I still struggle to call Tarot Counsel & Shaman's gate a business- because to me they are so much more.
They have grown to be a massive part of my life, a community, an inspiration and have bought me much joy.
But I do charge for my time and advertise my services & I do have a plan as to how I want to develop my enterprise - so it is a business too. I thought I would pause and reflect on what I have learnt as I have combined my genuine passions with running a small business.
I read for many people who want to set up as healers, guides and holistic traders. So I am sharing a few things I have experienced and learnt; from a position of much humbleness and trepidation.
Because I am not an expert at this, I am still learning on a daily basis..
I hadn't realised that as a sole trader (I do everything myself, partly due to finances, partly because I am so damn stubborn) establishing a business would force me to confront all of my personal weaknesses.
By nature I am dis-organised, lack self-confidence and avoid anything to do with finances and technology. All of these are seated in emotional incidences from my past, and I have had to overcome all of them (with varying success) with a lot of tears and swearing. (Still working on a couple) So I warn you that for every business challenge you face, you may well find a personal one - but it's all great self development!
I also had not realised how much TIME it would take.
Much of what I have done I have found fascinating and interesting. The time spent actually doing the tarot & shamanism is fantastic. But the marketing, accounts, venue booking, emails, website building, etc is a lot less fun, and takes far longer than I could ever have imagined.
Choose something you are passionate about, this is going to take A LOT of your time. And at the start, you will have little experience, internet presence, or well- anything to prove your expertise. Your enthusiasm and genuine passion for your chosen business will engage clients.
Immerse your self in anything that explains how the world of business works. It's a game, with rules to ease play that long-term players understand. The terms can be curious - S.E.O, copy and the like. Sign up to email lists, read books, join face-book groups, watch talks on you-tube, read the web-pages of business coaches. Some may seem a little brash and money focused, but often the message is very helpful. You do not need to pay thousands and sign up to anything, but you do need to know how the game works.
Don't over worry, or over focus, on what your competitors are doing. See them as inspiration- for what to do well, and what to avoid. But most important of all, work on finding your unique voice. It is likely you will have competitors, it's a busy world out there. But customers will chose you- because you are you. Something in the unique services you have created will appeal to them. So rather than spend much of your time looking over your shoulder at what others are doing, look hard at what you want to create- and make it personal to you.
It is important to look at what others are doing for inspiration, but open the field wide. Don't focus on your competitors (see previous point!) look at other business types. As a tarot reader I got a lot of inspiration from art based websites. It is essential that your business is personal to you, so if you have other passions- look to how these are used to create businesses' and seek inspiration here. There are a lot of brilliant, inspiring people out there- be open to them all, not just those in your field.
Goals, planning, action points, deadlines. Not words to fill everyone with joy, but if you don't have a plan- how do you know where you want to go? Start with an end point- In 5 years I would like to be earning £x through a business that focuses on X, Y &Z. Then plan a few basic steps that you will achieve this month, this quarter and this year. A company name, business, cards, website- breakdown seemingly huge jobs into bite size chunks. And enjoy the success of working towards your goals. Of course as your experience grows, your end goal probably will too. That's fine, change it, restructure your goals and aims and keep growing in the right direction for you. Keep it simple. The most amazing planning system in the world, won't work unless you maintain it. And I can guarantee one thing- as your business, and you, grow everything will change. Keep it simple, keep it flexible, be prepared to adapt and change.
If your business is a healing/spiritual based one, as mine is, you will need to reconcile charging for your services. This is a hard one, but at the end of the day I am only human, I need to eat, pay rent and support my children just as much as anyone else. I ensure my shaman's group & fair readings are low cost-so there is a way for people on low income to access my services. I think it is important to offer some flexibility to people that need support, whilst honouring my boundaries and needs too.
Perhaps most important of all, remember to enjoy what you are doing, always offer the very best you can, be true to yourself, and try (I know it's hard) to take genuine time off from work regularly.....