ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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“My Brand is Boring As Fuck. With a Capital F.”

In: Starting an Online Business

Andddddd it’s a wrap!

We took The Cotswolds by motherloving storm this past week, as I led a cozy, intimate business retreat with five killer women in the English countryside, complete with fireside chats, darling little pubs, open-air picnics, tons of peppermint tea, and, of course, trekking around in our wellies through refreshingly moist meadows to get that crisp, fresh air into our lungs. (And our brains. Because let’s face it: when you’re inside all day, sucking in the same air as your vacuum cleaner, shit gets stale—and that includes your creativity.)

So what did we talk about? Everything!

However, there was one primary theme that took center stage by design: the importance of contrast. So many new business owners are trying so hard to “do it like they should” and “get taken seriously” and not have their authority questioned, that they end up building their business around the lowest common denominator. So instead of creating something worth paying attention to, they end up not creating, but copying, for the very act of creation requires originality. And yet, that’s the one thing that everyone’s the most unsure about: how to create something that feels fresh?

After ten years of creating fresh-feeling concepts for brands around the world, I can assure you that the answer is not by inventing an all-new thing; it’s about taking whatever you want and learning how to put an all new spin on it. The way you do that?

By finding the contrast.

To illustrate my point, on Day One I wore a knee-length, bright fire-engine-red slip dress—complete with lace around the edges—on top of a white tee-shirt with red letters scrawled across the back: ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE. I then layered on multiple strands of pearls, and paired the outfit with teal flats and a smoky rocker eye. I asked the girls: what do you notice about my outfit? After a short discussion, my point was made: it was an outfit full of contrasts. Tee shirts and lace. Pearls and rocker eyes. Red and teal.

And it’s that contrast that makes something interesting.

Which is exactly what we need from you. We don’t need you to be the best. We don’t need you to be the most. We don’t need you to be like everybody else. What we need is for you to create something of interest.

And the way you do that is by taking one idea and smashing it up against another. You create friction. You create inequality. You create conflict. And this is how you breed originality.

As it turns out, the best new ideas aren’t new at all—they’re recycled.

They’ve just figured out how to pair the right materials.

Mar 30

2016

Create & Offer What YOU’D Want to Buy.

Mar 30, 2016

  “THAT’S GENIUS!” said a lot of really sweet people really big brown nosers after the launch of Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends last week. Except they weren’t giving me the compliment because of what it contained, but rather, because of what it didn’t. “You mean you aren’t inundating everyone with another Facebook group? No forums? No Google […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Feb 14

2014

Don’t Invent a Product Name. Engineer One.

Feb 14, 2014

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m boarding a plane to Nicaragua. Today’s tip should really be: Don’t board a plane before you having at least one successful hour being awake. It’s bad enough trying to successfully stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night; try stumbling through a gigantic metal maze of […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Feb 18

2016

An Ode to the Internet’s Worst Business Advice

Feb 18, 2016

A person, going into business for themselves for the first time: How can I get found? The Internet: Start a newsletter! Person: What, like a weekly bulletin? The Internet: No, like a newsletter. Person: So, like, write a bunch of updates about me, me, and me? The Internet: Yeah! A newsletter! Person: Every week? The […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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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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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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Feb 22

2015

The Smell of Desperation

Feb 22, 2015

You can smell the desperation. You see folks running sideways all over the internet trying to get noticed, be bigger, get heard. But there’s a simple truth that a lot of people forget: If your message is weak, no one’s going to care, no matter how loudly you parade yourself around. Have you ever had […]

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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