In today's episode, Amy sits down with Cara Kovacs AKA The Business Witch. We talk about entrepreneurship as a liberatory practice, sex magic, social work, soul work, chronic illness, health insurance, toxic MLMs and pyramid schemes, and centring our values under late-stage capitalism. Cara's work asks how we can disconnect business from exploitation, shift our approach to money and cultivate our own vocabularies. How do we conjure the bravery to reject what we've been taught or told? Liberation is the thread that weaves through Cara's mission, her witchcraft and her life.
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NOTE: Cara will be joining us in our Coven space on January 15th to teach her class "Infinite Abundance for Anticapitalist Witches" for free to our members. xo
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Cara Kovacs is an exceptional mentor who has guided hundreds of coaches, healers, CEOs, and leaders in crafting ethical, sustainable, and community-centered businesses that align with their values.
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Amy: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Missing Witches Podcast. My name is Amy, and I am so excited and intrigued, and really hopeful to, like, get a new mindset for 2024, or at least the beginnings of a new mindset.
Amy: I'm joined tonight by Cara Kovacs, who goes by The Business Witch. And I mean, I'm sure some of you out there thinking, how do those two words go together? And, and we're going to find out. We're going to have a conversation about that right now. Yeah, Cara is here with me wearing a Fleetwood Mac t shirt. So we know everything's just going to be easy breezy and beautiful.
Amy: How are you doing Cara?
Cara: I'm doing good. Thank you for noticing my shirt. I actually, I didn't say this before we came on, but I, uh, went to magic castle last night. I'm not sure if you're familiar with what that is.
Amy: Tell our listeners all about it.
Cara: It is a members only club located in Los Angeles. That is.
Cara: Based in magicians like shows like you either have to be a magician or a guest of a magician to go so I won tickets. And it's like an LA institution so I was up very very late watching magic shows and this like Fleetwood Mac shirt and this podcast recording are the only things I had intended to do today because I knew I was going to be there all night so it's nice to be with you.
Amy: I, I love this, like, other version of magic that we almost never talk about, this sort of sleight of hand. Do you, do you know any
Cara: tricks? No, it was, and it's really funny because, like, they had the, I don't remember what the award is, it's like the Olympics of magic. The guy who won the Olympics of magic was there last night and he was like, Making coins turn into spoons and then making them turn into potatoes.
Cara: And like, and it's so funny because I don't think about magic like that. I think about it how you and I think about magic. But last night was magic with a C.
Amy: Because I mean, obviously we're going to get into this, but like so much of your magic is like the antithesis of that trickery that we think of from like that performative kind of magic.
Amy: It's about like not. Being tricked and not tricking yourself into thinking that you're, like, not capable or whatever. So, you're the business witch. We're going to talk about business, but first, can you tell me about the witch part? Like, outside of your business, how does your practice manifest? Like, what, what, what does the word witch mean to you?
Amy: And please be, be as expansive as possible in your answer. I love that
Cara: question. Um, thank you. I think it's an ancestral word for me, for sure. And it's a little bit complicated in that narrative because my mom was actually put up for adoption when she was two and a half. Um, And she was adopted by, like, a very, like, traditional Long Island Jewish family.
Cara: So I don't think she really even knew about her own witchcraft until she had sort of a reclamation of it. And I got to witness that process as an adult. And I remember, are you hearing? There's a siren. I don't want to, I don't want to.
Amy: I am, listeners, tell me, send me an email if you agree or disagree with this, because like, ambient sounds don't bother me because I find that they really place the person in the environment that they're in.
Amy: I remember I, we were talking to Amanda Yates Garcia once and there were these wind chimes in the background and she kept apologizing. I was like, are you kidding? Like all I want to hear your sirens and your wind chime.
Cara: I mean, wind chimes, sirens, different tones, but I, I do, they, they come by. I've like lived by a fire department, but back to mom.
Cara: Uh, so my mom actually ended up meeting her birth father. Like in her 20s and he was an acupuncturist and he lived on an ashram and he like was very spiritual. And my mom's a Scorpio and she's always been kind of tapped in, in the sense that like, when I was growing up, if I was like, there's a ghost in my room, she'd be like, ask it nicely to go away.
Cara: Like very deadpan, you know? So it was like, she was a witch, but we didn't, we weren't like talking about it. It was just. It was obvious, but we weren't talking about it. And then, when I got to college, my mom put herself through college, like went back to school to finish college. We graduated the same year.
Cara: And she started, like, doing all of these card readings. And was I remember being like, this is weird, because I was agnostic at the time, I was like, you were getting into some like, weird shit, and that was the energy I kind of had with it. But I've seen her do 5, 000 readings, and she's always on the money, and since then, she now, she's a Lenormand reader, and card deck creator, so she's invented her own decks, she's a sound bath lady.
Cara: Practitioner. Uh, she is a Reiki master teacher. Like, she is a multi modal, like, spiritual professional. And when I quit my corporate job that I hated to try to figure out what I wanted to do instead, I moved home for four months to save money. And I was like, I kind of want you to teach me. And she was like, that's so funny.
Cara: I bought a new deck last night. Here, have my old one. And I started my business. Being a card reader. I was doing card readings in bars all over New York City for supplemental income when I was building out the rest of this process. Um, so it's an ancestral word because I would not have started my business without inheriting my mom's magical skills and then like using them as the impetus that created what is now my business.
Cara: Um, In personal practice, like I'm a cancer moon, like, it's just like, you know, even if I like was hadn't been tapped in, which of course I was meant to be like my period knows like when the moon is full and when it's not like my body is so connected to mysticism in a way that feels very physically palpable and like you and I had talked on my podcast about how magic is something that doesn't need to be commodified.
Cara: And yeah, like the thing that feels most magical in my practice is that my relationship with my body or like my relationship with the divine or prayer or just like being in conversation with me as an individual of things. it's bigger than myself. So that's a long form answer, but a couple of different ways.
Amy: I love a long form answer. I prefer it. Um, can you expand even a little bit about like your embodied magic and how magic you work with your body and your body works with you and that connection? I'm curious.
Cara: Yeah. I mean, this is good. This is going way back, but like witchcraft is the origin point, I feel like in a lot of my.
Cara: narrative as a business owner. Um, but my, my degree was in theories and politics of sexuality. And my first coaching certification was a sexuality certification. So like I, the, when I was manifesting the success of my business, I was doing things like carving intentions into candles and then. You have to put a condom on them before you do this, so you don't get wax in your vagina.
Cara: But I was like doing sex magic and I was, you know, manifesting the creation of this thing that I am now, you know, the CEO of, um, but yeah, really doing like a lot of ritual with like putting my hair in a candle, lots of candle stuff and body stuff. I also, I'm a Virgo, so I feel like Virgos. Like, have a very body, like, tactical material realm relationship with magic.
Cara: Um, so incorporating, like, ancestor items or, like, remnants of my physicality. I also have diabetes, so I have to have this kind of, like, very present but also often uncomfortable relationship with my body. And I think, like, using it in a ritual way is a healing practice for that because I have anxiety sometimes around like the ways in which I have to engage with the medical industrial complex so there's like a reclamation to be had when like my body becomes a mystical tool.
Amy: We recently had a conversation in our coven about um like trying to frame Masturbation is like a magical ritual practice. And, wow, you really upped the ante on that for me. I'm like, I have some carving and condom purchasing to do.
Cara: I highly recommend having sex with candles. Please join my business coaching program.
Amy: See, this is what I mean. Listeners, you're like business, which, but I thought, you know, missing witches is like an anti capitalist. Now you're getting it. Now you're understanding. How this relationship is, is taking off. I'm like, I'm excited. It's, we're, we're in a new year, but we're past the solstice and it's, it's a dark time and it's a good time to, you know, really like Get into, uh, uh, an embodied practice that's, that's, uh, like a solitude in solitude, you know, it's a great time to masturbate.
Amy: I guess it's like what I was going
Cara: for. There's a great book by Sophie St. Thomas called Sex Witch. And there's like all of the, that's where I, uh, First learned about fucking candles, which is why I was saying you have to put a condom on them because she is important. She makes that important. Note. Um, but yeah, great recipes in there for doing sex magic and I used to teach in the beginning of my business when I was doing sex coaching, I used to teach sex magic and it was really about, and it was very healing at that time too because I had been single for a while and I was frustrated by that and I think using my sexual energy as like I'm embodying my power and I'm going to send that power outside of me and cast it like a spell as an intention made manifest in the material reality.
Cara: Hot. Like, there was something very appealing about that. As opposed to, like, I'm thinking of the partner that I'm sad that I do not have, or whatever. Which was, like, the vibe when I was in that phase of my
Amy: life. Let's Bring it back to PG, um, or G rated. You talked, you talked a little bit about your background, but I know, like, part of your schooling was social work and intersectional feminism, like, tell me.
Amy: All about that.
Cara: Yes, I didn't even check if I was like allowed to get so explicit, but we were like, do you have any questions didn't ask? Yeah, didn't ask. But here we are. So, yes, my degree was in theories and politics of sexuality and women's studies and intersectional feminism and then I went to grad school for social work, and I wanted to be a therapist, and I was paying about 60, 000 a year to go to NYU, which I would advise any 22 year old to not do.
Cara: And I was also realizing, like, most of what I was learning, I had learned in undergrad. Like, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in undergrad was Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in grad school, which is also a white supremacist manipulation of an indigenous ideology. May I, but I digress. So I was like learning this repeated thing paying somebody else's annual salary to do it and realized, you know, no one told me this and my bad for not doing the research that the starting salary for social workers was 43, 000 a year.
Cara: I was living in New York City and I was like, I literally cannot afford to do this job. And I also am like, Going so deeply into student debt to be able to not afford to do this job. Like I don't, I didn't realize that this was what it was. And I, you know, social workers can make more money than that. It's such an important job.
Cara: And like, I could have gone to a state school, whatever there were, there are lots of other ways that could have gone, but that's how it went. And I was like, I need to figure something else. Out. Um, so even though at that time, and so much of my education was rooted in working with, I was working on nonprofit legal services agency.
Cara: I was working with mentally ill people living in section 8 housing. And, um, there was a lot of. Sort of grassroots organizing communities that I was involved in, even though I had a lot of learning to do, which I think we all have recognized that in the last decade, like how much learning we have to do that.
Cara: That was very foundational to. My perspective, um, I got a corporate job that I hated for the health insurance and the monies and I was miserable and I was just like, okay, so either like not have enough money to live alone in an apartment, like I'd have to have three roommates in New York. Or do this soul sucking thing that I hate.
Cara: Like, what is option C? And like, building my business was option C. And originally, it was meant to be in sexualities. Like, I'm polyamorous, and as you maybe have gotten the gist in the past 10 minutes of this recording, a kinky weirdo. So like, I thought it was going to be sexuality. But then when I built something that actually was the answer to this conundrum of like, oh, buy into I, you know, some people say coaching is a pyramid scheme.
Cara: I wouldn't disagree with them. We could talk about that if you want to, um, but I also think higher education is a pyramid scheme. Like, you're going to get a degree and go deeply into debt to then just teach other people to get the same degree, like, or to be regurgitated the same information you were told in undergrad, but like, you need to do that in order to get XYZ job.
Cara: Like, that's a pyramid scheme also. And so I was really passionate that I had built you. One, the embodiment of something I, like, really love doing, two, that was actually, like, making me a better salary than I would have ever imagined that I could have made elsewhere, and three, like, felt like a liberation from this system that I sort of had felt stuck or like trapped in as a 20 something.
Cara: And so now I help other people do that too. And it's very fun.
Amy: And there, I mean, there's definitely like a crossover between, um, like a version of social work and what you're, what you're doing. Like it's, it's very values based, but since you brought it up, um, you said on your Instagram Um, that polyamory, since you brought it up, has taught you so much about business coaching.
Amy: So let's segue there.
Cara: Well, I think what I specialize in is talking about business from a value based lens. Like, obviously, you heard the origin story of the witchcraft thing, and like, that's so potent. But I have been thinking about how much Coaches and healers and business owners who are values driven or progressive in their ideology Feel at such odds or dissonance with common business and marketing language And the parallel between that and polyamory is I don't like the words in polyamory But there like aren't other words that exist so like right now what you could technically define me as is the secondary to you know a partner of mine who Secondary feels so diminishing, it feels icky in my body, I reject that, um, but we are cultivating new language all the time in polyamory, so is it like anchor partner, or nesting partner, and then non nesting partner, which even still, that language is like kind of icky.
Cara: And I think there's also a parallel to be made in like the expansiveness we've seen in gender inclusive language, that like language grows and changes. And what's missing in business is language that can help people who are values driven learn how to sell their services without apologizing because the only script that they have is like, how do you convert people and like in what other context is converting somebody ever a good thing, or like marketing to pain points like I'm going to think about how you're in pain and I'm going to exploit it so that you hopefully purchase something from me is like the implication of that.
Cara: And it When people are learning from well intentioned teachers who don't have any other language to use, and then they try to apply that methodology in their own business, they feel really icky, which means that you're a values driven person, like, congratulations, you have integrity, like. That makes sense.
Cara: And so a lot of my work is about helping people reshape language so that they don't feel like they're apologizing for charging for their services because like nobody does that at a restaurant. You don't go to a restaurant and see a chef like apologize for charging you for the food, right? And it's like this thing that gets people, like, really stuck in being able to grow and, like, have an abundant, sustainable salary, which for one person could be one amount and for another person could be another amount.
Cara: Like, create the lifestyle that works for you, but don't apologize for your beautiful, beautiful, magical, uh, soul led work that you're, like, why are you apologizing for that? And I think similarly in polyamory, it's like, not my partner's responsibility to apologize for the designation of this word that doesn't encompass the depth of our love and affection for each other, but there is no other language.
Cara: So like, what do we want to create that actually honors the truth of what a thing is? And that's what I really attempt to give people from a business perspective.
Amy: Yeah, so much of our, our, like, whole lives and our, our, our human universe is created by the language that we use, so that's a lot of your work is like trying to create a new paradigm, trying to create a new vocabulary.
Cara: I wouldn't say that I have the words, but I do have the systems for helping people disconnect their own sense of. dissonance with the words and start to cultivate their own vocabulary. So even like how I teach sales, for example, like the way that sales is taught in coaching always eked me out. But I thought because I was learning from people who are more successful than I was, that eventually I would just graduate out of thinking that way.
Cara: And I think what happens for people is they buy into the model and they do feel like they quote unquote, graduate out of thinking that way. But then they're selling in a way that isn't congruent for their values, or they have a really hard time making money in their businesses, even if they're incredible service providers, because they can't figure out an approach that works for them.
Cara: And so what I really help people do is to shift their approach. So like, for example, in coaching, there's a lot of pressure to purchase services, like If you don't buy this, you must not really want it. Or like, you're not gonna be able to get where you want to go without this thing. And even as I'm saying that, I'm like, ew, like, I don't want to, that's, sure, maybe it will take me longer to make a profit because I have to cultivate trust and relationship with my audience so that they know that.
Cara: But I can't tell you how many things I've purchased with that kind of pressure that then did not actually give me the results that the thing promised to give me. And then I felt like I had wasted my money and I felt mad and like I did not want to engage with that service provider or that company ever again.
Cara: So I would much rather have like a longer sales cycle where what I'm creating for people is trust that if they purchase something from me, they're going to get the results that I promised them and that they never felt coerced to buy it. They made like a self agency informed decision so that they can engage with the work from that place.
Cara: So that's how I teach sales. I, what I find is, you know, people do my programs and they're like, I have felt gross about selling for four years and like I did your program and like now I don't feel that way anymore. And it's like, what would business look like if all of us had a language that felt equitable business is very personal, like the statement business isn't personal.
Cara: That's what corporations say to exploit people for profit. Business is personal as fuck. Like, I am the face of my business. Like, I care about my clients. In my one on one practice, I am, like, working with you directly. I'm, like, editing all of the stuff on the back end of your sales page. Like, uh, it's so personal.
Cara: It's your soul's work that I'm helping you steward into the world. There's very few things that are more personal than helping someone take their dreams and make them into a reality. So I think that there's just a way that we could all think about this better, that would then feel better, that would then be reflected in maybe some of our larger social constructs, which is something I'm really interested in and passionate about
Amy: as well.
Amy: And you, I mean, you teach whole courses about this. Um, but what's like, A boil down that someone, someone who is listening to this right now, for sure, is still, has a gross feeling about, um, sales, business, money. And, I mean, I think it's because of how capitalism has treated all of these things, right? Like, you, there's no such thing as an ethical billionaire because you have to exploit people in order to get to that level.
Amy: So, one, like, what's like, A bumper sticker that might help someone to like, start to release those feelings.
Cara: I guess what I would say is like, your soul work is so valuable and nobody is benefiting from you being afraid to share that with people or charge for that.
Amy: Yes, we've talked so much about our coven about who benefits from what, you know, whether it's like anger or the stifling anger and who benefits from you stifling your anger.
Amy: But the other side of that quaint is like who benefits from you stifling your soul work. Tell me about this phrase soul
Cara: work. Yeah, I mean, so one thing I'll say is like entrepreneurship is not for everybody nor should it be like I have. the greatest assistant who I would not be able to run this business without.
Cara: And like, she's so passionate about what the content that we create. And I'm so grateful for her feedback. And like, I, I wouldn't want to presume like row, if you're listening to this, that your soul work is helping me because that's not, that's not the like message I want to send. But I'm just saying like, entrepreneurship doesn't have to be for you.
Cara: Like helping somebody set up their vision could be for you. Being an organizer on an activism team, like could be what it is for you. Like when I say soul work, it's the work that you feel excited about going and doing every day, as opposed to feeling like you have to need to do so that you can pay your bills.
Cara: Cause I had that experience. I was working as an assistant for three hedge fund managers, which is as horrible as it's, it was as horrible as it sounds. Um, but I was like. I have diabetes, like, how am I going to get really good health insurance, and like, how am I going to be able to afford a studio apartment in New York, like, I guess I have to take this job.
Cara: And I had the Sunday scaries on Saturday because I knew that I was just going to have one more day and then I was going to have to do it again. Every time my phone rang, I was like, what do they want, you know, and like, Just living in that was horrible. And we do live in capitalism. And I wanted to do the thing that I most love to do, which I initially thought was liberating people from, uh, thinking in.
Cara: in a way that limited their sexual expression and self love, but was actually very similarly liberating people from thinking that they had to do this job that they hated and that there was no other way. Um, so, so much of who I am as a person is like, people said it was supposed to look like this. Well, if it doesn't look that way for you, like how, what way would make you happy?
Cara: And in my business, it's about helping people build that. from a business perspective, doing the thing that makes them happy. So that's what I would say soul work is.
Amy: And you, you say that entrepreneurship is a liberatory practice and, and I love this because the, the implication is like the freedom to sort of make your own rules.
Amy: And this is something that Risa and I go back to, we've been doing the Missing Riches Project for five years. And the first and kind of only rule that we ever made was our podcast, our rules. Like we don't have to emulate the gross fucking negligence and, you know, exploitation of each other. It's just the two of us.
Amy: Um, let's create. something. And every day we sort of have to remind ourselves that we don't have to fall back. Like, I, I'm, I'm recovering from COVID and I was like, I, I can do it. I can, you know, like, and Rhys was like, babe, like, you are more valuable to me alive than not alive. So like, let's take a week off.
Amy: Like there doesn't have to be an episode this week. There doesn't have to be whatever that we had planned. Like our, We are more valuable to each other than whatever we're, we're producing, right? But I would love for you to explore the, the, the idea and expand on the idea of entrepreneurship as liberatory.
Amy: Liberatory is one of my favorite words.
Cara: Thank you for like all of the questions that you're asking me today because it's really The I think the first time I've on a podcast episode like woven together all of the parts of like, I worked this job that I hated I felt depressed because of my medical condition I like went to school for this I thought like, and how witchcraft plays into it because it is a kind of a.
Cara: A story that encompasses so many things and I haven't really gotten to talk about them like this. So, like, this is just really nice. So, thank you. Um, and it feels nice to, like, be able to recognize that, that, like, overarching theme and, like, all of the various parts. Because liberation, I think, is the word that does recognize all of that, right?
Cara: It, like, recognizes, like, I think witchcraft is so liberatory. It's, like, People were murdered for communing with this sacred recognition of their power. And what I always think about is, like, the reason that witches were, um, targeted, and oppressed, and murdered, and, or, not even witches, people who maybe were not even, wouldn't have self identified that way, but appeared, right?
Cara: It's like the, that story is about. Trying to put out the light of somebody recognizing their own power because if you deem yourself to be quote unquote sovereign Like God hath giveth me this power because he said so there is nothing scarier than a Person who is like actually I am aware of my divine power and I commune with it.
Cara: Like of course we killed witches So witchcraft is a liberal. It's a reclamation. It's a liberatory returning to I'm nobody outside of me knows my power better than me like and the divine and my relationship to it polyamory is a liberatory Practice if you think of it as a practice for some people it's an orientation for me It's a practice of like somebody told me love was supposed to look like this But like it's actually been looking like this and like that is so beautiful and it is not um Less valuable or less what love means because it doesn't look like some societal prescriptive definition.
Cara: Entrepreneurship was liberatory. Because I didn't have to work a horrible job that I hated anymore. But it's also because people tell us, you know, you go to school, you get a degree, you pay off student debt until your 40s or maybe even your 50s. And then you get a job and you work there for your 401k.
Cara: And then hopefully you retire and have some good years. And I was like, I don't want to do that. Like I don't work on Fridays. I take the majority of Fridays off working four days a week. is liberatory experience of my schedule where previously Saturdays I would have anxiety. Um, having access to enough money that my dog got a fungal infection and I didn't have to stress out about how I was going to pay for it.
Cara: Or my mom, I paid her mortgage last year when she needed that and I was able to. Like having goals to have money that like, for me, money is not the goal. Freedom is the goal. And like money is a tool that has created freedom in my life. Not a hundred percent of the time. Inflation is insane right now. Like I'm building out a lot of things within the business.
Cara: I do have less disposable income than maybe I did this time last year. And like, I have freedom that a lot of people do not have because of my access to money that the business has made, which. I didn't feel like I would have if I worked the job that I thought that I was supposed to work in order to be both like quote unquote safe and successful in society so like entrepreneurship has been hugely liberatory for me because of that.
Cara: Can you
Amy: like maybe rant for me and then we'll turn it into a positive once once we've angrily ranted about this. I mean, In the United States specifically, I'm in Canada, so I'm already liberated from this, um, but the fact that your healthcare is tied to your employment, seems like an insane meme.
Amy: Capitalist dystopian. Oh yeah. And we've spoken to so many people who, who would, would love to do what you do and like, you know, forego their corporate job. But like yourself, maybe they have a chronic illness. Um, maybe they have children and who have chronic illnesses or there's something that fundamentally requires them to have it.
Amy: Good insurance. So, like, can you maybe commiserate with those people and then, and then turn it around and tell me how you conjured the bravery to reject that?
Cara: Oh my god, it's so fucked up here. It's so, like, it is insane. The thing of, like, to paint a picture for people who are listening to this in a country where maybe they have access to universal health care.
Cara: Um, I, Pay 747 a month for my insurance, which is like. the platinum one And I bought the platinum one because like i'm
Amy: sorry So gross like we're using the same terminology that we're using for like fucking credit cards and like Okay, sorry, carry on
Cara: And no, please rant with me. It's, it's horrible. Um, so yeah, even, and also I just turned my phone off because I can feel my blood sugar going down and I'm like, it's going to make a loud alarm noise, sirens and alarms.
Cara: What does it say about me versus your other guests who like their background noises when chimes, but I. I digress again.
Amy: Um, I, I do want to say, like, your health is more important than this podcast. If you need to take a second and, like, get it. If
Cara: I need to get some honey, we will pause. And like, promise?
Cara: Promise? Yeah, totally. I wouldn't be able to not pause. Like, it's, and also, look at how you wanted to give me that, but it was hard for you to give it to yourself when you had COVID. So I just want to mirror that to you, but yes, I have in the middle of client calls been like, I need to go get some honey. I do these little like rip there, like tiny pre packaged like honey things.
Cara: That's my, cause, cause glucose tabs, which is what other diabetics eat. They take it's disgusting. It's like Tom. So I do honey. Anyway, if I need honey, I'll let you know. Um, but yeah, platinum version versus gold or bronze or whatever, and the difference in that is, uh, an out of pocket that you would have to pay out of pocket before your insurance would even start to cover anything.
Cara: So if you buy, like, the bronze, the out of pocket is, like, I don't know. I've seen it 3600. I've seen it eight grand. So like you have to pay 3600 for whatever it is that you're buying before your insurance kicks in. So the reason that I buy the platinum is because by the time I pay the out of pocket on insulin, it's the same amount as it would be to just pay more a month.
Cara: So it's like a stupid math equation that is like, okay, so I pay 3, 600 now plus two or three or 400 a month, or I pay 747 a month and you're already covering this stuff that I have to buy anyway because I have a chronic condition. So like I knew going into Entrepreneurship, that I would be having to buy, like, the most expensive health insurance, where other people in my age range who don't have chronic conditions are maybe paying between 200 and 400 a month, but, like, if they knock on wood, you know, have an emergency, are then paying, like, 3, 000, 4, 000, 5, 000 out of pocket.
Cara: It's stupid.
Amy: It's terrifying.
Cara: Yeah, yeah.
Amy: And now the light at the end of the tunnel. Turn it around. Tell me about how you conjured the bravery to, to like, enter this system.
Cara: Can we stay in the dark for like five more minutes?
Amy: Oh, let's, let's do some shadow work. Let's wallow. And
Cara: the reason I say that is because I want to share it.
Cara: Like I graduated from college the year that Obamacare and the open market for health insurance. The year that it, like, started, but it didn't actually go into effect where I could utilize it until November of that year. So I graduated in May, and I had six months where what people prior to that point had been dealing with for decades, which was that if you did not have insurance, um, employee sponsored health insurance, You could just get rejected from any open market plan for having a pre existing condition.
Cara: So that was like the situation in the United States, like that's what Obama, like what to me, why, what, what he did that was most important in his term in office was really like create Obamacare. Because I graduated from college, I got kicked off of my student Health insurance. I was diagnosed my senior year.
Cara: So I didn't know that this was a thing where I was like, okay, well now I have to go buy Blue Cross Blue Shield, whatever. And everyone was like, okay, yeah, you're 21. You're not a smoker. We have tons of plans for you. And then they get to the question, you have diabetes. Oh, we have no plans. So I was uninsured from May of that year to November of that year, living off of insulin samples that my doctor would give me.
Cara: And I went to a diabetes support group because I was like, what the actual fuck? And this was honestly, for me, the birthplace of like, I'm an activist because I didn't realize that people were living inside of these kinds of systems. So. I went to, uh, this diabetes support group and I was talking to a woman in her like 30s 21.
Cara: Everyone was just older than me at that time, right? And I told her what I was like, I, what do I do? And she goes, okay, this is what you do, because. I was afraid I was going to have a seizure because I was newly diagnosed and learning how to manage it. And I didn't want to be foot with a 20, 000 hospital bill.
Cara: I was already paying off a 12, 000 co pay for being in the ICU for three days when I got diagnosed. And she was like, this is what you do. Have your boyfriend put you in your car and drive your car into a wall and your car insurance will pay your hospital bill.
Amy: Shut the fuck up.
Cara: Yeah. I'm laughing, which is what my therapist says I do to avoid feeling the discomfort of very difficult things.
Amy: Yeah, same, same. Same, same. But I just have to tell you, my spouse is always like, Amy, like, It's, it's not funny. And I'm like, I know it's not funny. This is how my body reacts to like, uncomfortable, absurd, like, Yeah,
Cara: insane. So I, that's why I took that job, the horrible hedge fund assistant job, because I was like, I can't make 43, 000 a year and then like, for a just insurance, like, there's just no way.
Cara: So I took that job because I thought that I needed to have a job. Like I was also at that time copywriting and like doing side hustles that like have made me a great business owner today. They like cultivated a lot of the skills that I use in my work. Like I was doing all these freelance fashion writing, like having fun in New York, you know, I was like 25, but I thought there is no way I could pursue this as a career because I would not be able to afford the health insurance.
Cara: So the light at the end of the tunnel is like I got very lucky like I'm very privileged when I left that job. My dad had started displaying signs of dementia so I took family medical leave of absence. So I had like four months. Of paid wages before I left. And I was like, I'm going to use this time where I have insurance for four months, uh, to figure out what I'm going to do.
Cara: And then I had Cobra, which is a program in America that when you leave, if your employee options to give it to you, which they did, because. I probably can't say more than that without violating something, but they did. So they gave me COBRA, but I was paying, then it was like 600 a month for the same insurance I had had when I was covered by them, which was a good plan because capitalism, we give people better coverage when they opt into working within the system that is most convenient.
Cara: For the relationship between political pundits and corporations, you will have better health care if you step in line and you work for a company. Right? So this is another way in which I think entrepreneurship is liberatory. I have to sneeze once.
Amy: And while you're sneezing, I'll just say, like, speaking of fucking dystopian, that your father having dementia was a privilege because it allowed you some time to be insured while not in the healthscape.
Cara: Yeah, I mean, I feel extremely privileged that I had four months of paid, like, I had four months of salary. And then was offered health insurance. That was a privilege. Yeah. And I hear how fucked up that is. Yeah, but that's the reality. I think about that time as a privilege because I lived with my mom and she taught me card reading.
Cara: Like, it was such a special time. So, but I, I hear you. It's totally wild. Um, so the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, one thing I'll say, who knows with this fucking 2024 election, what is going to happen in the United States? Like, I think all of the time about. Getting citizenship, you know, my dad was born in Hungary and like figuring out how to get EU citizenship because I'm like, I don't know what's going to happen here.
Cara: I know that like I will always be working for myself and I am fortunate like it's a big part of the reason I have such high income goals and why I teach people that it's important that they make money and I know we talked about this on when you came on my podcast about the relationship between anti capitalism and like being somebody who has high income goals.
Cara: It's like. I need insulin, bro. You know, it just, it creates a sense of safety when you can build something for yourself that like, nobody's going to fucking tell me what I can and cannot do with my time or what I can and cannot buy. Because like, I don't want to be restricted by that. And so I'm opting out by like.
Cara: Making money and teaching other people how to do the same so that they don't have to feel restricted by those systems. We need capital to survive in the dystopia that you are talking about. And like, it is a tool to me.
Amy: And that's it. Yeah, that's something that I've been like working on reframing. My whole life is like, you know, they say the love of money is the root of all evil and it's the love part that, that is the problem.
Amy: Greed, you know, but I'm, I'm, I'm constantly trying to remind myself that, that money in and of itself is, is not inherently evil. It's a tool just like a hammer is where you can use a hammer to build houses for the unhoused, you know, or you can use that hammer to. bash somebody's Scotland. I do have to say, I was going to ask you before we started, if you pronounce your last name KovÃ¡cs, because CS in Hungarian is pronounced ch, and then I was like, oh, there's no way she's Hungarian.
Amy: I don't know why, because my father was Hungarian. Oh, really? Yeah, and I was also his primary caregiver as he declined into dementia. So I feel like you and I are like, Soulmates. Aww. That's
Cara: so nice. And yeah, I mean, that's the correct pronunciation, but here in America, we just say Kovacs.
Amy: Same thing. I'm, I'm Amy Turek, but if we were in Hungary, it would be Turek, but no, nobody in Canada seems to be able to wrap their, their mouth around that Turek, Turek.
Cara: he leave in 56 during the revolution? Yes. Yes. So did my dad.
Amy: Well, listeners, I mean, I don't know if this is interesting for you, but this is hella interesting for me. You and I will talk about this another time, maybe when we're not recording. Let's get, let's get back to business, literally. There
Cara: was something that I, that was like top of mind to say that I want to see if I can get back when we were talking about like, Oh, you said something about like, money is the root of all evil, something that a lot of business coaches teach.
Cara: And this is what I hope people get from hearing this or engaging with my work at all, is I'm like, I'm not doing that shit. Like, we do things differently in my house. Um, And that what I want to build in the coaching industry because there is a lot of like toxic MLM weird fucking shit that happens in the coaching industry that we can just call it what it is.
Cara: I'm doing research right now about the similarities between coaching and cults and it is. Uh, the awkward laughing that we do when we you and I were just talking about we laugh because it's bad. It's that um, but I don't think that money is the root of all evil like to to think about money That way is giving money way too much power Which is the problem in and of itself is that we've already given money so much power Money is an inanimate object.
Cara: It is a system that is completely made up. There's a book. Um, That I wouldn't say some people really, really like it. When I read first read it, I found it very formative, but it is also problematic in and of itself, but it's called a happy pocket full of money. And one of the stats he talks about in the book is that only 2 percent of the money in the entire world exists in the physical reality.
Cara: The rest of it is like ones and zeros on a screen that we've all decided. To agree that we believe in and like that we can just essentially like make up, you know, you can just add zeros and like it's monopoly money. It's really not that different. What I believe the power behind money is, is Because you'll see business coaches say like money is energy and I fundamentally disagree with that.
Cara: Money is a theoretical concept that we all agree exists and that we then operate within a system that upholds, which is not dissimilarly to like white supremacy or like ageism and fat phobia. It's like constructs that are so ingrained that we don't even realize how much power they have over us.
Cara: Abundance is energy. So whether you feel abundant and this is another thing the coaching industry touts like make your five figure month make your six figure year I taught that a couple of years ago like I was in that system and I left very intentionally trying to create something different. And I do need to make five figure months.
Cara: For operating my business expenses at this point, like I have an infrastructure. I have an employee like That is a need but some people come to me and they just want to replace their salary doing something that they actually like and that could be 5k a month that could be 8k a month like depending on where you live and if you have children and like if you have a partner like whatever the number is is what I Teach people to create, not some kind of hypothetical.
Cara: Like mountain with no top which is what the the greed kind of is and I love this idea from another money book I love that. I think we talked about on my podcast the soul of money by Lynn twist That's my favorite money book of all time where she talks about sufficiency Where it's like, what do you need to like?
Cara: Feel good about what you do. And that's why freedom is the goal. Freedom is what I value. I value being able to go visit my mom when I want to without stressing out about how much it's going to cost to fly across the country and like get dog care. Like I value being able to invest in the business in a way that like impacts more people, which means that I'm going to have to spend money to like have somebody help me do things that I just frankly can't or I'm not interested in doing.
Cara: Money is the tool that you use to create those things. And the feeling of being abundant inside of capitalism, inside of white supremacist patriarchy on stolen land that like, how could we ever actually own as ours anyway, is like you feeling abundant doing things that you like doing for your livelihood.
Cara: Like that is liberatory. And that's what I coach and teach. And I think it makes me very different from like most practitioners doing this work. But my goal is that I can help other people with similar values do that kind of work. Because we need it. And you being like, oh my god, I don't want to charge too much.
Cara: Or oh my god, like what are people going to think about me, is not helping anybody. It's not helping anybody.
Amy: In you, I know, like, so much of your work is like, um, values based. You talk about this, like, values based. What would you say are your core
Cara: values? I love this question. It is, uh, the first assignment in my signature course, Business Witch, which is the same name as my podcast, which like is coming out the month that this episode will be released so people can go check it out.
Cara: Um, but the first module is about values, and two, I love giving resources and also credit because like I didn't come up with having business values but Brene Brown has a great exercise on values and dare to lead and then. My coach, Trudy LeBron, who wrote the anti racist business book, uh, her book starts with values.
Cara: And the point of values is like, I've coached people who are literally running like million dollar companies with no values and everybody has no shared vision. Like Okay. Okay. If you have a huge team and you're making a lot of money, but you have no values, there are problems. Look at Amazon, like look at like any large company.
Cara: Maybe their values are like efficiency and profit and like how those things are run. So the first thing I do with clients and in my programs is like pick your business values because if you are operating from your business values, it's very hard to Not necessarily mess up like I've spent money that I wish that I hadn't spent.
Cara: I've definitely harmed people. We can't guarantee safety because we're imperfect people, but like you act in accordance with your values. They provide a foundation and a compass and a framework for any decision that you make. And they help if you have a team. Your team be unified around a particular mission.
Cara: So in my business, um, the values that I operate under the first is integrity. Uh, the second is accountability, which is the newest one and came, you know, from Really divesting from a system that I do believe is harmful that I know that I taught. So that has been really important for kind of rebranding the shape of my work and pivoting and like building what I've been doing for the past couple of years.
Cara: Um, and it's also just an acknowledgement that I'm like a cis white lady who is probably going to do something that is like gun and require accountability at some point. Um, so I want people to know that they can expect that from me, like instead of safety, they can expect accountability. Um, sovereignty.
Cara: You know better about your life than I do. I think another way in which coaching can be like a cult is the presumption that the coach has some kind of divine knowing or agency that then the person who is operating as their client is making like major life decisions and taking their coach's advice instead of their own advice and I only know what you're telling me right now.
Cara: I don't know like If it was a miscommunication between you and that employee and then I'm telling you to take a particular action and then you do that and then like it fucks up something in your life, like, you know, you're the best authority on yourself. Um, and then authenticity. Because I, I don't think I would have been as good at being a therapist.
Cara: I have a yearly existential crisis where I think about becoming a therapist instead, because I love therapy. Like I love, my therapist has been like really helpful in a different, and it's an art form that is so different from coaching in that like. You leave a lot more for the client to say, whereas I really direct people and guide them to take particular kinds of actions.
Cara: So I'm always like, oh, like, should I be doing that instead? And I, I think of it as a healing art and I love that. Um, but anyway, the point being, I think I would be a bad therapist because I don't think I couldn't talk about like fucking candles and
Amy: being polyamorous. Like,
Cara: like, authenticity is like, if you don't like this as a brand identity, like go purchase services from somebody else.
Cara: Like I can't, I'm a Leo rising. I can't really like be not
Amy: this. You have spoken about how your, your coaching is, is trauma informed. I think you, you've done such a beautiful job, like you were saying before of like, Integrating all of these different aspects of your whole self into this coaching that you do.
Amy: It's really remarkable. And listeners, if you're like me, and you just wish that this conversation could go on and on and on. Um, Cara is going to do a class for our Coven mates. So if you're not already a Coven member, maybe this is You know, you're, you're a call to action. Otherwise,
Amy: I just, I've been having such an amazing time and I really feel like even just in this conversation that I'm, I'm starting to like, I, how to flip that switch Mm-Hmm. Of, of, you know, um, devaluing myself because I don't want. To allow greed into my system. Um, and I, and I don't think that those things are, are synonymous, like valuing yourself and being greedy are not fucking synonymous.
Amy: And, and I love that, that, that is. is part of your message. Um, for those people who are not members of the Missing Witches Coven who still want, you know, they want to cut out the middleman, cut out missing witches and go straight to you.
Amy: That's fine. You know, you don't got to do nothing. I, I really, listeners like to follow your heart and follow, follow your values more specifically. Um, and if that, Yellow Brick Road leads them straight to you, then I'm happy with that. So how, how do, how would they do that? How would they join your non cult?
Cara: So there are a few free things we have for, for folks. So there's a mini course called how to think about your business, like a business and not your personal existential crisis. That is the gift for signing up for my email list and I send emails every Monday. Um, and you get like a video and a workbook and I'm like, I love my email list.
Cara: Like you can find me on Instagram at Cara Kovacs coaching, but if you want to hear me say what I really think come to my email list.
Cara: And then business, which my signature course, it is 997. At the time of this broadcasting, I believe it will be 997. We are considering raising the price in next year, but. At the time of this recording, and it's four modules. It's self guided. So it's building your, your business from your values and your mission, uh, ethical client acquisition and sales, trauma informed care and accountability and coaching.
Cara: So it basically teaches like healers coaches hypnotherapists service providers, we've had people who like work in nonprofits and want to transition into coaching nonprofit leaders. We've had all different kinds of folks in the program. It teaches you ethical sales and money work that is rooted in some of the stuff that you I've been talking about today and there's twice a week office hours where you can drop in and ask your business questions.
Cara: So like people come in and they give me like, they'll read, you know, the, the sales pitch that they've been working on and I will lovingly rip it to shreds. Um, or they come in and they're like, this is the strategy for how I want to launch or I'm having this issue with a client. It's literally like office hours.
Cara: You can drop in whenever you want. We have those twice a week. And then I do have for more established business owners, a one on one practice. And that is really for somebody who like already knows what it is that they're selling. They've sold a couple of them, at least in the past, like. You know, if, if you are just starting out, I probably wouldn't take you as a one on one client, but, uh, those people who have clear missions, my specialty is like helping them shape and expand them.
Cara: Um, and always happy to have conversations with people who are interested in that. And then my podcast business, which you can listen to Amy and Risa's episode over there from September of 2023. Yeah, we'll, we'll
Amy: put that in the show notes for this too. Okay. Um, also, um, Instagram, your website is Cara Kovacs.
Amy: Carakovacs. But I always pronounce it like that because people won't know how to spell it. And your Instagram is CarakovacsCoaching
Cara: Yes, that's correct. Okay. For business, which it's Cara Kovacs. com slash course, but there's a button on my website so you can toggle to it there. And I'm like very chatty with people and also very good at stating the boundary of like Unless you're a client, we're not going to keep having this conversation, but if you want to DM me, I am like really open to, to connecting with folks.
Amy: Okay, my final wrap up question so you can answer this as briefly as possible. Other than fucking yourself with a candle, what is a magical practice that people can integrate into their business aspirations? I
Cara: thought you were going to ask me, what else do you put?
Amy: What else? Like, a carrot? A cucumber?
Cara: I was like, where is this
Amy: Where is
Cara: this going? No, I'm a huge fan of, like, sigil magic, too. So, like, writing the intention for what it is that you want to create. Making it into a symbol also carving that into a candle Um, I do a lot of just like journaling and dreaming and embodying the feeling of having had the thing Which that was like really how I started my business And even though it was not I I thought it was going to be around sexuality So the things that I were envisioning and like imagining Took their own shape and their own course.
Cara: There was a feeling of arriving and like there was a lot of The things that I really did think about and I think that there's a way in which I'm not answering this shortly, but there's a way in which, um, manifestation can be a lot of spiritual bypassing and kind of appropriative in nature, but you also cannot build.
Cara: A successful body of work if you do not intentionally imagine yourself to embody the energy of the person, the version of you that you want to be. Like when I taught my first workshop and I was so anxious, like I slowed down and I prayed and I imagined like feeling really powerful on the stage. Then, you know, before I teach a class, I still engage with that kind of ritual or prayer.
Cara: So like, If you are getting stuck in a cycle of imposter syndrome or fear or procrastination, like the version of you who has this thing that you want is not doing that. And imbuing yourself energetically with it is a very powerful but also kind of necessary ritual that witches and non witches who are CEOs, everybody's doing it.