ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Fuck Plan B. You’re on the A Team.

In: Finding Your Voice

His name is Oskar. He's Rastafarian.

I met him when I first came to Costa Rica in 2004 and watched him trying to sell his paintings day after day on the beach, sweating, struggling to speak English to the tourists who passed by, working from dusk until the wee hours of the night to make ends meet, some days going without any food in his stomach because he needed the little money he did have to buy more paint.

“I don't paint to make money,” he would tell me, as I sat with him watching the sun set. “I paint because I believe in art, and I believe that people need art. Therefore, I have an obligation to the universe to make it.”

Talk about noble.

Fast forward eight years, to five minutes earlier than writing this. I've just run into Oskar on the street, around the corner from my new apartment.

“Hola amiga!” he enthusiastically yelled to me, his dreads up high in a twisted pony tail. “It's been so long!”

We exchanged joyous cheek kisses, and when I asked whether he was still painting, a big smile spread across his sun-kissed face. Without saying another word, he pointed across the street and said, “Venga.” Come.

I walked through the doorway to be suddenly greeted by big, bold, splashy abstract paintings of all shapes and sizes, on easels, on display walls, stacked next to one another…and instantly felt a rush of tears hit my eyes.

Oskar had his very own art gallery.

Not only did he have his very own art gallery–not a single piece had a price tag of less than $1500. And they were selling. In fact, as I was arriving, one woman from New  York was leaving with an oversized abstract piece of art that she purchased for $6,000. That's six thousand U.S. dollars.

As it seemed, Oskar had come a long way from his days of selling $20 paintings on the beach.

I cannot begin to express the flood of happiness I've just experienced. I'm so utterly proud of him. I saw how he started. I watched him struggle daily. I saw the fear in his eyes. I saw the flash of disappointment as tourists would walk away empty-handed, day after day. But I also saw the quiet determination. The unwavering dedication. The pure passion. The understanding that this was what he was meant to be doing.

And guess what?

He motherfucking did it.

So what I want to say is this.

If a young Rastafarian from Central America, with barely a high school education, with zero access to financial support (i.e. loans), who doesn't even speak the same language as his customers…can build a thriving business by doing what he loves?

What the hell is your excuse?

What's any of our excuses?

It seems to me that, in this day and age, we really can have anything we want. All the options are on the table. But on that same token, maybe having all the options in the world isn't as ideal as we like to believe.

Now, whenever things get too rough, or too complicated, we take the easy way out–we go with Plan B. Because there's always that option.

But what if you didn't have another option? What if success were the only way out? What if, like Oskar, you had complete faith that the world needed your talents? Would you make it work then? Might you be farther along the path to success if you had continually believed in yourself and your work, like Oskar always believed in his?

Might you be selling your paintings for $6,000?

And might you be proud knowing it was all worth it?

May 27

2017

The Anti-Trump Bar: The Way You Stand Out is By Standing UP

May 27, 2017

There’s an AWESOME new creative cocktail lounge in New York City called Coup. All of the profits are being donated to organizations being threatened or defunded by the current administration. Tips are donated, too. Guest bartenders are flying in from all over the world, no charge, to donate their services. And guess what? There are lines […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Jun 15

2017

Having FUN Doesn’t Make You an Unprofessional Schmuck

Jun 15, 2017

Fun is underrated. We spend so much of our lives trying to get taken seriously, that fun becomes something we think of as shameful, dirty; something to be minimized in a professional setting. Giggles are juvenile; jokes are adolescent; anything more than a poker face threatens your status as “a respectable professional.” But that’s only […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Oct 8

2015

Look, We’ve All Got Our Faults. *Stomps Cigar*

Oct 8, 2015

Look, we’ve all got our faults. I, for one, have a wrinkly ass neck. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know when it happened. But all the sudden there are lines as deep as the Panama Canal cutting across my trachea. Fortunately, all the resveratrol I’ve consumed over the years seems to have […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Feb 10

2016

Nice Brands Finish Last

Feb 10, 2016

[x_blockquote type=”center”]I take it as an insult when somebody calls me The N Word: Nice.[/x_blockquote] Out of 100,000 adjectives in the English language, if the best you can come up with is nice, then I’m doing something wrong. It’s like spending Thanksgiving Day ripping out gizzards and mashing actual potatoes, only to be told that […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Jun 3

2012

Battle Cry of the Crazies: For Anyone Hustling for MORE

Jun 3, 2012

  You aren’t crazy for wanting what hasn’t even occurred to them to want. You aren’t crazy for needingwhat they would only deem a luxury. You aren’t crazy for demandingthat circumstances yield to you, instead of the other way around. And you aren’t crazy for taking what it means to be human, and turning it upside […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Oct 22

2016

Your Opinion About Yourself Doesn’t Matter

Oct 22, 2016

Real talk: I think you’re a liar. A very, very convenient liar. I can call you that because we’re all in the same club. Because the thing is, when you’re out there doing creative work, and new work, and work that has no manager, no support team, no pat on the back, there are days when […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Dec 18

2017

25 Things I Stopped Doing This Year (Because, Money, Sex and Sanity, Ya’ll)

Dec 18, 2017

Responding to non-essential text messages during work hours. I love my friends, but let’s be honest: this is the digital equivalent of twenty people popping in to your house unannounced all. day. long. We don’t need another productivity hack: we need to turn off the damn phone. It’s physically, mentally and emotionally impossible to get […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Apr 5

2012

Fuck Plan B. You’re on the A Team.

Apr 5, 2012

His name is Oskar. He’s Rastafarian. I met him when I first came to Costa Rica in 2004 and watched him trying to sell his paintings day after day on the beach, sweating, struggling to speak English to the tourists who passed by, working from dusk until the wee hours of the night to make […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ ME >>

Jan 14

2016

Sometimes in Business, You Need to Do YOU.

Jan 14, 2016

The dead horse of the decade is the target customer. You’re asked to create personas. Put yourself in their shoes bras. Get inside their head. Imagine what’s keeping them up at 3 o’clock in the morning. (For the record, it’s that their ass is getting fat and they totally forgot to make cookies for their […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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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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