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  • Kelsea Koenreich

Reclaim Your Freedom: A Guide for Overworked & Overwhelmed Founders

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

If you worked for someone else before you started your business, which you probably did, one of the biggest reasons why you started your own business was for freedom. Freedom of time to do more of what you love doing, freedom of choice to make decisions based on the impact you want to create in the world and freedom to be flexible with how and where you work.

And even with the best of intentions to keep this freedom as a core part of what you want and are creating, it’s just too easy to become an employee of your own business as you continue to grow.

The truth is, you want to succeed so badly - you are willing to do whatever it takes. I know this about you, because I feel this too. Pushing through is easier than sitting still, ignoring what your body and mind may need for the sake of meeting deadlines isn’t uncommon. The problem is, overworking and overwhelm have become the norm for business ownership. I see people posting about how they traded their 9 to 5 for a 24/7 and honestly… my blood boils. I am saddened by this reality, and I am on a mission to change it. I know right now you’ve been raised to believe that your value is dictated by how much you produce and how hard you work. And while I don’t believe this work should be easy (that’s the other end of the spectrum of lies I won’t get into in this blog) it damn sure shouldn’t damage your well-being, health, or relationships. A bigger business that creates greater impact at the expense of your quality of life isn’t success.

What Keeps You Stuck Here

You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, if you just keep pushing until…

Shit, you reached the end of the tunnel and the workload didn’t lighten, there’s other problems to solve and your dream of freedom goes up in flames. This is the story most women tell themselves, that there is an end to the madness and one day they will be able to breathe again. A goal with a moving goal post that keeps getting pushed further and further down the road. And then years later with bags under your eyes, after we’ve missed years of our children's lives we are left to wonder what would have happened if we just committed to what we said we were going to do. I’m going to tell you something most business consultants and coaches won’t, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is no point in which your problems disappear, they just change shape and form the longer you run a business. The good news? You can change the weight you carry from the problems, how you navigate through them, and how they ripple into your life outside of business. Will small problems be solved? Yes, as they should be. And then more will arrive. Instead of wishing, hoping and dreaming about that light at the end of the tunnel, that point in which you are magically working less and living your million dollar life - you have to have accountability to stop moving the goal post.

Operator Error

It’s not me, it’s you. It’s easier for us to blame our problems and our circumstances on other people. But if there is anything I know, accountability and ownership will change (or in my case, save) your life. I believe my third time in jail was the rock bottom that worked because it was the first time that I stopped blaming everyone else for putting me there and realized that I was the one making the choices that kept me coming back.

Without making those choices, I wouldn’t have kept ending up there. And while you may not be behind bars, you damn sure aren’t living the freedom you want when you’ve handcuffed yourself to your work. If you believe that owning a business is the problem, and the reason why you are always overworking and overwhelmed - that will stop you from changing it. Because with that belief you’re saying… “Welp, this is what I’ve chosen since I stepped into being a founder/CEO.”

And that means that your situation, emotions, calendar and everything else that’s touched by the business are completely out of your control.

When you instead, raise your hand and say “Hi, it’s me… I’m the problem, it’s me.” (I couldn’t NOT use that here!) That's how you start to change your situation. That’s how you get your power and your freedom back.

Getting Your Freedom Back

Instead of hoping for that light at the end of the tunnel, chasing the always moving goal post or blaming your business for the overwhelm you feel. Here’s what I want you to do instead: First, take ownership. This is the accountability that I just spoke about right above. And without this - nothing else will work. You are the one saying yes to everything, all of the meetings, projects, and tasks are brought on with your yes. Your busyness is your choice.

I don’t want you to take ownership from a place of blame or hatred, you don’t need to beat yourself up because that’s a whole different can of worms we don’t want to open. Honestly, you are doing the best you can with the skills and conditioning you have. MOST people believe that you have to run yourself into the ground to succeed, so of course you were just following suit.

Second, set boundaries. I mean really set them, communicate them to everyone involved, and ask for accountability to hold them. Hyper independent women like us operate differently, we are full-force ahead and unstoppable - which is great. But sometimes we forget that everything we do affects everyone around us, our teams and our families. We need to set clear boundaries and expectations for our time, energy, relationships, projects, communications… everything. The more clear you are with what you will and won’t allow for your business and life, the better. Third, rework your schedule. How we spend our time is a product of what we believe is most important. (Read that again.) So, what is most important to you? (Hint: YOU should be the priority) Your work and your impact are very important. How you lead change, fill gaps and create solutions matters - and none of it is possible if you aren’t taking care of yourself and leaning into your personal fulfillment. Enjoying things outside your work is equally (if not more) important than enjoying your work. Schedule self-care times, time off, dates with friends, open time to try new things… and visionary time for your business.

And lastly, enlist more support OUTSIDE the business. You’ve likely started and/or built a solid team - do you trust them? Are you micromanaging? You have the support here it’s just about utilizing it to it’s fullest potential. Let’s also look outside the business though, because a lot of overworking isn’t just about hours on the calendar. It’s also the mental load that we carry because of all the responsibilities we have as mothers, leaders, partners, friends, board members… Make a list of all the responsibilities you have outside of your business. Now delegate at least 5 of them. AT LEAST FIVE. (This is why my 7 year old does his own laundry!)

I promise you that living a life that is rich with purpose and joy can run right alongside your ambition and drive in your business. And if you are constantly stuck in the cycle of overworking, make sure you attend my upcoming masterclass, Breaking The Cycle of Overworking: How to step out of the day-to-day-grind and into time-freedom.

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