How I Grew an Online Business While Dealing With Health Issues

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There are a lot of things that can get in the way when you’re trying to start an online business – not enough time, not enough money, not enough motivation. We’ve heard all of these reasons and more from people who were miserable in their day jobs, yet were too afraid to go out on their own.

But today’s guest poster, Elizabeth Neumann is here to show us that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Elizabeth managed to grow an online business despite having to deal with health concerns. Take it away Elizabeth!

Another day in bed…

Soo frustrating to have another wasted day…

That was my life in 2010 when my health decided to go completely downhill.

I began to experience extreme fatigue, weakness and constant headaches from having low ferritin (iron stores) that left me bed-ridden and having to move back in with my parents. On top of it all, I was not able to return to a job that I enjoyed and I couldn’t socialize and travel like I used to.

Since then my health has been up and down (with more downs), over the last few years.

Luckily, I somehow kept a positive attitude throughout.

I turned to my laptop and cell phone from the bed or couch and found blogs, podcasts and videos that brought me into the online world.

At first, I was taking in the content to learn and keep my mind off of how I was feeling.

But slowly I started to see the opportunities that other people were making for themselves.

I realized that making money online will help in three important ways.

1. It Allows Me the Flexibility to Create my Own Hours

I would have the flexibility to work around how I felt with the convenience of working from the bed, couch or, when I felt better, really from anywhere in the world!

This could mean no more pushing myself physically to get through the workday since I could sleep in if my body was too achy, lay down in the afternoon if I felt tired out or lightheaded or even work less days if I needed to.

Best of all, it would mean that I could conserve my energy and use it to do more socializing and activities like I used to!

I would feel better overall since I would have control of how much I did with my days.

How I Grew My Online Business While I Was Dealing With Health Issues2. It Opens Up Opportunities for Increased Income

Between having to take months off work, spending extra money on looking for alternatives to help me feel better quicker and buying supplements to support my health, my income was going downhill just as my health had.

I continued to learn through the free material that many podcasts and blogs provide.

But when I was back to my normal work hours, I began to spend some money towards courses and services that I felt would help me move forward.

Two of these were Gina’s courses.

Her 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success  and 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success courses gave me the basis to understand how to start making an income online and see the many opportunities there are.

I also had been teaching Beginner Spanish in person, but it had become difficult to attend each lesson since I couldn’t possibly predict how I would feel come the time of the class.

So, I thought, I can teach it online instead, which made it convenient not only for my existing clients but also to anyone in the world. It also gave me the flexibility I needed because I didn’t have to attend the classes in person.

It’s a win-win for everyone!
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3. It Gives Me Something Positive to Work On

And it gives me something to think about, other than my health issues.

Dealing with health issues can be a true test of how you deal with stress and frustrating situations.

I figured out early on that I had to accept how I felt and work on solutions since I couldn’t afford to waste my already low energy on feeling down or too frustrated.

When the fatigue was really bad, my life was at a standstill. But even though it was tough, I figured being in a negative mood about it wouldn’t take it away (and would make me feel worse since I needed to relax and rest).

Looking at the online business opportunities, my mind started swirling with ideas.

These ideas grew quickly as I started to feel better.

I joined a lot of Facebook groups that had members talking about having a positive mindset along with discussing the different aspects of working online.

As I learned more, I noticed that it gave me a stronger mindset to deal with my health BUT it also gave me something to look forward to and new to talk about to my supportive boyfriend (now husband), family and friends.

Through this time, I learned a few things about working online while balancing it out with my health needs.

If you are going through a long-term illness, injury or even if you are facing a horrible flu, here’s three tips to remember as you work towards your online opportunities.

1. Take Breaks!

I know it’s hard when you are trying to figure something out or when you’re excited to be working on your business, but you have to take breaks when your body lets you know it’s time.

I’ve been guilty of this a few times and learned the hard way that I ended up feeling worse.

I ended up working longer than I should’ve and either ate later than I was supposed to or I was not taking the time to lay down and rest.

I now listen to my body and eat or rest when needed, which actually allows me to keep working that day instead of not feeling well enough to continue.

Sometimes short periods of work can be quite effective if that’s what you can manage.

For ideas on what can be done during short bursts, check out Lisa Tanner’s post 50 Quick Freelancing Tasks to Grow Your Business in 15 Minutes or Less.

So, please remember to take those much-needed breaks.

2. Take a Full Day Off (or More)   

Apart from breaks, you have to remember to take advantage of the flexibility that working online offers and take complete days off.

This can either be planned days off so you can rest or days off as needed based on how you feel.

When I’m not feeling well and I know that I need to rest, it can feel like a wasted day. That’s when I remind myself that giving myself the day off will help me to continue the next day.

If I don’t, I will instead feel worse and need to rest for more days.

This also applies to those tough emotional days where I would give myself that day to feel frustrated with feeling restricted by my health, but I would tell myself that the next day I would feel positive again.

It’s great to re-energize and be able to continue with things we want to get done, both in our personal lives and our online work.

3. Get Ready for the Ups and Downs of Entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurship journey will definitely be full of ups and downs!

It can get tough at times, especially when we start to work outside our comfort zone by implementing new knowledge and taking care of all of the different parts of an online business.

It’s important to remember these ups and downs will continue on as you will continue learning new things and as you grow your business and online work.

Reading books such as The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and keeping positive messages on my cell phone and on my bathroom mirror have been a few of the strategies that I have used to keep moving forward.

Letting others help you when your health restricts you from doing your regular life is just as important as asking for help online.

If you have health concerns and are looking for a way for earn extra income or work full-time, remember that earning money online can give you the flexibility of hours that you need while having chances to increase your income and having something positive and new to focus on.

Please remember to take breaks, schedule days off or take them as you need them. Realize that there will be ups and downs throughout, so plan your best method to deal with them.

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If you have experienced short or long term health concerns, what tips do you use to work online within your health needs?

ElizabethNeumannElizabeth Neumann turned her love for Spanish and traveling to blogging about strategies to learn Spanish and sharing cultural tips to use when traveling to Spanish speaking countries at She also eases the overwhelming amount of work that entrepreneurs experience by offering Virtual Assistant and Freelance Writing services at

24 thoughts on “How I Grew an Online Business While Dealing With Health Issues”

  1. Thank you Elizabeth for sharing your story with us. I pray you have tons of UP days ahead. Going to check out the 50 quick freelancing Tasks.



    • Thanks Laura! 2016 has been better for me and I believe it will get better as I will be working only online starting on May 1st 🙂

  2. This came at such a perfect time. My husband is the one with health issues, and I need a job that will allow me flexibility to care for him on “down” days. Reading this verified that I’m on the right track with my blog and VA business. Now I just need to be faithful and diligent so my income will grow over time. Thanks, Elizabeth!

    • Thanks Kelly! I’m glad you have found that creating your business helps you assist your husband as needed. Wish you the best as you grow it to get to your desired goals!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story, Elizabeth! I struggle with a simple health issue but not as severe as yours. Thanks for your tips on how to manage and keep moving forward. Praying for you to have more up days than down.

  4. So glad I found this blog. Really touched home with me as I have health issues that limit me physically but I desire a career and to keep my mind active and contribute to our income. There’s hope! Thank you.

    • Thanks Brenda! Yes, the way I see it is that there are unlimited opportunities to work online and make an income. I wish you the best in finding what works for you 🙂

  5. This was perfect and amazing. Thank you thank you thank you. Not sure all what you deal with Elizabeth but I’m in those stages of working on doing blogging and I have a long list of health issues myself and this was perfect. This was just beautiful and I think inspiring just in part to not give up as well.

    • Thanks Mandy 🙂 We all have to keep going, with or without health issues. As technology moves forward, they’ll be more opportunities as businesses will look more and more to hire people to work online.

      I wish you the best in working through your health issues.

  6. I’m glad I stumbled across your article. Very encouraging. There are a lot of people that need to learn how to reach their goals in more ways than one.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. I, too, suffer from several health issues and am now collecting SSDI. As a single woman, I need to start earning some extra income. I can earn $800 per month without affecting my disability. Whatever I do, it needs to fall within the guidelines of my health issues so I don’t lose my disability. Your tips will fit me perfectly. Trying to figure out what I can do is very confusing. I have a smartphone but do not have a computer nor can I afford one. I am 60 years old, have an Associate Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a Paralegal Certificate. Would you please share some words of wisdom and point me in a direction so that I can create this additional income? I really would appreciate your guidance and any suggestions you may have for me. I wish you much luck in your endeavors and look forward to your response. Thank you.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story Elizabeth. Extremely inspirational and powerful!

    We all have our struggles when it comes to building our online businesses, but to deal with health issues and persevere through all the troubles you went through, takes strength and incredible courage.

    Good luck with everything, you will do amazing things in the future.

  9. I’m posting this from my hospital bed during my fifth stay in eight months and everything has slowed to a crawl, but I have my laptop and I do what I can, when I can, and try to be kind to myself when I feel nothing but frustration and depression.

    I want to finally start my Artist/Crafter/Designer business … in part because our financial situation is dire given all the extra medical expenses I’ve racked up lately … but much more importantly I have FINALLY found what I love to do that fuels my heart and soul. My absolute need to be an Artist is screaming and can no longer be ignored. So I just have to trust in the process.

    Thank you for this article … it’s the first one I’ve come across that discusses this particular issue for entrepreneurs. Best of luck to you!

    • Hi Alex

      Sorry to hear you are back in the hospital. I wish you a continued recovery.

      Glad to hear you are finding something positive within this challenge and balancing taking time out and working on it.

      Wish you the best as you move forward 🙂

  10. Elizabeth,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have similar health issues and can totally relate to the constant fatigue and needing to pace yourself. Reading your post gave me hope that I can do this. Again, thanks

  11. Thank you for sharing your story Elizabeth. I have Asperger Syndrome, a form of Autism. I too would like to find a way to find extra money to go with my SSDI as another way to keep my mind off the disability. If you don’t mind, I’d like to use your post as a reference for a blog I am writing for this site. Keep up the good work.

  12. Elizabeth, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. I had been battling trying to hold down a full-time very stressful job. With two fatal experiences to date and a major spine condition; working was literally making me ill.
    Recovering from five surgeries in the past year, I’ve felt down, useless, and just kept watching the bills mount. NO MORE!…I started a desktop publishing business in the 90’s; with my computer and a laser printer. That business turned into a lucrative full-service printer. Business, “Take 2” – struggling to choose an online niche’ but it will come.
    Full steam ahead to start another business for the very same reasons you mentioned. freedom of hours, self-worth, and yes, I need to make a living.
    Thanks again, your words and share are truly appreciated.

  13. Hi,
    This is one of the posts that inspired me to start taking the Virtual Assistant course. I have a different disability, blindness, and I am an almost 30 year IT professional and former professional musician. I started taking the course to begin getting some things under control. I want to suplement my income, get my wife, for health reasons, in a better living situation, and take responsibility for my own destiny.

    Thanks for sharing.


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