How to Start Your Own Tarot Business
Esoteric ventures may appear easier than other self-employment opportunities. The truth? A tarot business needs to be run like any other business. Before you hang your “Open For Business” sign, there are things to consider. Some areas have tax laws, you need a sound financial strategy and business plan, working hours and products. The competition in this industry is stiff and the best way to succeed is by building a loyal client base. This takes time, nurture and good service. Your tarot business also needs proper advertising, the same as you would to promote your home bakery or copy writing services.
Are You Ready?
Many tarot readers make the jump before they are ready. This include not being able to do readings without consulting a tarot book or material, lacking the proper business tools or strategy, dealing with clients incorrectly or not having an idea of how much (hours and money) they are willing to invest. Some new professionals sell readings, despite winging things without planning. But few snag clients who return for a second reading. Here's the good news. Anyone can make the preparations for a successful tarot business. With a little patience, you can flourish in a very rewarding career.
The Components Of A Tarot Business
- Study your craft regularly
- At least one deck of tarot cards
- Your office
- Your clients
- A business plan
- Financial records
- Products or services
Find Your Space
There are benefits to having a space dedicated to your business. Just as writers have their corners, home bakeries have their kitchens and inventors blow stuff up in the basement, a tarot reader needs his or her own special place. Where you build your nest depends on what kind of business you will conduct - will it be online, via email or in person? Let's peek at each in turn and you decide which suits your home, finances and personality the best. Remember, you can even combine them to get more clients.
Many tarot readers don't like meeting with clients in person. That is fine - because some clients do not want to meet you. Certain people prefer to "visit" a reader anonymously. The stigma that sometimes slaps readers also makes clients fear what their families and friends might think when they seek esoteric help. In such cases, customers desire the more confidential phone or email reading. If you are fine with conducting business over the phone, be aware of one big pain. Email readings can be time-controlled but a chatty client won't hang up the phone despite paying for only an hour. You could be dealing with a sponger or somebody who lost track of time. However, with several appointments waiting, things could get uncomfortable as you need to end the call. Your next client won't be impressed when they call at the appointed time but the line remains engaged. Then there are those who want email readings because, let's face it, it is cheaper. A client accepts responsibility for the phone call, an additional expense that falls away when the reading lands in their inbox. Email readings also allow readers more time to properly assess the spread.
Readers who enjoy face-to-face meetings have an interesting time. At fairs, parties and the home office, their palms get crossed with silver. But let's focus on setting up shop in the home. One of the safest kind of personal encounters is, ironically, to remain online and use live video chat. Additionally, this is a great way to build a global client base. Somebody on a tiny island somewhere can use your services as easily as a person in the same town as you. If you dream of a tarot room in your home, where people sit down for a reading, it comes with special rewards and challenges. Visitors will receive a more intimate experience with the craft, see that you really are reading the cards and even view your other products. However, be safety conscious. Letting a stranger into your home is a dangerous thing to do. For this reason, many tarot readers are moving their business online or into the open (parties, fairs).
Choose a room that resonates with your business, make it themed or beautiful because you will be spending a lot of time there. A peaceful, uncluttered haven will make you more productive than running a business from the kitchen table. Make sure you have all the equipment you need, including a phone, internet connection, cards and that all-important kettle for some coffee.
When They Come Knocking
Clients are not merely people with wallets. They are complex individuals with real issues and expectations. Be prepared for all types of personalities, backgrounds and beliefs. Not every one will be a walk in the park, either. Many are prejudiced, unreasonable or needy. Some will be downright rude. As with all relationships, the best is to filter who you do readings for because the satisfied customer is a boost to one's confidence and business.
Clients represent the most important factor of your venture. Here are some tips for better customer care.
1. Mind your boundaries
Allow potential clients to know the finer details before they purchase a reading. For example, how long a session lasts, how much does it cost and how they will receive the product. Draw a picture, so to speak, with clear boundaries. Business transparency allows clients to feel informed and they will respect you for it. This applies to all fields of business. People will always give more attention to the service provider who makes the most information available to the public. This is doubly important in the tarot industry where so many false readers exist. Even if you don't mean to be shady, having no defined business and product description could make people feel less trusting towards you.
2. Collect the good eggs
Every new reader encounters rude clients. The best is to remain professional but never to accept that particular client again, even when business is slow. Respect and nurture the good ones. Over time, those who return will fill your client base and even provide a regular income. To build a base takes time, so be patient. A tarot business can only flourish with supportive clients. The rest wear readers down to the point where most give up on their dream to make a living from the tarot. There are people who should not even receive service - those who insist on paying for a reading afterwards. Scam clients exist as much as scam readers do. They will attempt to coerce free stuff from anybody, even going as far as accusing the reader of pulling a scam because he or she asks money upfront. But do not give in. In the tarot industry, it is the norm for clients to pay first. Scam customers will take your time and product and disappear.
Clients Can Actively Participate
3. Never freak them out
Clients who are new to the field often fear their cards can bluntly predict death and doom. A true tarot reading can pick up on trouble but always provide paths and choices a client can take in order to avoid something bad. Experienced readers are gentle with their clients' emotions and know how to explain and guide them through their options.
4. Make it worth it - for them
Here's a cold, hard fact. Competition in the tarot reading industry is extremely stiff. There are thousands of individuals, just like yourself, who want to work from home with their passion. There are tarot companies with often hundreds of employees. As if competing against other readers isn't bad enough, you must face countless online programs that offer readings, sometimes for free. Then there are real readers who do not charge for their services. Get the picture? You need to really sweeten the deal to get clients.
You don't have to go to expensive lengths or do things you are not comfortable with. Just make it worth their while. Here is a simple recipe to help you survive the crazy crush. Quality readings + reasonable fees = a client base. Treat every client as if they are your only one. Satisfied clients often tell others who are open to the idea. Such word-of-mouth advertising is free and immensely powerful. Somebody is vouching for you. Not even the greatest ad can do that. Most people don't trust "references" from strangers. Anyone can add those, falsely, to their website. But if a friend or family member share how you helped them, people will respond. That being said, never ask a client to do this for you. It's a little off putting.
5. Provide choices
Shop A sells one kind of milk - the white stuff we all know and love. But next door, shop B sells 19 additional flavors of milk, cheese and even the cow. It's safe to say shop B will receive the most shoppers. Similarly, readers who offer more than the standard spread come across as more reputable and experienced. Don't worry about having 20 products available before you start your professional tarot career. A few are enough. Offer specialty readings, such as a spread that predicts the next 12 months, go in-depth into relationships or a specific problem the client is having. Consider a second service like as palmistry, selling decks, giving tarot lessons and so on. Make yourself available for parties or sell gift cards people can give as presents to their esoteric-minded loved ones.
Every tarot business is different but requires the same basic elements.
- Advertising budget
- Where you advertise
- An informal study to see which outlets brings you the most clients
- Sales records
- Tax information (if necessary)
It will take time to refine a system that works for you but note everything you sell, buy or do in regard to your business.
1. Promote yourself. Success depends on letting the right people know. Placing an ad in a magazine for garlic gardeners won't create a stampede to your door. But advertise in an esoteric magazine, site or club billboard and those who are already interested in the field will read it.
2. If you don't want to use your real name, create a realistic sounding pseudonym. Clients gravitate towards the reputable. Made up fantasy names like Astral Raven will make people go to somebody else, even if his name is as plain as John Doe. They want real and serious readers who will give them the same in readings.
3. Do not leave your day job. Successful readers work long, hard months before their readings can safely carry the bills and mortgage. When you choose to walk this path, enter the tarot business with sober expectations.
4. Don't feel overwhelmed. If you do, take a break from it all. Then go back and enjoy the fact that you do something you love. Yes, being an entrepreneur is hard but never lose sight of the soul-touching spark your home business gave you in the beginning.
5. Draw up a business plan. View it as your business blueprint and include everything from your goals, aspirations, budget and business strategy. It can be simple, from a few pages, to very complex. There are great and free resources online that teach anyone how to make a tailor made business plan. Review yours every few months to see if you are still on track with your goals or if adjustments need to be made.
My Personal Deck
I've had my Robin Wood deck for years. This is for anyone who wants a practical deck that displays beautifully and with a little mystery. The images are a mixed bag of medieval, mystical and the natural. Absorbing to look at and impressive for clients to view!
© 2017 Jana Louise Smit