Spiritual Service Professionals: How to Win Every Refund Dispute

Deck Pictured: Oswald Wirth Tarot (USGS, 1997).
Deck Pictured: Oswald Wirth Tarot (USGS, 1997).

This won’t be an interesting post.

It’s targeted only at spiritual service professionals.

So unless you are a professional tarot reader, astrologer, life coach, divination mentor, or are engaged professionally in a similar form of spiritual business, this post will not be of much interest.

I’m posting it kind of as a PSA so that it is available to any spiritual entrepreneur who manages to find this page.

If you teach business tips and strategies to spiritual entrepreneurs, then I ask of you to incorporate the contents of this post into your educational materials. Screw credit or no credit or infringement wtf ever– just get your people informed, will you? Who the hell cares who came up with the idea first. Just get the information out there to fellow spiritual service professionals.

Continue reading “Spiritual Service Professionals: How to Win Every Refund Dispute”

Workbook for Devising Your Professional Tarot Business Plan

The Efflorescent Tarot by Katie Rose Pipkin (Self-Published)
The Efflorescent Tarot by Katie Rose Pipkin (Self-Published)

Note: What synchronicity. Theresa Reed of The Tarot Lady asked me to contribute to a really cool piece, “Best Tarot Business Advice from 22 Tarot Pros.” And I had scheduled this post to go live in the same week. Definitely check out Theresa’s blog. It’s one of my favorites.

* * *

So you’ve always been kind of a weirdo. An intuitive weirdo, no less. You read tarot cards. Scrying with a crystal ball is not out of your realm of conceivable possibilities. Also, for the last who-knows-how-long, your friends and family have been asking you to divine for them. You hear the calling to do this as a professional now. That’s right. You want to launch a professional service in divination. Although you’re no computer whiz, you do know your way around the Internet. So you’re thinking, gee, I think I could launch an online business where I do tarot readings for people from home.

What do you do now?

Continue reading “Workbook for Devising Your Professional Tarot Business Plan”

The Plight of the Free Reading Requests

Bitstrips - Free Reading Please

So today I am going to talk about something no tarot reader has ever, ever talked about before. A novel topic, one not yet addressed by anyone. (Okay, truth: I am like the 39,458,323,492,345th tarot reader to talk about this issue. But I want to talk about it anyway.)

As a budding tarot practitioner, you will have done countless free tarot readings for folks, friend and stranger, before a light bulb goes off in your head and you realize you’re good at reading tarot and could go pro with it. So you do. Now you’re a professional tarot reader, or at least that’s what you’re telling yourself and everybody else. You have a price list up and you’ve sent out a press release or announcement notice to everyone you know that you’ve launched your own tarot business.

[Wait, hold up. “Press release? Announcement notice? What is this woman talking about?” I went on a bit about press releases in a previous post here. And here is a template announcement notice you can use to create your own to send to your contact list: SAMPLE ANNOUNCEMENT NOTICE FOR TAROT BUSINESS LAUNCH (PDF file).]

Okay, back to the topic at hand. As you can see in the sample announcement notice, assuming yours was something like it, you’ve clearly given out your pricing list and everyone knows you’re now a business. This isn’t just a hobby and your friends know that because you’ve told them. Complete strangers oughta know it, too, considering it’s clearly posted on your website.

Yet you would be a unicorn if you didn’t get any audacious requests for free tarot readings. It’s a plight every tarot reader deals with.

The Friend Who Wants You to Just Pull a Few Cards, Please, This is Important

Bitstrips - Friendly Request for Free Reading

Now that you’ve disseminated the announcement notice for your tarot business launch, the pro is lots of people are aware of your service and you are now on their radar. The con is at least a bunch of them are going to try to haggle a free reading out of you.

You’ll want to know what your own professional policy will be for handling such situations. Most professional tarot readers would probably advise you to say no and not step foot onto the slippery slope of giving out free readings. I would say it depends on how much free time you have, what makes you happy, and whether you have bills to pay.

If you say yes, then you’re enabling that person to come back to you again in the future for more free reading requests. And then what? What if you say yes for the first free reading and no for the second request? That friend will–whether she admits it or not–feel betrayed by you (because it’s basic psychology) and resent you for saying no because, after all, you said yes before. Now the appreciation for that first free reading is shot and your friend can’t believe you’re now saying no to her.

Continue reading “The Plight of the Free Reading Requests”

Fees, Math, the Startup Tarot Professional, and Why You Need Goodwill

prof

So you want to start a tarot reading business from scratch, huh? Well, before you do, here are some numbers you might want to confront and, after confronting them, understand why goodwill is critical to success in this profession.

Also, why should you have numbers in your head? Because once you have a solid idea of the number of tarot readings you need to do to make a certain amount, your break-even point, etc., then the more defined your goals are. When you have clearly defined goals, you are a lot more likely to succeed.

Now, granted, you’ll have to start by assuming U.S. jurisdiction only. I’ve found that Americans are a lot more conservative and even more resistant to the idea of tarot than, say, their neighboring Canadians, the Brits, Europeans, or Australians. So there’s that. However, Americans (generally here) seem to be willing to shell out more money for a tarot reading than some Asian countries. What you can realistically charge for a tarot reading in China, India, Indonesia, or the Philippines is going to be less than what you can charge in the US, and what you can charge in the US is less than the going rates in the UK. At least those were my informal findings.

Surveying 113 people (across the United States only), the average lay person will risk $10.00 for a 15 minute reading from a tarot professional who the lay person is not familiar with. However—and there is very large and bold “but” here—if you, the tarot professional, have loads of positive testimonials, good reviews, are referred by word of mouth from a friend, or have established your professional credibility, then the dollar amount risked goes up exponentially, and that is a very important point that I will get to later.

What that means for the beginner tarot professional who is hanging out that shingle for the very first time is this: if you are a complete unknown with no established credibility, then according to my findings, you can start at charging $10.00 for a 15 minute reading and make money. If you charge more than that, the chances of securing clients goes down. However, as you build credibility and develop your reputation, then your rates can go up respectively.

If you’re asking me, the following would be my thoughts (and really, I’m not the one to ask for oh so many reasons, ranging from I stink at math, have zero background in accounting or finance to I’ve never actually launched a professional tarot business before; however, for whatever little it’s worth, I am a business lawyer and have counseled numerous startup businesses with their launches).

[Warning: This is a very long post. Unless you are, like, super crazy serious about going pro and have been thinking about the numbers for going pro, I don’t really expect you read the whole thing.]

Continue reading “Fees, Math, the Startup Tarot Professional, and Why You Need Goodwill”

Tarot Reading in Taiwan

This is so cool. I stumbled across some fascinating home footage of a professional tarot reading done in Taipei, Taiwan. There are no subtitles, so for those who don’t understand Mandarin, I’m going to provide a recap. I found the reading session quite fascinating, mostly because it’s cool to see how other practitioners approach readings, especially from other cultures. (Well, for me, it’s the same culture in a way, since I’m Taiwanese, but you know what I mean.) The practitioner did this reading for 250 NT, which is about $8.00 USD. That is cheap! Holy cow!

He started by telling the seeker, who blogs as The Chindian Chronicles that she could ask four questions. Each tarot deck can answer four questions at a time, he tells her. (Interesting!) She chooses her Studies, her Family, her Health, and Love. He’s also using the RWS system, though not any reproduction of the RWS that I’m familiar with. Actually, from some of the screen shots, it looks like a version of the Universal Tarot (which closely follows RWS and is considered an RWS clone) by Roberto De Angelis. I love that there’s the dharma wheel on the backs.

I also think it’s cute how the girls are nervous about the reading, though I love that he reassures them and is really overall doing a great job at this. I’m going to do my best to translate the reading session, since I’m sure my practitioner friends are very interested. My Mandarin isn’t great, however, so my translations aren’t going to be perfect. Continue reading “Tarot Reading in Taiwan”

A Question for Professional Tarot Readers: Do You Talk About the Cards?

Key III: The Empress. From the Hermetic Tarot.
Key III: The Empress. From the Hermetic Tarot.

I’ve been observing dozens of professional tarot readers conduct their readings. The observations prompted me to think about the practice of describing the tarot cards to the querent (or seeker).

For example, if a seeker asks whether she will find love in the coming year and you the tarot reader draw Key III: The Empress, which of the below better reflects your response?

MajorArcana_Key_3_The_Empress

[ A ] . “I drew The Empress, the card of fruition. Venus rules over this card. The Empress is a sign of love, fertility, and family. See the laurel wreath on her crown? That symbolizes your victory. The Empress is also of the Earth. Seems like not only will you find love, it could be one that finally grounds you and brings a sense of stability in your life. The number 3 here suggests to me that all good things will be amplified this year. 3 is the number of creativity. The stars on her crown symbolize hope, and there are 12 of them, which suggests creativity and artistic expression. The 12 stars also symbolize the 12 constellations of the zodiac. There might be something karmically fated about the love you will meet this year.”

or

[ B ] . “Yes, it seems you will be having quite a fruitful year in love. You may even meet someone you end up marrying. It’s going to be a plentiful year of romance for you, and, by the way, a year filled with creativity.”

Method A takes longer because you are identifying and describing the card first before interpreting it for the seeker. It also got me wondering: how many seekers really care about the cards? Are they requesting a reading to learn the names of the tarot cards? Does knowing that you pulled a Seven of Swords or Nine of Pentacles really mean anything to them? Or do they just want the answers to their questions?

If, however, you subscribe to the notion that the signs and symbols of the cards are the language of the unconscious and as a tarot reader, you are just an interpreter, then by providing the signs and symbols to the seeker, that person might be able to get more from the meaning than you were able to see. So why wouldn’t you provide the signs and symbols on the chance they might see something you didn’t? Any bilingual person understands this concept on an intimate level.

As for Method B, it is more direct. It answers the seeker’s question right away, which I have to assume is what most seekers want from you–a straight answer. I wonder if they really care about the elemental dignities of The Empress, the planetary influence, or what the empress depicted on the card is wearing.

Continue reading “A Question for Professional Tarot Readers: Do You Talk About the Cards?”

The Unindemnified Cost of Tarot Reading

tarotspi

I am preaching to the choir when I write this to an audience of tarot practitioners: If your personal energy could be quantified like battery life, then reading tarot for others will drain it like streaming a movie on your smartphone over 4G connection. Reading tarot depletes me in a way I cannot fully convey. Sometimes I get the sense that non-tarot practitioners who request tarot readings from me don’t have any idea.

On its face, a tarot reading seems to be an effortless dealing of a deck of cards, and then blurting phrases based in some part on the card imagery. What could be so hard about that?

Tarot is a tool, a metaphysical one if you will, that connects two individuals’ energetic fields together for the duration of a reading. The nature of the relationship between practitioner and seeker is that of give and take, respectively. A practitioner feels his or her energy draining out and going into the cards to provide the reading that the seeker is receiving. Seekers often talk about readings being rejuvenating, cathartic, an enriching experience. They’re picking up on that channeling effect. In contrast, tarot readers talk about feeling exhausted, needing to recharge.

Very few tarot readers make enough cash from their readings to compensate for their time spent. That, though, we will chalk up to simple economics and just acknowledge that at least from a free market standpoint, that part is fair.

I draft business contracts for a living and almost every one of them contains an indemnification clause. Indemnification is often one of the main points of negotiation and contention between the parties. In the course of a commercial dealing, some poo always makes its way to the fan– costs of damage resulting from the initial transaction that weren’t accounted for in the contract price– and everybody needs to figure out who owes what to who and how much to compensate for the loss. That’s indemnification.

When I make reference to the unindemnified price of tarot readings, I’m talking about that energetic loss that tarot practitioners sustain but no one accounts for, or heck, even acknowledge. Some seekers can be borderline parasitic, though I believe never intentionally so. Most tarot practitioners are by nature empaths and so of course their first inclination will be to yield and give and feel.

As an empath with a law degree, when I first started my legal career, I felt every client’s problem and took home a briefcase of emotional baggage every night. I’d think about their issues in the shower, while brushing my teeth, before I fell asleep, the first thing when I woke up, while I made my coffee… Yet senior partners at the firm seemed to master such control. They compartmentalized. One might be tempted to say they were apathetic, that they were desensitized, or they did not care. That is not true at all. They cared and they cared deeply about their clients. But they have been at this a long time and they know that to truly be in a position to help as many as possible, they needed to take care of themselves first. Selfishness is a form of selflessness. They knew exactly when it was time to step away from a case, recharge themselves, and live their own lives for a change, instead of living for others, which is exactly what lawyers do, though they rarely get seen by that side of them.

Tarot practitioners must take a cue from these partners. Newbies rarely possess the prudence to know when they must step away and focus on themselves. They get caught up in the exhilaration of uplifting others–an admirable trait–but ironically (since we are tarot readers…) fail to foresee the pending crash. That is why burn-out is such a problem among startup tarot practitioners.

There is no indemnification for that spiritual energy drain that is part of the tarot reader’s work. Thus we are the ones who must keep ourselves in check. Always take time to recharge and learn to say “no.”