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Feeling the Sting of Failure

On hot tubs and copywriting mistakes…

Are you afraid that you’ll dedicate a bunch of time and effort… and still fail?

Will it be a waste?

My body is currently covered in boils.

I’m dealing with a bacterial infection on my skin.

Where did it come from?

Something I spent months working on – and the best part of our house…

My Free Hot Tub…

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I was able to get a free, broken hot tub off of FB Marketplace.

I spent the end of summer and fall repairing it and getting it back into working condition.

When we first got it running at full force in November, my wife and I couldn’t have been happier.

We’d go sit in it in the cold evenings after the kids go to bed. It was the time we felt the most gratitude for our home.

My wife would get into the hot tub about once a week. I would go in after my end-of-day workout and watch the sunset… five days a week.

I had been in it a lot more often than her or the kids.

Getting ready for church Sunday morning, I looked in the mirror before getting in the shower and saw what looked like large, hard zits all over my body.

They alternated between being painful/uncomfortable and itchy.

As it turned out, I have what’s called “hot tub folliculitis”.

There’s a bacteria in the hot tub water that is resistant to chlorine and shock, and it infects your skin like this.

I’ve been wildly uncomfortable for a few days now. Most of the ones on sides, back, and arms are itchy. But if you itch them, they HURT.

The ones on my posterior are sat on all day, and they hurt.

This morning, there’s one literally on my nipple that is making my whole pec ache.

It’s fun.

Do I regret getting the hot tub? Does this mean the whole thing was a catastrophic failure?


When you pursue great things that not everybody enjoys – like building a copywriting career or installing a huge hot tub – you run the risk of huge failures like this.

What can you learn from them?

1. It almost ALWAYS comes at the wrong time.

As I write this, we’re in the middle of our first snowstorm of the season (finally!).

All I’ve wanted to do is sit in my hot tub and watch the snow fall. We haven’t been able to once this winter.

Now, the first significant snow fall we have, I can’t use the hot tub.

Copywriting failures can be like that, too. I’ve lost big clients and had contracts canceled right when big expenses have come up – like last year when we bought this house.

It happens.

2. There are typically warning signs.

For about a week and a half, my sides and my arms would burn when I climbed into the hot tub.

I have a bit of eczema, so I figured I was having a little flare-up and the chlorine was aggravating it. It would go away in a few seconds.

Turns out, that was my skin warning me that something bad was happening.

If you pay attention to your copywriting business, there are warning signs there, too.

Client communication goes sideways. Your income dips just enough to be a problem but not enough to notice. Your outreach efforts stall out.

It’s rare that a sudden catastrophe destroys your business – you can see it coming.

3. It’s almost never permanent.

I’ve done extensive reading on hot tub folliculitis and the pseudomonas bacteria that causes this.

The condition has no cure, except time.

In 5-10 days, my skin should just clear up on its own.

It’s not contagious. I just have to stay out of the hot tub until it clears up.

When you hit a hurdle in your copywriting career, it’s not like you have to give up the whole business.

Income dips are common. You can minimize them, and reduce their frequency with the right steps, but dips happen.

Truth is, if your business is built on proven strategies that work, sometimes you just stay consistent and ride it out… and there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

4. The solutions CAN be uncomfortable.

The backbreaking part of the hot tub problem is how I rid the tub of the bacteria.

I can’t just treat the water.

I have to fill the tub with chemicals to clean out the drain and jet system… THEN drain the tub completely, scrub it, and fill it back up and reheat the water.


After a mild winter, it’s suddenly freezing and snowy here. The electric bill alone is going to suffer massively when I have to reheat the water from cold.

And the chemicals will probably cost a bit.

And I’ll have to spend time out there scrubbing and cleaning.

It won’t last forever, but being upset about it won’t change anything. I just have to accept the discomfort and do it.

When you lose clients or income, the solution is to put in more work. Double down on a the system that gets you clients.

It might mean spending an hour or two at night working. Or dedicating more time during the day that you really don’t want to be doing outreach.

The only way out is through.

5. It’s COMMON.

The easy reaction when something like this happens is to think, “Man, I’m an idiot! I should have done XYZ to prevent this from happening! I shouldn’t own a hot tub!”

But once I Googled around, I was baffled by how much information there was about the issue.

Forums and Reddit posts loaded with people dealing with this.

Almost every website related to water, pools, dermatology, spas, or health has a blog post about hot tub folliculitis.

Failure feels lonely. But it’s actually one of the most connecting experiences in the world.

The problem with failing at getting copywriting clients is you see far too many people on this app boasting about their successes and how much money they make… and they never talk about their failures.

But they’ve failed.

I’ve failed massively. I’ve had my writing insulted by clients. I’ve been fired more times than I can count. I’ve lost money like you wouldn’t believe.

It’s universal. The ones who succeed are the ones who don’t let failure stop them.

6. You just need a clear, written game plan.

In the next day or two, I’m going to write down everything that I have to do to clean the hot tub and restore it to safety.

It’ll be a long list.

But once I have it all written down, I can plan it out on my calendar and to-do list, and then just focus on one step at a time.

It feels overwhelming now, but it won’t be once I build the game plan.

This is one of those things that you forget when you fail at business.

Overwhelm is real.

It FEELS like there’s no way out.

But you often just need to write down the steps so you can focus on one thing at a time.

Once you reduce that friction, you can get closer to action.

In the end, failure happens. In some ways, it’s unavoidable.

But don’t let it break you or keep you from pursuing the things you want.

You can still have it all – you just need a game plan to respond to the problems you’re facing.

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