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Meet Cara: A Client Experience and Automation Consultant Who Niched Her Way to Freedom & Full-Time Travel

by | Jan 24, 2024 | 0 comments

Image description: Cara smiling into the camera, behind her laptop.

In this student spotlight series, we are highlighting some of our wonderful Virtual Excellence Academy (VEA) members to share their journeys.

All the ups, downs and surprises on the way to building their dream business. Giving you a realistic insight into where this career path can take you and how it can impact multiple areas of your life. Today, we’re interviewing Cara Laban, a Client Experience and Automation Consultant! Bypassing the 5 Day VA Challenge, Cara boldly jumped in headfirst, becoming a full member of the VEA in May 2020.

Proudly owning her niche and standing by her values, she has used her previous skills and experience as a self-proclaimed Analog Nomad to make a shift into the digital space, where she is giving clients much-appreciated peace of mind through her skillful automation solutions. Leveling up from $16/hr to over $100/hr, Cara is now maximizing the freedom and flexibility of the Digital Nomad lifestyle. Let’s dive in to learn more about her story!

All About Cara

Hi Cara! Let’s start with an introduction: who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! I’m Cara! I started as a VA 3.5 years ago and now I specialize in helping coaches and course creators setting up their programs in the most automated way with the best client experience possible!

Tell us more about yourself – where you are in the world, and what has you excited about life right now?

I’m currently writing this from Ecuador, and am traveling South America for the next 6 months, which is pretty exciting, I’d say!

What did your life look like prior to becoming a VA? Why did you decide to make the shift, and how did your lifestyle change after pursuing this career?

Before becoming a VA, I’m what I called an Analog Nomad (as opposed to Digital Nomad), I was living and traveling around Australia for 2 years as a waitress/bartender, with a little bit of acting on the side. Then, once I had to leave I knew I wanted to keep traveling, so I tried teaching English online… it was NOT my thing.

Here at DNK, we often emphasize the freedom and flexibility of working for yourself. How has that manifested in your life? What did you do with your reclaimed freedom?

Working for myself has granted me the freedom to KEEP traveling, and I have been full-time for the past 3 years. I’m able to travel at whatever pace I want and in whatever time zone. I’m able to take a day off when I want, and work whatever hours I want. It’s quite the dream.

As a digital nomad, what has been your favorite location so far, and why?

Ohh, hard question. Australia is my favorite country, but I was only a DIGITAL nomad there for 2 months. Other than that, actually driving cross-country in the States in my converted Mini-SUV was quite a memorable experience. My most favorite memory was working in Yellowstone National park off a hotspot from my phone, on a little desk that I attached to my steering wheel, I had an amazing view of a mountain and an elk’s butt.

What are three values that you hold onto both in business and in your personal life?

  1. Be kind and inclusive to all.
  2. Time Freedom to do whatever.
  3. Fuck the Patriarchy.

Are you ready…

… for BIG change?

The Journey to Success

Many of our outstanding VEA alum, started their journey with us by taking the 5 Day VA Challenge – did you? Tell us what that experience was like for you and how it impacted the course of your career.

I actually didn’t! It was recommended to me to attend some free Digital Nomad summit that Hannah was speaking at and she promoted the VEA, and I didn’t hesitate to purchase, I was so ready to get going.

You’ve settled firmly into your brand as the Techy Witch, serving and empowering sex-positive online businesses, take us through the journey of finding and embracing this niche. And how important was niching to your success?

I actually knew pretty early on I wanted to work with sex coaches, and that kind of just transformed into sex-positive businesses in general. Sex-positivity has been an important topic in my life since my early twenties, and I knew I wanted to help people who are helping people in that arena. I think I would have probably succeeded without niching, but niching allowed me to nail down my marketing more easily and attract my people, and referrals are also so easy because they just send me their people who are also my people!

Did you find that your offline work experiences were easily transferable when entering the VA space? And what were the learnable skills that you picked up along the way?

Well, my offline work experience mostly consisted of just customer service in restaurants, but definitely my sales skills and people skills helped. I also had experience as President of the theater club in college which helped me greatly in starting my own business, it’s nerdy, I know, but learning how to produce a production, raise funding, market, manage a team and all that was very transferrable. And on the way, I found it pretty easy to just click around and find out (plus YouTube videos).

Image description: Cara sitting on a couch her laptop flipped open between her legs, smirking at the top right corner, seemingly naked behind the laptop.

We love the concept of Embracing Your Weird, and from day one, you were never afraid to be you, how do you think this impacted your journey?

I think embracing my weird is WHY I was able to start my journey. I remember my first-ever client made a post asking for someone organized. And I commented saying, “Organized is my middle name, I don’t know what my parents were thinking.” I think she hired me for my weird sense of humor alone. Being yourself, being weird, being different is what’s going to make you stand out among a sea of “I can do this,” “I’m interested,” and “I sent you a DM” messages.

Let’s talk earnings! You’ve always been very candid about the financial security you’ve gained working for yourself, tell us where you are now and how your income has transformed.

To be honest, my income is kind of all over the place, but that’s purely because of my very inconsistent lifestyle. I very quickly hit $1k months after starting the VEA, then $2k, then $3k. In 2023, I hit consistent $5k months, with sales of over $65k for the whole year. I almost always have a guaranteed $2.5k in retainers and usually another $2k+ in one-off projects, which is how I like it to give me the flexibility of more or less travel. I started at $16/hr, and now I start at $100/hr for retainer clients and up for project-based clients, so I’m able to make the same as before, working a fraction of the time. And I know consistent $2.5k months may not sound like a lot, but while traveling, it goes a lot further than you think, and when I’m in more expensive places, I have the flexibility to work and earn more!

Behind the Scenes

As a freelance nomad, I know the day-to-day can look different. But what would a typical workday look like for the Techy Witch? Do you have a baseline routine that you build on?

I really don’t, but I wish I did. It depends on my time zone, when I’m near EST, I try to work right when I wake up after breakfast, for about 4 hours, then have the rest of my day, but never that early maybe I work from 10-2. When I was in Spain, I would have a slow morning, maybe head to the market, and then work from about 2-6/7 and have my nights. In Australia I’d wake up early and head to a cafe and work from about 7am-12pm and just chill the rest of the day. Routine and consistency are words that are not in my routine, and that works for me for right now.

On the rough days, how do you keep up your motivation and continue to level up as a freelance nomad?

On days I don’t want to do the thing… I simply don’t. I know my motivation waxes and wanes. Sometimes I can have a 14-hour productive day, and sometimes I just don’t want to. So I don’t. I have an off day, I chill, I travel, I Tiktok, I just don’t even think about work. Sometimes it’s more than one day, and I just let my clients know what’s going on and that I’ll be back. And the fact that they’re always so cool and supportive about it is enough motivation for me to NEVER want to go back to a “normal” job.

Since you started this journey, what was your biggest failure, and how did you overcome it?

Hmm, I wouldn’t look at any of my experiences as failures. I have now changed my business model multiple times, even changed the name and branding completely. But that was because it felt right and like the next step. Not a failure at all!

If you had to name a highlighting moment in your online career that you’re proud of, what would that moment be?

It’s not a singular moment, but it is every time my clients tell me how they just sighed a huge sigh of relief because I solved a problem they had been working on for months and wasted so much time, energy, and money working on. It honestly feels so amazing knowing I can have that big of an impact on someone with my silly little brain.

Your story continually provides inspiration to new folks in our community, what’s one snippet of wisdom you’d share with someone new who aspires to create the kind of success you have?

When you start, it’s gonna feel uncomfortable. Maybe, it might feel like a mistake, or harder than you realized. But you’ve gotta push through the uncomfy, we don’t grow in our comfort zones. We don’t learn by doing the same things we already know. You’re not going to know everything when you start out, or ever really, not knowing how to do something should never be a reason not to try. My biggest piece of advice is the same one I give to my clients: Click around and find out.

You’ve been an active member of the VEA community, tell us how the community, course, and connections have shaped your journey.

I don’t think I’d have the kind of success I did without the community. In the beginning, being able to ask questions to people who have been through it was invaluable, truly. Please ask your questions; us alums WANT YOU TO SUCCEED and are here for you. Oh, and check the Slack channel regularly and the other #jobopps in the group, don’t be shy just get in there.

Thank you, Cara for sharing your inspiring journey with us, as well as the insights you’ve gained along the way! We are proud to have you as a valued part of our DNK community, and we’re excited for where your journey takes you next. For all those in need of a Client Experience and Automation Consultant, look no further than this DNK-approved specialist!

Connect with Cara

Where can people follow you?

Instagram: @the.techywitch
Facebook: thetechywitch
TikTok: @thetechywitch

Author: Hannah Dixon
Hannah Dixon is a Business Coach, Recruiter, and Founder of Digital Nomad Kit and The Virtual Excellence Academy (VEA). The VEA is a leading educational program and diverse global community that has honed the skills and confidence of over 30,000+ virtual assistants and freelancers. Committed to ethical hiring practices, she also provides VIP recruitment services. Hannah views freelancing and self-leadership as potent tools for social change, empowering anyone, anywhere, to unlock potential and create life-changing opportunities. As a 16-year digital nomad, she speaks internationally, demonstrating progressive business and lifestyle approaches, and powerfully compelling audiences to action.

But, how?

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