Author, CEO & Founder

Learn More >>

No, I Don’t Want To Do You Any Favors.

In: Just The Tip, Pet Peeves,

You know when you need a favor from someone, but it’s been seventeen months since you spoke with them, so you start writing an email containing at least 2 full paragraphs making small talk, asking how they’re doing, so at the very least you don’t seem as self-involved as you are? I’ll make you cry if you send me an email like that.


<Thinly-veiled bullshit paragraph one>.

<Thinly-veiled bullshit paragraph two>.

By the way, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind passing this along to your network?

Hope you’re doing fabulous!

Oodles of Xs and Os!

First of all, no, I’m not doing fabulous. I have wrinkles now, asshat. And since the last time we spoke was 2007, I had, up until now, happily assumed you moved to the arctic to build the world’s first minimalist igloo using nothing more than donkey urine and mashed quinoa. Are you sending this email from your minimalist igloo?

Secondly, while this may come as a shock, I’m not interested in “passing along” another riveting e-course on “facing your fears” to my “network.”

And thirdly, if you’d like to use me, you crafty little fucker, I’d recommend not making it so obvious. You know, send me a fruit basket every once and a while. Call to check in on the status of the dog I sometimes think about getting. Sing me a song on my birthday. Or—and I know this is a novel approach—try just sending an email every once in awhile that isn’t asking me to tap dance around fire to do you yet another favor.

What’s that? You can’t be bothered to send me an email every couple of months? That’s too much trouble? Too much thought? Well then, old buddy, old pal, I’m sorry to report: I can’t be bothered with your request, either.

This is how the world works.

You give and you receive. But life isn’t 365 days of Christmas, and you can’t expect to just receive all the time. (Unless I’ve been seriously duped and that’s EXACTLY what we should all be expecting.)

So if you’re really too lazy to put any effort into this very one-sided relationship, then at least you could fake it. Set up an auto-responder sequence in AWeber that automatically sends out an email every eight weeks saying, “Just checking in—how goes business, Ash?” or “Me, again. I miss our talks. What’s new in your world?” It’ll dramatically reduce the number of things you have to remember, while simultaneously making you seem like a thoughtful human being who isn’t out to just get yours. With, of course, the benefit being that when you do make the very annoying ask to share something with “my network,” I might actually be more inclined to do so. Because doing so doesn’t feel like I’m just being guilted into becoming your whipped little bitch.

Today’s Just The Tip: Make an effort with people. Honestly. Even if it’s a past client who you might actually want a referral from. Don’t just show up in their inbox a year later with some lame, “I know it’s been FOREVER…” Yeah, it has been forever. Glad you’ve noticed. And unless you’re my best friend from the second grade, forever isn’t good enough to ask me for something right out of the gate. I am not that nice. The world is not that nice.

So if you really want that favor?

Do yourself one, first.

Learn how to write a non-needy email. Or actually set up that auto-responder series. Every time you finish work with a client, add their name to the auto-responder sequence, and have a check-in email go out to them a few weeks later. And then again in a few months. It will, at the very least, encourage a conversation…without you having to remember to constantly start it.

A little consideration goes a hell of a long way when it comes time to ask for a favor without making everyone feel like they’re bending over and getting it crammed up their keister. Because as soon as you stop caring about the clients, the customers, and those connections, you stop networking and start being a needy fuck. (And no one wants as that as their nickname.)

take the

25 DAYS TO $100K

Freelancer Challenge now!

Calibrate your freelance business to reach $100K this year just by making one small adjustment every day for twenty-five days. Enter your email to get started!

It's 100% free, just like the tears you wept over Ryan Gosling in The Notebook.



Just The Tip: Gorgeous Websites Without a Designer

She looked me in the eyes, grabbed my forearms, and told me I was the spawn of satan. It was right after I started The Middle Finger Project, and apparently the name choice didn’t go over too well with some folks. Folks from my “real life.” Folks who were in my Facebook feed. Folks who […]

In: Just The Tip,


How to become an unf*ckwithable freelancer

What does it mean to be unf*ckwithable? View the 10 commandments >>



Click here to tell me what *you* think + let your ideas be seen naked—and then sign your name on our wall of wonder.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

26 thoughts on "No, I Don’t Want To Do You Any Favors."

  1. Matt Cumming says:

    Hey, yeah, so… um … what address should I send those fruit baskets to? 😉

  2. You know what’s worse than those emails? Facebook messages asking you to vote for them in a contest. Urgh. Double the asshat points if it’s a group chat.

    1. Ash Ambirge says:

      I’ve got some strict rules on not doing business through my personal Facebook. I try to keep those boundaries as much as I can, and don’t typically add anyone unless I know them in real life. I feel like maybe someday this will avoid me getting murdered? 🙂

      1. Such a good plan. My Facebook is a mess—time to spring clean—even though it’s winter here. 🙂

  3. maxwell ivey says:

    hey ash; knew my friends at tmfp would have my back. 🙂 just think it wasn’t too long ago I was hiding out not part of any community not commenting on any blogs not sharing my story and not getting any traffic that I didn’t generate from emails. and you know me ash what you read is who i am. i really thought I’ll enter the contest just so i can listen to the hangouts. Apparently, each day’s email about the next webinar had the leader bored at the bottom of the message. Like I told Adrienne that’s what I get for not reading all the way to the bottom. and I was floored when she replied to an email telling me i was in the top five. Yesterday, they decided not to post a leader board. I’m sure its in hopes the uncertainty will make us work harder. but they mentioned my name in the email. Not my whole name or screen name but it was kind of like that moment in the roodolf the red nosed reindeer movie when the girl tells roodolf he’s cute. 😀 today is the last day. I’ll consider it a win if I finish in the top five and can post the final leader board as an example in this week’s blog post. How is that for killing it? keep the mojo coming ladies. will email you with the happy news later, max

  4. YES!!!

    Thank you. Now, a question:

    I have considered setting up those emails using Boomerang for gmail (which I’m obsessed with), but live in fear, that just before the email goes out, we’ll have had a social media exchange in which I found out their dad died and then the next day I auto-email them being all “HOW’S IT GOING ANY GOOD MISCHIEF TO SHARE??” (obviously I wouldn’t use caps, but the effect of it so hot on the heels of my consolations may make it come across like that).
    Or, less dramatically, that it would just get sent out just after I’d spoken to them, and how do you keep track?

    I’m over-thinking this, aren’t I?

    1. Ash Ambirge says:

      Maybe better to use for clients and not so much people you actually DO regularly converse with. 🙂

      1. I was thinking with clients. Just, they sometimes randomly email me in response to the weekly emails. But, really, I’m pretty sure I’m over-thinking it.