ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Life Coaching AND Boob Jobs? What To Do When You Can’t Pick.

In: Starting an Online Business

If you've ever seen me after a vodka cranberry or two, you know the one thing I get heated up about the most is BUSINESS.

I start saying snippy things like, “What moron wrote that on the sign?” or “Estelle Getty could have designed a better website,” or, “Who the hell wakes up and thinks, ‘Oh, I know! I'm going to open a new restaurant and serve pizza AND sushi.'”

The pizza and sushi thing really bothers me. Ditto the preposterous folks that throw Italian and Thai together into one restaurant. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?

It's like nails on a chalkboard. Which is why, when I found out that one of the local restaurants around here–who has since gone out of business–was serving every kind of cuisine you'd ever want under one roof, I flipped my lid. NO WONDER THEY WENT OUT OF BUSINESS.

“Why this isn't obvious to everyone?!” I barked to my poor, poor non-native English speaking friend who was inevitably stuck listening to my rant. “Everyone is so worried that offering less will mean less customers–when, in reality, it's the opposite.” Snarl. Growl. Squeal.

He nodded, politely, though I'm positive he was mentally searching for the duck tape in the trunk of the car, wondering how hard it would be to hold me down and paste it across my mouth. (For the record, it would be very hard.)

And so, I continued on:

“Seriously. No one ever said…'Let's go to the restaurant with the most selection tonight!' No! They say: ‘Let's go somewhere we can get a really good steak.'”

And it was then that that I thought of you.

I thought of you because I talk to small business owners a fuck ton. And time and time again, the big fear is that if they niche themselves too much–if they narrow their focus tooooooo much–then they'll only get maybe one fourth of a real client the entire year, they'll start to lose their hair, their dog will get cancer, and then everything after that will go straight downhill…and all because they “didn't diversify.”

I know many people are starting to identify themselves as “multi-potentialites,” but just because you like a lot of things, and you're good at a lot of things, DOES NOT MEAN IT MAKES GOOD BUSINESS SENSE TO COMBINE THEM ALL INTO ONE.

Yes there is cake. And yes, in many cases you can have it and eat it, too. But not all the time. And not with this.

Do you know what happens when people try to put too many concepts into one business?

Everyone's confused, no one knows what the hell they actually do. Kind of like why Madonna doesn't sing pop, country, rap, salsa, meringue and some opera for good measure–even if she could.

Whereas, on the other hand, if they'd pick one specific thing to build their business around, it becomes infinitely easier to BECOME KNOWN FOR IT, BE REFERRED FOR IT, INSTANTLY RESONATE, AND MAKE A NAME FOR YOURSELF. Then you can think about expanding.

If I were to open a new restaurant–here in Costa Rica or elsewhere–you bet your ass I wouldn't be opening a “grill,” or a “cafe” or any other generic thing.

I'd be opening the place for all things Franks Red Hot–and only things Franks Red Hot.
I'd be opening the fresh shrimp place–and only shrimp, prepared in 25 different ways.
The Delmonico steak place–and only Delmonico steaks.

It is much easier to become known for one thing, than it is to try and become known for many–especially in a saturated market.

Worry about expanding later, and gaining traction now.

I know you're thinking that I must have been drinking vodka when I wrote this, too. But you're wrong. Because tonight I'm being streamed in live to give a little virtual talk to the Ignite Steamboat Springs folks on making shit happen–the actual theme of their conference tonight–so vodka would probably make me look bad. Or make me blow kisses to the audience. Or cause me to cry.

And since there's no crying in baseball, then there shouldn't be crying in marketing, either.

In fact, I should trademark that.

That way, the next time someone tells me they want to become the next web designer who also does life coaching AND boob jobs on the side, I will smack them with a porcupine, hold up a sign that says, “THERE'S NO CRYING IN MARKETING,” link them to this post and hope I don't go straight to hell.

I think that would be professional.

Sep 15

2011

Screw Being Your Own Boss

Sep 15, 2011

  Being your own boss is infinitely harder than having a boss, and by infinitely (which is a pain in the ass to spell), I mean 17,929,531.9045 times harder. Exact math. The next time I hear someone say that they want to be their own boss, I’m going to take the nearest rotten pork chop and slap […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Oct 23

2017

“What Kind of Business Should I Start?” For Anyone Whose BRAIN! IS EXPLODING! WITH! UNCERTAINTY!

Oct 23, 2017

Anyone can start a business these days—all it takes is the willingness to trade something you have. Whether that’s knowledge, a skill set, something you’re good at, or something you like making, if you have it, someone out there will be willing to buy it. (And when you get better at marketing and sales, lots […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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May 30

2014

Is Your Package Big Enough?

May 30, 2014

Confess. You’re reading this because the title made you think of male genitalia. (…And now you’re thinking about how weird the word “genitalia” sounds.) I know, I know. I tried to avoid it, but really, I can’t. Because today’s tip is about packaging your service or product offerings, so why be modest? I’m not even […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Nov 20

2017

Not Sure What to Sell? Here’s a Shot of Inspiration.

Nov 20, 2017

Most people think they need an actual product to sell—but what if the experience was the product? One of my favorite websites on the planet is TabletHotels.com, who have vetted and hand-selected some of the world’s most gorgeous, well-designed hotel spaces. I always go there first, looking for accommodations, because: it’s a feast for the […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Jan 1

2014

THE BUSINESS BLACKLIST: If You’re Doing Any of These 6 Things, STOP IMMEDIATELY.

Jan 1, 2014

1. The first thing on the No B.S. Business Blacklist? Putting up an auto-responder that tells all of your customers that “in the name of productivity” you’re only checking your email at 7am, 12pm and 4pm.  Can everybody that’s doing this go fuck themselves, please? I don’t care about your personal time tables, and you’re wasting […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Jun 2

2017

When It’s Hard for People to Pick, The First Thing They Do Is Ditch

Jun 2, 2017

HI, IT’S ME, AND IT’S FRIDAY, AND I’M VERY EXCITEDDDDD. First off, our brand new flagship fuck yeah website launches next week. (We’ve been working on this behind the scenes for an entire year!) JUNE!!!!!!!!! THE MONTH OF CHAMPIONNNSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT’S GOING TO BE HUGEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! (Please imagine me saying that like a forty-five year old balding […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Aug 7

2014

Tweet When You’re Dead

Aug 7, 2014

Death is weird. One minute you’re painstakingly slaving over the perfect Facebook status update, worrying about the new wrinkle in your forehead, and crying hysterically over the fact that you spilled a drop of creamer on the counter and WHY! CAN’T! ANYTHING! BE! EASY!, and the next, well, you don’t even have the privilege of […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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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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