Start paying working mothers what they deserve

I’m fed up with being asked by corporate clients to work for an offensively low fee. Start paying women the money they deserve, or find other ways to reach your market…

A while back, I said that I was thinking of selling The Early Hour.

I had lots of emails from people thinking of buying it.

Now, I know the value of content marketing, and of having really good SEO.

So I calculated the value of The Early Hour – an established, trusted parenting platform that gets 10,000 unique views (UVs) a month, entirely organic, at £50,000.

I know that if content is being published and shared regularly, those UVs quickly go up to 50,000 a month.

The readers are almost 100% parents. So it’s niche; focused.

It you have 50,000 parents visiting your site, organically, each month and you can convert 10% into paying customers, you are onto something.

Get them paying £100 a month for your product/service, and that’s £500,000/month for you.

And because The Early Hour hasn’t been properly monetised, people know that it’s a place to come for good, honest, useful articles.

These aren’t articles that are being tweaked to fit in with a corporate sponsor’s agenda.

So I knew that a big parenting brand could take this on and that it would be hugely beneficial to their company.

One particular company got in touch that I really like.

I was pleased.

We started having talks, and it looked like it might ‘happen’.

But then it went quiet.

So when I came up with an idea for an interview series called The Innovators: asking women, with kids, how they’ve innovated, work-wise, during the pandemic, I went back to the parenting brand.

I asked if they’d be interested in sponsoring this series.

It could be a way to trial them collaborating with The Early Hour.

They said they were.

We had another phone call.

It became clear that they didn’t want to pay what I was asking, to sponsor the series.

Or to buy The Early Hour.

Also, there was a mention of all the women I’d interviewed promoting their brand.

I explained that they would each need to be paid to do this, and I’d of course have to check whether this was even of interest (I suspected it wouldn’t be).

But also, I started to feel uncomfortable.

The mothers I’d approached are women I really respect and admire, and the answers they were sending me were so real and raw and honest.

I thought: if this company want to steer the content in some way, this whole series loses its integrity.

And The Early Hour is all about integrity and authenticity.

Not stories that are twisted to fit in with a corporate message.

That conversation ended – I decided, in my head, the series would be going ahead without them – and I was invited, separately, to do a Zoom talk as part of this company’s pitch for corporate clients.

The fee? £100.

In that instant, I decided I wouldn’t be working with this brand.

Not on that talk. Not on my interview series. Not on a sale of The Early Hour.

I know the value of corporate clients, and if women are being asked to present their brand on a Zoom workshop, in front of these clients – in the hope that they’ll secure the bid and get contracts worth several thousand – the women need to be PAID.

At least £500. But actually, nearer £1000.

It doesn’t matter whether the talk is 20 minutes, or an hour. Or what’s involved in terms of prep. What matters is that the woman’s reputation, and all the work she’s done to become ‘known’ in some way, is clearly going to help the pitch.

I wrote this email…

BIG DOGS: stop undervaluing women. Stop underpaying us. Stop quietly, behind-the-scenes, offering such shit money for our work.

This isn’t the first time this has happened.

I was also approached by a major social media platform and offered something similar.

Piss off with your offensive fees.

If you want to work with me, pay me MORE than I already earn per hour.

Because otherwise, why would I do it?

You want me (and lots of other women with an Instagram following/expertise/book/public profile) because you think it will look good for you brand.

But we are ONLY doing it for the money.

It’s work.

We’ve already created our own exposure.

And in case it’s not obvious, I’m sharing this because the conversation about women – with kids – and pay needs to be brought to the surface.

Freelance mums need to start being paid a proper fee for the work they do. Not half what their male peers earn.

Mothers need to stop being made redundant when pregnant, or on maternity leave.

Companies need to stop taking the piss when women return to work after having kids – demoting them, and giving them all the crap jobs to do because they think they are now ‘less’.

We are not ‘less’- we are more.

And I will not ever be silenced when a company with loads of money tries to take advantage of me like this.

To end:

When I was about 16 years old, I was asked by a big eco company to work on a creative pitch for Vodaphone.

I spent half a day putting together this big velvet book, with various imagery and concepts.

Using the velvet book in their presentation, that eco company secured Vodaphone as a client.

I was paid £150 for that work.

It was 20 years ago. And I was a teenager.

Come on now. Let’s change this ludicrous culture of underpaying women after they’ve had kids.