As a young adult, Ash Ambirge found herself homeless and sleeping in her car in a K-Mart parking lot after both of her parents passed away. With less than 26 dollars to her name, she knew that something needed to change if she was going to survive.
But you see, Ambirge didn't just want to survive. She wanted to thrive. Ambirge wanted freedom — financial freedom, creative freedom, and freedom to create an incredible life.
Since those days of sleeping in her car, Ambirge has transformed her life to create The Middle Finger Project empire. In fact, just this week, Ambirge's book of the same name launches to the world. We interviewed her to talk about how she fought through fear to find a life of freedom. Here's what she had to say.
How did you prioritize your time as a remote worker to both run an extremely successful company and write a book at the very same time?
THREE. HOURS. The first three hours of my day are the most important: they're the ones I dedicate entirely to my writing and to myself. No clients get these hours, no friends, no family. Just me. I'm absolutely selfish first thing in the morning. But those three hours are mine to create whatever I want with them, uninterrupted.
So what have you been working on during this time?
For the last five years, I've been creating a book, now out with Penguin Random House, called The Middle Finger Project. Before that, I was creating my online business. And now? I'll be continuing to build more online businesses because I look at these like assets: it's like acquiring real estate, except instead of a lawn you get pixels. And instead of renting out a room, you can rent out your mind.
What a lovely analogy. But, what happens after those three hours are over? How are you able to switch gears, and what do you do with the rest of your time?
Once those three hours are up, I'll switch gears and jump into the running of my actual company: Slack conversations, emails, answering questions, planning. Then it's lunchtime and it depends on where I am as to what happens next.
If we're at home, I'll make lunch and then continue on with the afternoon portion of my day, when I'll take client calls, which are deliberately held until 3pm if I have the luxury of deciding. I know myself well enough to know that if I started doing these in the morning, my energy would be zapped for the rest of the day so I try to get the real creative work done first—then client communications, etc.
However, if we're not home and we're traveling, then my afternoons are for exploring. We'll go out and eat lunch somewhere and then walk around the city, or hike the mountains, or do whatever we want to do. These are the days I cherish the most. And the more focus you put on scaling your business, the more time you'll have for exactly this.
What's your best advice for current remote workers or individuals looking to become remote workers who also wants that same type of freedom?
Adopt the posture of an advisor, not a freelancer. A freelancer takes orders, right? However, an advisor gives them. And this changes everything: the way you're perceived in the marketplace, how much clients trust you, how much money you can earn, how easily you get a gig.
Don't wait for someone to give you a task: dig in, show up, and decide what YOU think would be best for them to do. Then, tell them what you think. Advise them. Act in their best interest. And the money will always flow.
But what about the fear of getting started? The remote lifestyle is a brand new world for traditional employees. How did you fight through the fear to start freelancing and eventually build your own company?
Traditional success lacks so much wit and imagination and originality and creativity.
Traditional success is much more prescriptive than we think: anybody can stand there ringing a bell for 40 years until someone gives them a gold star. But, is that what you want to do with your life?
You want to rent out your weeks, your days, your every waking hour to someone who regards you as a mere human resource?
That should be enough motivation to give freelancing a try.
When you work for yourself, you can show up as the bright, enthusiastic, creative, inspiring, effervescent human being that you are—and get paid for it, rather than punished.
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