I think most of us can agree that tarot cards are having a big moment now. The New York Times covered that Dior predicted that tarot cards would be trending months ago. And really, what's not to like about tarot? With a range of diverse decks on the market and pop culture embracing this divination tool, it makes sense that newcomers want to be part of the scene.
On Halloween 2017, I participated in a weekly Twitter chat called #TarotRap with the lovely Theresa Reed, aka The Tarot Lady. The subject was on money and tarot. At the end of the chat, Theresa asked us some tips on what advice we can give to folks who want to pursue a career in the field. 140 characters on a tweet wouldn't be enough for me to cover my tips, so that's why I wanted to provide this blog post. Here are my honest thoughts on entering in the field as a professional tarot reader.
Don't Quit Your Job
Maybe your job is sucking away your soul. Or perhaps you feel that you're meant more than this life beyond the cubicle. If you have major bills to pay (such as a mortgage, electric, water, child care, etc.), quitting your job cold turkey is a rookie move. Depending on what type of job you have, it's a good idea to map out your current schedule on a particular day.
Say, for example, that you're working from 8 AM to 4 PM at a customer support job in the office and you take the train to go to work. You are given two breaks in between to get some coffee and chit chat with your coworkers. At the end of the day, you travel back home to meet with your family and have dinner with them. You want to take advantage of the free spots that you have available in your work day where you can build up your business. Here's a modified schedule that you can use as a template:
- Your 15 - 30 train ride can be use to create content on your blog posts and services via your smartphone / tablet / laptop. I use Asana to create my vision boards and Day One app on writing my blog posts.
- That 15 minute coffee break you use to chat with your coworkers? You can use it as a time on answering emails from potential clients and working on promoting your services via social media. I use ViralTag when promoting my services and blog posts.
- Got any tarot reading orders that needs to be conducted via phone, email or chat? Try having them scheduled during the evening when you come home. If you have any in-person readings, try having them scheduled on the weekend and conducted in a café or other public location.
As you start to build a bit of momentum and notice some progress, try cutting back on your hours at your day job. If possible, see if your current job will allow you to work remotely. Eventually, you want to try and get to the point where you can feel comfortable that you'll be able to make the transition from working at your day job to working on your own terms as a tarot reader.
What Happen When You're Fired / Laid Off / Forced Out Of Your Current Job?
This was the situation I was under before I pursued my freelance career. Due to politics and major restructuring at my previous job, I had no choice but to leave. I've wrote about this regarding my thoughts in quitting my job. If you're in a situation where you have no choice but to go, make sure that you save up at least three months of pay before delving into this field. You want to at least have a safe cushion that will cover most of your expenses. If you were laid off with no fault of your own, check with your state to see if you can file for unemployment and read the requirements before submitting your claim.
It's also a good time to go over your budget and see what you can cut back on. Your daily trips to Starbucks? Make your own coffee and tea at home. Ordering out a lot? Try cooking more at home. Believe me - it's tough, especially when you have ingrained habits on wanting to splurge on pricey drinks and food. But let me tell you, it is possible to make those changes for the better. Once you adopt this mindset, you'll be surprised how easy it becomes without thinking that it's hard work. I can tell you for sure that I favor my homemade iced coffee drinks at home than when I buy one outside (special thanks to Ashley Story who introduced me to adding honey with my coffee; it's THAT good).
Have Other Sources Of Passive Income
Don't bank on the fact that you'll make instant money every day as a tarot reader. There will be periods that you'll have clients and on some days, it'll be dry as the desert. If you have other skill sets that you're good at doing, use this as a time to promote those type of services. You can also try signing up for affiliate programs on products and services to make some commissions. Got any items at your home that you no longer use? Try selling them! You can post your items for sale on social media (such as Facebook via their marketplace feature) or on mobile apps (such as letgo).
Utilize A Customer Support Mentality
During my years as a customer support representative, I've had my fair share of experience when dealing with consumers who are pleasant and not so pleasant (I talk about this on how to be the voice of the customer). When you're offering tarot readings to clients, it's a good idea to have firm boundaries and having a good understanding of ethics. If you're setting up a website, be sure to indicate the terms of service on what potential clients should expect during your reading sessions (including limitations on the types of readings, how the sessions are priced, when to seek counsel from professional services). I recommend checking out Benebell's post on how to utilize these practice tips when offering your services.
Don't bite off more than you can chew. Use it as a good opportunity to learn from your client on their wants and needs and what you can offer at the table. Most importantly, be open minded on improvements that can be made when offering your tarot readings. A good way to gather feedback on your tarot reading sessions is to send a survey form right after conducting your reading (I recommend using Typeform).
Check Your Attitude
Got a crappy client who didn't like your reading? Feeling the need to put this on social media blast and let everyone know how horrible he/she is during the session? Take a moment to stop and breathe. Nothing kills off a brand faster than promoting dirty laundry via social media. Not only it comes off toxic, but to some folks you may be appeared as someone who can't take critical feedback. Or in a nutshell, a spoiled brat.
Instead of taking the disputes online, settle it offline; work with the client who was unsatisfied in a private meeting (be it via phone call or email). Maintain your professional stance, no matter how ugly the overall situation. Keep records on what transpired and be prepared in case the situation goes into a legal matter. It's better to keep your bases covered rather than operate under the assumption that everyone you'll read for will be happy as a clam (news flash: it does not).
Don't Get Suckered Into Becoming Certified
Oh boy...this has been a hot topic since Doreen Virtue denounced tarot and many folks, including The Tarot Lady, Lisa Frideborg and Benebell Wen have voiced their viewpoints regarding getting tarot certifications. When I first started my professional career as a tarot reader back in 2014, I enrolled in the Certified Angel Card Reader course after being fired from my job. I've been mindful on what I was spending. My belief was (at the time) that I'll be able to make a living because I was given the right tools and a promise that I'll be able to use my piece of paper to teach in workshops. Boy, was I wrong. The only thing that I did get experience from was having an understanding how The Angel Tarot deck works. But otherwise, I've learned how to conduct my readings through trial and error. The courses that Doreen Virtue built on with the focus on charging more than providing decent content was absurd (who the hell wants to spend $1K on a course about Angels when you can find the information for free online?)
Tarot certifications don't necessarily make you a legit reader. What makes a tarot reader legit are a couple of factors: your integrity, ethics, reputation and your service to the community. You can have all the pieces of paper you want and have it framed above your fireplace. But if you're not committed to the service and only just using it for show, then you shouldn't be conducting tarot readings to begin with. Experience outweighs more than ever. For example - as a web developer and designer, I knew that having a Master's Degree in the tech field wasn't going to be enough. I took upon my own hands to work with clients one and one in developing their projects, while learning the various programming languages related to front end development. I don't place emphasis on my college degree. It's the work that I showcase matters more than what is given on a piece of paper.
When you have a portfolio of testimonials and work that was done during your time in the tarot field, people will see that you mean business. You can't fake your progress. One way or another, people will find out the truth. It's better to do it with transparency than operate under a shady practice.
Imitation Is Not A Form Of Flattery
Also known as "The Copycat Syndrome." You know what's not cool? Stealing people's work. Even if folks may say that the tarot reading market is saturated, that still shouldn't stop you from providing your own services. Have your own niche that you care about instead of copying off from what he/she is doing.
To put things in perspective, say you have a group of doctors who specialize in different areas of the human body. While they may hold the title, each of them have different methods of performing their operations. To narrow down the field, say you have three doctors who perform heart surgeries. All of them specialize the same thing. The only difference is in the details in how the operations are performed. If you can understand that concept, then there's no reason for you to not pursue your passion as a tarot reader.
Never Assume That You're Done Learning
As Michelangelo said it, "I am still learning". No matter what age, experience, years of work, etc. you have as a tarot reader, there will always be new methods and ideas for the field. No one is an expert. There's plenty of knowledge to go around. Aside from reading books and watching video tutorials, I highly recommend participating in support groups and network with like minded tarot readers who are willing to share their knowledge. I'm a big fan of the Tarot Nerds group (created by Shonna Hill) as well as participating in the #TarotRap sessions with The Tarot Lady via Twitter. Above all else - keep practicing! You won't learn overnight. It takes time, a lot of drive and patience.
I hope this helps! If you have any tips you wanna share, feel free to mention it on the comments section.