Why would you want to create a business from your painful experience?
Because you care.
Because it is on your mind all the time.
Because you have become an expert in this area.
Pain Changes You
I have had my share of painful experiences both in business and private life and those experiences have changed me as person. I do have the same values as before but some are stronger than before, like honesty and integrity, and I do have a better understanding of people and situations. I am also clearer on my boundaries.
We are who we are because of our experiences but even more importantly of how we have dealt with them. I read somewhere recently that what determines our happiness derives only 10% from our experiences, 50% is supposedly genetic and 40% is how we decide to deal with life.
When you (decide to) deal with a painful experience you usually come out of that experience a stronger person than you were before and suddenly a subject matter, that might not have interested you before, becomes your passion. You are all of sudden determined to help others deal with similar experiences or help them avoid them if possible. There are numerous examples of people who suddenly change their career path because of what they have experienced in their lives and through these sometimes very life-changing and painful experiences they finally find their true calling.
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How do you turn pain into a gain?
Having a positive and hopeful attitude has a big influence on your painful experience. This is not about being a Pollyanna and ignoring the reality but to have hope that things will turn out for the best and even if they don’t, that this is probably not the end of the world. It might help to think about the worst that can happen and accept that outcome in order to move on and to focus on other possible and more hopeful outcomes.
During your painful experience you will notice what you need in terms of information and support. In many cases you will not get enough information and there is lack of support as well. This can be cause for frustration but this is your chance in disguise even if you might not realize it immediately. You know now what people in your unique situation need and want and if you are willing and able, you can offer this help to others.
When we go through a painful experience we are often not just looking for expert advice or support but for someone who understands our unique situation. We may just need to share our pain with someone outside of our circle of friends and family or we do not want to share anything with anyone close to us. As an outsider who has gone through exactly the same experience you are way more valuable than any expert who has “just learned” about your situation.
By helping others in a similar situation you are also helping yourself. You may become so passionate about the subject that you want to give freely of your time and energy to anyone who is in need of your help. Be careful to set boundaries and decide how much you give away for free. I am a firm believer in giving but I also believe that at some point you need to consider turning your unique experience into a business so that you get paid for your time and energy. In some cases your painful experience and now passion is not enough to start a business and you might need to invest in education and maybe even get a degree or certificate in your area of expertise.
Of all the things you can do to let people know you exist and have this unique experience, blogging is probably the most obvious and easiest one, as well as podcasting and videos. This is something you can do part-time to see if people like what you are writing about. Depending on your expertise you can offer one-on-one sessions or courses or even write a book about your experience. Everybody has something to say so don’t be shy to share your painful experience with the world. The world needs your unique perspective.
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Three Amazing Ladies
Instead of being just theoretical about possible businesses that can be created from painful experiences I want to introduce to you three amazing ladies. Their experiences are very different but all of them have it in common to have turned what they have experienced into a true calling and created a business from their pain.
Hanna Boëthius at Grainbrain
Hanna was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1 when she was only 2 years old. Diabetes Type 1 means the pancreas can’t produce any insulin, and it needs to be injected every day. This also means that Hanna has been constrained her whole life of what she can or can’t eat and from very early age needing to read and dissect nutritional contents before consuming food. Despite her obviously painful experiences as a child she thrived and after studying European Studies in London she started to climb the corporate ladder. It didn’t take very long until she realised that this was not what she was meant to be doing. In addition she got diagnosed with the beginning stages of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis at the age of 30. Hashimoto’s is a chronic inflammation of the thyroid, meaning it can’t produce enough of the hormones it needs. Being constantly on guard with her own nutrition and health in general she realised that her true passion was healthy living. Hanna quit her corporate job and educated herself as nutrition coach and started her business, called GrainBrain. Today Hanna focuses on helping people with long-term illnesses, especially diabetes, that could benefit from a better diet and healthier lifestyle.
Karin Hagelin Andersson at Hagelin Grief Recovery
Karin lost her father in 2001 after his long battle with cancer. It took her two years to get back on track, it was then when she discovered the Grief Recovery Method and got the book. She didn’t have the energy to read the book then and put it on her bookshelf. Karin moved on with her life and got married in 2005. The young couple moved to Zurich, Switzerland where a year later their first child, Ingrid, was born. On her 2nd month checkup something was wrong with her leg movement and after some testing Karin and her husband got the diagnosis; Ingrid had Spinal Muscle Atrophy type 1, a very rare and terminal genetic disease. Six months later Ingrid passed away. After the wonderful care through Ingrid’s hospital time, suddenly the young parents were all alone in their grief. Karin realised that there was no support system for grieving parents and started to look for help for herself and others. Suddenly the book on her bookshelf started to make sense and she became passionate about the topic. Karin quit her corporate job and educated herself as a Grief Recovery Specialist and started her business, called Hagelin Grief Recovery. Today Karin helps people who have experienced any kind of loss or have some kind of baggage they need to get rid of.
Anne-Sophie Reinhardt at Make peace with food, your body and yourself
Anne-Sophie went on her first diet only 10 years old. The diet took her on a journey that threatened her life, sanity, relationships, and everything else that makes up life. She started to starve herself, cut back on more and more calories and food groups, worked out compulsively and she gradually lost all will for life. For 14 years the daily walk to the scale determined her self-worth and her happiness. In 2007 she spent a year in bed severely depressed. That is when she found podcasts, online communities and step-by-step she found her way back to happiness and life. With the depression gone, her eating disorder was still around. Being afraid of living life fully, she got married at 22 to a man who promised to take care of her. Her eating disorder only got worse and 8 months after her wedding, she had to admit herself to a treatment facility to finally break free from anorexia. It took years to completely let go, but today Anne-Sophie is free from anorexia, confident in her body and happy with her weight. During her recovery, she started to write, podcast, and create an online community that has become her business, called Make peace with food, your body and yourself. Today Anne-Sophie helps women with body image issues and a history of dieting and being dissatisfied with their bodies find peace of mind and self-acceptance.
Can you turn your pain into gain?
Painful experiences come in all sizes and shapes and don’t have to involve death or diseases. If you have experienced pain in your private or business life then you can be quite sure that someone else has gone through a similar experience. By sharing your story you might be able to help others even if you don’t turn it into a business – just helping someone is a gain.
Please share your experiences and insights below and share this post with anyone who might relate to the topic. You might be able to help someone in need.