Author, CEO & Founder

Learn More >>

How to Blow Your Competitors Out of the Water—Even When There’s an Entire Sea of ‘Em

In: Online Marketing

Last week, we talked about sustainable marketing efforts–not just wham bam thank you ma'am attempts like putting your logo on a BIC pen and handing them out to random nuns. Not effective.

A much more effective way to market yourself? Becoming the obvious choice.

Because, once again, when you're the obvious choice–it isn't a choice at all.

And today we're going to talk about the how. Because what's the point of dippy dappy inspiration unless you can actually execute?

So–becoming the obvious choice. How does one become the obvious choice? How to elbow jab all your competitors? How to become the go-to person / provider / company? How to snatch up all the business in a 100,017 mile radius, grow like wild (child) fire, and sit around with a smug look on your face at least 23 hours a day?

The answer to the question lies in television, of course.

Think about your favorite TV show. (If it's Sinbad, we have to talk.)

You watch this show every single week, without fail—even if there are slobbering zombies banging down your door and groaning for your braaaaaaaaaains.

Now let me ask you this: Why do you think that TV show was created? Do you suppose it was created with the sole purpose of entertaining you? That would be awfully charitable of TV networks around the world, wouldn't it.

Not the case. That TV show exists because THEY NEED A WAY TO REACH YOU. They need a way for their advertisers to reach you. Because TV is a business, and they're selling your attention.

And the only way to get your attention?

Is to give you something you want. 

Something like your favorite TV show.

Because who's going to watch television if it's just 24/7 commercial after commercial after commercial after commercial after commercial—and that's it?

No fucking body.

So the only reason your TV show exists? So we're clear? Is not to entertain you. It's to profit from you.

But guess what?

We don't mind, do we.

We accept the commercials because the TV show in between is giving us something. Entertainment. Laughter. Inspiration. Information.

Now think about the average business. Think about your business.

You've probably got a website up. And you've probably got a nice little tab up there with your “service offerings,” or your “products”—or maybe it's all smack dab right there on the home page.

You know what those things of yours actually are?


So now tell me this–

You want people to pay attention to them. To you.

But what are you giving them in return for their attention?

Are you giving them entertainment? Laughter? Inspiration? Information?

Or are you giving them nothing–and expecting their attention for free? 

Say I run a day care center, and I need to increase my enrollment rates. Know what I'm doing?

  1. Running free community workshops on sane parenting, parenting for new parents, parenting for single parents, parenting for parents with no idea how to parent, parenting for step parents, parenting for teen parents—YOU GET THE IDEA. The key is that it's free, tight wad Tabby—just like your favorite TV show is free. This is a marketing activity, and you want as many non-clients to show up as possible. So my advice? Don't charge them, because guess what? If you charge them, the only people that are going to show up are your current clients who already love you enough to give you their money. But YOU'VE ALREADY GOT THEIR MONEY. You want other people's money. And the way you get other people's money is when those people start viewing you as a real leader in your community who generously provides them with something they want—and then—drum roll—they'll see you AS THE OBVIOUS CHOICE. And then they sign a 6 month contract to have you watch their children–which equals a lot more in revenue than the measly $10 you would have charged them for a workshop.
  2. Organizing a weekly meet-up group for moms, and volunteer to watch their kids while it's happening, for free—complete with complimentary wine. (Even if it's boxed, you guys.) Or, do something similar online. (And P.S.? Yes, there's a cost involved for you. But guess what? It's called an investment in your business. And you need to start making some if you ever want to see an ROI. RETURNS ON INVESTMENTS DO NOT COME WHEN YOU DON'T MAKE ANY INVESTMENTS.)
  3. Publishing a fascinating, little-known, creative weekly parenting tip to the blog you damn well better have, sending it out via email to existing clients and anyone who opts-in, making sure it's so useful moms will want to share it with EVERYONE THEY KNOW. (Think the DIY home section on Pinterest—aren't you always amazed by the stuff you find in there? Become THAT in your industry.) And then make sure that when they do share it, there's a way for other moms to opt-in to receive the weekly tip to their email. I don't care if it takes you time, and effort, and energy, and creativity to come up with the tips–MAKE IT HAPPEN. The alternative is not doing anything and complaining you don't have any business. Business does not fall from the sky.
  4. Having an email list in the first place–and NOT just to send updates to existing customers. Your existing customers are already giving you their money. And, of course, sending out emails to them is nice for retention, but it does jack for you if your marketing goal is to reach NEW customers. So start giving NEW CUSTOMERS more of your time and attention. Start giving them something that they want. For free.

Notice a common thread here?

Everything I'm doing is happening on a regular, recurring basis. It's not a one-time event, like setting up a table at a festival. It's not wham bam thank you ma'am. Rather, these are long-term efforts that, yes, require EFFORT, but will also ensure you're in business for the long-term, too.

You'll become the obvious choice.

Because why would anyone put their kid in the no-name child care center that nobody's ever heard of…when they can put them in the one that's known for its fantastic workshops, meet-up groups, parenting tips, and proactive approach to being involved in the community, ultimately marking their territory as THE LEADER.

If you're second to none, then act like it.

Because you won't become the obvious choice by doing the obvious.


Jan 23


Sales Tip of The Year: Don’t Masturbate.

Jan 23, 2012

So since I’m in the United States for a hot minute, I have recently acquired a smart phone. I have three things to say about this:– Apparently, I’m better at coding HTML than I am at texting. Considering I have no fucking idea how to code HTML, you can imagine what kind of interesting text […]

In: Online Marketing


Oct 29


So, People Suck at Talking to Each Other

Oct 29, 2014

People suck at talking to each other. I’ve thought about this post for days now, and turns out? That’s my grand epiphany. My big, profound opening line. As a professional communicator & copywriter, trained linguist, PR expert and author of that filthy blog, “The Middle Finger Project” (my hooligan credentials), I get paid to say […]

In: Online Marketing


Feb 26


Why Sucky People Get More Clients Than You

Feb 26, 2012

Your ability to get clients has nothing to do with the quality of your work. There, I said it. Bold statement. I brought this up the other day in my Behind Closed Doors group, and I want to bring it up here, too. ::   A lot of your future and continued success depends on your ability to […]

In: Online Marketing


Oct 1


Want to Stand Out In a Sea of Competitors? Stand UP.

Oct 1, 2013

Say you’re shopping for a diamond. “You’re shopping for a diamond.” (<—Anyone who just made that joke in their head is FIRED…but also sort of hilarious.) Popping over to Google, you search for the goods, pounding out “perfect diamonds” with your click-clacking fingers and hoping for the best. The result? Websites and websites and websites […]

In: Online Marketing


Feb 2


Is This Simple Thing Preventing You From Getting More Clients?

Feb 2, 2012

So once upon a time I dated a guy with lots of tattoos who worshiped his mom. Wait. Wait a minute. That has nothing to do with the story. Rewind. Back up. Let’s start again. *clears throat*– Once upon a time, my official job title was “Director of Business Development.” There. That’s better. Right story. […]

In: Online Marketing


Oct 29


Sexy Matters. Whether You Like It Or Not.

Oct 29, 2012

Sexy matters. We hate to think that’s true. We look at the girl strutting down the sidewalk, who’s obviously “trying too hard,” and we silently disapprove. But it’s not because she’s trying too hard. It’s because she makes us feel inferior.  To soothe our egos, we immediately start telling ourselves the story that we’re “better,” […]

In: Online Marketing


Apr 3


Difference Isn’t About Being Different.

Apr 3, 2014

You know what I’m passionate about? Elephants. Big, giant, hot chartreuse, polka dotted elephants. In the room. Online. Where there’s at least one Nigerian Prince sending out emails with the salutation, “Friend.” (Oh wait, that was me.) Right now, the elephant in the room I’m sitting in is the increasingly common practice of—how should I […]

In: Online Marketing


Sep 27


Let The Serious Folks Go Seriously Broke.

Sep 27, 2012

  I can’t do serious. I’m not sure if you could tell from the name of this blog, or from anything I’ve ever written, said, tweeted and/or mimed while naked, but it’s true. (There was actually no naked miming. I do a lot of stuff naked, but really, who the hell mimes these days?) I’m […]

In: Online Marketing


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.

Enter your email address and I’ll send you my advice column every week sharing everything I’ve learned—and so much more.

But no serial killers. I promise I won’t send those.

Privacy Policy Info Here