ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Hourly or Retainer OR….

In: Money Talk

»  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 ex's television screen at 3am.

But it is a problem that a lot of creatives have.

And so, a lot of creatives turn to the retainer model at one point or another:

Hey, you pay me X per month, and I'm all yours. (That's a death sentence, by the way.)

It's assumed that, at the very least, they'll be able to predict their cash flow, get paid in advance, and not have to track pesky hours anymore.

There's just one problem:

Most people forget to outline what, exactly, this so-called retainer includes.

»  Does it include 24/7 “access?” (You're calling me at 3am because inspiration struck? No problemmmmmm. *clenches teeth*)

»  Does all the work get thrown at you at once, or last minute, causing you to constantly scramble to rearrange your schedule?

»  Does consulting come with the package? Or just the actual deliverables? In other words, what are you agreeing to do? Is your entire brain up for grabs? Or just your particular skill set?

If you don't define these types of things, guess what? Your client will. And hopefully your client is not Fran Drescher.

Next thing you know, that cute little retainer fee you quoted (awwwww), based on the approximate number of hours you had logged for them in the past (awwwwww), or how much they “estimated,” (awwwwww), is now LOSING you money. Big money. Because once people feel like they have all the access, they'll take advantage of all the access.

Just ask boys.

An alternative worth considering?

Try letting your clients know you'll bill them hourly—but—that you require, say, $X amount of a retainer fee up front that you'll put in an escrow account. Then, each hour you work gets deducted from that, which means you get cash flow up front, an insurance policy against non-payers, AND the benefits of having a retainer—without having to become an accidental slave.

Sort of like pre-paying a credit card.

Because there really are some things money can't buy, and that's your fucking SANITY.

Apr 11

2019

Ladies: DO NOT LET THEM MONEY-SHAME YOU

Apr 11, 2019

You know what’s been blowing RIGHT up my skirt lately? That women are shamed for wanting money—as if this is a bad thing. We’re shamed for charging it, for thinking about it, and for daring to create something that we—brace yourselves, folks—want money for, in exchange. There’s this unspoken code of conduct that comes with […]

In: Money Talk

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Jan 6

2015

Business Lacking Direction? Start With the Money.

Jan 6, 2015

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 […]

In: Money Talk

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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 […]

In: Money Talk

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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 […]

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 […]

In: Money Talk

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Sep 26

2013

How to Save Money For People Who Are Notoriously Bad At Saving Money

Sep 26, 2013

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 […]

In: Money Talk

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May 7

2013

Are You Making Money or Losing It? Also: Porridge

May 7, 2013

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 […]

In: Money Talk

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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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