Karen Kossow Out of Your Ordinary
Karen Kossow, founder of Out of Your Ordinary. (Credit: Courtesy of Out of Your Ordinary)

Karen Kossow is the mother to two young children with autism – so she understands how critical self-care is for parents like her. When Covid first spread in the U.S., she remembers how the “the hamster wheel of therapies, appointments and never-ending stress that came from parenting two young, autistic kids” came to a halt. For the first time since giving birth, Kossow had time to think about her own needs – and realized she, too, required care in order to thrive. The Boise, Idaho, founder launched Out of Your Ordinary in 2023, with the goal of helping fellow parents of autistic children center themselves – and has already worked with hundreds of families, she says. “We always hear ‘Put your oxygen mask on before helping others,’” Kossow notes. “But no one shows us how to do it. That’s what I’m here to change.”

Here’s our lightly edited Q&A, from The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project.

How is your business different from others in your industry?

I haven’t found another person who is solely dedicated to providing the parents of autistic children with the self-care opportunities they need. I blend a unique mix of mindfulness, meditation, gratitude, and neurodiverse awareness practices to get parents the sort of soul-restoring self-care that can help them feel like themselves again – so they can be the best parents they can be for their autistic children.

Tell us about your biggest success so far. 

Growing my email list to almost 500 subscribers and launching my first coaching program. My goal is to help 10,000 autism families thrive by the end of 2030.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?

I have a problem with buying and taking too many online courses. I finally found a trick to help though: I’ve promised to donate $100 to the presidential campaign of the candidate I least want to win, if I buy any new courses in 2024. So far, it’s working great!

Have you experienced any significant personal situations that affected your business decisions? 

I’m a homeschooling, work-from-home mom to two autistic kids, with about 10 appointments a week to maintain between the two of them. Every day, it’s a challenge to prioritize and juggle our ever-evolving needs. I live what I preach in my business every day! I also live with several (sometimes) debilitating health conditions that sometimes force me to take several days off in a row. It’s all about working the best that I can, when I can, and then automating and delegating what I can and must.

What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs? 

Learn copywriting! It is by far the number one skill you need to have as a solopreneur on a limited start-up budget.

How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?

My inspiration is my darkest days. I let them motivate me to make different choices, rather than wallow in misery, before I move on to something (hopefully) better!

What is your go-to song to get motivated on tough days?

“Medicine” by Harry Styles.

Who is your most important role model?

Author and podcaster Brenè Brown. I love her attitude towards resilience, mindfulness, and showing up – even when it’s hard. She is a huge inspiration for me.

Website: www.outofyourordinary.com

Check out our Advice + Tips for entrepreneurs starting-up
Watch our latest
Subscribe to our podcast