The Leader assistant podcast sasha eburne

Sasha Eburne is a virtual assistant business owner and VA coach based in Australia. 

In this episode of The Leader Assistant Podcast with Jeremy Burrows, Sasha shares her story of starting her own virtual assistant business, scaling a VA business, and the benefits of career coaching.

Sasha Eburne Jeremy Burrows - Leader Assistant Podcast Screenshot


Because a goal without a plan is just a wish!
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


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Sasha Eburne is a VA Biz Owner and VA Biz Coach. She’s based on the Gold Coast of Australia and works with clients all over the world.

Early in her career, Sasha hit a roadblock in her professional life and struggled to move past it. It was only after she began to adopt the techniques her coach showed her that she began to see the benefits. And now after enjoying 20 years of business management in the corporate world, followed by managing her own successful Virtual Assistant business, Sasha’s passion is to utilize her experience and expertise to provide a service to those starting out in the field or wanting to upscale.

Sasha shares her proven method and strategies to help VAs take their business to the next level. Her goal is to share her VA way exclusive techniques with others to help them create a flexible and fulfilling career, and she coaches her clients in a way that utilizes both their heads and their hearts.

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Sasha Eburne 0:00
Hi, I’m Sasha Eburne and my favorite quote in relation to leadership is because a goal without a plan is just a wish

Podcast Intro 0:13
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident game changing leader assistants

Jeremy Burrows 0:28
are you tasked with ordering food for your office? Let me tell you about ezCater with over 100,000 restaurants to choose from nationwide and a 24/7 customer support. EzCater helps assistants like you and me succeed at work and makes our lives easier. Visit to find out more. Hey friends, welcome to The Leader Assistant Podcast. It’s episode 236 You can check out the show notes at It’s your host Jeremy Burrows here and thank you so much for tuning in and listening. And also thanks for sharing and leaving reviews on on Apple podcast or Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. I appreciate the support over the last 235 Plus episodes. So today I’m excited to be speaking with Sasha Eburne and Sasha is a virtual assistant, business owner and virtual assistant business coach. And Sasha first of all, welcome to the show and what part of the world are you in?

Sasha Eburne 1:48
Thank you so much for having me. I am from the Gold Coast, Australia.

Jeremy Burrows 1:52
Awesome. And what’s something about you personally that you’d love to share with everyone listening, whether it’s hobbies, favorite book or Netflix show, kids, pets, all the above.

Sasha Eburne 2:07
I am an avid snow skier and heading off a ski trip on Monday. So I’m counting down the days and I am a single mom to an amazing four year old so I’ll be taking her for the first time. And I had my daughter on my own because I still hadn’t meet met Mr. Reitz. So I am riding along solo through life, building my empire over here. And I guess just traveling the world, one country at a time.

Jeremy Burrows 2:37
Awesome. Well, why do you like skiing so much?

Sasha Eburne 2:41
I was taught when I was about three, four, my dad and we were very lucky. We’ve skied many different places in the US and in Europe and Australia, New Zealand, and just the feeling of being up on the snow not occur in the world wind in your face. It’s just a, an a pit of, you know, epiphany moment, I would say it’s just, I guess the mountains, they just have so much beauty behind them and so much history as well. So yeah, it’s definitely a place that I feel free and thoroughly enjoy. And I guess, being a mum and all of that. There’s been a couple of years of not skiing. So I’m very excited to get back on the slopes.

Jeremy Burrows 3:16
Nice, nice. Yeah, I love the mountains. And I love being out in nature and the views I but I don’t like the cold in the snow. So I usually go to the mountains in the summer. Do some hiking. But that’s great. Yeah. Cool. Well, tell us a little bit about your career. What was one of your first, you know, real jobs, if you will? And how did your career progress? And, you know, tell us about, of course, you know, being an assistant, and then we’ll get to the point of starting a virtual assistant business. But why don’t you give us a little bit of your career story?

Sasha Eburne 3:55
Yeah, I guess from a very young age, I always knew that I wanted to work and I wanted the independence to be able to buy things and do things when I wanted to. So my very first job was McDonald’s, which I don’t I don’t know about the US within Australia, it’s typically the typical one that you get at the age of 14. And then I actually really didn’t know what I wanted to do to be fair, and I was in the late late couple of years of high school and still didn’t know wasn’t able to change subjects at all and decided to leave high school. And not finish due to the fact that I really didn’t know and my had a conversation with my mum and she said if you you leave, you do need to go to college, and you still need to further your education. And she told me about one of her cousins that was working in a hotel over in London, and told me about the experience of what that was like and that sounded interesting at the time. So I jumped in and went to college and went and studied hospitality and events management. And that really cemented my career in the hotel industry and so spent 20 years in the hotel industry and was very lucky and fortunate to be able to travel around to different hotels and the east coast of Australia spent some time working in a hotel in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi, and also some time over in Vanuatu. And that very much has built a lot of that administration side of my Korea, you know, really organization of lots of different events and whatnot. And funnily enough, but not finally enough. 20 It was 2020 COVID here, and I was working as an event manager and sales director in a hotel, and we were the first hotel in the country deployment quarantine Hotel. So all of us first first, we sat down all of us out of a job. And from a very rocky year of in and out of different jobs that just weren’t ticking the boxes for me, I landed in executive assistant role in the real estate industry, and soon realized that that industry wasn’t for me. And it was just by chance that I connected with an old industry colleague that had told me about the world of virtual assistants. And she was only working three days a week earning more that she had in the hotel industry. And I like the sound of that I was like, I don’t really want to work 60 hours and be paid for, you know, only 38. And I want to have the freedom to travel wherever I choose. And there was so many times throughout the years where you go and ask for annual leave and say I really want to take this this holiday and then be told no, it’s the busiest time you can’t take time off. So very restrictive, as well. So I watched the space for about six months, and then had a not so enjoyable week in the current job that I was doing. Set my business up within 24 hours, secure my first client in 24 hours, I was working my full time job and one client for a week and then realize how many leads and how many clients were out there and went in one day and just said, I’m done. took the leap of faith, really, really scary. Being a single mom, I’ve got a mortgage, and I just decided to go all in. And within three weeks, I was fully booked ahead a schedule of up to 40 hours. And then within six weeks of studying, I was earning more than I was in my executive role in the hotel.

Jeremy Burrows 7:17
That’s great. So I want to ask you plenty about this. But before we really dive into the virtual system world, I have to have to ask, Well, are there any funny stories or just crazy situations in your time as hotel hospitality events? I know there’s a lot of interesting people that come in and out. My dad was a hotel manager back in the day. You know, there’s a lot of interesting things that can happen. So just curious if anything interesting or funny or challenging happened in in, in those stories of the hospitality industry?

Sasha Eburne 8:00
Yeah, I guess where do I start? There’s probably a lot over time. And so very interesting people that we’ve met, I think meeting famous people was definitely a highlight. You know, when I was working on the front desk days and actors and things like that would come in from TV shows and things like that here in Australia, we all got a little bit starstruck that was kind of cool. But probably the amount of sort of different people that we found when I was working on the front desk, and I was only 19 At the time, that we’d have criminals saying where, you know, they’d call us up in the amount of, you know, things that they would spend to us. And then by the time that we’d call the police, we had one guy that was actually wanted for arrest in five different states of Australia. So that was a little bit scary. He’d actually pulled the toilet out of the floor and to completely destroy the room. So that was interesting to say the least. And then probably the other thing that I found quite interesting in my career, I’ve managed to escape to cyclones by only a couple of weeks from leaving different resorts. So the first one I was working as the Events Manager on Hayman Island, beautiful island in the Whitsundays here in Australia. And I decided it was my time to leave and move on to a different job. And I had done so and then two weeks later, Cyclone Yasi came through and destroy the entire resort destroyed a lot of the different islands and the hotels up there, which was quite devastating. Just by chance, and then, when I was living in Vanuatu, again, I’d made the decision to move back to Australia and really build a life here in Queensland and two weeks later Cyclone Pam came through, and even just watching the conference center on the news with all the staff and the guests and like the chandelier shaking in the you know, in the conference center, it was just like, you know, that could have been me and it was just so fascinating that it’s happened twice now that I’ve left and then cyclins have come through afterwards and I’ve managed to not be in an experience like that.

Jeremy Burrows 10:05
Wow. Wow, that’s crazy. Yeah. So okay, so you jumped? You said within you set up your business in 24 hours. And then he said you had your first client? How’d you get your first client?

Sasha Eburne 10:21
via our Facebook group, which has been certainly quite fruitful and lucrative the entire way through my business, I would say 85% of our business comes from Facebook groups.

Jeremy Burrows 10:35
Now, how would you, you know, recommend diving into Facebook groups in a non spammy salesy way to get clients?

Sasha Eburne 10:46
Yeah, it’s a great question that comes up all the time. So there are certain days of which you can self promote in a lot of the groups. And in a lot of the rules, they say that they might have a promotion day on a Monday where you can put a promotional post and do hashtag primary Monday, and then you can do that. And again, it’s about crafting the message to attract your ideal audience, not just throwing things at a wall or whatnot. So being really articulate with the wedding, then what I find and what I coach on is, rather than going out there and creating the demand, and creating all these offers, and spending time generating all these packages and throwing them out to no one is there is so many business owners looking for VAs and they go to the Facebook groups because they want recommendations from other people that have worked with the virtual assistants, they want social proof to know that they’re the right people to support them in their business. And for a small business owner, it can be quite, I guess, nervous, or you know, a bit of a jump for them to you know, spend some money and invest in somebody to come in and support their business, especially if it’s just been them, as well. So they really look for that social proof. And it’s about responding to the ads, per se or being people are asking for support in an articulate way to stand out from everybody else. Rather than I see all the time on a lot of the international ones people just right, I’m interested, well, that business owner is not going to jump in and look at your profile look you up to then reach out and make an inquiry. It’s about giving them the correct information that they need there. And also just showing up for yourself and showcasing your skills and your expertise in that comment. So if you’ve got 20 years experience in what that client is looking for, actually state that in the comments. So there may be 40 comments on one lead, how do you make sure that that business owner comes to you for an inquiry and opens up a conversation with you rather than everybody else. So standing out from the crowd, and just being a little bit unique and a little bit more targeted with the way that you respond to the lead has definitely been a bit of a secret sauce for me, as well as not taking every lead to the detail because clients don’t know what they don’t know when sometimes they don’t even know what a virtual assistant can do. So I hear it all the time where people like, oh, there’s been no leads for me. Whereas one lead to one lead might be suitable. But if they don’t open up a conversation with the client, they’re not going to know. So I’ve actually had some points that maybe from a post didn’t sound like that there were a client for us or didn’t have enough hours. And then after actually having a call with them worked out, they’re actually a 10 hour a week client. It’s actually really suited for our higher level services. So really just having more conversations with more business owners, and then just being strategic on how you respond. So you stand out from the crowd.

Jeremy Burrows 13:38
Nice. So what what about lots of lots of lots of questions. What about the maybe for those, let’s let’s do the scenario of those who are just starting? Or maybe they’re trying trying it out? Maybe they are in between jobs and wanting to get their feet wet and try it out and see if they can get some traction? How would you approach the packaging and hourly rates and pricing strategy for someone just starting?

Sasha Eburne 14:17
It’s a great question that comes up all the time, I actually record a podcast episode on hourly versus packages last week. And it’s really about knowing the difference between the two and that they both have a purpose. So a package is really where it’s an outcome driven job or an assignment. So using social media as an example, if you’re paying somebody for a social media package, you have the same deliverables every single time. So you might have three posts, captions and hashtags. You know that every single week, that’s what they’re going to get. If you’re working within someone’s business more of an assistant. Having an hourly rate can work really well because you don’t really know how long it’s going to take to do all of the tasks. So when people are starting Add, I always recommend that they start with hourly, because then at least they’re compensated for the work that they’re going to do. So if a client reaches out to them, or they’re a demanding client, and they’re constantly on the phone to them, or constantly having zoom calls, all of their time it’s compensated. So I definitely suggest hourly is a really good spot to start when people are just jumping in. And then they can learn about packages and making sure that the packages are profitable. In order to make sure it’s actually worth doing a package, there’s nothing worse than creating a package based on how long you think it’s going to be without understanding the duration of the project. And that actually not being profitable at all, and sometimes diluting the rate even further.

Jeremy Burrows 15:40
So what about hourly rates? Then, like, how would you start off with hourly rate, would you start lower and then over time go higher? Would you start higher like, and then see what the demand is, what’s a good way to kind of figure out what your hourly rate should be? Yeah,

Sasha Eburne 15:58
I’m very much a believer of pricing your worth. And especially if you’re doing it as a side hustle, you want to make doing extra hours worth it. And a lot of people think that they need to charge lower because they don’t have experience in the VA industry. So take away the word VA industry, and they’re jumping into the space, because I’ve already got experience, they’ve probably, you know, could have been an EA for 15 years supporting directors, they already know how to do the work. So valuing the experience that they’ve got valuing the education that they paid for any money that they’ve invested in furthering their education and pricing according to that. So there’s a few things that I normally get people to do is one, see what the market is demanding. So you can have a baseline, also work out how much money you need to spend in your business to be profitable. So whether you have to take tax out or in Australia superannuation. Whilst it’s optional to pay ourselves, it’s something to keep in mind that if we’re not putting that away for our retirement, there’s also tech that we need to pay for to keep our business running. So one, working out what the breakdown is of that, then working out the benefits for a client of actually having somebody that’s experienced in the work that you’re going to provide, and then providing the additional value. And the reason why I like to price on value is if somebody jumps in and starting, say $30 an hour, that by the time they take everything out, it dilutes the rate. And then they just on this hamster wheel of just getting clients and just getting it done. And the idea, I believe, of people moving to the VA space is to actually make a business out of it. Actually, this is going to be their life have the flexibility. Whilst Yes, it’s a great side, as a side hustle, it has the potential to be a business and I guess be a forever job for anyone. So if they’re starting really low, it’s going to take them much longer to be able to either reduce days in their full time job, or even replace their income. So definitely starting higher waiting for the ideal clients is definitely the strategy that I like to eat is.

Jeremy Burrows 18:02
Love it. I love starting higher. That’s great. And I like what you said about make sure it’s worth the extra time that you’re spending. It’s like, it took me a while to get to that point. When I started doing coaching. And started even I did some virtual assistant work a little bit when I was in between jobs. And you know, it’s that, it’s always that, well, if I’m too expensive, nobody’s gonna hire me. And, you know, but if I’m too cheap, then I’m not going to I’m not going to make what I want to make. And it’s going to be harder for me to be motivated to do the work. So yeah, starting higher, that is a great tip. Okay, so you start high, you get a few clients, you mentioned you had, you know, you get that first client quickly through Facebook group, or whatever, did you and I know you said Facebook was a big part of ongoing scaling. But in those first, you know, several weeks, was it more of Facebook leads? Or was it word of mouth from the first client? Or what was the best trigger that you could kind of pull for for scaling early on?

Sasha Eburne 19:23
Yeah, it was both. I guess once I’d taken the jump, that I told everybody. And I’ve kind of always listened to entrepreneur podcasts and everything. And everyone says, just tell everybody because you never know who’s going to need your services. And I understand that sometimes that’s a little bit difficult for people that are still working, because they don’t want their their employee to know. So the second that I actually went out there and put it on Instagram, put it on my LinkedIn like this is my business. Then I started to have conversations with people that I’d known in the hotel industry that had their own business and be like, Oh, I think I need a virtual assistant or my second client was actually a friend that had her own Virtual Assistant business. So I went and subcontracted and worked for her for some time. And then another ex colleague from a different industry that I’d worked in had also recommended me to client that she was working with. And then I think the fourth client that was from Facebook, so it was a little bit of both. And even now, a lot of the leads that we come through, somebody recommended you, I’ve seen you on Facebook, or this person told me to reach out to you. So it’s now a collective of, you know, definitely word of mouth as well.

Jeremy Burrows 20:31
Most so then did you get to the point where you had to hire help?

Sasha Eburne 20:37
I did. Yeah. I probably sat on the idea for about four months, just because I was trying to navigate the legalities. And how do I pay them? How do I make sure it’s worth it? What do I pay them? So really took the time to do that? And I was, I was probably a little scared to be honest. Because I was just like, what if they don’t do the work that I do? Or what if it’s not good enough for the client. So that took a lot to overcome. And it was probably about six months later, I hired my first person. And then that just snowballed. We just started to get more clients more team. And within six months, we had a team of 15 around the country.

Jeremy Burrows 21:12
Wow. So is that how big you are now? Or have you kind of grown more you’d like to keep it around that size?

Sasha Eburne 21:21
Yeah, I’d like to keep it around that size. Because if it got any bigger, then I would have to bring in an operations manager or general manager to kind of take the pressure off myself. And because now I run both businesses. So I sit across the virtual assistant business. And now a lot of the focus is on coaching new VAs or coaching existing VA businesses to grow and scale their business. So I work pretty much 90% of my time in that business, and then oversee the other business for about 10%. So if we were to grow even further, we’d need another one have been into the VA business to support that growth.

Jeremy Burrows 21:52
Yeah. So tell us a little bit about the coaching side? What, you know, why coaching? What’s been your experience with coaching and in your own business? And maybe then, when do you think it’s appropriate for someone who starts their business? Or has been virtual assistant to maybe add that as a, as another stream of income? As a as a coach? Yeah, great

Sasha Eburne 22:26
question. I think once they see the results for themselves, and once they realize that they’ve got something tangible. So I started coaching after four months, so quite soon, but I knew that the strategy that I had created was working, and I’ve been doing it every single day. So it was very much a slow burn. And I started coaching one to one, and every couple of months, I’d have somebody else come in, and I created a six week program, and it just evolved, evolved from there. And then last year, I decided to get qualifications in coaching to really take it to the next level and to really support that growth. Because whilst I can sit here, and I can tell people about the things that I’ve done, coaching is just that next level of supporting somebody as an individual, how to help people overcome limiting beliefs, and really shift forward mindset wise, which I didn’t know how to do in the past. So I went and became an NLP Master Practitioner. And now I can support my coaching clients on a deeper level and support them in overcoming limiting beliefs, programming through time, money mindset, as well, because that comes up a lot with people and then it comes back to the pricing less to think that they need new clients are really supporting them on that deeper level. And that actually changed my business even know what I can support people a lot better. But it also allowed me to grow as a person. So showing up every single day, my business 110% really changing the way that I work with clients in all facets of business. So rather than I need this client to come in, and you know, pay the bills, it’s rather changing a lot more of the mindset to me, like I actually get to help this person today. And really leading with heart and soul in my business, to really provide a really great space of working business relationships. And that’s really what changed my business. So everything that we do in our business, we do with our highest intention of with heart and with soul and with love. And it’s really like I said, transform the business and then you know, really built that culture within our business and build that really long standing relationship with our clients. And then beginning of this year, I decided I really wanted to make more of an impact. I wanted to reach more people. And the reason I became a coach was because I had the successes. I wanted other people to have the successes. I wanted the EAS that burnt out from working 15 years in corporate space that the mums that are wanting to go back to work but don’t want to leave their little ones at home and share with the world that there is this opportunity out there for them to jump into and actually make a life out of it. So I decided that the time that I had in my business was valuable. So I went from one to one coaching to one to many. And that’s definitely allowed me to grow the business to impact more women and more people around the world to give them the opportunity to have a life that, you know, I’ve created for myself.

Jeremy Burrows 25:29
So what’s maybe a practical example or tip, when it comes to career coaching, you know, maybe something that you do with your clients or that coaches have done with you in the past? Maybe an exercise or question to ponder, what’s something that you know, in the coaching world has really helped you? Or is a good tip in that area?

Sasha Eburne 26:02
Yeah, I think the probably the first one is self reflection. So when things come up for people is to rather rather than be like, Oh, I don’t I don’t want to jump on that Zoom call. And I don’t want to price might, you know, price up here? Because I think it’s really asking for that much money, and getting them to self reflect all Why do I think that? What is it that’s telling yourself that that’s too much, because I guarantee you that there’s 20 other people out there that are valuing themselves that are offering a higher price. So what is it that you’re not valuing in yourself and your business to say that you don’t deserve to have that sort of money, and to really support them in that growth, because that learning piece is an every single day learning piece, we’re not all going to be experts in knowing our worth entrusting ourselves tomorrow, that they have to do it as a daily practice every single day. And impostor syndrome, self doubt it comes up every single day for the women that I coach, and it’s about really giving them the tools necessary to support them to do that themselves on a daily basis.

Jeremy Burrows 27:06
Love it, love it. Well, Sasha, what is maybe one thing that you want to encourage or inspire or just challenge assistants, virtual assistants, or executive in office assistants, whatever type of assistant you are listening right now, what would you like to say to the assistants of the world?

Sasha Eburne 27:30
Yeah, great question. I really want to challenge and I guess break through the box that we can be put in by society. And that the typical nine to five grind is not the way that life has to be. And if you’ve ever felt like a entrepreneur and an employee’s body, then this is a space for you. And you can use the skills that you’ve already got to really make something for yourself and really take ownership of it. And I guess really living life on your own terms and not having to answer somebody to answer somebody every single day or get told no, you can’t do this. No, you can’t take this holiday, that there is actually this big, wide world of entrepreneurship that you’ve already got the resources to do to jump in and just use the skills and the experience that you’ve already got. And actually live life how you choose to live it.

Jeremy Burrows 28:22
Love it, well said, Well, I want to I want to wrap up with something maybe a little fun, in maybe a little vulnerable if that’s okay. Okay. What’s, what’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your virtual assistant business?

Sasha Eburne 28:38
Oh, I think in the beginning, just saying yes to every client. And now it’s very much about trying to find the people that are aligned with our values. So in the beginning, it was just like, are they saying Great? Yes, let’s just get the money in the door. And then you know, one side of the site they’re not my people we don’t get on it’s you know, all were too similar. Or we try to make recommendations and they don’t want to listen, it’s just you know, sometimes the cemetery is off. So yeah, definitely you don’t need to say yes to everybody. And you know, you get to work with the people that choose to work with that are aligned with, you know, your thoughts and your values as well.

Jeremy Burrows 29:18
Nice. Awesome. Well, thanks for sharing and where is the best place for people to reach out if they’re, you know, just want to say hi, or check out what you’re doing with virtually assisted and your virtual assistant coaching, all that fun stuff.

Sasha Eburne 29:36
Yeah, great. Probably. Instagram was the best place I hang out there on most days. So virtuallyassistedau for the VA business, and Sasha Eburne__ for the VA coaching business.

Jeremy Burrows 29:48
Often will I’ll put those links in the show notes as well as your website and LinkedIn and all the other fun stuff. At Sasha thanks again for being on the show. Sounds like you’ve got a great team and a great trip coming up in the snow and so I hope you have fun skiing and best of luck to you and thanks for sharing your insight with with my listeners.

Sasha Eburne 30:21
Great. Thanks so much for having me. It was fun

Unknown Speaker 30:33
please review on Apple podcasts

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