How two of Australia's best-known entrepreneurs cope with burnout

Eden Gillespie

Fred Schebesta - Founder, finder.com.au

While his friends were spending their weekends at the pub, Fred Schebesta was walled up in his dorm room learning how to code and build websites.

The award-winning entrepreneur started his first business at the ripe age of 22, while he was still studying at university. After taking out Australian Young Direct Marketer of the Year and being listed in Australian Anthill’s 30 under 30, Fred went on to co-found Australia’s most popular comparison site, finder.com.au.

Schebesta built finder.com.au from the ground up, living on tinned food and working early into the morning with his business partner, Frank Restuccia. The site, which started as a humble credit card blog for students, reached 3.7 million Australians visitors in 2017 and now operates in 10 countries.

No stranger to burnout, Schebesta says that periods of feeling demotivated are ‘part of the game’ and need to be navigated to reach success.

Fred Schebesta’s tips for avoiding burnout

#1 Stay focused

“Staying focused in the beginning of any company and being reliable is the ultimate determination of whether it will succeed or die,” Schebesta says.

“If I ever feel burned out, I seek the company of inspirational people; I watch inspirational movies, read inspirational quotes. Sometimes it’s all about getting your head back in the game,” he says.

#2 Be ruthless with meetings

Like most business owners, Schebesta’s schedule is crowded with meetings and commitments. Without a plan in place, Fred says he’d be overwhelmed with deadlines and snowed under by his dense workload.

I keep a routine of key responsibilities – family life and other personal commitments – and I manage everything through my phone. I’ve also learnt to be a bit ruthless when it comes to meetings. I would say “no” to 75 per cent of meetings,” Schebesta says.

Mary Konstantopoulos - Founder, Ladies Who League

Mary Konstantopoulos – another young entrepreneur – has always been a die-hard fan of rugby league, but it wasn’t until her friend “twisted her arm” that she established the ‘Ladies who League’ media empire.

Mary created the company with the vision of encouraging more women to get involved in rugby league.

Fast forward five years and Mary is now a regular contributor to NRL.com, the Roar and ABC Grandstand.  Her empire ‘Ladies who League’ has expanded to include various spin-offs such as 'Ladies who Legspin', 'Ladies who Lineout', 'Ladies who W-League' and 'Ladies who Leap'.

“Ladies who League has taught me so much about embracing who I am and celebrating the achievements of others. I wanted to create a community where women could come together to talk about sport,” Mary says.

“To see men and women tell me I have encouraged them to go to their first sporting match, to be brave enough to ask a question about sport, or to take an interest in a new sport is deeply inspiring and very special,” Mary says.

Mary Konstantopoulos’ tips for avoiding burnout

A lawyer by day and rugby fanatic by night, Mary says her schedule is one word: “ridiculous.”

Each week Mary writes two articles for the Roar, one for NRL.com and prepares a podcast, all on top of her office job.

As an ambassador and board member for many committees, Mary also spends at least one night a week at meetings for the Full Stop Foundation, LBW Trust, Parramatta Eels Women’s Coterie, Men of League Foundation and ‘Women in Sport Mentoring Program’.

#1 Block out weekends to spend time with family and friends

“I manage burnout in a couple of ways.  If I’ve had a couple of very busy weeks, I block out a weekend. I spend plenty of time with family, get plenty of rest and get a lot of solitude and peace from my yoga practice,” Konstantopoulos says.

#2 Always love what you do

“But how I do it is quite simple: I love it.  ‘Ladies who League’ is the thing that gives me the twinkle in my eye and I absolutely will not stop until women in sport are appropriately recognised,” she says.

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