Mar 5, 2021

My Influences, Teachers, & Mentors

There’s a myth in what my friend Maggie calls “Celebrity Entrepreneur” culture, that as creatives and service providers we show up fully formed, with 100% all our own original ideas, smelling like roses.


We’re constantly taking in information, analyzing it, and making meaning out of it. When someone or something inspires us, we try to emulate it. And inside each one of us is a unique, inimitable synthesis of our heroes, mentors, influences, teachers, clients from hell, best friends, life experience, and so on. (One of my favorite books, Steal Like An Artist, lays this out beautifully.)

It would be impossible to catalogue every single one of the people I’ve learned from in this space—and not that fun for you to read, probably—but I’m going to continue trying.

Ash Ambirge, The Middle Finger Project

My very first mentor, and where I learned an actual framework for writing copy (vs just running on instinct). Ash was doing “content marketing” before that was really a word, and one of the major things I picked up from her was the importance of deep-diving into a person’s worldview—how to really connect my words with the humans on the other side of the screen. I still use parts of this method when I do customer research & Brand Development for my clients. 

Kelly Diels

Her writing on the Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand was sort of my gateway drug to  talking about marketing the way I do now, and understanding the origins of most of the practices in place today. Kelly is a brilliant, thorough researcher with a gift for articulating the big picture. I’ve learned so much from her. 

Maggie Patterson, @smallbusinessboss

Maggie is currently on fire calling out every messed-up practice she sees in online marketing & entrepreneur culture… and I love it. Here’s one of her recent blog posts about cult tactics in online marketing. But her IG stories are where it’s at.

André Chaperon, TinyLittleBusinesses

André has a lot of bros in his sphere, and this isn’t where I would go to study writing craft—BUT I have learned a ton from him in terms of email cadence, calls to action, and the overall strategy of how to put together an effective email sequence. I also am a huge fan of his Chain of Beliefs exercise, which I still use all the time as a planning tool (for webinar scripts, sales pages, and more). His Sphere of Influence program is really good. (Notice how alllll his testimonials are from men though. 🙄

Stephanie Hayes,

My business coach / friend / “Canadian wife” since 2018. 

A few others whose work I admire… 

Other people & methods I have studied / taken cues from but do not necessarily admire as human beings:

  • Jeff Walker’s PLF Formula 
  • Bryan Harris, Videofruit / Growth Tools
  • Digital Marketer Before & After exercise
  • Marie Forleo’s B-School emails & old episodes of MarieTV
  • Russell Brunson’s webinar script structure ;(
Samantha Pollack

About Sam

Samantha Pollack is a Copywriter & Creative Director who works with ethically minded, mission driven businesses who are actively trying to reshape our culture (and possibly tear down the patriarchy). She’s also the founder of The Highly Sensitive Business Owner, a 12-week online program that helps HSPs & neurodivergent business owners create healthier, more sustainable systems in their work.

Sam also writes about feminism, privilege, pop culture, entrepreneurship, the creative process, and whatever else is on her mind. She currently lives in Asheville, NC.

Emails for cult thought leaders.

(Personality included.)

Want to learn how to craft emails that inspire action and engagement WITHOUT the “tried and true” (cough: patriarchal) norms we’ve all been taught?

I’m doing it, and I can show you how to do it, too.

(But sometimes, I also like to write about the books I’m reading, or the creative process, or the entrepreneurial experience, or why I hate Steve Jobs, or how I met my BFF. I’ll send you emails like that, too.)

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*Just kidding. It’s only an email list.

Interested in working together?