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This post is brought to you by a book that altered Felly’s way of looking at life: The Monk who Sold his Ferrari.
This is the latest interview in a series featuring digital nomads talking about their lives and lessons (click here if you want to be interviewed). The goal is to help demystify the process of making money online, wandering the world, and living an unconventional life!
From the very beginning, Felly didn’t love living in Canada. She’s now found a way to make her trips abroad never end by working online. We love her story of finding a life she loves. Be sure to check out her Facebook group if you’re interested in becoming a virtual assistant!
Thank you for hanging out with Freedom Is Everything, Felly!
Key takeaways from Felly’s interview:
“Being outside of Canada makes me feel at home in a way my home country never has. Personally, I’ve never believed in higher education, I think 9-5 is a joke, and the system we’re living in needs to be updated. Unfortunately, in Canada, this way of thinking still isn’t the norm. My family still doesn’t understand why I don’t want the white picket fence from 1950, and a studio apartment in Vancouver is close to a million dollars.”
“I had a huge fear that I would leave [Canada] and my business would fall apart. What if I lost my three clients? What if I couldn’t find any new clients and I blew all my money? The thing is, if your why is strong enough, you will fight for what you want. In all honesty, having to return to Canada because I ran out of money is my worst nightmare. To have to live with my parents, not have my own space, work in person?!? Yeah, no thank you. So while business will never be all smooth sailing, things will come up, life gets hard, you’re doing this for you, and that should be fire enough to keep pushing yourself.”
“Be interested, not interesting. I love asking the good questions. I want to hear about other people and see how they react to the world around them. People are my favourite way to learn. After all, what’s the fun in being the most interesting person in the room?”
“You are allowed to be happy. So many people don’t realize they are the thing holding themselves back, and I just want my life to be a testament that we are in control of our own lives.”
Introduce yourself! 🙂 Who are you? What do you do for work? And what is your nomadic story?
Hey, my name’s Felly Day, but you can just call me Felly. I grew up in a small town outside of Vancouver, BC but have been living in Mexico since February 2020. Yes, I did start my nomadic journey right before covid hit and have since not made my original trip down through Central and South America because of that. I will say, Mexico is huge, so I haven’t exactly run out of things to do in the year and a half of living here. While 2020 was the start of my legitimate nomad life, I have been travelling around off and on since 2012.
I started as a virtual assistant and now run a content agency from my laptop as I explore Mexico and hopefully the rest of Central America soon.
What inspired you to start nomading? And how has nomading changed your perspective on life?
I never wanted to live in Canada. By age 12, I would ask my mom to send me away on study abroads or volunteer trips. When I went to Germany on an exchange in 2010, I knew I had to come back to Europe. And that there was so much more to see than just these two continents. My bucket list honestly grew daily, and I’d spend hours on StumbleUpon consuming travel content.
Yes, I’m born in the warmest part of the country, and yet every year, winter would suck my soul dry. I basically grew accustomed to being a hermit from November until April because nothing could convince me to go outside or move my body.
I knew there was more to life than three months of sun and happiness, so I started looking for how to make my trips never-ending. In 2017, I came across World Nate who had a blog post about 20 jobs to do online, and that’s where I first learned about Virtual Assistant work. I came back to Canada after a year in Australia and three months in Asia in 2018, I vowed to myself as the plane landed to make something work. By August 2019, I had set up my business and started getting clients, so I booked my 1-way ticket to Mexico and haven’t looked back since.
Being outside of Canada makes me feel at home in a way my home country never has. Personally, I’ve never believed in higher education, I think 9-5 is a joke, and the system we’re living in needs to be updated. Unfortunately, in Canada, this way of thinking still isn’t the norm. My family still doesn’t understand why I don’t want the white picket fence from 1950, and a studio apartment in Vancouver is close to a million dollars.
Please tell us the detailed story of how you started your business.
I mentioned earlier that I discovered the world of Virtual Assistants through World Nate. I immediately built a profile on Upwork, and…it didn’t really go great. I got one client at $3/hour and never found another. Thankfully my first and only client was amazing, I worked with her for almost two years, and we increased my rate to $15/hr and left the app so I wouldn’t lose 20% every month. So when I stopped working with her in 2019, I knew I didn’t want to use Upwork but didn’t really know how to find clients.
I dove into freebies, Facebook groups and found coaches online. I ended up getting my second client from a Craigslist ad and then started working for a big coach on Instagram who referred her friend to me, and then she referred more and more people to me. Instagram became my main converter for clients when I understood what kind of content attracted people to me and my services.
Now I run a full agency with a team of five people under me. We manage written content for spiritual coaches, such as social media captions, email newsletters, and blogs.
Since launching, what has been most effective to acquire/retain customers and scale your business?
Instagram has been my most successful way of attracting and signing clients. I have had some success with Facebook groups, but not as much. Honestly, my current and past clients actually refer their friends to me, and that’s where most of my clients come from. Putting effort into your client experience and making sure your clients are happy will pay you back, I promise.
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about nomading?
I had a huge fear that I would leave and my business would fall apart. What if I lost my three clients? What if I couldn’t find any new clients and I blew all my money? The thing is, if your why is strong enough, you will fight for what you want. In all honesty, having to return to Canada because I ran out of money is my worst nightmare. To have to live with my parents, not have my own space, work in person?!? Yeah, no thank you. So while business will never be all smooth sailing, things will come up, life gets hard, you’re doing this for you, and that should be fire enough to keep pushing yourself.
My advice is if you’re new to traveling, don’t be afraid to stay in hostels. When I get to a new place, I always stay in hostels so that I can meet people and get to know the place a bit from a locals perspective before moving into an apartment. If you’re absolutely dead set against hostels, Facebook groups in each city I’ve been to always have a group for entrepreneurs/digital nomads, and they tend to have meetups. If they don’t, you could always start it.
What is unique about the way you travel, and what advice do you have for someone that wants to travel with a similar style?
I like to slow travel. I’ll hop around for a month or two and then settle in the place I like for 2-3+ months. I find it actually gives me the chance to experience a culture/country in a different way. I love to have my breakfast spot where they know my order, to learn snippets of a language so I can ask for things and say please and thank you.
What are the 2-3 favorite places where you’ve lived/traveled to and why?
Well, this is a tricky one, but I’ll try to be specific.
Margaret River, WA, Australia
I lived in Margaret River for four months while I was on my working holiday visa in Australia. To get a second year, you have to do three months of farm work, and Margs is where I did mine. Honestly, it was the best of a potentially bad situation. I’d heard stories of backpackers being treated like dirt and given no rights in the name of that second-year visa. But in Margaret River, I worked hourly picking grapes, had a room in a shared house with other backpackers, and we finished work by three, so I could head straight to one of many beaches.
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico
This is where I was when covid started, where I met my now long-term partner, and where I’m writing this interview from. I spent seven months in Puerto in 2020, and I’ve recently just moved back and wouldn’t be surprised if it’s for another handful of months. Yes, it’s hot and humid, but I love the heat. There are beautiful beaches 5 minutes from my house, the cost of living is great, plus there’s an energy of the people that come here that I vibe with. Not to mention there are about 4-6 different places within a 2-3 hour drive if you love a weekend road trip.
I only spent five days here in 2014, but I loved it. This was the first city where I could actually say I like a city. Personally, I like to live outside cities but with access to visit if I feel the desire. I know that whenever I get back to Europe, I’ll be making sure to revisit and rediscover Budapest.
What digital tools do you use for your work/business?
For my team, we use Asana, Slack, and Clockify. Asana for agency management, Slack for communication, and Clockify for tracking time. I then use Voxer and Gsuite to stay in contact and share files with my clients. I have Dubsado for onboarding and offboarding and Kartra for my email marketing, sales pages, and payment links that aren’t agency clients.
What scale is your business at today, and what are your future goals?
My business actually earns less than most people think. We average 5k sales/months, where I take away maybe 1k. Having an agency is a larger overhead than a normal VA business. The goal is to take the agency to 10k months in sales and continue to increase my profit margins. We’re on track to pass six figures this year when I mix in my VA mentoring business.
For someone interested in becoming an entrepreneur in your field, what’s the best advice you would give? And what books, podcasts, thought leaders, or other learning resources do you recommend?
Don’t get overwhelmed with all the noise. It’s better to focus on offering one service, marketing on one platform, and not try to do it all. A website, an email list, a lead magnet, none of those things are important when you’re brand new. When you start signing clients and earning money, then you can start adding things that continue to grow your business.
If you only had a few minutes to live, what are the most important life lessons you would share with the world?
You are allowed to be happy. So many people don’t realize they are the thing holding themselves back, and I just want my life to be a testament that we are in control of our own lives.
What do you travel with that you couldn’t imagine traveling without?
My laptop? I’m not very materialistic, but at this point, I’d say my bedrock hiking sandals. I’ve got high arches, so I need sandals with support. A year later and I’ll never buy a different pair of sandals.
What’s your favorite book and why?
The Monk who Sold his Ferrari changed my entire outlook on life. I’ve always been on the pessimist side of the coin, but this made me stop looking at everything from a negative space.
What is your philosophy on being happy and/or finding meaning/purpose in life? And any recommended resources for people navigating this journey?
“Be interested, not interesting.” I love asking the good questions. I want to hear about other people and see how they react to the world around them. People are my favourite way to learn. After all, what’s the fun in being the most interesting person in the room?
How can people learn more about you and your work?
View this post on Instagram
A few ways. Instagram is the platform I’m the most active on, but if you want to learn how to be a Virtual Assistant, I strongly recommend joining my Facebook Group Confidently Free. That’s where I post trainings on getting started in this industry.
I also have a blog and TikTok that I regularly update with info for both sides of my business.