ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Not Making As Much Money As You’d Like? Time to Fix That.

In: Money Talk

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 Scott. I wasn't allowed to buy anything else. But I always secretly longed for Charmin. I so desperately wanted to be the kind of people who bought Charmin. I imagined they had lake houses, and swing sets; walls that weren't made of fake wood paneling and parents who weren't single and disabled. I imagined they had everything you could ever want in life, those people.

Today, I buy the most expensive, most luxurious toilet paper on the god damn shelf.

I did something similar when I got my very first job out of college.

I bought a $3,000 mattress on my lunch break. My friends were horrified. But they hadn't spent all of high school sleeping on an old blue chenille love seat with a pillow and a blanket.

Luxury became my redemption.

Money became my redemption.

I deserved it.

And I wanted to make up for every last roll of Scott.

I wanted to make up for every humiliating afternoon when I'd make up an excuse to my friend's older brothers, who drove cars by then, to drop me off two blocks away from where I really lived.

But most of all, I wanted to make up for every pained look I ever saw come across my mother's face; every time she wanted to be more for us, but couldn't. Etched in my memory is the time I begged and begged for a Little Mermaid tee-shirt from the Disney Store, but we couldn't afford it. And the following week, when she surprised me with a hand-painted Little Mermaid tee-shirt, which I cruelly dismissed, telling her I could never wear something hand-painted.

She cried.

She was doing her best.

Maybe as the result of these things, or maybe for some other reason, I became fascinated by money.

Why so many douche bags had so much of it; why so many good people had so little of it. As a young professional just getting started, I took making money as a fun little personal challenge. I looked at money objectively; I studied what the wealthy Philadelphia suburbanites did, who I was now surrounded by. How they talked, walked, acted. I went to networking meetings and social events–I once even befriended a 50-something woman with a white mink coat named Reba, who knew everyone and everything, took me to the swankiest restaurants, and made a ton of money, too.

I wanted to know how.

And that's precisely how I ended up in marketing and sales–I quickly discovered that no matter who you were or what you were doing, if you understood these two things better than anyone else, you win the game.

I consumed myself with both subjects.

I tested theories.

I played the game.

But on behalf of my company at the time.

And then eventually I got irritated that my income was capped as an employee, so I quit and started my first business–I knew that all that networking would pay off, by then. But more importantly, I knew that this was the way to make any real money.

I learned to be scrappy.

I learned think smart.

I learned that money is everywhere if you just know where to look.

And more importantly, how to look.

Fast forward several years.

Many of you know that when I started TMFproject from scratch, I ran a public case study on myself on how to hit 6 figures that first year.

That was no accident.

I knew exactly what I was doing, which is why I announced it publicly.

This year, we were well beyond that at the 6 month mark, and we're growing as expected.

The point is that making money isn't difficult–it's simply knowing how to do it. When no one's handing you a paycheck anymore, you need to learn how to produce your own. And it's not as simple as slapping something up on a website, crossing your fingers, and hoping the world discovers it.

That's where marketing and sales come into play.

Whoever you are.

Whatever your situation.

There is hope.

And the money and dignity to follow, right behind it.

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 […]

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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 […]

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May 31

2019

How to Be a Bitch About Money: The 8 Money Policies Every Freelancer NEEDS to Avoid Getting Burned Like a Ham Sandwich—Including the Rock-Solid Refund Policy That Slays

May 31, 2019

Eight-thousand dollars. Eight-thousand dollars! EIGHT-THOUSAND DUH-OLLLL-ERS. That’s the (actual) amount of cold, hard cash one designer recently had charged backed by a client—and her credit card company sided with the client. Mother of ouch. More than that, though, this kind of crisis can be absolutely devastating to a freelance business that’s operating paycheck to paycheck, […]

In: Money Talk

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Mar 12

2013

Percentage Off or Flat Rate? How to Run a Sale That SELLS.

Mar 12, 2013

I hate rules. No swimming after eating. Let him call you. Sorry, our video library can only be watched from within The United States. (Stab. Stab. Stab.) No white after Labor Day. And other silly rules like stay on your side of the road. …I kid, I kid. That last one can slide–as long as […]

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Jun 14

2017

Spending Money is Not a Sacrifice, But a Strategy

Jun 14, 2017

Spending money is not a sacrifice, but a strategy. Most people don’t look at it like that, though, and so they spend less—and end up making less, too. But money is like a lever—which, not so coincidentally, comes from the French word, “to raise.” If you think of a seesaw, on one side you have […]

In: Money Talk

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Aug 30

2016

$199 vs $200: The Difference of a Dollar is Never Just a Dollar

Aug 30, 2016

I was recently told a story about a man named Uncle Bill who went to Colombia, stayed in a hostel, and climbed the ladder into his bunk—even after the four bottles of wine. Uncle Bill wasn’t your average uncle, though. Uncle Bill was eighty-nine years old. Which sounds like a lot, when you say it out loud, […]

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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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 23

2014

Hourly or Retainer OR….

Jan 23, 2014

»  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 […]

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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