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Dream Zappers, Thought Terrorists, and Why You Should Be Weary of Anyone Who Tells You “I’m Just Looking Out for You”

In: Hate Your Job?

OKAY. I just have to say this before I freaking hurl a tray of freshly-baked carrot fries across the room. (What? They're good. SPRINKLE THEM WITH SOME CUMIN.)

So today at 8:32am I got a text from a friend—like, an actual, IRL friend—who is thinking about registering for B-School tomorrow (since she, like so many others, have been asking me for years how I started an online business, and this is my answer), but was pumping the brakes because she was getting a lot of slack from the people she loves. Which is not unusual! Husbands. Friends. Parents. They are the worst. You know why?

Because people don’t like things they don’t understand.

So she’s telling me this story, right? And next thing I know, I’m going into a blind rage. (Like, within reason. I didn’t throw any desks, but I did send back an impassioned voice note.) Why? Because it sent me spiraling back to ten years ago, when I had to deal with my own dream zappers who HATED the fact that I started writing on the Internet—and tried to put me down. (I’m really glad I didn’t listen to them. And I hope they read my book when it comes out.)

EVERYTHING they said to me back then, is (apparently still) being said to people like my friend now, too:

“I’m just looking out for you.”
“I just want you to make smart decisions.”
“This internet stuff is just a hoax.”
“You’ll spend the money and then be off to the next thing.”
“You should make sure you know what you really want to do, first.”
“You’re going to spend what for what?”

Mother. Fucker.

That was definitely in my voice note. (You guys know I don’t pull any punches.) Worse, I was annoyed to hear that that when my friend defended her decision by mentioning the little fact that I—someone she knows in real life—was proof that you can have success with a business online: and that even ten years ago, before any of today’s modern technology was even available, I made $103,000 my first year, from the country of Chile, writing on my laptop? You know what her dream zapper responded? “Yeah, that's what she tells you. She was probably doing other things for money, too.”

Jeez, I hope she doesn't think I'm into online pornography.

ANYWAY, that line did get me a little fired up on the inside. It got me fired up because (a) What?; (b) It’s wrong; (c) It minimizes my accomplishments; (d) It’s a blatant hijacking of my friend’s thought process. Like a thought terrorist. Which is totally going into my book.

After exchanging about thirty-seven voice notes, one of the things I said to her was: “Listen, it’s an investment like anything else. If you trust yourself to do the work, you will be successful. It’s almost impossible not to be.” And then I also said, “And not for nothin’, but, I just invested fifteen hundred bucks in a (different) online course because it’s going to help me make a lot more than that this year. So if you want to know my honest opinion? You can’t afford not to do this.”

And then I quoted Brené Brown, on the topic of responding to thought terrorists, because what good is a pep talk without a quote from Brene Brown? “If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

Suffice to say, I think she’ll be enrolling in B-School. Not because I have convinced her—that is not the point—but because if you know you want to start an online business, whether you know what that business will look like yet or not, you do need this. You just do. It’s not optional. It’s like setting out to become a professional sommelier—you might love wine, but y’ need training. I mean, of course it’s optional if you aren't intending to do it for a living. But in terms of understanding how to create and organize and profit from an online business like a pro instead of an amateur? It really isn’t. This is what you have to learn, no matter how you learn it. And this is what a pro does: they invest in themselves. They take their dreams seriously. And they do the work.

And honestly? That’s the only reason why I am where I am today.

Because while everybody else was busy mocking me, I was busy getting better.

In other words, YOU DO YOU, SIS. And when B-School opens tomorrow, I’ll be emailing you at 10am EST, on the dot, because if you enroll as a die hard homie of The Middle Finger Project through the link in the email I’ll be sending (that’s a requirement—we’ve got technology that tracks it), I’ve got a special gift for you. And it’s sexyyyyy. And it involves alone time with me. *gasp* More tomorrow at 10am!


And by the way? Chin up. They ain’t got nothin’ on you. And I am proof.


Oct 17


We Need You to Give Yourself the Job

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Today I will drive twenty six miles on backroads, through crisp autumn air, past dairy farms and old Citgo stations, and up a giant hill to my alma mater, Blue Ridge High School, here in rural Pennsylvania. I’m speaking to a group of seniors. Hijacking their last class of the day as I hoist myself […]

In: Hate Your Job?


Apr 28


Make Something That Matters

Apr 28, 2017

Things aren’t always what they seem. An email list full of 100,000 people is meaningless if only 100 of those people open the emails. Similarly, an email list of 100 people, with 100 of those people opening them, does mean something. Who is more successful? And who is doing something that actually matters?

In: Hate Your Job?


Jun 1


Good Things Come to Those Who Wait for No One

Jun 1, 2017

Here’s a principle I vehemently disagree with: Good things come to those who wait. You know who probably came up with that stylish piece of wisdom? Someone in a position of power, tasked with managing the masses and getting them to obey orders. You can hear a teacher saying that, can’t you? Now, there, little […]

In: Hate Your Job?


Dec 1


“I Want to Do Something Else…But What?” Welcome To The Fucking Question That Everyone Is Asking Themselves.

Dec 1, 2017

I have a dirty little hypothesis. It’s about the discontent. The unrest. This global epidemic that’s happening behind closed doors of women wanting something else. It’s why the LuLaRoe, the Advocare, the Younique. It’s why books like Eat, Pray, Love became bestsellers. It’s why we’re spending so much time on the Internet, too, and drinking […]

In: Hate Your Job?


Feb 13


How to Start an Online Business When You Are Not an “Internet Person”—And Are Seriously Doubting That You Can Do This

Feb 13, 2019

So, the other day one of my best college girlfriends reached out and was all, “Ashhhhhhhhhh! I need your helpppppp! I’m trying to start an online business but I have no idea what I’m doing and you’re obviously the first person that I thought of, muahahaha.” (She. Is. Adorable. She’s been hand-painting wooden signs and […]

In: Hate Your Job?


Feb 17


Starting a Business Isn’t for Weak People, Shitty People, Irresponsible People, Undisciplined People, Stupid People, Forgetful People, Lazy People, Irrational People, Impatient People, or People Who Blame Everything on Obama.

Feb 17, 2015

Nearly ten years ago when I started my first copywriting business, I struggled with the things most new business owners struggle with: Telling a client your fees while silently thinking shitshitshitshitshitshitshit! Having no idea if your fees are too high or too low or WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSE TO BE CHARGING?! Constantly worried […]

In: Hate Your Job?


May 1


Here’s an Opportunity – TAKE IT

May 1, 2013

I’ve got a theory. Don’t tell anyone, because if they take it to heart, they might get even better at this business thing, and then what’s going to happen is that one year from now, you’ll somehow find yourself eating red velvet cupcakes at their book signing instead of your own, except you won’t just be […]

In: Hate Your Job?


Oct 24


Don’t Sell Your Soul—Sell Your SKILLS.

Oct 24, 2017

Everybody knows how to do something, and that includes you. And guess what? That means you can teach someone else. And whatever you can teach someone, you can sell to someone. …And I say that without a shred of snake oil. Knowledge is what makes our world go ‘round. Now, more than ever, you can […]

In: Hate Your Job?


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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