Pain Points

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The famous Stoic saying “the obstacle is the way” reminds us that we need to turn our obstacles into possibilities. By tackling the obstacle, we become stronger and better. So, what are my obstacles? And how can I turn them on their head, and use them to my advantage?

There’s a famous quote from Stoicism that goes like this:

The Obstacle is the Way

At risk of oversimplifying, it means something like this:

Challenges may feel insurmountable. But within the challenge, we find the answer.

The challenge helps us grow.

Within the challenge, maybe, there’s a seed of an idea.

An idea that will make us better than ever before.

So, what are my challenges?

1. Lack of Passion Desire to Serve an Audience

Sean Rad, Co-founder of Tinder, has a quote:

“You have to give 100%, and you have to be committed. Solving the problem has to be personal or else you’re going to disintegrate.”

Sometimes I wish I had a relentless passion for providing a solution to a problem.

I don’t.

And it’s been at the core of many of my failures.

Take, for example, niche sites.

I was fine writing blog posts for SEO. It was an easy, replicable, scalable task.

But finding solutions to my audience’s problems?

Finding their true pain points and solving them?

I didn’t care for it.

I didn’t have any desire whatsoever to solve their problems.

My grand vision wasn’t “to solve problems”.

The vision was rank and bank.

When that rank and bank loophole closed, I was left with nothing.

Now, let’s go back to Sean’s quote – in particular, this part; the part where he said:

“…solving the problem has to be personal…”

Let’s brainstorm that for a second.

What problems are personal to you?

  1. ______________________________________________
  2. ______________________________________________
  3. ______________________________________________
  4. ______________________________________________
  5. ______________________________________________

Here are the problems that are personal to me, right now.

My pain points.

  1. Find a way to make a good living online through content creation
  2. ______________________________________________
  3. ______________________________________________
  4. ______________________________________________
  5. ______________________________________________

I could only think of one.

Should my lesson be: do what you’re passionate about?

Alternative Reading: Don’t Follow Your Passion

Scott Galloway says do not not follow your passion … instead, do what you’re good at. Otherwise, you might end up a starving artist.

Let’s put a pin in it and move onto the next challenge I face.

2. Lack of Persistence

Most ideas take a long time before they get traction.

It’s the cliche growth curve image reminding you to “hang in there kitty” … it looks something like this:

(Sick MS Paint skillz, I know.)

But there’s a grain of truth here.

At the start, when you’re not getting positive feedback, you need to have something else that helps pull you through.

I heard from a podcast lately, and I’m paraphrasing:

“You have to believe that the pain is worth it.”

For all my projects so far, I haven’t had that belief.

So, I quit.


If I’m passionate and have a true vision, will I be more persistent? I think so. That doesn’t mean my passion is monetizable, of course.

3. Trouble finding something of Value to Sell

Back when SEO was a sure thing, I found it really easy to find website ideas.

Websites were easy – rank and bank.

In today’s climate, you need to sell something of value to your audience.

What might that be?

Here are some ideas, off the top of my head.

  1. A course
  2. Downloadable templates and checklists
  3. A membership
  4. SAAS products
  5. A monetizable newsletter

For each of the above, there needs to be alignment with a few other elements:

  • A niche I’ll be able to commit to.
  • An audience willing to pull their wallets out.
  • A content marketing strategy that gains traction.

Not. Fucking. Easy.

What Now?

If the obstacle is the way,

Should I turn my pain point – making money online – into a business?

Steps would involve:

  1. Solve the pain point for myself
  2. Help others solve that pain point, too.

Now I’m back to Step 1, though.

Solving the fucking pain point.

Well, that’s a Catch-22 isn’t it!