How do you know when to charge?

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SkinnyDuck  SkinnyDuck is offline
Join Date: 15 Feb 2016
Location: Ontario, Canada
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How do you know when to charge?

I don't believe I'm in the position to take money for the reads that I do(I'm still using the books for reference), but for those of you that do readings as a business, how did you know it was time?
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Zephyros  Zephyros is offline
Join Date: 31 Jan 2004
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Moderator Note:

Just popping in to say that I've indexed this thread in the new professional Tarot index.
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Barleywine's Avatar
Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
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Originally Posted by SkinnyDuck View Post
I don't believe I'm in the position to take money for the reads that I do(I'm still using the books for reference), but for those of you that do readings as a business, how did you know it was time?
I used to read semi-professionally in another State back in the '70s (I took money but didn't have a formal practice), but dropped it for a few decades when I moved to rural New Hampshire. Since 2011 I've been contributing regularly to the Your Readings sub-forum to sharpen up my skills, and earlier this year I happened to be talking to a local shop owner who said her regular readers were either retiring or were ill, and she offered me an "on-call" arrangement, with at least 48 hours notice. I retired a few years ago so I'm almost completely flexible to support her, a win-win situation.
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Grizabella  Grizabella is offline
Card Reader/Fortune Teller
Join Date: 08 Jul 2004
Location: Tacoma, WA
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I decided to use Tarot at first because I thought it was as simple as learning the card names and presto! change-o! make money! In a month or so, easy money.

It doesn't work that way. That was almost 20 years ago and here I am, still learning. There's a lot more to it than just memorizing 78 card meanings. There's still the need to understand combinations of cards and what they mean within a spread. Every reading is different so you can't just come to a spot where you've learned it all and can hop on the pro-reader bandwagon and start making money.

Welcome to the world of Tarot.

ETA: Oops, I didn't answer your exact question. Sorry.

I started charging by using a tip jar for the first few years. But I gave free readings till I could read without the book. I didn't start charging a set fee till recently.

I didn't really start charging till I could confidently master the art of reading a spread of cards without the book, spotting the meaning of combinations of cards and how they answered the client's questions. There are patterns in the cards that convey meanings in individual readings, too. There are also meanings of cards and card combinations that are relayed through colors, suits, etc.

If I had to break down the time frames, I'd say 5 years studying without reading for others, 5 years doing free readings, 5 years using a tip jar, and 5 years charging a set fee. That's not precise, but roughly it does convey how long it took me.

There are always those who learn more quickly and decide to launch themselves as paid readers much sooner than I did. I'm just speaking for myself. But I think it's safe to say that it's not a quick process to come to the point where a person can really charge.
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MandMaud  MandMaud is offline
Join Date: 22 May 2012
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 6,205


Before, I practised tarot for the joy of it. It's strange to me that I do it *better* online without knowing anything about the querent or their situation, sometimes not even whether they're male or female (and not their real name, on AT). But that's good, as I haven't a real-life place to do readings for people.

I don't think there's a moment when you know how to read the cards, as Grizabella says, it's more a moment when you realise you know what you're doing and see that people are going away helped in one way or another (advice, comfort, clarity). I'd say the real criterion is getting clear in your own head what your ethics are, your boundaries about who you won't read for and on what topics, that kind of thing.

(Zephyros, yay for the index! )
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Disa's Avatar
Disa  Disa is offline
The last in line
Join Date: 14 Aug 2006
Location: Moon Gazing: Georgia, USA
Posts: 6,150

I didn't know I should charge for reading cards until my aunt started stuffing money in my bag for the readings I did for her, and then making everyone who came to her house for a reading pay up

You will know when you are ready. Using books for reference can be a good thing for as long as you read cards. I say this because there is always more to learn. However, if you have to use reference books in order to do a reading, then maybe it isn't time. You should be able to do readings without the books. I feel books are for later, just studying and learning new ways to look at the cards. I don't think I'll ever run out of things to learn.
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zhadee  zhadee is offline
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In 20 years, I will be a very poor retired nurse who has turned into a fully-fledged fortuneteller. That'll be the day when I start charging for my readings.
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nisaba  nisaba is offline
Join Date: 02 Jan 2009
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Originally Posted by SkinnyDuck View Post
I don't believe I'm in the position to take money for the reads that I do(I'm still using the books for reference), but for those of you that do readings as a business, how did you know it was time?
I'd like to say when you've done a run of readings and everyone was satisfied.

For myself, though, it was quite different. I'd been reading for several years. I worked in the Financial Sector at the time, and I was sitting in my office with a client when she happened to mention she had certain difficulties. I liked her, so I told her I had a Tarot deck at home, and if she cared to visit I'd be happy to pull a few cards. She did and I did, and she was so delighted with what I said, that she insisted on reaching into her handbag, and pulling out cash. A *lot* of cash. That was 1981, and she paid me more than I'd charge now in 2016. Back then, it represented a *huge* amount of buying-power. She was just completely delighted, and I'd sorted her problem. It was then, that I knew I could go professional. It took me a few months to actually act on that and do it.

But if you don't have an event like that happen to you, just when you've done lots and lots of readings, and the bad or difficult ones gradually get fewer-and-further-between, and you're pretty confident your deck is going to answer anything, is a good time to go professional.
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Apollonia  Apollonia is offline
Join Date: 14 Aug 2004
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 2,625

Originally Posted by SkinnyDuck View Post
I don't believe I'm in the position to take money for the reads that I do(I'm still using the books for reference), but for those of you that do readings as a business, how did you know it was time?
For me, it was when people started telling me, "You should charge for this," and insisting on giving me money I hadn't asked for.
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Calcifer's Avatar
Calcifer  Calcifer is offline
Join Date: 21 May 2012
Location: Pisgah Forest, NC USA
Posts: 539

Oh geez... what to say, what to say.....
I started accidentally and have only read "professionally" years ago on a topless beach while I waited for my girlfriend to get out of work and join me (North Lido Beach, Sarasota, Florida). I had been reading cards since I was 11, and now I was about 23 and had a damn fine knack for looking at the Celtic Cross and just knowing what was going on in front of me. Those were the days: now I'm thinking too damn much. I think most here would call it "speed reading" or "guerilla reading" and I was very, very good (no kidding)..... I'd look over the cards and something like a story would come to me...all based on Eden Gray's simple card definitions; and I summed up what I saw into just 3-6 short sentences. The cards always told me something worthwhile.
Anyway, I was just reading for myself one day and a couple of girls saw the cards and asked me to read for them. Like I'm going to say "no" (ahem).
The reading was fine, I knew what I saw, they seemed to be impressed, and they trotted back to their blanket for money and insisted on paying me.... ok, fine . Other people saw this, and that first day I did maybe six readings.... mostly for free; I never asked for money. I was promptly arrested by the beach police for "Fortune Telling without a license". After much heated discussion and a serious lambasting to the boys in blue from my girlfriend (who had just arrived), I was released on account of the fact that I wasn't "charging" for it.
I had no intention of getting licensed, and my total disrespect for authority led me to buy one of those HUGE brandy snifters that some people put fish in. The next week I did the same thing - except I had a fish bowl in front of me with $5 of my own money in it (three one dollar bills, loose change, and some pretty rocks and shells), and I read for anyone. If people asked if I charged, I said, "it is bad luck to not pay the fortune teller... but I accept trinkets, shells, rocks, whatever you want to give me".
I did it for 3 years and got quite a following. The beach police loathed me; and I loved every second of it (for several hopefully obvious reasons), and it paid for the dinners/dancing that said girlfriend loved and we'd had a hard time actually affording.
Oh wait... what was the original question...? Oh yeah, "how did I know".... easy - when people started paying me without me asking or advertising - and actually insisting on forking over cash. Um sorry. Got busy reminiscing....
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