Tarot readers have a really interesting job. Even the ones that don’t get paid sit in this odd in-between of mystique and counselor, entertainer and wise advice giver. We hear client’s problems, their worries, their dreams. We develop relationships with them and can even find ourselves invested in the outcome – wondering if everything will turn out alright for them and if they are doing ok days and weeks after a reading.
Sadly, this position that we are in can put us in a precarious place in the minds of some clients. We start to become, in their minds, a friend, a therapist, or someone responsible for their happiness. This is not only unhealthy but can be down right dangerous for some readers who have attracted a client who isn’t quite stable.
How do we deal with this?
I come at this question with experience. I have had to learn the hard way to set boundaries with clients.
I have had clients that have, due to my lack of boundaries, skewed the client/reader relationship and thought of me as more of a friend that they just so happen to pay for advice. These clients pestered me via phone calls and email asking for readings at all hours of the day, repeatedly for weeks, and even got to the point where they expected my advice and aid (on everything) for free or at a “friendly” discount. The situation became extremely uncomfortable, not only for me but also for Damon who had to deal with these people as well.
The creation of professional boundaries not only help protect readers from needy or unstable clients but also protects clients from overly curious or prying readers. (I mean, what cleint wants to run into a reader at the super market and get bombarded with questions about their marital problems in front of their kids or strangers in the produce section?)
In the end, I had to cut them off. I told them I would no longer be reading for them, that our professional relationship was becoming a struggle for me. I dealt with tears, name calling, and more. I’m sure these clients have nothing kind to say about me now, and partially I am responsible for what happened because I didn’t set healthy, professional boundaries. Sure, cutting off clients is somewhat drastic, especially for tarot readers who make a living off their craft. I want to say first I don’t think cutting off an annoying or strange client should be your first step at all! This was simply something I had to do in order to regain control of that part of my life. Since then, I have changed a number of ways in how I handle clients.
Clear Company Policies
Be clear on when and where you will provide discounts, refunds, and, if you do bill or invoice a client, how long you will wait for a payment.
Sadly, even with clear policies, you might still run into those clients that will push for a “friendly discount.” Each person must figure out what is comfortable for them in how to deal with these matters just as each situation will depend on your relationship with that customer.
Set Office Hours
By making it clear what days and what hours of the day you are available to clients, you can prevent them from contacting you during personal hours when you are with family, friends, kids, sleeping, appointments, etc.
Create Privacy Barriers
This too will vary from business to business. For some this might mean having a business only e-mail (highly recommended anyways due to the professional look), a post office box rather than giving out your home address, or having a phone number you give to clients only. By not giving out personal information to clients, you create a barrier between the two of you that keeps you safe.
Keep your Personal Life & your Business Life separate.
(Oseaana has a great video about this on her Business Alchemy series on YouTube).
Putting out there when you’re having a bad day or even a bad week gives the message that you are a mess and that will draw in people who are attracted to chaos and messes, not people who want clarity and calm via your spiritual practice.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t write your personal story or blog posts about how you’ve overcome difficulties. It simply means don’t complain about the issue in the moment and then plaster that complaint all over your business social media. If you’re gonna share your life issues, share them in a way that you’re showing how your practice helped you overcome your problems.
Be Both Professional AND Compassionate
In businesses where the services are of a spiritual and emotional nature, whether its tarot reading, reiki healing, or life coaching, creating boundaries can be very difficult when it comes to emotional attachments between professional and client.
In one direction, the professional can become too involved in the client’s life, problems, and worries. Taking these matters to heart can cause stress and unnecessary worry for the professional and cause them to either go over a client’s boundary by being nosy or pressing matters or allow clients to cross boundaries and take advantage of the professional’s sympathies.
In the other direction, the client can come across as cold, unfeeling, and hard. Clients want to be able to connect with those they hire for their spiritual services and if they cannot connect, they won’t return.
Finding the balance takes practice and can be difficult to find with some clients. In the end, we can fall back to our boundaries and policies to help us when we find ourselves lost in our sympathies for a client.
Be Wary of Who You Have in Your Support System
Everyone needs a support system. People who encourage you, who you can go to for advice, who you can bounce ideas off of and just outright be yourself first and your business second with.
Make sure the people in your support system are trustworthy. This will change from person to person whether your support system is your mom, your husband, your best friend since high school, your business coach, or your reverend or high priestess. Be careful who you show your weaknesses and your ideas to. Don’t leave chinks in the armor for someone who is unhealthy and who does not have your best interest at heart.