ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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The #1 Thing Your Clients Secretly Don’t Want You to F*ck Up

In: Client Nightmares

So the other day I almost got a boob job.

Except by “boob job,” what I really mean to say is BREAST REDUCTION. You know how some people spontaneously splurge at, like, Target? It was sort of like that, except I had already been doing tons of research on the website Real Self, and had selected a doctor or two in Philadelphia that I thought would do a pretty snazzy job.

Fast forward to when I just spent October and November in Pennsylvania, and I was like, “Hey, I should probably get a consult! You know, see what they say!” So I did. I marched my ass right in there and got aforementioned consult, and this doctor was telling me things of my DREAMS.

  • Boobs smaller—check!
  • Armpit rolls eliminated—check!
  • We can even do lipo on your stomach—check!
  • And how about your back rolls, too? Muthafucking check! (I mean, come on, if we’re going under anesthesia…)

So homeboy upsells me on the body of my dreams, and next thing you know, I’m in with the assistant booking an actual surgery to have all of this done. As in, less than two weeks from then. As in, on November 21st. As in, two days before Thanksgiving. As in, WAS I LOSING MY MIND?

There I am, in Pennsylvania all by myself, staying in a corporate housing apartment, without a single family member, and I, Ash Ambirge, think that I am so gosh darn independent, I can actually go through a major surgery without so much as batting an eyelash.

And, I mean, I was game. I was going to figure it out. And then I went to the pre-op appointment. *CUE OMINOUS MUSIC*

Ohhhh, the pre-op appointment. Here’s where I thought that me and the doc were going to get down.  You know, doodle all over my body. Talk about breast shapes. Look at photographs. Bond over marshmallows. Talk about areola circumference—the ush.

But he didn’t do any of that. I stood there naked as he checked his notes, did a one over, and then said, “Okay, we’ll see you on the 21st” before walking out.

I instantly got a pit in my stomach. And in that moment I had never more clearly understood the importance of client HAND HOLDING.

I’ll be honest: hand holding used to be my least favorite part about client work. It’s the part that comes *before* the engagement—the soothing, the reassurance, the trust that they’re making the right decision by choosing you. When you get to a certain level of acclaim with your work, this admittedly becomes more difficult, because you’re in high demand, and that means you have less time to spend on dilly dawdle. But my God this step is critical. Not because clients want to nit pick you, but because they want to feel good about working with you. I always said that 50% of any client engagement is just about making them feel taken care of—and it’s true.

And I did not feel taken care of, by this doctor. Not one bit. I felt like just another number, another surgery, another run-of-the-mill breast reduction—with no customization, no attention to detail, no actual caring about what the patient wanted. Just in and out, another day, another dollar.

So I cancelled the surgery. Lost the $500 deposit. And came back to my senses.

It had nothing to do with his skill, and everything to do with his bedside manner.

Sometimes, soft skills are just important as the hard ones.

Sometimes, making money gets a lot easier when you stop focusing on making money—and start focusing on the person giving it to you.

Aug 31

2017

The Three-Deadline Rule for Requesting Client Feedback

Aug 31, 2017

I’ve worked with a loooootttttttttt of kick ass writing clients over the years, and you know what’s always the hardest part? Never the writing. Always the logistics. If you do any kind of creative work, at some point you will need to request client feedback before you can move onto the next stage. Maybe you […]

In: Client Nightmares

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Jul 12

2017

The Other 50%: What Your Clients Really Want

Jul 12, 2017

She looked at me with worried eyes. “Do you really think my business is going to be great?” she asked, clenching her hands together. That’s when I knew what she needed. Not more advice. Not more brand strategy. Not more discussion on what she’s selling, and how she should position it. “J,” I said, turning […]

In: Client Nightmares

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Jul 18

2012

The Secret to Avoiding Pain In The Ass Clients

Jul 18, 2012

If you’ve never had a Brazilian wax, I’m pretty sure you should try it. Not only will you feel supremely sexy, but you’ll also never complain again about stubbing your toe, jamming a finger, getting a paper cut, or getting violently smashed in the face with a crowbar. Compared to the pain of a Brazilian, […]

In: Client Nightmares

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May 5

2015

Ass-Scratching Business Conundrum: Is It Worth It to Go Out of Your Way…Or Not?

May 5, 2015

You know what’s really messed up? Internet connections. Here we are building these creepy little awesome robots that get injected INSIDE YOUR BODY to cure cancer….making camouflage suits inspired by the octopus that automatically read their environment and adapt to mimic their surroundings, and coming out with wireless electricity, for the love of Edison…but you […]

In: Client Nightmares

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May 23

2017

You Don’t Have to Be an Asshole to Be an Authority

May 23, 2017

There’s a conflict between authority and earnestness. You want to be viewed as an expert…but you also want to be down-to-earth. You want people to respect you…but you also want to be relatable. You want to command high fees…but you also want to be accessible. Most people flip flop back and forth between these two […]

In: Client Nightmares

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Dec 3

2014

How to Say No To Your Clients Without Being a Bitch

Dec 3, 2014

I want to talk about managing clients today, because everybody seems to have a love/hate relationship with theirs, and my theory is that the hate part comes from one of two sources: Tightwads. (Don’t work with them.) Not knowing how to tell them to BACK OFF, HOMIE. Begin a slow clap if you’ve experienced this popular scenario: Client pays […]

In: Client Nightmares

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Aug 8

2017

My Two-Word Trick for Getting Over the Hump When You Have ZERO Motivation to Work On That Awful Client Project and You Sorta Kinda Hate Life and Humans In General and SOMEBODY SAVE MEEEEEEEE

Aug 8, 2017

When you’re having trouble finding the motivation, reframe it. Back in the day when I was young and silly and wasn’t selective about the types of clients I was writing for (AND WE ALL KNOW HOW FAR THAT RABBIT HOLE GOES), I’d often find myself doing work I didn’t particularly want to be doing. Can […]

In: Client Nightmares

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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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