ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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29 Creative Ways You Can Find Some Extra Money on the Fly, In a Pinch, When You’re Strapped and When You’re All: SOS, Cash Flow Where’d You Go?!

In: Money Talk

The other day I urged women: do not let them money shame you. Do not! Even though they’ll try to. Even though, because you’re a woman, you’ll be deemed “delusional” and “scammy” and “self-serving,” the more money you charge—even if it’s the going rate. And yet, when a man charges the same thing, they are “experts” and “powerful” and “at the top of their game.”

Awwww hell no. (To my point: I recently read research that showed that when men and women deliver the same speech on stage and use the same self-deprecating humor, the woman is deemed as covering up her incompetence, and yet—AND YET—the man is deemed as being more competent. So the struggle is real, y’all. And I don’t even care if that’s not a thing we say anymore, because it is The Point.)

So today I thought: why not give a big ol’ middle finger to that business (this is The Middle Finger Project, after all—and boy is it timely) and instead talk about how you, a woman, can make even MORE money when you need it. Not less. Never less. You don’t need to be less in order to be liked. You don’t need to downplay your talents, your smarts, your know-how, and your wit. You don’t need to shrink in order to not make anyone feel less than. You need to shine in order to make them feel like there is more out there than they thought. 

Alas, here is a giant, delicious list of ways that you can make some extra money TODAY, for whatever reason you want or need. Because MORE IS MORE AND MORE IS GOOD AND WE WILL NOT APOLOGIZE.

  1. You can always, always, always run a special promo, at any point in time, whenever you damn well want, and offer a kick-ass incentive if paid in full upon booking/checking out. Clients love this! And you love this, because upfront = cash now.
  2. Speaking of that, you can ALSO reach out to current clients with balances due and let them know about the same promo—and tell them you’re happy to extend them the courtesy if they’d like to pay in full today. Not only will they think it a generous gesture, you’ll also avoid pissing off loyal clients.
  3. Proactively reach out to past clients and propose new work—what else can you help them with? Tell them you were thinking of them and, since you had an opening in your schedule, thought you’d follow up to see if they wanted help with _______. (It’s like when you were in college and the bartender asked if you wanted a shot. Did you ever say no? No! And the same applies here. Show up in their inbox and ask if they want a shot, and chances are good they might say, “You know what? Yes!”)
  4. If you’re drawing a blank at what you could propose, you can always reach out to past clients and let them know you’re running a customer appreciation month, so if they have any work they’d like to book—even if the project doesn’t kick off until later—they can do so at a discounted rate through X date as a way to say thanks and keep working with the people you love!
  5. Work in an industry where repeat business doesn’t really happen, like wedding photography? Reach out to past clients and simply say: “I always figure that my cool clients probably know OTHER cool people. Do you know anyone I should speak with?”
  6. Launch a VIP referral program and then contact everyone you know—friends, clients, lovers, whoever. Let them know that you’re happy to offer a big, fat commission for any folks they send your way.
  7. Contact your industry peers and let them know you’re available for any overflow this month. <—This is a relief when you’re booked solid and need to save the day and refer someone great!
  8. Call in a favor on someone who owes you. “Hey, I need to generate some new business this month. Calling in a favor! Can you keep your ears peeled for me?”
  9. Declare this month the month of __________, and offer a special, limited-time, pointed service around that theme. Instead of copywriting, it is the month of taglines. Or the month of creative bios. Or the month of speeches. Or the month of social media ads. (That everybody knows they’ve been putting off.)
  10. Celebrate something—and offer your goods at half-off. Or forty percent off. Or thirty percent off. Or whatever you want. Just make sure there’s a start and an end, and you have something legitimate to celebrate. Like Season Eight of Game of Thrones.
  11. Reach back out to prospects who didn’t hire you—and see how things have been going for them, and if there’s anything you can do to help.
  12. Reach back out to prospects who wanted to hire you, but couldn’t because of money, and offer them a “mini” version of your service they can book now for this month—win/win for all!
  13. Offer existing clients more of what they normally buy.
  14. Offer existing clients a NEW service or product that complements what they normally buy.
  15. Reach out to present and past clients and let them know you’re doing some personalized consulting this month, if they want extra help implementing / working through / going back over / polishing / an extra set of eyes / anything they might like your opinion on.
  16. Pre-sell something you’ve been working on to your existing clients and customers.
  17. Create an event—a conference, a retreat, a mastermind weekend, a summer camp for adults!—and start selling tickets for it now.
  18. Create an online event—a workshop, a roundtable, a seminar, a knowledge auction—and start selling tickets for that now.
  19. Open up your calendar in advance for the holiday season and let clients stake their claim (and submit a deposit to hold their date)—you know, useful for if they know they’re going to need holiday photos, holiday campaigns, holiday planning, holiday recipes, holiday accountability, holiday therapy (not a joke?), holiday hand-lettered cards. Whatever you do! Make it festive. And let them know you book up super fast around those dates, so you wanted to give them first shot at your calendar—first come, first serve. (P.S. “Summer” is a holiday season!)
  20. Think about clients who usually book with you regularly, but who you haven’t heard from recently. Be proactive and let them know you were thinking of them, and wanted to get them on the calendar!
  21. Come up with a really neat, VERY cool bonus and offer it for a limited-time if clients or customers purchase now.
  22. Create a fun challenge around your work and be ultra public about it! Generating a fuss around something you’re passionate about is always the best way to attract clients to your doorstep who need help with it.
  23. Focus on one thing you’re a total SUPERHERO at, and let clients book it as a limited-time service so you can prove it.
  24. Write a sick email campaign designed to help your clients or customers with something related to what you do—then promote it on social, get folks to opt-in and go through the campaign, and then make them an offer at the end.
  25. Collect! Do you have any outstanding invoices that haven’t been paid? You can always reach out and offer a discount on the final amount if it’s paid before close of business that week.
  26. Try offering all-new, limited-time flexible payment plans for something you traditionally bill in full. Lots of people would love this.
  27. Pivot your offer to a different audience. For example, if you have deep sea charter boats (*looks around room innocently*), try opening them up to the public for sunset cruises. If you’ve got a stylishly slammin' Airbnb you rent out, try marketing it as a photoshoot location.
  28. Consider the middle man—AKA other people who have contact with your ideal clients all day long. Hotel concierge? Website designers? Photographers? Who are the tangential folks that work with your customers and clients, and what can you offer them to get you some new business in the door?
  29. Go old-fashioned. Advertise in the newspaper, throw up a flyer, set up a booth. (My protégé, Jess, once had her client well dry up and was able to go from broke to booked almost instantaneously by putting up a funny flyer in Denver—no shit.)

The key to making money in a pinch is not to think about how you can sell, but think really hard about how you can help. Good help, in whatever form you can offer it, is always in demand.

And not for anything? But you don’t have to wait until you’re broke. You can always use any of these to make more money. Even if you “have enough.” Even if you’ve met your goals. Even if you’re motherfucking rolling in it.

Because earning more doesn’t make you selfish.

It makes you great at what you do.

Aug 30

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I was recently told a story about a man named Uncle Bill who went to Colombia, stayed in a hostel, and climbed the ladder into his bunk—even after the four bottles of wine. Uncle Bill wasn’t your average uncle, though. Uncle Bill was eighty-nine years old. Which sounds like a lot, when you say it out loud, […]

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2015

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Imagine you’re seven years old, and you’ve never cooked anything before, so help your Fisher Price kitchenette. But suddenly you’re home alone, and you’re tasked with making yourself a meal. So naturally, you do what any seven year old would do: You get a big pot, and you start putting your favorite things into it. Pepperoni pizza—fucking […]

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Apr 16

2019

29 Creative Ways You Can Find Some Extra Money on the Fly, In a Pinch, When You’re Strapped and When You’re All: SOS, Cash Flow Where’d You Go?!

Apr 16, 2019

The other day I urged women: do not let them money shame you. Do not! Even though they’ll try to. Even though, because you’re a woman, you’ll be deemed “delusional” and “scammy” and “self-serving,” the more money you charge—even if it’s the going rate. And yet, when a man charges the same thing, they are […]

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Jun 14

2017

Spending Money is Not a Sacrifice, But a Strategy

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Spending money is not a sacrifice, but a strategy. Most people don’t look at it like that, though, and so they spend less—and end up making less, too. But money is like a lever—which, not so coincidentally, comes from the French word, “to raise.” If you think of a seesaw, on one side you have […]

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Jun 9

2015

Making Money is Not as Hard as Most People Make It

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There is a distinct and profound difference between people who make money and people who don’t: the money. Hard, cold, beautiful bendy stacks of cash. I know there are a lot of people that say money is evil and your nostrils will catch on fire if you want anything other than world peace, but usually—and pardon […]

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May 1

2019

YOU AREN’T CHARGING ENOUGH. Here Are Twenty Big, Fat Reasons Why.

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Andddd (drum roll!) we continue our discussion about money with the biggest, hairiest, most existential question in all of entrepreneurship: “How much should I charge?” While other people are worried about how much they’re spending, YOU have the ass-clenching task of worrying about how much you’re earning. (Let’s be honest, your ass did clench up […]

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Jan 23

2014

Hourly or Retainer OR….

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»  Cash flow challenged? »  Do a bunch of work you won’t get paid for until you bill next month? »  Burned in the past by clients who disappear & never actually pay the bill? No, this is actually not the opening to an infomercial, as much as I’d love to show up on my […]

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Oct 2

2012

Not Making As Much Money As You’d Like? Time to Fix That.

Oct 2, 2012

Money. You have enough, or you don’t. Over the years, I’ve do-si-doed around both sides of that dichotomy. As a pre-teen, my mom and I sometimes had to borrow money to buy a roll of one-ply toilet paper to get us through the weekend. Scott brand. I remember it was Scott, because it was always […]

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May 7

2013

Are You Making Money or Losing It? Also: Porridge

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It’s never just about the money coming in; you have to consider the money going out.  When you take on a job, sure, you might earn $5,000. But what’s the cost of earning it?  If you have to forfeit 3 other projects (and your favorite Wednesday night TV show) for a combined total revenue of […]

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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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