Being a professional reader and coming into being a professional shamanic healer, I encounter some tough questions:
- What services do I offer?
- What do I charge for my services?
- Am I selling myself too short?
- Am I overcharging?
You might notice that “Should I charge for my services”? is not on the list.
Given that , gift-for-a-gift, does not exist largely as bargaining or bartering in America and I have no way of being supported by the communities as a shaman or priest might, this is one way to provide that support for my spiritual work. I do not have a problem charging people for my spiritual services. I have put a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, all literally, into my work, and compensation is needed for the kinds of things I have done and continue to do to make sure I am at the top of my game. Honestly evaluating what my time, energy, and expertise is worth, and charging for it, is not engaging in hubris, blasphemy against my Gods, or denigrating my or others’ work. It is valuing all that I have done to get here.
When I was working Tarot at an occult store I read Tarot and nothing else. As I expanded my collection of decks, the more people gravitated towards me. If I had also offered smoke scrying, intuitive readings, and stone/crystal readings, I probably would have expanded my client list greatly. Some people are simply turned off by the Tarot; some have been taken for a ride by a reader, others are nervous around it. Scrying through smoke, or something else can take that threatening feel away from the reading and place your client into a far more receptive mood. Recognizing what you honestly can do can mean the difference between an alienated person and a client. Being up front with your client, for instance having a section where it explains what you do, is important. If the client doesn’t feel they can trust you, what is the point? You’re not there for you even if you are being paid. You’re there for the client. That said, let’s get into the questions listed above.
What services do I offer?
This question is one I went over again and again, and finally decided to include just a few of the forms of divination, magic, and spiritual work I know how to do. In the end, I decided that I will read Runes and Tarot, and will do spirit-work for clients. The key to any spiritual work like this is that you have to set firm boundaries. For instance, 15 minutes for a 3-Rune reading and if the client wants anything more, they will need to pay more. This goes back to valuing your work, and especially to not letting yourself get taken for a ride.
What do I charge for my services?
This question is something that was hard for me to navigate at first. Having spent a lot of time reading for a shop, I was used to my price already being decided on. Deciding for myself took developing a backbone and a sense of what my skills are worth. A good guide that my friend Sheta gave me is that for every minute of reading, or averaging the time a usual reading takes, multiply it by two and you have your rate.
Am I selling myself too short?
This question comes up for me because, before I started being pushed to offer my services as a shaman professionally, I would frequently doubt my ability to read the Runes, bring in spirits, or do other things my spiritual work required of me. Now that I am engaging people professionally, it’s important to not to undermine or undersell myself, and at the same time, to be realistic with what I can do. Setting boundaries, such as not going beyond a certain time limit if I am reading for someone without them paying more, can be hard. Setting flat rates can make this easier, but I also recognize that as a Tarot reader I used to be taken for a ride when I read. I would let people ask multiple questions, run well over the allotted time, and so on. Selling myself short, in this regard, is letting people run over my boundaries and not charging them further for it.
Am I overcharging?
One way to really kill demand for your services is to overcharge. It not only destroys people faith in you as a reader, but also introduces a good deal of doubt or suspicion of your practice. Something to consider is that “overcharging” differs person to person or region to region. When I was reading Tarot and the price was increased the store was accused of overcharging for a few weeks. Then, I noticed that those who balked at the price eventually came back to have me read for them. Sometimes “overcharging” is merely setting the price to its right level. Granted, sometimes overcharging is bilking clients, but I would hope an ethical spiritual worker could figure that out alongside his or her clients what that is.
I’m still developing what I want to offer and what to charge, but I am interested in suggestions.