When you’re first starting a tarot business – or any type of business, really – it’s common to take a look around and see what everyone else doing.
Recently, I’ve had a couple emerging tarot readers straight up tell me that they’d been checking me out online, watching what I’m doing. “Not that I’m going to copy everything, but just to see what works, you know?”
Here’s the thing: Even if someone were to copy me, or any other tarot professional, there’s a good chance it might not lead to much of anything.
Even if you’re copying from the most successful people out there.
Why? Because business is personal, creative, and organic. Especially in the world of divination and spirituality.
Each practitioner’s business – everything from their offerings to their website design – reflects something about that person.
Building a business is not a one-size-fits-all journey. It’s one that requires that you lead with your own style, ideas, expertise and needs.
Know what you need
Don’t do what I do. Because what I do is specifically geared to meet my everyday needs.
I don’t live to work, I work to live – but that’s not everyone’s modus operandi, and there is nothing wrong with either choice.
But unless your needs are exactly the same as mine, my working style and business model are probably not right for you.
We all have different costs of living, different lifestyles, and different schedules.
If you have a family, mortgage, car, debt, or other financial responsibilities, all of those will be factored into what your business needs to pay for each month, and then some.
Your prices, services, offerings, marketing, and more should all support your hard and soft costs, as well as your working style.
Businesses – especially the solopreneur model that most tarot readers follow – are often based around things that aren’t always obvious from the outside.
For example: Tarot and astrology are my full-time gigs, but writing is, too. So my business is set up in a way to support all three of those goals, not just one.
If I was hustling too hard in a single direction, I would lose other aspects of my work that are really important to me.
Even the space I work out of is centered around my lifestyle. It’s in my neighbourhood, withing walking distance from my home. This means I’m not spending tons of time commuting, or rushing around the city to meet clients.
Why is this important? Because sometimes people ask me if the office I rent might be a good space for them, too. And it might be – but there are lots of other spaces out there that may be closer to their homes, or that might have other amenities or services that they could use. If you don’t know what’s best for you, though, then it can be really easy to make the wrong decision.
When you look to other people’s businesses for inspiration, remember that most of us have set up our work based off what we need, and what works best for us.
Tip: When figuring out what you want your business to do for you, figure out what will work for you. One person’s hustle might be another’s nightmare. Be confident in your ability to build a life on your terms, and be clear about what you want, and why you want to be self-employed in the first place.
We all have different relationships with time
How often do you want to work?
If you’re just starting out with your tarot business and are still establishing a client base, you might have to take on clients whenever you can. Once you get more established, you can tweak your schedule.
It’s not always easy to figure out how many hours you should read for, or how many days a week to book up with readings at first – especially if things are slow in the early days.
But you might be tempted to see when other tarot readers work and lift inspiration from their schedules. Maybe you see some of them offering weekend, evening, or holiday appointments and decide that you should, too.
Here’s the thing: It helps to know your availability, first and foremost.
When I first went full-time, I made myself available a whopping six days a week. It was pretty tough sometimes, to be honest. As I got more settled in my business, I gradually whittled down my schedule to more manageable hours.
But because I need time to write and work on other projects, I also can’t book up all of my time all the time. Plus, I love having open space on my calendar every once in a while to brainstorm new directions for my work.
Not everyone has these needs, though. You might crave structure, predictability, and routine instead.
In appointment-based work, you have to decide how far out you want to be booked, how many customers you can see in a day, and how many hours a week you want to spend with clients. You don’t always know what someone’s reasons are for working the hours they do.
It might be easy to assume that everyone is working the hours they do because “that’s where the money is,” but there can be many reasons a schedule is what it is – and it won’t always be about the cash.
Tip: Don’t compete with other readers’ availabilities. Commit to a work schedule that works for you and your clients, but be sure it’s a routine you can live with.
We don’t all have to serve the same menu options
Do you have to offer tarot readings by phone, Skype, email, and in person?
Do you have to pull a daily draw on Instagram, make YouTube videos, and host Facebook Q&As?
Do you have to be on social media at all?
No, no, and no.
I’m not a big fan of talking on the phone, so I don’t offer phone readings. Simple as that.
Instead, I do distance readings over Zoom or Skype, so I can video chat with my clients.
I also do a very limited number of email readings, while other readers work exclusively over email. But I already spend so much time writing on my computer that I was developing repetitive strain injuries by adding email readings to my workload. So I listened to my body and now only do a few month, if that.
We have to be careful not over-compensate by being so available in every way that we’re running ourselves ragged because we think we need to do it all.
Any way you choose to offer your readings is fine – as long as you feel connected to the work.
In a world of billions of people, there will always be options for a range of working styles. There is no “must-have” offering, no rule about how a reading has to be delivered.
What about social media? It can help to build your business, but you don’t have to be on every platform, and you definitely don’t have to post all the time.
Again, think about what you want to do, and what kind of energy you want to reflect in the world. Pay attention, too, to what works for you. You might have to experiment at first – and waste some time – trying different platforms. But once you find what works for you, stick with it, and decide how much time social media needs to take up in your life.
There’s no exact formula to social media, so duplicating someone else’s efforts won’t necessarily lead you to the same level of success you see in other entrepreneurs.
Tip: Be real with what you offer through your services and content. It will be so much easier to show up in your work when you are offering things that you genuinely want to share.
Everyone’s marketing is personal – and geared towards different goals.
Love someone’s logo, web design, writing style, or strategy?
Cool. By all means, get inspired – but don’t feel that to be as successful as they that you need to rip off an idea entirely.
First, it’s really bad business, bad karma, and bad vibes to steal. Plagiarism and copyright issues are legal concerns and you can end up with a cease and desist, or a full-on lawsuit in your lap pretty quick for copping someone’s intellectual property which includes logos, writing, business names, and more.
Second, it’s all marketing, and marketing speaks to specific audiences in specific ways. Which means that if you’re not reflecting your own style on your platform, you could be setting yourself up to attract a lot of clients who aren’t the right fit for you. Which is not going to lead to a good business, either.
Tip: Don’t copy someone’s style just because you think it will be an easy path to sales. Truthfully, no matter how shiny someone’s website or logo might be, nothing replaces the payoff that hard work brings.
Tarot businesses require more than tarot skills
We all have different backgrounds and work experiences. Whatever paths you’ve walked in this lifetime will be assets on your road as a professional tarot reader.
Before I became a professional reader, I worked in journalism, PR and communications, and marketing. I also published a few books, had a couple of bands, and managed my own career as an author and performer.
It’s why I blog so much. I am, by nature, a writer and communicator.
But you might not be, and that’s okay.
Whatever skills you bring to the table – whether it be a background in sales, healthcare, bartending, administration, retail, etcetera – will become assets to your work as a tarot professional.
I rely on the skills that I have because it’s what I know how to do, but you might have a totally different skill set. Use what you have, rather than assuming you need to develop the same traits you see in others.
All of the things we learn throughout our lives can be applied in business. And if you want to develop yourself in other ways, take a business class or invest in a coach.
There are tons of amazing online programs out there now to help people make their businesses their own. Invest in yourself, rather than investing in another tarot reader’s business plan. Sometimes we can learn so much more when we look outside our industries and find fresh, untapped inspiration.
Tip: Stand confident in what you know and what you’ve learned in other areas of your life. Reading tarot takes skill and intuition, but running a business requires a completely different skill set, one that can be developed based on past experiences and a present willingness to try, learn, fail, and take risks.
Getting clear about which business strategies work for you – and which ones to leave behind – can take time. Which is why I created Rock Your Tarot Business, a 5-part online workshop that helps you get confident about key areas in your tarot business. Get it here.
Until next time,