This post was inspired by a great little free ebook by Owen, over at Marketing Tools For Artists. When I read what he had to say I got excited because I’ve been trying to figure out how to say this, and his words gave me a jumping point. Even though this ebook may not be geared towards your industry, it’s worth a read, anyway.
I love what I do!! I heart divination in a big huge way, since I was a teenager. Even when I have veered off into other fields, I have always brought divination with me. My salon clients know that they can ask me the occasional question. I use the principles of sacred geometry and runes in my mandalas and other crochet creations. I love to travel and being self-employed is important in that regard because if I worked for someone else I might not have the freedom to see the world. I love that I can be my creative artsy-fartsy self all the live long day and not get held to the same standard of boring that others are. I love that not stuck in an office processing documents because although that may be heavenly to some, it’s medieval torture to me. I love that my income potential is unlimited, I love that I’m in an environment hand-tailored for left brained freaky people such as myself, an environment that allows me to succeed in a predominantly right-brained culture – because all you logical people that think you rule the world, you need me to help you figure out the bumps in the road – oh yes, people would fall over if they knew how many big business decisions are made using oracle systems like astrology and numerology.
That’s right, folks, world domination one reading at a time.
A lot of us don’t stay at this very long. In fact, I can guarantee that most of the students I taught in aren’t doing this right now. This makes me sad – it really, really does – I know people say that all the time “That makes me sad”, but I’m telling you the truth. I know that not all of us will be raving successes in the holistic field, but surely more of us could be doing better. Because I genuinely hate to see people throw away a perfectly good opportunity, I have thought long and hard about why this could be. I have come up with a list of what I believe are behaviours that need to change among artsy-fartsy folks in many fields:
- Not sticking to a specific method and/or getting to know a system really well. Hand in hand with this is not taking the time to master a technique. If you mix oracles and consistently produce poor readings then stop doing that!! I’ve ranted about this before, but if you’re going to invest in learning divination, then take the time out to get to know the system you are using. Don’t start filling gaps with other tools. Some divinatory systems are better than others for certain types of exploration but you won’t know this if you keep flitting around. This means that some things just won’t work together no matter how much you try to force them. If you constantly go system hopping looking for the next shiny oracle to make your readings easier, you will deny yourself the opportunity to really grow and develop your skill set. Explore a divinatory system to its fullest and exploit the hell out of it before you decide to throw your cards/stones/sticks into the Closet of Shame.
- Not developing a solid routine. Creative chaos is a beautiful thing that brings a tear to my eye, but underneath that spread out mess of crystals, cards, random papers with inspired writing scribbled on them has to be an underlying process to keep you organized and on track. Your divinatory process will go to hell quickly and not manifest in brilliance without a plan. This is true of anything that you do, whether it is readings, healings, magic, or even drywalling. Half-assery helps no one.
- Trying to please everyone. Creative fields attract a lot of heart-centred people pleasers that end up getting burned out and bitter quickly. You can’t please everyone and sooner or later you will learn that lesson. Don’t take it personally when it happens, although you probably will. I’ll be here for hugs when you need them and a kind push back into the frying pan. Spend some quality time really thinking about who your ideal client is and then work your ass off to attract that client. Do your best for everyone, but be selective when building your client base. You don’t have to take everyone and do everything.
- Not paying enough attention to the business end of things. In your first year or two of your fabulously cool magical endeavours take every fun artsy-fartsy seminar. Go to New Age expos to watch well known witches and other ethereal folks do fabulous things. Knock yourself out. At some point you will figure out that the foofoo classes are all the same, regardless of the focus of your study. You don’t need to watch every witch cast every spell. You don’t need to see a hundred different demonstrations on techniques that you already know how to do. Develop your own style and start setting aside your professional development budget for seminars and classes on things like: marketing, payroll, labour laws, understanding client behaviour, blogging/social media, business planning – things that will enhance your career education and make your foundation that much more solid. There’s no point to giving a brilliant Tarot reading if you don’t know how to promote yourself. If you build it, they won’t come if they don’t know.
- Not charging properly. Get over your hangups NOW about making money. This one really sticks in my craw because I get really tired of seeing people complain about not making money, but then not charging what they’re worth. Stop being emotional about your client’s money. If s/he is there for an appointment, they can afford you.
- For the love of all that is glittery and sacred – and I’m squinting right at you sweet, sweet pagan folk – stop taking things out in trade for crap that doesn’t benefit you. You will start to feel very, very resentful after a while, “OMG here comes Raven AHHHGAIN. I bet she wants a reading and I bet she’s going to offer to pay me in fucking candles AHHHGAIN.” You are every bit as entitled as anyone else in this world to receive useful payment for services rendered. Sometimes it’s nice to take things out in trade but if you don’t draw clear boundaries around this you’ll end up with a closet full of magic beans and candles, and no rent money in the cookie jar.
- Having unrealistic expectations about their path to success. Having intuitive talent is only a small part of this. I will say this until I am blue in the face: the most successful of us are NOT the most talented. The most successful professionals in any field are the ones who can hustle and get their names out there and keep them out there. Quite often, their work is no better than anyone else’s, and in some cases it’s full of little mistakes once you start looking closely. The difference between those of us who become well known and those of us who don’t is that whether they are conscious of it or not, industry celebrities use exposure as a tool to keep moving forward, not as a means to an end. blogs, magazine interviews, YouTube channels, Instagram pages – these are all tools and the more you acquire, the harder you have to work to stay relevant. It’s also important to bear in mind that exposure exposes you – all of you – it opens your work and life up to praise and criticism.
- Before you hit the road to embark on your (hopefully) successful career path, give some thought to what being successful actually means to you. Is it peer recognition? Awards? Having a huge client base? Being able to go to Mexico every year? Owning a home? Getting a column in a magazine? Being on a TV show? I never thought of myself as successful until someone in the industry told me that they thought I was, a few years ago. As soon as I started to shift my perception of what success was, to something that actually suited me, things changed and suddenly the universe became a far less threatening place.
- Not taking time to understand client needs. If you’re like most of us in heart-centred fields, you take in-person clients and that constitutes the bulk of your income. It’s a good idea to put the bulk of your energy into the place that pays you the most. For most of us, the clients pay our bills, not the strangers clicking the hearts on Instagram. Communication is a big part of understanding client needs. This part may not apply to you, depending on what field you are in, but the next time you’re doling out advice about their kids or marriage, stop for a moment and ask them what they want from you, too. This is powerful because most of your clients are women and most women are socialized to put their needs aside.
- Not having a plan. For years I winged it and for years I was frustrated and it sucked to be me. Business plans are not just for people who want to open a business. They are for employees, too. They are for file clerks, receptionists, hairstyling assistants, actors, teachers, Tarot readers, estheticians, sculptors, Reiki Masters, and ditch diggers, too. They can be as complex or as simple as you want to make them. What a business plan does is allows you to plan out your future in nice little bites that don’t seem quite so intimidating once you map it all out. An ideal starting point for those of us in this industry is the Right Brained Business Plan, by Jennifer Lee. This book makes business planning fun and sparkly, for those of us who are more about flinging glitter than we are about charts and columns. A good business plan sets out a yearly goal (for example: being 100% booked) and then quarterly goals for that year (for example: perfecting one type of reading every quarter), followed by monthly goals (for example: write an email newsletter to your clients every month, or film a relevant YouTube video) and then weekly goals (for example: order supplies every Monday, sit down and update client data files with info that may have been missed, call back the ones who haven’t seen you in a while), and daily goals (for example: dust the work area before opening, straighten up the photographs and paintings on the walls, capture some data on every client that comes to see you, if you have social media then spend 20 minutes every day engaging with your followers). These are all things that will work together to get you to being 100% booked and if you create a plan and follow it daily, you will see success.
Being creative is amazing and wonderful AND hella farking frustrating, but before you write off your industry and go for the day job you should give it one more, ORGANIZED try 🙂