Soulpreneur Scaling Stories Podcast: 23. From General Virtual Assistant to Content Strategist | Leanne Reardon

In today’s episode, Leanne shares her inspirational scaling story of evolving from dissatisfied corporate employee to multi-passionate entrepreneur. After leaving a toxic job with no plan, she attended a transformational retreat where the vision for her business supporting soul-led businesses was born.

Despite an initial disappointing experience with an unqualified coach, Leanne persevered in intentionally scaling her virtual assistant offerings. You’ll hear how she built sustainable revenue through ongoing client retainers and referrals and innovative services like “VA for a Day.”

But Leanne’s entrepreneurial journey was just beginning. Embracing her knack for systems and passion for content repurposing, she co-founded The Repurpose Club to help businesses maximize content visibility.

Tune in as Leanne vulnerably discusses lessons learned in starting and scaling two passion-driven businesses simultaneously. You’ll gain insights into finding aligned partnerships, developing new income streams from your talents, and packaging services in fresh ways.

Leanne’s entrepreneurial evolution showcases the power of trusting your intuition to build a joyful business beyond societal norms. Whether you’re just starting your scaling journey or exploring multi-passionate possibilities, her story will leave you inspired to embrace your unique magic.

Connect with Leanne:
Join the Free Co-Working Session every Thursday @TheRepurposeClub
Get The FREE Ultimate Guide to Outsourcing

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[00:00:00] Andrea Elibero: Andrea here, your host and passionate business coach and scaling strategist for Soulful Service Providers and Coaches. Welcome to another episode of Soulpreneur Scaling Stories. Have you ever wanted to look behind the curtain of your fellow entrepreneur’s business to see what actually went into scaling it?

Well, you are in for a treat because that’s exactly what we are doing here. In each episode, we will be uncovering the truth behind the lessons and the stories behind what it truly takes for sole preneurs to scale their businesses intentionally. I’m hoping that their stories will help you to unlock the true potential of your business so you can create your own soulful, abundant and aligned laptop lifestyle through intentional scaling.

So whether you’re just starting out on your scaling journey or you’re a seasoned entrepreneur seeking inspiration, this episode has something incredible in store for you. Are you ready to rise, grow and create? Create a business that fully supports your dream life. Well, let’s dive in before we begin.

Make sure to hit that subscribe buttons. You never miss an empowering episode filled with real stories and soulful insights.

 Okay, well today we have Leanne Reardon here who is a virtual assistant and she is here to share her scaling story with us. Hello Leanne, thank you so much for joining me today.

[00:01:26] Leanne Reardon: Hello, hello. Thank you for having me.

[00:01:30] Andrea Elibero: So if you don’t mind, can you please introduce yourself and tell everybody what your business looks like today?

[00:01:39] Leanne Reardon: Good, good question. Where do I start? So I am Leanne, Sunflower Assistant. I support sole led businesses with their business support and day to day admin I have a real strong passion for systems and tech set up. So that’s sort of my sort of, like I said, passion and why I really, really enjoy doing. Um, so I work with multiple clients with, um, Ongoing support retainers and also under my VA for a day service where, where clients and old clients as well come back just on an ad hoc basis.

Um, so that is one part of what I get up to. Um, the second. Part is I have co founded the Repurpose Club with another virtual assistant, Molly, and we are a content repurposing service supporting online business owners to get the most out of their content, you know, increase their visibility without diluting their message through repurposing their content and having a strong content marketing system.

So the software assistant has been Alive, I guess for coming up to two and a half years and the repurpose club just just under a year It’s still really really really new Um, it’s in its infancy lots of changes still But yeah, that’s sort of like in a nutshell what my business or both businesses look like on a day to day

[00:03:20] Andrea Elibero: Beautiful. So we’re going to come back to the repurpose club because I want to dive into this and the story behind that. Can you please also share what your business looked like when you first started this two, would you say two and a half years ago? What were you doing then?

[00:03:35] Leanne Reardon: Hmm. So, it’s really interesting when I look back at that time, you know, I, I feel like I was really fortunate and really lucky that I had this idea to start my business. I’d just left a really, really corporate, uh, toxic corporate. situation. I’ve worked with special education, um, for around 16 years, really, really passionate about what I do, really good at what I do as well.

The impact I was having on children and family’s lives. And then I moved teams, moved boroughs and. Things went downhill really, really quickly and actually the whole, my whole career was just not in alignment with, with what I believed in. I was working for a system that I didn’t believe in, so I quit. I quit with no plan, no job, career was over, slight identity crisis probably, and went on a retreat.

And it was from that retreat that I decided, okay, what do I love? What do I love doing? And it was the systems and the strategy and the, um, sort of structure and organizational part that I love to do. So I went on a retreat and I ended up working and, and gathering clients. You know, so I actually had clients even before I had a business.

[00:05:02] Andrea Elibero: Wait, from the retreat, you gathered clients.

[00:05:05] Leanne Reardon: Yeah.

[00:05:06] Andrea Elibero: That’s insane. How aligned is that? Like, like the universe is like, hello, please do this. Like, that’s crazy.

[00:05:13] Leanne Reardon: Yeah, it was. And it felt so aligned and it felt, I don’t know, like just the magic, you know, the retreat was all about. Coming into the center and the power of your womb, you know, the portal of creation and the, you know, what are you creating next in your life? What, what debris are you clearing out to make space in to, to move forward with?

And it was so in alignment and I actually worked with that client still. Today. And I’ve been so blessed and I feel so lucky to have long standing relationships like that in my business as well. That’s really, really important to me. Um, so yeah, I had a small queue of clients. Um, and I. I needed to pull my finger out and get some kind of business foundations set up.

Um, so knee jerk reaction, paid thousands for a business coach, VA coach, um, Unfortunately, I didn’t get what I needed from that to set me up.

[00:06:23] Andrea Elibero: can you talk about that, not in a disparaging way, but just as lessons learned and perhaps to help other people listening, what was it that you were maybe looking for? What didn’t you get? Or what would you have done differently in that situation if you were to go back and do it again?

[00:06:40] Leanne Reardon: so I feel like what I know now is the person that I invested in wasn’t even actually a virtual assistant for long at all. I think they, they probably were a VA for like two to three months and then decided to Tell everybody how to do it. But we know that this takes years. This takes years to build, you know, you need to get, gather experience in order to coach people and you, you know, you do actually need to do the role first in order to, to support people.

So I think if I was to do things again, I would absolutely look at they’d been in the room and, and honestly, I don’t. I don’t need to invest in someone that is high flying. I only need someone that’s one or two steps ahead of me,

[00:07:28] Andrea Elibero: Right. Right. Yeah.

[00:07:31] Leanne Reardon: and I think that’s something that I’m actually really mindful of now.

I look

[00:07:35] Andrea Elibero: Mm.

[00:07:36] Leanne Reardon: that sort of, you know, how long ago was it where they were where I am at now? And what steps did they take? And do I think I, is that path for me? Because Not everybody’s way of doing things is going to be the way for me. So, um, yeah, I invested in a coach, got going with, um, sort of setting up these foundations for my business.

And then, yeah, I mean, again, I’ve just been really, really lucky to have Almost like a referral network of clients coming and going. I’ve, I’ve, I haven’t had to work too hard to market myself. Um, I really struggled with social media in that first year. Um, and I understand why now. Now I’m confident in social media and I couldn’t really.

Don’t really care less what people think of me now, and that, that is a confidence thing as well, but like, when you first start, I mean, the comparison and the imposter, but also I was learning, how can I show up as this authoritative expert in whatever I, I didn’t really know what I was doing, I’m learning, I am learning on the job, so, yeah, I’d say social media was, was, yeah.

was tricky and I was really hard on myself in that first year to be honest. Um,

[00:09:02] Andrea Elibero: And. Mm. Mm. Hmm, so you said a couple of really a lot of a lot of really important things that I just want to point out because It’s all I don’t because it’s like all in there in this like web of what you’re talking about It’s like wait, these are really really important for other people to hear right, so like one is you You showed up so you struggle with social media You struggle with the imposter syndrome all of these things and this is par for the course, right?

this is like everybody. Like, like if you’re doing something new you’ve never done before, you’re going to struggle with imposter syndrome no matter what level you’re at. Like these thoughts are going to come and go. So normalizing that I think is really important and knowing that, that it actually means you’re on the right track because that means you’re, you’re kind of like on this like edge of the cliff, right?

Like waiting to, to get to this next level, to get to this next thing. Cause if it were easy and you were comfortable, then, then you wouldn’t have been pushing yourself. So. And the other piece of that is interesting is that like, how am I supposed to show up on social media when I don’t even know really what I’m doing and like to show up so confidently and whatnot.

And I think the important piece of this is just the showing up period and letting go of the perfection or the expectation to do it perfectly. Because you’re not going to. And the minute you realize that, then, and the minute that you’re like, like, it’s fine. You know, like, it’s totally fine. Then that’s when everything changes.

When you’re showing up in social media. I don’t know if you found that, like, the minute you’re just like, like, I don’t care. Like, okay, I look like whatever. I haven’t done my hair. I have it, but I’m going to show up and just do the thing and keep practicing. Like, that’s when it changes. I don’t know what you, if you have thoughts about that.

[00:10:49] Leanne Reardon: Yeah, absolutely. And I do feel like in that first year, a lot of the things that I was doing was rooted in perfectionism and rooted in people pleasing, which is things that I’ve, you know, I guess was probably one of the biggest things that I’ve learned from starting my own business is that I don’t have to be that. I don’t have to be that person. I don’t have to be perfect. I need to learn

[00:11:16] Andrea Elibero: hmm.

[00:11:17] Leanne Reardon: the doing and making mistakes and actually, and these, these things are so deep rooted in our psyche. You know, there was probably a time back when I was young that I, I I’ve, I’ve built these, um, I’m just trying to think of the word like, Not routines, but I built these techniques to protect myself and to survive.

And my whole journey of being a VA is unravel, is unraveling that, like

[00:11:50] Andrea Elibero: This

[00:11:50] Leanne Reardon: I can make

[00:11:51] Andrea Elibero: Yeah.

[00:11:52] Leanne Reardon: Yeah, I can make mistakes. And of course, hindsight is a beautiful thing. And I wish I just had the confidence back in that year one to play and experiment a little bit more. It was so I felt like the whole VA industry as, and maybe because this business coach didn’t support me with that.

I’m not saying that was her responsibility, but I felt there was something inherently wrong with me. Because I just weren’t getting it. I weren’t getting social media. I couldn’t. And it was visibility. It was showing up. It was all of those things. And I think that, to, to be coached in that way, would have, I think, really would have helped at that time.

And really, you know, unpeeled those layers of, okay, what you, you put a post out, what’s the worst that can happen? I mean, the first, the first reel, and I’ve still got it up now. The first reel that I posted went viral.

[00:12:59] Andrea Elibero: Oh my god, really?

[00:13:01] Leanne Reardon: Uh, yeah. I don’t actually know what’s class is viral anymore, but I think it got like 10.

1 K

[00:13:07] Andrea Elibero: I mean, to me that sounds pretty damn good. You’re like, that’s crazy. Yeah.

[00:13:12] Leanne Reardon: gained a lot of traction. And, and, uh, and really what I should have done was kept up that momentum.

[00:13:19] Andrea Elibero: Mm

[00:13:21] Leanne Reardon: That amount of people seeing me scared me.

[00:13:24] Andrea Elibero: hmm.

[00:13:24] Leanne Reardon: And I, I shrunk back.

[00:13:27] Andrea Elibero: Ah, that’s interesting. Yeah.

[00:13:29] Leanne Reardon: yeah, it was too much. It was too much. And I think, you know, looking back on that year one, I just wish I was so much kinder to myself.

You know, if I think about nervous system regulation, I would be. I’d just left a toxic work environment and then I’d started this, but it’s huge impact on my system and really what I should have. I just felt like everybody else was getting it and I wasn’t getting it, but actually the more we have open conversations like this and the more that we connect with other people, like everything I was experiencing was normal.

And I just didn’t really know that at the time.

[00:14:07] Andrea Elibero: it’s interesting too, and I don’t want to, I’m just like as a coach myself, when you say, like when I hear people talk about coaches who maybe they weren’t aligned or they just weren’t doing any of the mindset, any of the internal things, like it really hurts me. And I’m like, no, baby Leanne, you know, like baby Leanne and her baby business needed this support.

And you paid somebody expecting that support and you didn’t get it. And, and that makes me a little sad. Yeah.

[00:14:35] Leanne Reardon: you know, I pay you get what you pay for sometimes and I’d paid a lot of money and I didn’t get What I was promised and honestly it has it has burnt me in a way I’m really skeptical now about who I invest in what I invest

[00:14:52] Andrea Elibero: I mean, a lot of people are and rightfully so because there are so many people who don’t, who are really good at marketing, but they don’t follow through with what they’re marketing. you know, or the experience is not what they promised or, or so many reasons. So I don’t blame you. And to me, it’s, it’s sad, you know, for the industry, for people who are trying to be authentic and trying to do good things.

And there’s so, there’s a lot of resistance and skepticism in general. And, and when it’s sad, but on the other hand, I do think it’s a good thing because the people who really want this and who like, this is what their soul is aligned to do. Like they’re going to keep doing it. They’re going to persist.

[00:15:33] Leanne Reardon: Yeah.

[00:15:34] Andrea Elibero: And they’re going to come out on the other side. So,

[00:15:37] Leanne Reardon: And also, you know, you need to almost sit on the fence and look at the other side of the coin. You know, a coach can only move you so far. Like the responsibility is down on, it comes down to you. And I think that’s not always talked about enough either. Actually. I think sometimes coaches get a bad rep and it’s like, Oh, I need to, you know, my coach didn’t do this for me or my didn’t, you know, didn’t, didn’t do that for me.

And actually it’s about, you know, What, what part did I, what part are you playing in that as well? And I do think if I reflect back and I, and I look at the coach that I invested in, like those doors of mindset and confidence were not necessarily open for me as part of that relationship, but I, I didn’t ask for either.

I didn’t challenge that either, which I’m not saying is, I wish I knew what I knew to share my truth.

[00:16:38] Andrea Elibero: Right.

[00:16:39] Leanne Reardon: you start your business, it’s such a wild journey anyway. Um, but yeah, I just think, you know, when it comes to investing in a coach, you just need to make sure that it’s not a knee jerk reaction and really think about what you want to gain from this.

[00:16:59] Andrea Elibero: And not just fall, I don’t want to say fall for, but like get tricked with the marketing and all of these kind of like shiny things. Right. And like you were saying, like, Oh, I don’t need somebody at this like crazy level because when they’re too far removed from you, they can’t necessarily help you where you’re at, you know, and people are like, Oh, well, this person is super successful and they make whatever amount of money and, and whatever, but that’s not the actual criteria that you should be looking at, you know, to select somebody.

But anyhow, enough about that. I could talk about this forever, but yeah. Uh, so I wanted to ask you, um, to get into, okay, so you basically, you’re working as kind of general VA, getting these clients and this, they were flowing to you, life is happy and also with, you know, all of the year one things. I don’t want to say mistakes, but journey that everybody goes on that people do not talk about enough.

Um, and you come to around year two, and I believe that’s when you were starting the repurpose club. And I want to get into this story because not only are you, did you start another offer the totally different from what you were doing? You did it with a partner, with a whole nother person. And, and, and I love this and a lot of people.

This is kind of a, I don’t say a new business model, but a business model that is not as popular as right, right, just like continuing on with your own business. So I’d love to hear the story of how the repurpose club came into existence, where the idea came from, and also about the partnering aspect of it.

[00:18:35] Leanne Reardon: sure. So, um, Molly is my business partner. She runs her own VA business as well with her husband. So again, our individual businesses models are very different, but and really funnily enough, The retreat I went, the very first retreat, it all starts with a retreat. That,

[00:19:00] Andrea Elibero: You got your money’s worth at this retreat.

[00:19:02] Leanne Reardon: I know. That first retreat I went on, I shared a room with a lady and it was, and Molly was actually this lady’s VA.

So, you know, even a year later, like we connected and it was like, Oh my goodness, we, we know mutual people and in the space. And, um, so did me, um, pull with one of her clients around and then we, I mean, when we just say we, we just hit it off, like we would just, we would voice note for hours about what it, what it means to us to be a VA. And how we came into this for freedom and ease in our life. But actually we are hustling more than ever. And along with that hustle, we are ignoring our needs. We’re not living in our cyclical nature. almost like living in, back in, you know, in this patriarchal time of go, go, go. Grow, grow, grow, scale, scale, scale, do this, do, you know, the, and the pressure from the online business space, you know, to. So we immediately connected in that way. Um, but we also come up with this real common thread between all our clients. One of those threads was this need for community and connection. And, A lot of what we were also doing was content marketing for these clients, whether that’s Instagram, uh, blogging. I mean, I do so much email marketing for each client,

[00:20:56] Andrea Elibero: Mm

[00:20:57] Leanne Reardon: and we just took a step back and thought, hang on, you know, words are really being wasted here.

You know, there’s one piece of, you know, real, you know, there’s really juicy content here. That we’re writing in blog posts that absolutely could be the format could change and go into emails. And then that format can also then go on Instagram and also like vice working backwards as well. So.

[00:21:23] Andrea Elibero: Can I, I’m going to pause you because you said words are being wasted. I felt this like in my soul because there is nothing worse than writing is making all this time you’re like, Oh my God, like this is the best Instagram caption. And then it gets like, eh, like it does like, eh, and you’re like, but it was amazing.

And now nobody else is going to see, you know, like, like this is a feeling that I have felt personally. And so when you’re saying words are being wasted, I say, yes, yes.

[00:21:51] Leanne Reardon: Mm.

[00:21:51] Andrea Elibero: are being wasted.

[00:21:53] Leanne Reardon: Yeah. And I mean, so the Repurpose Club focuses on supporting online business owners to strategically repurpose their content across multiple platforms. And it’s really important to know that this isn’t copy and pasting. Like, you know, the content structure needs to change. You need to be thinking about the audiences on each of those platforms.

You also need to be thinking about your goals on these platforms as well. You know. It’s not about creating content for content’s sake. It is all part of this wider journey, you know. Where do you want that person to go after they’ve read this piece of content? You know, and I just I’m a big blogging fan, you know.

[00:22:35] Andrea Elibero: I think blogging is having a renaissance moment. I feel like recently I’ve seen more about it when people were like, it was so big, so like years ago, and then I think it kind of slowed down a lot. And now I feel like it’s coming. I don’t know. Maybe that’s my own perception, but that’s what I feel

[00:22:49] Leanne Reardon: yeah, I’ve seen a couple of comments like that. And I mean, for us, like, blogging, blogging is, was never dead, was never dead. It’s always been something that we’ve always felt really passionate in. But, you know, What we do is now support clients with their content marketing and looking at their whole content system and where we can strategically move content around multiple platforms to increase visibility.

Um, so we really focus on SEO, blogging for SEO, email marketing, Pinterest and Instagram. So Molly come up with this great story. I look at it as a pie and there’s a, there’s slice, you know, slices of each pie. Um, but Molly come up with this great analogy, um, about your offer or what you’re bringing to the world is the, is a party.

And actually what your marketing is, is different doors to this house party. You know, how do, how does the audience know there is a party? Do they know where to go? Is there street signs? How many doors are there? Like, is there a buffet? Is there, you know, we are going to come up with this story analogy soon, you know, we need to tie it all together.

But, you know, It’s about looking at your whole content food chain and you know we, we are at the minute just looking at those key slices of the pie but actually YouTube and podcasting is, is like, is like the, the queen of long form that is sitting at the top of this food chain and then you will then break that content down into other formats.


[00:24:41] Andrea Elibero: So when,

[00:24:42] Leanne Reardon: easily DIY that Absolutely. You can, this isn’t, repurposing content is not, we’ve not created this as a method, you know, we’re not, this isn’t like a renowned thing that we’ve created, but what we’ve realized between all our clients is that people are not doing it. People, there’s online businesses out there that are burnt out, tired.

They’re not seeing them, you know, the way that they should be marketing. It’s like we’ve all been led down the garden path the last couple of years and, and actually we need to come back to more sustainable methods that are not going to lead you to, to burning out. And to be able to, you know, for us it’s about supporting women so they can lean into their cyclical nature.

You know, I know that you said earlier that you’re just having a really tired day. Well, actually, that is absolutely fine. That is absolutely fine. Because what you’re doing is repurposing content that you’ve already created to enable you to take a breather and take a step back. That is what we as women should be able to do to lean into six, To our cyclical nature and, and, and live like we do, you know, live like the seasons.


[00:26:08] Andrea Elibero: and the fact that you said listen We didn’t invent this or come up with something, but we have a purpose and I could feel you know you’re feeling behind this like like this is so important to you because of the meaning and the purpose behind what you’re doing. So it sounds like you guys were just chatting and just really connected and came up with this idea and you’re both just like, should we do this?

And just went for it. Is that, does that summarize what had happened? Sort of how this came, how this was birthed.

[00:26:35] Leanne Reardon: absolutely. And we had all these, we’ve had all these ideas, you know, I’m a projector in human design. Molly is a manifesto. So we, we really, really compliment each other’s energies. Um, Molly has the ideas and then I, Tell her how we’re then going to execute that. So we’re quite, we’ve got really different brains, but also, um, they really, really compliment each other, but you know, it’s really important to know, you know, we’re building, we’re building this business in a, in quite a saturated market, you know, there is a lot of, although what we’re doing is different, we’re leading the way here with something new and that is absolutely terrifying, to be honest, you know, And we are so lucky to have each other that we seem to take it in turns when we’re both having a little breakdown and we can pick the, you know, pick the other one up.

But, um, you know, we, we went in quite hard and quite heavy last year. And then, um, Molly got married. I went to visit family in Australia and, you know, it’s really important to remember we’re actually building this alongside two other businesses as well and Hand on Her Heart, like we burn out,

[00:27:54] Andrea Elibero: Mm.

[00:27:54] Leanne Reardon: business is all about creating structure.

And having a system to help you to lean into your cyclical nature and avoid burnout. Like we’re dropping the hustle and we are leaning into our soft girl era. But we burnt out. We, and I think we needed that. I think we needed to get to the point of

[00:28:16] Andrea Elibero: Mm.

[00:28:17] Leanne Reardon: this is not where we need to be. This is not where we want to be.

And we came back September, October with new strategy, new systems, and it’s been a really positive change since then. But we did have to down tools for a little bit because it,

[00:28:34] Andrea Elibero: I love like

[00:28:35] Leanne Reardon: was a lot. Yeah.

[00:28:39] Andrea Elibero: in order to know that no, we need to organize this differently. So that way we can run it. It can go, you know, the system is systeming like it’s doing what it needs to do. It is not taking up space. All of your time and I feel like that’s such an important lesson no matter what you’re doing because especially as service providers and especially

[00:29:00] Leanne Reardon: Yeah.

[00:29:02] Andrea Elibero: most of the time service providers start out charging hourly and so it’s a very much an exchange time for you know, like hours for money hours for money and That is a difficult business model to scale, and I say scale in a way of like, like just being able to earn more money, but without the stress, without the burnout, without all of those things, because there’s only so much time.

I think you and I had had a conversation at one point, it was like, how many hours a day can a VA actually work? And it was the average was like five. Of like client work per day. And so you’re naturally capped in your income. And if you want to grow, but if you want to do so strategically where you get to realize your soft girl era dreams, it has to be in a different way.

And this is what I’m all about. So you’re like pulling into my, into my passions because similar, right? So like I went through like with my, uh, last year, a year and a half ago, I don’t even know. I went through a severe burnout. I didn’t even realize it with my OBM clients until afterwards. And that was also the catalyst for me to be like, no, I can’t do this in this manner anymore.

I need to change something. So what can I change to grow my business? So that way I’m more balanced. I have the freedom that I’ve been. Like the reason that I started my business, actually have it in all of these things. So we, we went through very similar journeys in that, in that manner.

[00:30:22] Leanne Reardon: Yeah. Definitely. And I think, you know, unfortunately, we’ve had to reach burnout. I have reached burnout. Significantly with my VA business and the soulful assistant. And it wasn’t necessarily, it was a time thing, but it was also an energetic thing, having so many clients and the demand, it wasn’t a physical.

I think people think burnout is sometimes like a physical tiredness fatigue, but my, I, and I’m actually still recovering from that period as well. Like,

[00:30:57] Andrea Elibero: Oh, it took me like six to nine months. Like it took a long time to recover where I could even take on another OBM client or I wanted to, like it took a long time.

[00:31:08] Leanne Reardon: yeah. And I think it’s about now getting to know. your body’s cues and signs and listening to your body before you get to that point of burnout. I think that is the key and learning, right? These sensations are familiar or I’m having symptoms. I’m experiencing this, this and this, like, what do I, what do I need to change in this moment?


[00:31:33] Andrea Elibero: this is the other half too, right? The first half is recognizing it and then like, Oh, I need to change something, but what can I change? If you have these clients, right? That, that is it like, do I drop a client? Like, what do I do? Do I bring on help? Like there’s options, but it can be difficult.

That end can be difficult too. Cause a lot of people feel the responsibility to stay with our clients to, to help, you know, the best they can, et cetera, et cetera. So it’s a difficult, uh, it can be a difficult season to go through.

[00:32:01] Leanne Reardon: yeah, and it’s such a fine dance and I think if any new VAs are listening to this, I’d say like, like you probably will experience that point and just know that it’s okay. It’s okay. It’s, I, I feel like it is the demand. But it’s also the overwhelm, you know, as an, I just don’t think, A, this is talked enough enough, and B, I just do not think VA’s get credit for this, you know, like, I’m in eight businesses. That’s six clients, the Red Peppers Club. I have so many moving parts with clients. It’s six different communication styles, six different business missions, goals, six different lots of different tasks. And, It’s all of those moving pieces. I mean, I was literally talking to somebody last week and she said, I don’t know how you do it.

And I was like, actually, neither do I. And I think it’s that, I think it’s that piece, the demand of, of the different things, you know, like I have to take one brain out, put another brain in. And then that, that client works down, I need to put another brain in. And, and I think, you know, when you are starting out, like that is necessary, you’re learning, you’re building your clientele, but like, you don’t, you don’t have to run your business that way.

[00:33:30] Andrea Elibero: Forever. Yeah. And I wanted to ask you, so what do you do differently now than you did before that’s saving you from this burnout? Or so you don’t experience it

[00:33:41] Leanne Reardon: Oh, okay. So two things. I’m quite picky with who I

[00:33:47] Andrea Elibero: Mm

[00:33:48] Leanne Reardon: onboard and work with. Um, I, it’s not like I go through, uh, like a screening process or anything. It’s just, I know by the connection call, whether this is going to be an easeful project or not.

[00:34:07] Andrea Elibero: Mm hmm. You have your ear intuition is telling you you can feel it You’re feeling the energy you feel how they are and you’re listening to it instead of tuning it out and saying like no But I need the money or I need to grow or whatever. You’re trusting yourself

[00:34:22] Leanne Reardon: yeah, I’m like, no, I’m okay, I’ll pass. And I seem to, I do actually seem to attract. I think because I support soul led businesses, which, I mean, which, I’m not, it’s not really about what the business is. Client does in regards to business is a feeling it’s a it’s a type of person that I’m bringing in But and I did go for a period of attracting quite chaotic energies into my space, um, and I do think that is because I Am very organized.

I’m very structured in my energy you know that is almost like I think people think oh, I I need that but also You You can’t help everybody. You can’t help everyone. Um, and secondly, in, you know, in ways to avoid burnout is I, I say no saying no, you know, I meticulously plan my clients hours and then I have hours planned.

Contribute to my business. And then obviously I have repurpose club clients as well. So we’re averaging on like one to two clients a month with the repurpose carbon, or even though that works shared, you know, there’s

[00:35:41] Andrea Elibero: hmm,

[00:35:42] Leanne Reardon: there’s still stuff to do with building that business all the time. Um, and sometimes there is an extra.

There isn’t room for extra. So when my client’s hours are up, um, if I can do extra bits and bobs, depending on what it is, I will absolutely take that on, but I can’t always, I can’t just be like, yes, yes, yes. I’ve got all the time in the world. Lay all your tasks on me. You know, I asked my clients to be organized and we’ve got, I’ve got, you know, some of my clients.

months, two years, I’ve got a really good relationship with them. And they know that, that there isn’t always additional, there isn’t always additional hours. And I need them to think about exactly what they want to outsource to get them moving in their business.

[00:36:32] Andrea Elibero: hmm. Okay, but do you know what’s beautiful about this? Is that a lot of times people think especially when you’re and I know so many service providers I think I don’t know. I think that because this is a service business the people pleasing and the lack of boundaries is just part of of Like the group of people who are attracted to this type of a role It’s like that’s the natural tendency But when you put in these very strong boundaries You are actually helping your clients to get more done You And to be more organized and it’s kind of like you’re the, the parent, you know, you’re like, you’re like being strict and you’re putting parameters around everything so that they behave and you’re actually, it’s, you’re, it’s a better service to them than if you were to just say, okay, whatever you want.

Yes, I’ll do anything that you need. You know, cause you’re not training them properly.

[00:37:25] Leanne Reardon: Yeah.

[00:37:26] Andrea Elibero: and they’re not like, you know what I’m saying? Like they’re not getting the things done that they need to do. They’re not as well structured. They’re like, they know very well. They can count on you for X, Y, Z. And then like, Oh, that means that I have to be, I have to be organized.

I’d be prepared. I have to actually run my business like a business owner, you know, and all of these things. So I feel like you’re actually doing them a favor and you’re improving them and their businesses by having boundaries and protecting yourself and your energy.

[00:37:52] Leanne Reardon: It’s like being the mother.

[00:37:54] Andrea Elibero: Yeah, yeah.

[00:37:55] Leanne Reardon: The great mother. But also, you know, I’ve not absolutely been there, just been the yes man and I’m like, yeah, yeah, sure, sure, sure, because actually I thought that’s what we did.

[00:38:06] Andrea Elibero: Right. Right. Yeah.

[00:38:08] Leanne Reardon: I thought I literally had to give up my life and soul to just serve everybody. And what I’ve learned in my journey so far is that I cannot serve everyone or anyone until I’ve served myself.

And I mean, I’m incredibly boundaried. in my business, but it is so reciprocated from my clients. Like we’ve got such a good understanding and it would be such a misjustice to the whole industry if I was like, yes, sir. Yeah, sure. Yep. Yep. You, you know, tell me to jump and I say how high, like, you know, I will, of course I’m fully committed to my clients, but not at the expense of burning myself out.

[00:38:53] Andrea Elibero: hmm. Right. Because then you’re no good. Exactly. Yeah.

[00:38:56] Leanne Reardon: Yeah.

[00:38:57] Andrea Elibero: You can’t do anything if you’re burned out, as we know. You can’t do anything. So by putting these strong boundaries in place, you’re serving, you’re protecting your business yourself. You’re able to serve everybody at the highest level that you can.

[00:39:10] Leanne Reardon: Absolutely. Yeah. And my clients really understand that as well. I, I, I send reminders, you know, like a quarterly newsletter of like, here’s my boundaries. This is the way I’m working. This is how I can serve you better. And yeah, they’re great.

[00:39:26] Andrea Elibero: And I bet that they appreciate it as well when you are up front and explain why. Like, I’m not doing this because I’m an evil person. I’m doing this so I can help you the best that I can.

[00:39:39] Leanne Reardon: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I always think that the why is really, really important. So, I had a conversation with somebody a couple of weeks ago about, um, putting tasks on the project management tool and some clients are just do it by second nature but some clients forget or you know and it’s like actually if I explain why that I’ve got so many moving parts in so many businesses and that actually at the beginning of the week I will look at everybody’s tasks and deadlines and prioritize them in that order.

If you’re not putting them on the board and set in a deadline. I don’t know how to manage. I can’t, I can’t manage my work effectively. And when you explain things like that, then yeah, they just get it.

[00:40:31] Andrea Elibero: At least, and if they don’t get it, they might not be the right client for you.

[00:40:38] Leanne Reardon: Absolutely. And I think that is key about knowing when to let go and move on. I have stayed in relationship with clients way past their sell by date because I actually felt I, I always want to say there’s a, uh, a meme and it’s like, is it me? Am I the villain? And I always think that like, is it me? Am I the problem?

Like is this me? But it’s only when I’ve come out of that situation that I’m like No, this was not a me problem. I just was asserting my boundaries and I was true to myself and unfortunately that I was not met, but also just to celebrate myself in those moments. I didn’t abandon myself and I didn’t abandon my needs.

I. I set up for myself and shared what I needed and that person wasn’t able to meet me there. But, you know, there absolutely has been times where I’ve stayed in those situations for too long.

[00:41:41] Andrea Elibero: Let me ask you a question. Was it the burnout that was the turning point in your business? Cause you talked about how the first year there was a lot of struggles and then there’s always some struggle. There’s always things happening, but then it really seems like you got everything into shape and learn so much.

And was there a point that you remember that you can recall that where it just kind of like flipped and you’re like, no, like I’m changing everything. Or was it more of a gradual change? Mm.

[00:42:07] Leanne Reardon: I think I do remember the change and I actually, so my first year VA, figuring it out, you know, new baby steps and just lots of new experiences but actually it was at the end of year one that I got really sick. I got really, really sick. Um, a real culmination of things. Um, a lot. Of, um, sort of deficient. I was very deficient in a lot of my main nutrients.

I then also got COVID in 2020, and I just never really seemed to bounce back. I had been exposed to So much stress in my twenties as well. And I also then got diagnosed with a genetic disorder that I didn’t really know that I had, which I had from birth. So there was a real combination of things, but it was end of year one of being a VA.

That my body was like enough, like we can’t move forward anymore. So I actually didn’t have a choice. I didn’t have a choice. I had to put these boundaries in place and that sounds a bit dramatic, but in order to, to keep my business running. You know

[00:43:23] Andrea Elibero: Yeah. No, it’s not dramatic at all. You, you,

[00:43:26] Leanne Reardon: I had, yeah, I had to reduce my working days.

I had to re, you know, I just worked out the max I needed to earn and then I could work backwards from, you know, from there. Um, and I am so much better than I, than I was, and, but I think I would’ve, and I know people would be like, what? Can’t believe you just said this, but I know. That I will look back and me getting unwell and being sick was absolutely needed because I would have just kept plowing forward, people pleasing, being the perfectionist, having no boundaries, actually being sick.

I had, I was made to stop. I was made to stop. And you know, I’m a big believer in the body keeps the score and you can keep pushing and keep pushing and ignoring your body’s needs. And this is related to in business as well. You know, you will, it will only get you so far and then it w it will catch up with you in some kind of ailment or symptom.

Um, huge believer in that. And so I, yeah, I ha I was made to sit still and

[00:44:43] Andrea Elibero: you are a projector, so you really are made to sit still. Yeah.

[00:44:49] Leanne Reardon: Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, I feel like that was the turning point in my business where it was like, actually, you can’t carry on doing what you’re doing. And I would say I’m nearly out of the woods. So I’ve still got a few things that I’m, you know, I worry that I would never get back to the way I was, but actually do I want to be the way I was?

Because That person, the person that launched the Soulful Assistant was, that was rooted in survival and that was rooted in people pleasing and serving and ignoring, just ignoring my needs and putting everybody else before me. And what starting my business has done for me is, is almost like a death and a rebirth of, of becoming a completely different person.

It has been one of the hardest things, but alongside that, the best thing that’s ever happened to me because I, you know, it was time,

[00:45:55] Andrea Elibero: You have shared this was like you have shared so much. I feel like anybody listening to this needs to go back and listen again, because you are going to take more bits from this. I feel like you have unlocked so many things that just service virtual assistant service providers need to know and need to embody and keep with them all in.

Well, no, we’ve gone long, but all in these 45 minutes conversation. I want to keep going. But I feel like We’ll have to do a part two or something at some point in the future. So is there anything else that you want to share before we, we say goodbye for today?

[00:46:33] Leanne Reardon: Oh, no, uh, not anything new other than don’t push. If there’s any new or aspiring VA’s listening, Do not push yourself beyond your own capacity and limits in the name of hustle and scaling. You need to titrate slowly and regulate your nervous system along, along the way of starting and growing your business because your, your body is your best ally.

And if you don’t take care of yourself, then unfortunately you don’t have a business. So yeah,

[00:47:09] Andrea Elibero: and I’m going to add to that in terms of the scaling. I am, I need to come up with something because I feel like I want to like redefine what scaling means. And it’s, I feel like when people hear the term scaling, they think, Oh, grow really fast and do this and that. And that’s not what it is to me.

Anyways, that’s not what it is. So if I will also add to this, that if anyone listening is feeling like, Oh, like these, this burnout thing, this is, you know, triggering something in me. I feel like I’m there. Let’s restructure your business. So to get rid of that because you don’t There are so many ways that you can run your business In order for it to take less time To have more boundaries in place to have more systems and to also feel super aligned and so you’re excited about it And this is what i’m about Right, like because we don’t have to do what we see everybody else doing And the best businesses are the ones that are breaking the rules and you know, the people are having so much fun And they’re enjoying themselves So, please don’t think that you have to quote unquote i’m using air quotes here You like structure your business in a way that’s expected or in a way that everybody else is.

It’s your business and you have the freedom to make it something that you’re so excited about and feel so aligned and like so juicy to you and there’s so many ways to make things easy and more flowy on the back end. So that is my, I’ll get off my soapbox, that’s what I wanted to add because I’m so passionate about that, about that aspect of running a business and I don’t think that people talk about it enough either.

So with that, Ms. Lynn, please let us know how can we stay in touch with you and anything else that you want to share.

[00:48:52] Leanne Reardon: thank you so much. Um, yes, you can come and say hi. Uh, my Instagram is selfless assistant and we also have a free co working session every Thursday. So that starts at nine 30 in the UK. Um, it’s completely free. You just sign up, you get the link and that is run at the repurpose club. Um, so yeah, if you’re feeling that you, uh, perhaps a little bit alone and needing some community.

I’d love for you to come and hang out with us. We body double, so we set our intentions at the beginning of the session and then we work together, have a short break and then we round up and share our, um, achievements and it’s just a really nice break to what can be quite a lonely week as a solo entrepreneur.

So yeah, I’d love to see you there.

[00:49:45] Andrea Elibero: Beautiful. Thank you so much for being here and for sharing everything that you shared today.

[00:49:49] Leanne Reardon: Thank you.