I'm a professional tarot reader with 21 years of experience. For me, tarot is a fascinating system that reflects all human life.
Let me be open and honest right up front: not everyone can make money reading tarot cards. There are some non-negotiable qualities that every tarot reader must have or acquire. If you have these necessary qualities and are prepared to invest your time, you will be able to carve out a rewarding career reading tarot for profit.
What Is a Tarot Reading?
A tarot reading can be many things. It can clarify, advise, comfort, reassure, give a heads-up, inspire, offer a warning, instill confidence, point out options, explore spiritual beliefs, explain complex situations, illuminate motivation, tell you what you need to know, prepare you for the best… and the worst.
Tarot readings can also scare people silly, put unwanted thoughts in their heads, exploit their fears and be a totally negative experience.
A tarot reading usually takes place in person, though not always. The reader sits with his or her client and lays down a certain number of cards in a certain pattern. The reader then explains the cards and offers their interpretation to the client. Hopefully, the client is happy and satisfied so they pay up and leave. If they were impressed and found the experience useful, they will return for another reading in due course. If they were really, really impressed, they will extol your virtues to their friends and family.
Personal Qualities Necessary for Reading Tarot
To be able to make money reading tarot cards, you must have certain personal qualities:
You need good, if not excellent, communication skills. If you can’t speak fluently and confidently, you won’t make it as a face-to-face tarot reader. However, if you have great writing skills but lack confidence with people, then you’ll be able to do readings via email and earn an income from tarot that way.
This is really important. You have to be aware of how your client is feeling. You have to be able to handle emotional reactions calmly but with empathy. Some clients are overcome by the sheer experience of having someone listen to them. Tarot reading is as much about counseling as anything else.
Know Your Limitations
You might want to fix all your clients, put their world to rights, give them the solution to follow, but you can’t. Sometimes you can make suggestions based on your own experience, sometimes you have to let them go forth and make the same mistake over and over. All you can do is read the cards, and do your best.
Know the Tarot
Knowledge of your tools is ultra important. You have 78 of them and you should know them, understand them and be familiar with each and every card. You may be one of those people who can open a pack of cards for the first time and give an accurate intuitive or psychic reading right off the bat. That’s great and you just keep what you are doing. For the rest of us, we need to learn what the cards are and what they mean in the context of the client’s question and situation. I’m not going to go into detail here —that would require a whole book, but there are plenty of resources out there—books, websites and courses.
A Code of Ethics
Every reader must set his or her boundaries. A Code of Ethics is essential and should be displayed on your website or at your place of reading. For example, mine says that I will not knowingly read for anyone under the age of 18 except in exceptional circumstances. I will never offer medical advice for which I am not qualified. I will always keep my client’s information and reading confidential. You can devise your own.
Where to Read Tarot Cards for Money
You will have to do local research, meanwhile here are some suggestions:
- Your own home. You will need to have a private room where you won’t be interrupted. A table or desk, chairs and a congenial atmosphere are always good. You don’t need to create a new-age, fortune-teller style of decor. It needs to be clean and fresh smelling. You must also be aware of the risks - make sure there’s always a family member at home unless you know the client personally.
- At a cafe or bar. You’ll need to negotiate terms with the proprietor. They may suggest that you use a corner at their business for one or more days. They may even advertise for you—after all, your services will bring in more custom for them.
- Fairs and festivals are good places to read tarot. You’ll have to book in advance and be aware of the terms and conditions.
- At your client’s home. Make sure they can provide a quiet and private area where you won’t be disturbed.
- Tarot parties. These tend to be less formal than one-to-one readings, although there still needs to be an element of privacy unless the client has asked that a friend be present. Maybe you can give the hostess a free reading to thank her for hosting the party? Tarot parties are great for hen nights and birthdays.
- Skype readings are gaining popularity. The prospective client contacts you by whatever means - website or email. You agree a time. They pay up front and away you go.
- YouTube. You could record a private video of the reading if you would prefer to carry it out in your own time. Again the client pays ahead of time. You record your reading and then give them the link to view it.
- Via your own website. These are generally email, Skype or video readings. Client orders via PayPal or other payment agency. You contact them for further details, agree on the question, etc. Then you do the reading and email it to them.
Where Not to Read Tarot
Anywhere that you haven’t permission. Note that some states and countries ban any kind of fortune telling activity.
Read More From Toughnickel
What to Charge for a Tarot Reading
Now this is something I can’t really help you with. I see readers charging anything from free to three figures for an hour’s consultation. I’m in the UK, so I base my charges on an acceptable hourly rate. I don’t overcharge, neither do I undercharge. I like to leave the client with the feeling that she has gained insight and knowledge for a reasonable fee.
Again, you will have to research your locality or have a look at what other people are charging online.
If I were doing quickie readings at a charity event, I’d charge $1/£1 per card. If I am doing a longer face-to-face reading, I charge $20/£20 for half an hour.
Other Considerations When Reading Tarot for Profit
Don’t forget your tarot reading practice is a business. You must declare your earnings and comply with your own state/country’s legal requirements.
It is not necessary to have formal qualifications for reading tarot cards. However, if you complete a course and obtain a certificate from a reputable organization, so much the better. Also think about a general counseling qualification, which will help you a lot in your work.
Good luck and happy tarot reading.
About the Author
The author has been a professional tarot reader since 2000. Using her tarot name, Troi, she runs a successful website at tarot-study.info, and was a founding member of the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI). Currently she writes tarot articles for several websites.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: I tried telephone readings, but it's too time-consuming, and the pay is lousy. Do you have any advice on websites or blogs where I can get clients?
Answer: Why not do Facebook readings? Reach out to some groups on Facebook that give readings. You could do what I do and offer fast, free, one-card readings and, if you are good, they will order paid in-depth ones.
Question: What do I say to all the people who ask me if they will win the lottery?
Answer: That's a good one. Tarot readers get asked this all the time. It's as if asking that very question might cause them to win. Say that they can touch your lucky sleeve/rock/tarot deck, and then tell them to buy a lottery ticket.
© 2017 Bev G
Betty on March 01, 2019:
Thank you Bev!!
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on January 30, 2019:
To Betty, sorry I couldn't approve your comment as you have included personal contact information as well as the full name of someone else.
I'm afraid I'm not doing personal readings at the moment. Try the Tarot Association of the British Isles - they have a list of professional readers there. You might also try the ATA, American Tarot Association.
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on July 25, 2017:
Good luck with your business, Sheetal.
Sheetal raturi on July 25, 2017:
I want to start my career as a tarot card reader I m doing astrology fengshui crystal n intuition specialist I love telling about love n relationships solving problems related to health n fitness solving queries related to career n education n solving questions related to forecasting life ahead
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on March 08, 2017:
Thanks, JoannaP and AliciaC xx
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 07, 2017:
Your advice for tarot readers sounds excellent. Thanks for sharing it, Bev.
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on March 07, 2017:
Thanks Sakina. It's a very elegant system that reflects our lives. X
Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on March 07, 2017:
Great hub Bev! :) Tarot reading has always intrigued me. Sounds mysterious.
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on March 07, 2017:
Thank you, Joanna. You make some really helpful points.
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on March 06, 2017:
Thanks, ShyeAnn... and you should go for it. I'm sure your insights would help a lot of people.
ShyeAnne from Qualicum Bay, British Columbia, Canada on March 06, 2017:
Informative and easy to read. It also gives me some insight if I decide to try my hand at reading cards for others!