but rather men. (mostly) And we do business differently then men.


  • At 3:44 PM, Blogger Paula said…

    You've hit a big hole in the entrepreneur's world - continuing education and particularly as it applies to women-owned businesses. While there is much support and information out there to help people start a business, when it comes to actually going to the next step of management, control, growth development and strategic planning, the system of support and information begins to collapse into a dark pit of non-existence and/or hyped up sales pitches on making your first million.

    While information seminars, e-books and other info-products can and do offer some good information targeting that level of knowledge advancement, there are no quality controls to help the lone entrepreneur sitting at their computer trying to decide where best to spend their hard earned $200, $400 or $900. Word of mouth and 3rd party recommendations only go so far and it is still hit & miss on the grander scale. Like many other things availble on the internet, the volumes far exceed the quality.

    In Western Canada (where I reside) women start businesses 3:1 over men. The average age of women starting businesses is in their mid-30's when the kids are in school or nearly finishing. Balancing home, work and family is still a high priority in their target goals. However, most of them lack general experience in business development, growth & management, let alone the basics of marketing, finances, and operations/planning.

    The info products are a stop-gap and good info products can be an excellent side to a directed program of entrepreneurship development. If we could pressure the various government, financial and educational support networks to go beyond the start-up assistance and actually help give business owners and entrepreneurs some essential tools while they run their businesses *then* we'd really see successful businesses taking off.

    I for one am involved with our local chapter of the Women's Entrepreneur Initiative here in Canada and developing a pilot project of mentors (experienced businesswomen) supporting start-ups. From there we hope to develop a program of 'entrepreneur boot-camps' and perhaps down the road some kind of certificate/accreditation with a college for women entrepreneurs. As these programs develop, the good info-products available on the internet may well become a significant factor in the chosen learning tools. Who knows.

    I commend Kara & Anita on their initiative to create a more meaningful and targeted product for WAHMs. I'm sure with their excellent reputations within the community and solid experiences as businesswomen they will produce a valuable product that hits and exceeds their expectations of performance.

  • At 8:39 PM, Blogger Patty Gale said…

    This is a great conversation, indeed. I totally agree that you have to spend money on your business, learn new things and grow pesonally as well as professionally so that your business will grow as well.

    I think the biggest issue is the exhorbitant amount of money they are charging for some of these products.. Perhaps they aren't targeting wahm's specifically, but wahm's are not the only ones with financial issues in their start up business. Of course value is an issue, no one is disputing value, but there is value that makes sense and value that is over-rated.

    Any start up business is going to have a tight cash flow for a while, wether run by a wahm or a work at home dad. So, when I see someone charging $5000 to attend their "Closely Guarded Secrets to a Successful Business, Attend or you are a Loser" seminar, they may not be marketing the wahm specifically, but what difference does it make?

    The same scenario is with all the high ticket information products. These people are asking phenomenal amounts of money to supposedly help the new business "skyrocket" their sales or let them in on the "latest and greatest secrets to success".

    As I said earlier, even though they may not be specifically targeting wahm's, but wahm's are not the only small businesses coming online to earn a living from home.

    Where are these people in the offline world and why aren't they targeting this same "pitch" to offline businesses? Many offline businesses have websites now, so why don't we see these "guru's" marketing to the offline business world?

    In my personal opinion, it's because I don't think they'd get away with it. The internet is a wonderful tool, yet highly unregulated. Don't get me wrong, I don't want a regulated internet, but how many of these one page hyped up sales letters have you seen in your local newspaper?

    I am not saying their information is without value, but you know... alot of running a business is common sense, and not following the latest and greatest "success secrets" by having to pay out the nose for it.

  • At 2:57 AM, Blogger Nell said…

    I think the bottom line is people do pay for these courses and seminars and products...people do see the value in them and also see results. Listen, if the good quality information/services and products did not deliver on their "promise" word would spread like wild fire and the sales would stop.

    There will always be a group of people in any market that don't believe in paying high dollar for information/services or products, and that's fine but I don't think it's the majority. And I don't think somene should charge less then they're worth because of a smaller group of people (or a target market that is not their market) won't pay that much.

    I also think you are going to be in differenet levels with your business. Last year I probably would not have paid to be a member of mom masterminds. I would have thought it was too pricey, I would have been pinching pennies too much but now I wouldn't have it any other way. I would actually pay MORE for MM if they upped the rates because it is THAT good and has been a LARGE part of my recent success online. I see the value and I look at it as an investment. I thank Alice so much for opening my eyes to investing in your business.

    My two cents ;)


  • At 10:22 AM, Blogger Patty Gale said…

    Well, I guess some of us are going to have to agree to disagree. That's what makes the business world go 'round, right?

    I, too, believe in spending money for a product that is worth it's perceived value. I am all for self-improvement and learning new things to help myself and my business grow. I also believe in paying myself what I'm worth as well. Having spent 17 years in corporate America before starting my own business certainly taught me that.

    I also believe in common sense and spending money wisely, so I guess that perception of what is wise and what is not will depend on the person actually spending the money.

    Wahm target market or not, any small business owner needs to use discretion and careful evaluation before spending thousands on products that promote "secrets to wealth" and "secrets to explode your business".

    Patty Gale

    Commute in Your Jammies...
    because life is too short to sit in traffic


Post a Comment

<< Home