Grabbing Life By The Balls: A Conversation With “Hey” Amber Rae

Does this deeply funded, eternally incubated startup generation need more encouragement? Yeah, actually. And Amber Rae is making a business out of it.

Grabbing Life By The Balls: A Conversation With “Hey” Amber Rae founder Amber Rae is an Internet soothsayer.


Each morning, she wakes up, drinks a green smoothie, and checks her social networks. Then she spends the rest of her day convincing people to quit their jobs.

Formerly the Chief Evangelist for Seth Godin‘s Domino Project, she embodies the voice of a groundswell movement among Gen Y-ers who grew up hearing “the sky’s the limit” from teachers and reading The 4- Hour Workweek in their dorms. It’s a generation that worships Steve Jobs and dreams of “getting funded” the way its parents’ bands dreamed of “getting signed.”

Amber Rae is championing this movement. “We now believe anything is possible, and we’re willing to push boundaries to prove it,” she says.

She’s built a business coaching would-be entrepreneurs and publishing stories of employment independence. She composes modern proverbs–using Sharpie on Moleskine–about making work not just a job and following one’s passions. She signs her name with a heart and says “fuck” a lot. As in “plan the fuck ahead.” Heart.

Now with billionaires like Peter Thiel dangling cash to lure kids away from college, and twentysomething-skewing technology incubators popping up like the mumps, one might ask, does the Zuckerberg Generation need any more encouragement?


Amber Rae believes there’s a universe of tepid entrepreneurs-in-embryo out there who need to be inspired, not just incentivized.

“My aim is to create a paradigm shift in terms of what’s possible and spark positive behavioral changes,” Amber Rae says. “There are a lot of safe, comfortable, and miserable people out there.”

From selling her clothes and buying a one-way ticket from San Francisco to New York with no work lined up, to quitting a prestigious job after a month in favor of self-employment, she’s put her entrepreneurial sermons into personal practice. And though she’s amassed a dedicated following of social media hippies, the unabashed optimism has polarizing effects.

“When people hate, it actually has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them,” Amber Rae says. “I’ve also realized that if I’m not pissing someone off, I’m probably doing something wrong.”

Her name itself embodies the “define your own life” attitude she preaches. After her father died when she was a child, and her mother remarried, Amber Rae Pritzl became Amber Rae Lambke. Years later, when her stepfather was no longer in her life, Amber Rae decided to legally drop the last name entirely and brand herself on the web as “Hey Amber Rae.”

Amber Rae’s consulting and content businesses grew as she slowly chronicled her work with brands like Frito-Lay, gurus like Seth Godin, and friends seeking life advice. Eventually, her soothsaying surpassed other sources of income, and she declared independence. “I’ve found that there’s a business model in helping people make the right things happen and get results doing them,” she says.


For every Bill Gates, thousands of eager entrepreneurs fail. But if every few thousand crappy startups produces a Facebook or Microsoft, perhaps giving a few more Xbox-playing kids a nudge is just what the world could use right now.

In other words: “Move, and the world will get the fuck out of your way.” Heart.

Read about more people like Amber Rae, part of Generation Flux


About the author

Shane Snow is co-founder of Contently and author of Dream Teams and other books. Get his biweekly Snow Report on science, humanity, and business here. In addition to Fast Company, Shane has written for The New Yorker, Wired, and The Washington Post