The Middle Finger Interview with Ashley Ambirge

This interview first appeared on Successilism on Apr 6, 2013

As I’ve said from my last interview post, I’ve noticed that most of my guests were guys. Not that I’m strongly against it or whatever, but I want to feature women as well. Not just any women though. I prefer someone who’s passionate about their work and has a kickass attitude that can blow anyone’s mind through wit and sex appeal. Guess what, I found a perfect person who embodies all of the above, and it’s Ashley Ambirge of the middle finger project.

How would you describe yourself?
Irrational when it makes more sense than what’s generally accepted as “rational.” Sensitive with a hard shell. Loud with my laughter, quiet with my tongue. Happiest when putting my 500% toward something (regardless of what it is.) Vodka slugging, coffee drinking writer with a penchant for marketing, and a love of all that is fresh, creative and thoughtful.

Ashley-Ambirge

What was your childhood dream?
All I knew was that I wanted to be a CEO someday. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, and I always dreamed of skyscrapers, business negotiations, and fancy martinis on rooftops. Once when I was young, my mom wrote me a card that said, “Ashie + Mommy sitting in a tree. Ashie said, ‘Mommy what will I be?’ Mommy said, ‘Ashie, you’ll be a winner. A big shot CEO, never cooking dinner.” The funny part is that anyone who knows me knows I still don’t cook to this day. 😉

Things you wish you did differently?
Helped my mom garden more when she was alive. I’m pretty sure that’s it. 🙂

What’s your ultimate failure so far?
The time I found myself on the streets of South Philadelphia, sleeping in my car in a K-Mart parking lot, with $32 in my checking account. Following your dreams isn’t always roses, and anyone who’s scared they could lose it all? Very well may. But that isn’t to say I’d ever do it differently.

Was there a time you felt like you were just wasting your time pursuing something that seemed far-fetched to other people?
Never, ever. Perhaps I’ve got some kind of inflated sense of self, but I always knew that what I was doing was important. I thought everybody else was crazy. In fact, I still do.

For the benefit of those who’s still living under the rock, what exactly is The Middle Finger Project?
TMFproject is a blog and community for anyone who’s venturing out to do their own thing–and needs support, and a solid understanding of how the hell to market yourself and actually make MONEY. You might have all of the greatest ideas in the world, but if you can’t communicate them properly and get people on your side? They’ll just remain as is: Ideas, nothing more.

The Middle Finger Project is really awesome, and I personally frequent your blog from time to time. But how did it all began? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that TMF is not the original name of your blog, right? No?
It actually is! It started in 2009 simply as platform for seeking out and gathering like-minded folks–the ones who were desperate for more from life. I had started a separate copywriting agency a while back, but that didn’t get linked up to TMF until 2011 or so. 🙂

I like your no bullshit attitude toward things, but I also wonder, if there’s a time where people think you’re not being serious about what you’re doing since…well, you’re funny. (and yes, that’s a compliment!)

Only the rigid conservatives – sometimes they send entertaining emails our way. Wink. But other than that, no. The proof is in the pudding. Most people don’t make snide comments when you’re able to pull $100,000 in a month, you know? Showcasing your competence gives you a lot of free reign to run things the way you want. Thank god.

Describe a typical day for you?
Depends! If I’m in Costa Rica, like I am now, I wake up, make coffee, spend a couple of hours reading and writing for a memoir I’m creating, hop into my email, check in with our team, assign tasks for the day, finish up any tasks that I’ve got going on, and then spend the rest of the day thinking big and playing in our Basecamp, where I’ve got all of our projects laid out. There I track ideas and brainstorm and get the wheels in motion. Sometimes I’ll also go for a swim in the pool, go out on the boat, or play on the beach if I have time, but usually reserve this for weekends. If, on the other hand, I’m in Chile, I’ll spend the first half of the day at the gym…I love it there. Here in Costa Rica it’s too darn hot. And if I’m traveling? Well then…I usually try to just keep things on auto pilot as much as possible and just check in with team in morning, afternoon and evening. 🙂

What inspires you?
People who feel marginalized. Any of the above. Homeless, in particular. And immigrants. I’m not sure how this is going to play out in my life’s plans, yet, but it will. That I’m certain of.

Advice for people who want to become successful with their own endeavors?
You’ve got to want to become really, really good at something. And when you do, stop doing everything else, and become really, really good at it. Become KNOWN FOR IT. Eat, breathe and sleep it. And then it’ll be easy to become the leader of the pack. Because who else can possibly compete?

So, what’s next?
Phew! Have got the memoir almost finished. Running several joint ventures this year. Running some new online support groups for small business owners and also folks who aren’t small biz owners…but aren’t sure what direction to go. Starting a new company called Life Hooky: Retreats for Confused People. Speaking on a cruise this November. Revamping the entire TMFproject store into more of a resource library. And trying like hell to have as much fun as possible! Slated trips include one to my home – Philadelphia, PA, England, Scotland, Egypt, and possibly Italy. 🙂

Life is short – gotta live it, right?
Oh, and I should probably do some damn exercise, too. I’ve been sitting way too much lately.

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