ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Charging $600 Per Customer and *Earning* $600 Per Customer Are Two Entirely Different Things

In: Money Talk

When you visit a theme park, you buy a ticket to get in. Maybe it’s $50, maybe it’s $100, maybe it’s even more. (If that’s the case, there better damn well be a unicorn-drawn carriage.)

Expensive, but you justify it as the cost of spending a day in the sunshine, roaming around in circles, staring at other people’s pants and thinking horrible things about the human race.

So off you go, with your sunglasses and your annoyingly optimistic attitude (MY FAVORITE WAY TO ROLL), and then…you arrive.

“That’ll be twenty-five dollars to park.”

Ooooohhhhh, hidden cost number one.

“That’ll be fourteen dollars for a wine.”

“That’ll be thirty dollars for a cheese plate.”

“That’ll be eighty four dollars for that sweet Japanese kimono that you won’t really wear but really wanna be the kind of person who wears that kind of shit so you buy it anyway.”

By the end of the day, you haven’t just spent $284 for two people to enter—you’ve spent $600.

But wouldn’t it be easier / nicer / better if a theme park charged one all-inclusive price? Shouldn’t they just include the parking in the price? Shouldn’t they set up buffet stations in an effort to not gouge every single customer just because they can? SHOULDN’T THEY, SHOULDN’T THEY, SHOULDN’T THEY?

Sure. But who’s going to spend $600 for a ticket to a theme park?

The sticker shock is too difficult for most people to rationalize. (Unless it comes with a room at the Ritz Carlton.) It’s much easier for them to sell you on the backend, once you’ve arrived. They still make the $600—they just ask for it differently.

How many services have you considered offering that try to include everything? How many things are you thinking about packaging all together? How many times have you thought it would just be easier on everybody to ask for one lump sum—and include the parking, too?

When you do it this way, you run two risks: The first being that you aren’t making any sales at all, because you’re selling $600 tickets to a theme park. (Even if the cost is justified.) The second is that you go the opposite way and grossly underprice yourself, because you’re conscious that the sticker shock is too high—and therefore you’re only earning half of what you should be.

Neither scenario is desirable. We need to earn great money while simultaneously making it palatable for others to give us that money in return. You could build the next Egyptian pyramids, for all anybody cares, but if no one is willing to pay five trillion dollars for your creation, you’ll be out of business. Similarly, if you price it too low, even if people are buying you won’t be earning the kind of profit that the project merits—and that you need to justify your time—and you'll still go out of business.

Remember: sales don’t equal profit.

Profit equals profit.

And creating as much value as you can, at a price the market will bear, in the way it will bear it, is what doing good business is.

Charging $600 per customer, and earning $600 per customer, are two entirely different things.

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You haven’t started saving for retirement yet. You don’t know how you’re going to pay your taxes (because you haven’t been keeping up with—what are those silly things called?—quarterly payments.) You certainly don’t have a rainy day fund. <—Said while laughing hysterically into your beer. And college? Well, the kids will just have to open […]

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2014

Hourly or Retainer OR….

Jan 23, 2014

»  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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Aug 30

2016

$199 vs $200: The Difference of a Dollar is Never Just a Dollar

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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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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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Apr 23

2014

Caution: Stop Masturbating With Your Money.

Apr 23, 2014

Last year I had $224,225.77 in business expenses. That’s a metric fuck ton of cash for a small business to be throwing down, and probably more than my mother ever made in her entire life. And yet, I’ve never been so pleased and here’s why: When you do it right, your expenses aren’t expenses. They’re […]

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May 1

2019

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

May 1, 2019

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 […]

In: Money Talk

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Sep 13

2017

If You’re Making Less Than $300,000, WE NEED TO TALK

Sep 13, 2017

$300,000 sounds like a big fucking number, doesn’t it? But I have to tell you, that with the tools we have nowadays with the Internet, there’s almost no reason why you shouldn’t / can’t be making this in your business—WHICH SOUNDS LIKE A POMPOUS THING TO SAY, I REALIZE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, #TOUGHLOVE […]

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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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