ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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It’s Never About What You’re Selling. And Always About What They’re Buying. There’s a Difference.

In: Online Marketing

Anytime I've seen a man in khaki, I've thought horrible things about his package.

Maybe because they remind me of grandfathers. Or maybe because they remind me of Mr. Rogers. Either way, no female has ever wanted her boy friend to look like a boy scout.

Khaki spells uptight. Conservative. Narrow-minded. Bourgeois.

Which is why I was startled by how much I liked him.

He came whirling out of Hall’s Chophouse, a restaurant on King’s Street in Charleston, South Carolina, where I spent my birthday yesterday. We had been trying to decide on a place to dine, but given the sheer monstrosity of choices, we were left scratching our heads, looking for a clue—any clue—to help us make such a difficult decision. It was, after all, the last meal I’d ever eat before turning another year older.

“Hello there!” he said with the ultimate of boyish charm, his manicured blonde Ken-doll hair and teeth as white as the plaid cotton shirt he wore—topped, naturally, with a navy sports jacket and paired with the ubiquitous khaki short that seems to be the signature of the south. I told him my plight: That I simply couldn’t choose steak or pasta, to which he responded, with all the sincerity in the world, “Well, we would love to have you. Come on in. First drink’s on me for your birthday!”

There was something about the way he said it that made it feel genuine. Welcoming. Wanted. It wasn’t like every other restaurant employee they assign to the streets, with the marching orders to put asses in chairs. The ones who stand at an awkward distance, shouting at you as you pass by, “The best in town!”

He was named Billy, and Billy carefully picked out our table on our behalf. He then showed up with a round of complimentary drinks, even joining us in the round himself.

When it was time for us to leave, we couldn’t find Billy to say goodbye, but he certainly found us. We were nearly a block down the street when we heard the the heavy glass door swing open, and his southern drawl call out, “It was such an honor to have you here tonight, ya’ll! See you next year for your birthday?” He had noticed we weren’t there and made a point to run out to say good bye, and to thank us for our business.

And it made an impression.

Billy took just another restaurant where just another steak is served, and turned it into a place where they serve genuine southern hospitality. And in effect, he’s helping to separate—and elevate—Hall's from the competition. Because they aren't competing on steaks anymore. Anyone can make a steak. But not everyone can make an experience. The reason people go back to Hall’s is because of the way that eating there makes them feel.

When you're starting your business, writing your book, creating your non-profit, or trying to get noticed in general, perhaps the first rule is to stop trying to get yourself noticed, and start trying to help others feel noticed.

How can your service, your product, your goals help the people you want to support…feel supported? How can you stop making it about you, and start making it about them? How can you create a genuine experience people want to have?

It’s not about what you're selling. It’s about what they're buying.

And when we stop to consider what, exactly, people are buying? It’s never the steak. It’s how that steak is going to play into the greater experience of visiting Charleston, of seeing the differences of the South, of feeling like their birthday was celebrated in style.

That’s where you need to connect the dots.

If you're a food coach, hold phone consulting sessions over meals. With instructions. With wine. With the experience of eating. Not just talking about eating.

If you're an unconventional photographer, hold your meetings in an unconventional place—and ditch the standard Starbucks.

If you're an Etsy seller, get as creative with your sales techniques as you are your products.

It’s never about what you're selling, and always about the experience of buying.

At the very least, you'll make your competition irrelevant.

And at the very best? You’ll turn the hearts of people who hated khaki…into people who have a newfound appreciation for it. (…Or at least don't compare it to Mr. Rogers’ package. That should be against the law.)

Most importantly, people will have a newfound appreciation for you. 

Don't forget: In order to make money, people have to be willing to give it to you.

And the one who wins this game?

Is the one who sees people as people.

…Not just another sucker bumbling down the street.

Sep 14

2017

A Quick Piece of (Marketing) Advice for Every Broke, Newbie Entrepreneur Who Doesn’t Have Two Cents to Rub Together (YET…)

Sep 14, 2017

A question I get a lot is: what a limited marketing budget, what’s the one thing you’d do? And my answer is this: I would talk. I would talk about it everywhere, in front of whoever will listen. The medium doesn’t matter—the fact that you’re out there talking does. Instagram videos. Twitter streams. Podcasts. Webinars. YouTube. […]

In: Online Marketing

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Jan 18

2013

Butt Paste–And How It’ll Help You Market Yourself Better.

Jan 18, 2013

Last night, I bought three tubes of something called Butt Paste.  You’re probably thinking the same thing that the 19 year old male cashier was. Try making that transaction with a straight face. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, after all. And this girl is headed to The Bahamas tomorrow with […]

In: Online Marketing

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Nov 9

2012

Call Your Fucking Tribe. (Quickie Friday Piece of Ass)

Nov 9, 2012

For my WRITERS–at heart, by trade, or in their wildest, rowdiest, wettest dreams. Because it’s Friday. And this short video will be the most important thing you do all day. (You can’t fool me – I know nobody’s really working.) This is why I do what I do as a copywriter. This is why the […]

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Sep 9

2015

“But How The $&%* Do I EXPLAIN What I’m Selling?”

Sep 9, 2015

You know how when you go to talk about something you’re selling (a class, a product, an idea…) and you’re all, “BUT HOW DO I EXPLAIN THAT?” (Cue brainstorm hangover.) Things are always so much easier to understand in your head, aren’t they? After all, YOU know what you’re selling. YOU know how great it […]

In: Online Marketing

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Feb 12

2013

7 Companies Doing Personality RIGHT.

Feb 12, 2013

Remember that one time every single day when I talked about how giving your business a personality will help you earn trust, differentiate yourself, and sell more to the right people? (As long as you don’t own a funeral home. That could be a tricky one.) Well guess what? It’s your lucky day because…I’m going […]

In: Online Marketing

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Feb 21

2012

How Being Unapologetic Helps Me–And You–Win At Biz

Feb 21, 2012

First of all, if you want teddy bears, get off this blog. Teddy bears and hand holding is for other people. Here, we’re about fresh ones right across the face. I don’t have time for bullshit, and neither do you.–  Second, if you aren’t going to take the quality of your life seriously, get off […]

In: Online Marketing

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Mar 30

2011

Making Money As an Act of Philanthrophy

Mar 30, 2011

Because quotes are sexy. And so is money that feels good to make. BE SOMEBODY. “You want to be rich in order that you may eat, drink, and be merry when it is time to do these things; in order that you may surround yourself with beautiful things, see distant lands, feed your mind, and […]

In: Online Marketing

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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.

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.

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