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Mishka13  Mishka13 is offline
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Question Question About Charging Customers


I have been reading professionally for a while now. The problem is that I still have trouble charging. I know it is a service and being paid is part of it, but I feel guilty a lot as if I am abusing a gift. I also have the problem of acquaintances wanting all their readings for free just because they know me....Any suggestions???
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mishka13 View Post
I have been reading professionally for a while now. The problem is that I still have trouble charging. I know it is a service and being paid is part of it, but I feel guilty a lot as if I am abusing a gift. I also have the problem of acquaintances wanting all their readings for free just because they know me....Any suggestions???
People wanting freebies is a royal pain. You could do it in exchange for a service if you feel embarrassed about charging - however, remember they're not embarrassed about bumming readings.

You should definitely charge clients but if you feel terrible about it (no idea why it is after all your time, your research and expertise you are charging for) then charge a token amount. People don't often value what they get for free or without work.
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What caridwen said.

As for acquaintances who keep on wanting freebies, you could tell them in a friendly, caring yet firm way that by such and such a date, freebies are over. "Hey Karen, I really enjoy reading cards for you, and I'd be happy to continue doing so. I just wanted to let you know that after ____ (insert date here, and don't make it a year down the road either, the sooner the better, I'd say a month at the very most), I'll be offering paid readings only (or readings for barter if you're open to exchanging services)."

If these acquaintances get angry and bail on you, that's their problem, not yours. If, on the other hand, they are true friends, they'll understand.

If you feel really that awful and horrible for charging a fee to people you know, you could always offer them discount prices... but I really don't recommend that because you're potentially opening up a whole other can of worms with the issue of underselling yourself. When word gets out that you've done one-hour readings for $10 when the going market price in your area is, say, $25, there's a chance you might find yourself doing a lot of readings for little money... plus some potential customers might view your significantly lower rates as a sign that you don't know your stuff and won't bother contacting you at all.

I hope this helps a little...

Good luck!
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Sometimes I am pretty famous for underselling myself...but I have been reading for so long, that sometimes I trust my intuition on what feels right.

Depending on the client or gig (I mostly do events and parties) I get anywhere from $5 a reading up to $250 and hour. I have even done readings for tips alone.

I used to charge $10 for a one time reading...but now that's more of an introductory rate, for the usual price of $20. And people no longer blink when I tell them I charge $20...because many local psychics (both real and fraud) charge about $35 for a reading. Many people who get a "taste" at the lower rate, come back later and willingly give me the higher rate for a followup reading.

So for those acquaintances of mine that want freebees...it depends on the mood I'm in at the time. Often I will do exchanges for lunch or drinks with these people, or give them a quickie advice reading (three cards usually) for free...with the stipulation that next time,I will charge them something.

It's all about confidence in your abilities. When I first started out, I gave so much of my time and talent away for free...because I wanted to. And I still do often,because I believe in paying it forward.
But it is a choice, and I don't feel that my time or gift isn't worth much...I know my worth, because I have had people pay me the high end rates.
And things are generally worth what people will pay for them.

But here's the thing...if you feel that your gift is precisely that...then that's awesome, but you should still charge for your time. Like any job...what is your hourly rate? Because your time is worth something...even if you think your gift should be free.
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AH! The 'eternal question'!

Mishka13 - I get the impression that your considering your talents as a 'gift' is genuine, and charging for something that was 'given to you' feels wrong.

Recently, I went to take a test for a dispatcher's position - and the test cost $25! The line for the test was so long that a few people decided the odds were against them and they left, keeping their $25. Did I feel the test was worth $25/person (about 250 people showed up) -NO! But the fee did weed out people who may have applied and decided they did not want to pay a fee (perhaps 300 people applied).

So it might be for you. Charging a fee will keep those who only want a free reading away, thus allowing you to use your gift more prudently. In a world where value is a perceived commodity, 'free' is equated with 'having no value.' You don't have to make up excuses, you don't have to placate or fabricate.

Perhaps you should do readings 'by donation' without a fixed cost, but with the understanding that the readings are not for free and payment will be expected. That way you can still make a buck (we all have expenses and rent to pay) without feeling like an extortionist.

Good Luck!
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Gia  Gia is offline
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I see the exchange of payment as an exchange of energy and call it that when doing readings. I will not start a reading without that exchange being in place. I have told ANY reluctant sitters, clients, friends, peers, that *I* would be cheating THEM if I did a reading without the energy being 'right'. So there.
I set my fees according to the local standard and find that I am OVERBOOKED at this point. I plan to raise my rates within the next 6 months to keep bargain-hunters from booking my time, leaving only quality time for those who appreciate fully what I am offering.
There is NO sin in accepting payment for your talents.
Doctors do.
Chefs do.
Performers do.
Mechanics, hairdressers, vets, architects...you see where I'm going?
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I learned nursing because I enjoy helping people. I won't get started about how money took over the Health Care Profession here in the US, to the point that money is the ONLY point a lot of the time, but this topic of 'payment' for 'gifts' within a person has been on my mind lately.

I have a neighbor who does not hesitate to call me for every little ache, pain, or sign of illness, in herself or her husband. This neighbor is a 'Caregiver' for ill and elderly people. She herself will ONLY accept a job if it is well paid, (she may take a job for $10 and hour, but at that rate don't ask her to actually DO anything. For $15 to $17 and hour she will do some light housekeeping, when there is nothing on TV.), and very easy (she wants to be paid for just 'being there').

I have spent many hours of my time, and my own money, trying to 'help' her address her aliments...but, I have discovered, there is no end to her aliments and complaints.

I have heard that this same thing happens to doctors. Some have a hard time making personal friends outside of their circle of medical friends, because of this phenomenon.

As caridwin pointed out, you, me, any of us with a 'humanist' gift, can only 'work' at what we do because we have invested our own time, life force and wherewithal into getting good enough to be hired as a "professional".

There are some good suggestions here about how to deal with this, but it IS an ongoing problem, for a lot of people, in a variety of areas of the world of work.

IF someone needs help, and I am in a position to help, I will, payment or no, but, over and over what has happened is that I discover that those who 'whine', about how they would like to have this, or that, but "don't have any money", actually are materially way better off than me.
What they REALLY mean is, "I want to KEEP my money for other stuff", so will you do (insert whatever it is you do) for free, for me?"
I think it is the 'humanistic" nature inherent in some types of work, you are doing what you do to 'help' humanity, right? So this assumption sets up a 'catch 22', if you mention compensation then you have 'proved' (to whoever is trying to get the 'freebie') that you are NOT in it because you want to 'help', and they sort of rub your nose in that.

This is the reason we have 'business managers' (please don't take this wrong, but sort of like 'Pimps') in Health Care, Tarot sites, and so on. THEY have no problem asking for compensation for arranging services to be exchanged between the 'humanist' provider, and the consumer.
Good luck figuring a fair way out of this dilemma, I never have.
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Mishka13  Mishka13 is offline
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thank you everyone....I really appreciate the input....It has given me a lot to think about as well as affirming some things I already thought, but was not listening to my own inner voice, something which I tell everyone else to do. Thank you again....Mishka
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Think about these things:

Does an airline polit who adores flying refuse payment for it?

Does a writer refuse payment when they get published?

Does a doctor who's really into healing refuse payment?

Then think about this: do you deserve to earn a living doing what you enjoy?
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They are paying for your time in which you express your talent!

Put value on the things you value!
People will respect your confidence and talent.

* Sometimes people won't value your time and readings,
if they don't pay...it just isn't the same. They will value your
time if they are paying for it because it's "their" money they
are spending.
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