ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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The $2,000 Offer to LEAVE a Company

In: Starting an Online Business

When I was hired as Director of PR for AWeber, the VP of Operations called me into his office two weeks after I had started, and offered me $2,000 to leave the company.

“You've been here two weeks now,” he started, “and you probably have a good idea if this is a place you're going to enjoy working at–or not.”

I nod calmly.

“So,” he tells me, “if you don't think it's a good fit, I'm going to give you $2,000 right now to walk out that door, because we only want people on our team who are as equally excited about working for AWeber, as we are to have you.”

So naturally I took the $2,000.

Just kiddddding.

I didn't take the $2,000, but it's a lesson that's always stuck with me–don't just say you want the best. Proactively seek out the best, and then quality control their ass.

I keep these things in mind as TMF continues to grow, too.

As I add employees, I want to make sure they're just as invested in TMF as I am. So, you know, I'm doing things like threatening to have some Colombian guerrillas kidnap them in their sleep if they slack off.

Again, kidding. (Though the scene in Crocodile Dundee immediately comes to mind–“That's not a knife. That's… a knife.“) (I just laughed out loud and shed a tear watching that scene.)

While I won't be pulling any knives on anyone–yet–one of the things I have elected to do to help employees get invested and encourage them to think big, is dedicate at least one paid day per week to doing nothing but drinking wine and brainstorming how TMF–and our forthcoming projects–can be better–and then giving them free reign to act on it. (Wine not optional.)

Because although we've all heard it 17,839 times, but it's way too easy to get stuck in the trap of working in your business, when you need to also be working on your business.

I feel like it's similar to why some people spend their whole lives working, only to wake up one day and realize they're 52, wrinkly, and fucking pissed. They spent too much time caught up in the day-to-day, working in their life, rather than working on their life. And frankly, I would hate for my business to wake up at age 52–post menopause–and realize it hasn't grown or done anything worth doing.

So, there's that. There's also an official job duty I've officially labeled as “hand-written notes and thoughtfulness.” Because there's not a day that goes by that I don't want our clients, or our customers or anyone who ever reads this blog to not feel welcomed, appreciated and valued. So as 2013 unwraps the pretty little hot pink bow around itself, you should see some fun customer-experience details coming into play. Because this is important.

There also might be random trips to places like Panama involved, but don't tell anyone I told you.

Because, at the end of the day, if you ever expect to grow, you can't do it all yourself.

That's a ticking time bomb if I've ever seen one. (I haven't, of course, ever seen one. That's a ridiculous idiomatic expression.)

But hiring others can also be scary, too, because you've got to risk them screwing it up. Making you look bad. Not doing things the way you would. Not working as hard as you would. Misspelling the word “apocalypse” in a client email. (Though camaraderie might be more likely–who the hell can spell that?) Slacking off. Wasting your money. And scarring you from ever hiring again.

But then again, it's also just as likely they'll:

Do it beautifully.
Make you look better.
Work harder than you could.
Say just the right thing.
Prove themselves.
Want to work.
Want to help.
Want to make an impact.
And make their work matter.

Because while hiring on might cause you to lose your mind–it also might be the very one thing that can save it.

That, and your business.

Jul 11

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2016

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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 […]

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2016

Create & Offer What YOU’D Want to Buy.

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  “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 […]

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2017

Too Shy to Stand Up and Sing Your Own Praises? Start Here, You Humble Little Lovebug, You.

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Someone tells you that you did a great job, and what’s the first thing coming out of your mouth? OH NO BIGGIE, BARB, IT WAS NOTHING, REALLY—NO WORRIES, LEAST I COULD DO! We’re quick to diminish our efforts because taking credit for all the things somehow feels self-important; braggy; boastful; full-of-herself. Do this enough times, […]

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2015

The Smell of Desperation

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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