I was obliquely familiar with pain up until this point because the bulk of my online business relates to writing.

I knew of pain. But I didn’t know pain directly. At least, not like this. Chronic pain is forcing me to flip my entire business model upside-down.

Normally, pain and writing go hand-in-hand — especially copywriting.

  • Copy gives your readers a glimpse into what they could be, do, or have in life.
  • Copy is where the money’s at. As the saying goes: “Content tells, whereas copy sells.”
  • Copy uses proven psychology and neuroscience to inspire action from readers. Neurons are hard to outsmart, so you should probably work with them instead of against them.

Chronic Pain Is Threatening My Entrepreneurial Dream. Here’s How I’m Pivoting - Post Outline

If your readers read, but they never take action… you’re dead in the water when it comes to online business. (Unless you’ve going full creator, which still feels very high-risk to me.)

So in pretty much every copywriting book, the core message is to highlight a customer’s pain in order to make sales or get results.

There are many copywriting formulas for this:

  • PAS — which stands for “Problem, Agitate, Solution” — begins with pointing out pain.
  • PAPA — which stands for “Problem, Advantages to solving it, Proof you can solve it, Action” — begins with pain.
  • P4 — which stands for “Problem, Promise, Proof, Proposal” — also begins with pain.
  • ACCA — the popular nonprofit copywriting formula that consists of “Awareness, Comprehension, Conviction, Action” — begins with awareness of a problem.

You get the idea. There are dozens more formulas like this.

Pointing Out Problems And/Or Pain Is A Cornerstone Of Good Copywriting

So the rule of thumb is to name that pain and twist the knife any way you can.

Writing about pain is one thing.

Being in pain is another.

And y’all… I’m feeling the pain these days.

Right now, my mornings often look like this:

(Me getting electrical stimulation at physical therapy. I will give the PT aide clearer photo-taking directions next time.)

We think it’s sciatica, a condition in which a bulging disc pinches a nerve and leads to all-day pain in the back, glutes, and legs. I’ve had low back wear and tear before, but nothing like this.

  • I can only stand for about 20 minutes at a time.
  • I’ve worn my slip-ons all summer because attempting to tie my shoes leaves me seeing stars.
  • The complex pillow formation I sleep on at night to keep my spine straight looks like Stonehenge.

The pain will not let up.

It’s been taking a toll on both my personal life and my business.

Specifically…running my business at the pace I normally go is no longer physically sustainable. So a big, BIG pivot is on the horizon for me.

“I’m 34. I’m too young for this”

I say that to myself at least 30 times a day. It’s been a challenging few months.

One thing is for sure…I’d give almost anything to make the pain go away.

  • Chiropractic? Let’s get crackin’.
  • Physical therapy? Gimme those awful sit-to-stand exercises with the medicine ball, I’ll do what it takes.
  • Edibles?! The Blue Raspberry Delta-8 gummies from Smokiez are great for sleep, but by 6:00am I’m back in the pain cave.

Acupuncture, yoga, Pilates, reiki, dietary tweaks… you name it, it’s on the table.

Part of me is grateful, though: If I were still at the 9-to-5 job with shitty pay I was at a decade ago, tackling this problem head-on wouldn’t have been an option.

  • I wouldn’t have been able to get help quickly and write a check,
  • I wouldn’t have been able to flip my schedule upside-down to make appointments work, and
  • I wouldn’t have been able to ask my audience for help.

I did that last one last week — clearly, I’m not the only person experiencing stuff like this.

Screenshot from the author

Trust me, I would love to hustle. But at the moment, I’m physically limited from doing so. This means I have to work smarter than ever before.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

If you’re also in a situation where you need to work smarter and not harder, consider revisiting one or more of these tried-and-true approaches in online business.

  • Become more fluent in content creation. Writing quickly and well (Or well enough) has given me everything in business. From keeping up on networking outreach to beasting out emails during a launch, rapid writing is what feeds most IP-driven online businesses. Sharpen that axe.
  • Assess your “container”. Your value proposition is one thing. The container in which you offer this value proposition — course, coaching call, program, membership — is another. Too often, people put the second one first. They say “I want to create an online course” rather than “I want to help college graduates make an extra $500/month on the internet.” Invert your thinking; you might find there’s an easier, more leveraged way to help people.
  • For God’s sake, raise your prices. Read about productivity hacks all you want, y’all: The best productivity hack is to specialize, learn pricing psychology, and then use it to confidently charge double or triple the price and maintain happy clients. It’s simple math; to work half as much, double your rates.

Having a successful career as an entrepreneur is probably closer than you think. But to do that, you need to structure your online business efforts accordingly. Trust yourself as you pivot and a whole new way of being might be just around the corner.

Thanks for reading. 🙏🏼

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