ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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23 (Surprising) Reasons To Work for Yourself

In: Starting an Online Business

  1. You discover things you never knew about yourself.
    For example, you know how sometimes people play that annoying game and ask you what you'd do if you only had 24 hours to live? And so you sit there and scratch your ass, and then say something poetic like, “I'd go to the beach and let the wind whip through my hair one last time.” Alright, Robert Frost. Maybe you would and maybe you wouldn't, but the fact is you'll never know how you'd react to something until it happens. And it's no different when you become a business owner. You'll never know what kind of leader you'll be, what kind of boss you'll be, and even what kind of moral you are until you're in the thick of it. And once you are? You learn a hell of a lot about yourself—like what kinds of things you do when nobody's looking. (I PLEAD THE FIFTH ON ANYTHING THAT HAS TO DO WITH LEFTOVER PIZZA.)
  2. You'll learn a lot more about life than most people.
    No matter how successful you become, every single day you'll be kicking and screaming and fighting to stay ahead, and when the pressure's on, you'll have no choice but to figure it out. In order to do that, you've got to learn stuff. And by stuff I don't just mean accounting and taxes, I mean important stuff, like how to relate to other human beings, and how to make things happen for yourself. Despite the way I probably just made that sound, this is a good thing.
  3. You get insta-respect from anyone you meet.
    I own a business” is one of those things that, whether you own a strip joint or a venture capital firm, gives some weight to your name. And when you're perceived as someone worth respecting? That can help you open doors. (Gracefully, and without having to bribe a guard.)
  4. You learn how to stack the deck in your favor.
    Most people are deathly afraid of risk. Even the word “risk” conjures up images of flashing red lights and high-pitched sirens. But risk isn't always risky. As a business owner, you learn how to take what's called calculated risks, because even though there's a chance of loss? There's an even bigger chance of gain.
  5. Your 899 years of hard work can result in wealth instead of a pink slip.
    When you're working for yourself, you're building an actual ASSET. One that you might even be able to sell someday. When you're working for someone else, you're dedicating years and years and years and years (and years) of your life making someone else rich…and you walk away with nothing.
  6. You can have as much fun with it as you want.
    I send my new writers a hilarious glass whiskey decanter engraved with the words, “Official TMFproject writer's elixir” on the front, and during our Monday morning Slack meetings, we laugh together and make jokes and have fun with our work—including any of the challenging stuff that happens. And when you have fun with your work, you inevitably do a better job. Win win.
  7. Your income isn't capped, and bonuses come any time you feel like putting in a little extra elbow grease.
    I'm talking about the difference between $40,000 take home and $200,000+. Running your own business is one place where your creativity actually pays off—and not merely in the form of a pat on the back.
  8. People who tell you that you “shouldn't start a business in this economy” are wrong.
    Job security never existed in the first place. And in “this economy,” making it happen for yourself is, quite frankly, your safest bet. 
  9. You don't have to answer to anyone about what time your gynecologist appointment is—thank fucking god.
    I'm not sure how so many people don't mind asking permission to live their lives. But for the small business owner? Time becomes a resource you can use as you please: not something you have to beg for.
  10. You get to do wildly interesting things every day.
    Nothing is stagnant. It's always changing & it's always changing you. New projects, new ideas, new experiments, new people, new perspectives. Even if some stuff is a pain in the ass, life would be boring if everything were always rosy. You don't want to live a boring, predictable life, do you?
  11. It builds (healthy) big heads.
    Just think about your first kiss: When you hadn't done it before, it was UNGODLY INTIMIDATING. Then you did it once, and it wasn't so bad. (Minus a few instances of  tornado tongue.) Then you did it again, and you were feeling pretty smug. Then you did it again? And you're all, “This is CAKE, BEST KISSER IN THE WORLD.” See how you got nice and confident there? Let's call this…the kiss effect. Now, multiply that by about 189, because when you start mastering more, ahem, high level activities? The kiss effect sends your confidence levels through the convertible roof.
  12. You can actually give a damn.
    You get to choose who you serve, and how you serve them, which is clearly better than existing solely to serve just your boss' bottom line.
  13. Some of my biggest business deals happened while I was in the Bahamas. And Spain. And Argentina. And Costa Rica. And Chile, of course. (Because I'm always in Chile, right? YOU'RE SO SICK OF HEARING ABOUT CHILE.)
    Not only is the ability to work from anywhere one of the greatest benefits of this gig; regular travel is also incredibly stimulating for my creativity and my overall mood, which makes me less of an a-hole and a better person to be around. And when I flourish, my business flourishes.
  14. No pants.
    Self explanatory.
  15. You get to deduct your new Macbook.
    And other business-related expenses—even a portion of your rent, if you work from home. Hot DAMN.
  16. You'll feel ALIVE.
    When you feel in control of your life and your future, you feel inexplicably, uncontrollably ALIVE like never before. There's something to be said about the thrill of the hustle, and the love of the game. And nothing—nothing—feels better than your own agency.
  17. Speaking of success: failure, its pain in the ass cousin, will happen.
    But the good news is this: running a small business is basically the world's greatest form of personal development, so even if you completely bomb everything, you're still going to end up ahead. Have faith in that. Did you hear me? HAVE FAITH.
  18. If you're planning to have a family, you can actually see them.
    This isn't something I have first hand experience with since, up until about a year ago, the sight of crying babies made me want to hurl myself into a pit of knitting needles, but I get it. And in more ways than one, having flexibility with your work schedule and your time is something that no amount of money could ever, ever make up for. It's IMPORTANT. And it's one of the biggest benefits of being a small business owner: you get your life.
  19. The internet makes everything easy: even starting businesses.
    A long time ago, starting your own business was a tall order; now, with the internet on your side, you've got zero excuses. You can get more done in 15 minutes than most traditional businesses can do in 3 hours.
  20. What could have been sucks.
    And you never want to find yourself in a place wishing you would have. 

Oh, hell. That was only 20 reasons–not 23. But guess what? Since I'm the boss, I get to say THAT'S OKAY. See how this works?

Apr 5

2013

Reason #959 to Start a Business

Apr 5, 2013

Employment freaks me out. It’s hard to imagine putting all of your intellectual, emotional, and physical energy into a company – with nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Or, the end of your life. Maybe a savings, if you were disciplined enough, or a 401K, but aside from that, you’re […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Jul 11

2017

Take What You Love, And Figure Out How to Sell It To Someone—And Boom, You’ve Got Your Dream Job

Jul 11, 2017

So, listen, I’m not gonna lie—we got to our new London flat this morning, and the second I walked in, I FINALLY UNDERSTOOD THE MEANING OF LIFE. (P.S. You’re following these shenanigans via my Insta-stories right?) Which is entirely materialistic of me, of course, but I’m of the age these days where I don’t really care because […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Aug 16

2017

Too Shy to Stand Up and Sing Your Own Praises? Start Here, You Humble Little Lovebug, You.

Aug 16, 2017

Someone tells you that you did a great job, and what’s the first thing coming out of your mouth? OH NO BIGGIE, BARB, IT WAS NOTHING, REALLY—NO WORRIES, LEAST I COULD DO! We’re quick to diminish our efforts because taking credit for all the things somehow feels self-important; braggy; boastful; full-of-herself. Do this enough times, […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Jun 5

2017

So You’ve Got a Great Idea But Have NO Idea Where to Start. (And It’s Making You Angsty and Farty and Paralyzed With Fear.)

Jun 5, 2017

“But we don’t know how.” We were seated at the edge of the bar, nibbling on appetizers and enjoying the sunset. They were two friends, friends with big ideas and big dreams and a bug right up their ass to do something more meaningful and creative with their careers—and their lives. (My favorite kind of […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Aug 7

2014

Tweet When You’re Dead

Aug 7, 2014

Death is weird. One minute you’re painstakingly slaving over the perfect Facebook status update, worrying about the new wrinkle in your forehead, and crying hysterically over the fact that you spilled a drop of creamer on the counter and WHY! CAN’T! ANYTHING! BE! EASY!, and the next, well, you don’t even have the privilege of […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Jul 10

2014

What To Do When You Hire Them And…They Suck.

Jul 10, 2014

So you started a business and before you knew it you were regularly lip syncing to Gaga while kicking ass, taking orders, AND taking names—which, for the record, I hear is a mafia term. Isn’t that delightful? Suddenly, you found yourself with an extra $5 and immediately shouted to no one in particular, “I’m going to reinvest […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Oct 23

2017

“What Kind of Business Should I Start?” For Anyone Whose BRAIN! IS EXPLODING! WITH! UNCERTAINTY!

Oct 23, 2017

Anyone can start a business these days—all it takes is the willingness to trade something you have. Whether that’s knowledge, a skill set, something you’re good at, or something you like making, if you have it, someone out there will be willing to buy it. (And when you get better at marketing and sales, lots […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Feb 7

2014

Just The Tip: Nobody Wants Your Free Goodies

Feb 7, 2014

Alright, it’s time we had a talk about your goodies. I’ve seen free goodies being offered all over the internet for year after (painful) year, and I really have to wonder: Are they honestly as good as Ciara’s? Kidding. We both know that’s impossible. Have you seen her abs? Regardless, if you’ve ever caught yourself writing, “Sign up […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

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