You’ve been reading tarot for some time now and feel compelled to make it your life’s calling. You see other tarot readers setting up shop, booking clients, and making the dream a reality.
You want to do the same, but you have doubt.
You wonder: “Am I ready? Am I good enough? Do I know enough? Will I succeed?”
There are a lot of business clichés out there that will tell you to take the plunge and live your passions.
While it’s true that entrepreneurship isn’t without risk, bold ambition isn’t a licence for carelessness. Reading tarot in a professional capacity is a lot different from reading tarot as a hobby.
It requires a deep sense of responsibility, discipline, ethics, and integrity – and you need to be sure your tarot skills are on point.
It also requires a willingness to learn the ropes of being a business owner.
So how do you know it’s time to go pro?
1. You’re good at tarot. Like, really, really good.
This sounds obvious, right? But sometimes, people get ahead of themselves. They want to be self-employed so badly that they rush to become professional tarot readers before they have the adequate skills or practice in place to justify charging for their services.
The thing is, you need to be good at what you do if you want to have a successful business.
That applies to anything you’re trying to sell.
Would you buy a dress from a designer who doesn’t know how to sew? Or a cake from someone who doesn’t know how to bake?
Tarot is no different: Your business won’t thrive if you’re not good at what you do. As the heart of the operation, you need to offer something people will be satisfied with.
Confidence and mastery are not always the same thing.
Having confidence in your tarot abilities is one thing; knowing that you’re good is another. Some people can have oodles of confidence without any skills to back it up.
How do you know if you’re good? Maybe you’ve been practicing on your friends and family for years, or you’ve collected some great testimonials. Or you’ve been open to feedback and worked on your strengths and weaknesses, and have seen your skills improve over time.
2. You know how to read tarot.
This also sounds obvious, but it needs to be said: If you’re going to read tarot professionally, your skills need to be well past the beginner stages.
Tarot is popular these days. So is witchcraft, astrology, Reiki, crystal healing, yoga…you name it. And a lot of people are rushing to go from beginner to pro within these practices at breakneck speeds.
I’m constantly shocked at how quickly people start positioning themselves as professional tarot readers when they have just started learning how to read cards. I used to work at a crystal shop where a local reader ran tarot classes. Several of her students approached me asking for advice on setting up their businesses – while they were just weeks into a year-long tarot course.
“Aren’t you just wrapping the beginner module of the class?” I asked them.
“Yes, but our teacher said we should start charging for readings.”
Major. Red. Flag. A single course isn’t long enough to give you everything you need to set up shop right away, not even within a year – and especially not within a matter of weeks or months.
A year is just the beginning with tarot.
It can take years for tarot to “click,” and personally, I don’t see enough emphasis being put on the importance of the intermediate stages of learning tarot. A lot of people end up being misled into thinking that there are just two stages of tarot: beginner and business, which is not true.
Be patient with the process; tarot doesn’t owe you a career, and the amount of money or time invested in courses, books, and conferences isn’t relative to how fast your skills will grow.
The expertise comes in the dedication and practice you put into developing your tarot skills on your own time.
Plus, once you start running a business, you’ll need to free up your time to make that business grow. If you’re still learning tarot and trying to learn how to run a tarot business, your energy will be split between the two.
Get the skills down first and be sure you’ll be able to deliver on what you’re selling – then start the business. (Besides, if your customers find out you’re still learning tarot while you’re telling them you’re an expert, your credibility can be blown pretty fast.)
3. You know how to carry out a reading.
Too often I’ve seen people setting themselves up as professional tarot readers, only to show up in beginner classes because they don’t understand certain tarot cards yet, are still relying on guidebooks for the card meanings, or aren’t confident in their abilities to answer certain questions.
Just as you should know how to read the cards, and be good at what you do, you should also be able to fulfil an appointment without wondering if you’re doing it right.
Because expertise is what people will be paying you for, and that’s what your customers will expect.
It’s unethical to posit yourself as a professional tarot reader when you’re still figuring out what the cards mean, or when you’re still so inexperienced that you’re not sure how to carry out a full reading.
If you’ve long graduated from your guidebooks and have your own personal relationship with tarot, and are able to weave your own meanings from the cards no matter what kind of question you’re working through, then you can be well on your way to being a pro.
4. You have your own tarot style.
One thing that only practice can give you is the evolution of your own style and approach to tarot. It’s not something you’ll find in a class or book.
Teachers and books can show you techniques and help you understand the cards, but independent practice will help you hone your skills – and what comes from that will become your unique approach to tarot.
Tarot isn’t meant to be worn as a uniform. Twenty people can be in the same tarot class, but they will have their own ways of communication, interpreting, and connecting with their work.
Personally, I believe that tarot speaks to each us of differently. Just as we all have a unique way of seeing the world, we’ll have a different way to work with tarot.
Tarot isn’t just about repeating someone else’s processes or knowledge, but embodying those teachings so that they become a building block in your own journey.
Once you’re able to come to your own conclusions about what tarot is, and how it works for you, you’ll be on your way to developing a unique tarot practice.
5. You are responsible.
A lot of these tips come down to honesty: Are you able to be honest with yourself to admit whether you’re still a tarot student, or whether you’re ready to share your skills in a professional capacity?
When you read tarot professionally, people put a different level of trust in you. It’s not at all uncommon for people to show up for private readings and say, “I’ve had readings from my friend before, but not from a professional.”
People take it really seriously when they start to invest their hard-earned money in your services.
And so knowing yourself is part of treating your clients’ time and money responsibly.
Running a tarot business isn’t all love and light, and it’s not a hobby. Even if you’re setting up a part-time practice, there’s time-management, organization, and bookkeeping to do.
Are you reliable? Great. Because if you struggle with punctuality or commitments, you’ll have a hard time committing to your obligations – and entrepreneurship is an obligation.
Are you comfortable saying no? One of the biggest mistakes I see from emerging spiritual professionals is the tendency to interpret every opportunity as a sign from the universe – even if it’s not their area of expertise.
These are just a few of the questions I’ve had sent my way as an example of this:
“I got asked to host a full moon circle and I think it’s a sign to go in that direction. But I don’t really understand astrology or the cycles of the moon. Can you help me with that?”
“I got hired to read tarot for five hours at a party, but I’ve only read for a few people before. How do I do group readings?”
“I got asked to teach a tarot class at my friend’s yoga studio, but I’m not sure I’m ready to teach tarot. Should I do it anyway?”
The best answer? If it’s outside of your area of expertise, refer those opportunities to someone else. You can always “take it as a sign” that it’s time to improve your knowledge and gain more experience. Then, when you’re ready, you can promote that offering or service as part of your body of work.
Mature, professional tarot readers aren’t afraid to say no when something is outside of their scope of work, because they know which opportunities will allow them to put their best work forward.
Are you ready to rock your tarot business? If you’re a skilled tarot reader who’s ready to face the fears of entrepreneurship, I’ve got a workshop that will help you cut through the confusion, master your mindset, and market yourself with confidence. Sign up for Rock Your Tarot Business here.