Have you ever listened to an interview or watched a documentary on Dolly Parton?
You know, the cherub-faced country music superstar who currently runs a quarter-billion dollar empire?
It’s no secret that Dolly comes from “nothing,” financially speaking. She was raised in a two-room shack (which housed Dolly, her parents, and eleven siblings) in the Smoky Mountains. Pa’s skin would crack every night from backbreaking work and Ma would whip together a homemade healing salve. Oil lanterns burned for light. Their life was one of absolute, crushing poverty.
My upbringing wasn’t quite as cash-strapped as Dolly’s, but honestly, we struggled…a lot. I was raised in a family where having “enough money” was a foreign concept. Sure, maybe “some” people had money. But we didn’t. Not ever.
I grew up determined to be the first one to break out of the family cycle of poverty.
I would earn a decent living. I refused to feel “broke.”
When I chose a career path as a Tarot card reader and yoga instructor, most people (including my current a-hole boss, at the time) told me I was absolutely going to fail. I took those words as a “challenge” — and I’ve enjoyed proving everyone wrong for 25 years of self-employment, and still going strong.
Which brings me to the topic of the day: money.
Specifically: not making enough money as a “healer,” “mystic,” “intuitive mentor,” “medium,” or “spiritual entrepreneur.”
I’ve had conversations with hundreds of metaphysical peeps over the years — newbies in the industry as well as respected authorities — and I am continually stunned by the fact that most people seem to have, if you’ll pardon my French, a pretty fucked-up attitude about money. Or really odd practices regarding money that hold them back (like refusing to have a website with payment buttons for easy purchases… uh… why not?).
I’ve been asked questions like, “How is it possible to earn a decent living as a self-employed mystic?” and “I’m struggling to make money and I just don’t get it. Theresa, what am I missing?” so many times, I’ve practically lost count.
Today, I’ve collected a few of the most common money-blocking issues that I see in the business world — particularly in the spiritual biz universe — all in one place.
If you see yourself “mirrored” in one of the six issues that I describe (“Yep, that’s me!”) don’t despair or beat yourself up. Just take corrective action. It is never too late to reboot a flailing business and dramatically boost your earnings. You can create a major turnaround if you are willing to act. (Spoiler alert: if you scroll to the very bottom of this post, I’ve got a rad invitation to help you do exactly that!)
Without further ado…
6 reasons why you are struggling to make decent money as a “healer,” “mystic” or “spiritual entrepreneur.”
1. Your job title makes absolutely no sense.
Clever wordplay is fun for rap lyrics and poetry, but for your job title? Not so much.
If you refer to yourself as a “heart-centered business explod-ifier” or an “intuitive feminine spiritual mentor,” then it’s unlikely that the clients you want to reach will grasp what you are trying to say.
Skip the mystical jargon. Just say who you are — and what you do — in plain English.
“I’m a healer.” “I’m a psychic.” “I help people communicate with loved ones who have died.” “I use astrology to help people find true love.”
Once clients can actually understand you, they’ll be far more likely to hire you.
2. Your rates are inconsistent (or nonexistent).
You feel so uncomfortable about charging money for your gifts that you (a) refuse to post your rates on your website (b) constantly slash your rates, offering people crazy discounts (c) work for free (d) all of the above, depending on how you “feel” that day.
If you saw another business owner or service provider (like a baker, an accountant, or a knee surgeon) running their business that way, would you trust them? Would you respect them? Would you feel safe in their care? Probably not.
Set prices for your products and services and hold firm. Haggling and wobbling just makes you seem insecure.
3. You are bartering like it’s Burning Man.
I know. You’re an idealistic hippie (like my beloved husband) and deep down, you feel like money is filthy and evil. Bartering is way better for society, right? Why charge money for your services when you could “trade” for massages, crystals, patchouli-scented deodorant, free chai tea, and whatnot?
Here’s a reframe for ya: using money is just another form of bartering — except instead of having to haul around a flock of sheep or water buffalo or buckets of corn every time you want to go to the store, our smart ancestors figured out a way to create a lightweight, portable universal “representation” of all the stuff that we’d like to trade: dollar bills!
So go ahead. Barter to your heart’s content. Barter the night away. Just do it with cash. Unlike coffee and crystals, cash will pay your rent and fill your savings account.
4. You are intensely tech phobic.
If you’re still dealing with paper checks and cash payments because opening up a PayPal account sends chills of horror down your spine… it’s time to get with the times. Your tech-phobia is holding your business back.
Take a deep breath and open a PayPal account, or an online shopping cart system like Gumroad (which is terrific if you sell digital products, tangible products, or digital “tickets” for workshops and seminars). If it makes sense for your business model, consider getting an online scheduling tool as well, so that customers can purchase and schedule appointments with you online.
Your clients want to book sessions with you in one or two clicks rather than having to email you, wait for a response, then ping back and forth a million times to sift through all the payment and scheduling details. Make life easier for your clients, not harder. Technology is your friend.
5. You refuse to market yourself.
Somewhere along the line, you decided that marketing is “sleazy.”
Well, it’s only “sleazy” if you’re selling something that doesn’t work, that doesn’t deliver what you’ve promised, or that harms people in some way. Is that the case for you? If so, yes, you’re a total sleaze ball. Stop marketing yourself right away.
I’m being sarcastic here, of course. Obviously that’s not the case for you. Your work is all about helping people, healing wounds, and assisting people so that they can make better decisions and lead happier lives. WHY THE FRACK would you keep quiet about something as beautiful as that?
Find a self-promotional strategy that feels natural for you — whether it’s online, offline, or a combination of both — and commit to it with your whole heart. You’re not being “sleazy.” You’re extending your arms out into the world and saying, “Have skills. Have love. Ready to help.”
(And if the whole notion of “marketing” feels complicated and overwhelming to you, remember what my girl Alex says: “Writing a blog post is marketing. Sending out an email to friends and family is marketing. Blowing a client’s mind so they can’t stop talking about you is marketing. Everything is marketing.” Every single interaction you have with another human being is a form of “marketing.” It’s that simple.)
6. Deep down, you don’t really believe your services are worth paying for.
This is the biggie. The fugly, dirty, low down secret that many people won’t admit.
When clients hire me for business mentoring, and we do a little digging, this is often the money-blocking insecurity that we find hidden beneath all the noise.
If you “aren’t really sure” that the products and services you’re offering actually “work,” then of course you’re going to feel uneasy about charging money (or raising your rates)! Any sane person would feel hesitant in that scenario. Nobody wants to be a snake oil salesman, racking in cash for something that doesn’t “deliver.”
The solution? Stay connected with your clients and customers. Keep following up to get a clear sense of what kind of impact you are having, or not having. Do a feedback form. Create a “How did I do?” wrap up survey. Check in a few weeks or months later to see how they’re doing.
Over time, try to build a big “bank” of success stories and testimonials that reinforce, “Yup. The work that I’m doing… is totally working.”
In moments of doubt, refer back to your success-bank to remind yourself, “Awww yeah. Baby, I’m the sh*t.”
Bottom (dollar) line:
If you are doing good work in the world — trying your very best to reduce suffering and improve people’s lives — then you deserve to be compensated for your work.
Don’t fear money. Don’t block money. It’s not evil. It’s a beautiful tool and it’s yours —
if you’ll just let it in.
PS. I gave birth to a new baby today (metaphorically speaking).
It’s called GET IN CHARGE: a 21-day, $21 e-course on… money, money, money!
In this new course, I tackle 21 different issues that stop spiritual business owners from earning what they deserve — and I provide tips to help you resolve each one.
You’ll learn how to deal with pesky clients who won’t pay their bills (grr!)… how to smooth out awkward scenarios like raising your rates… how to plan smartly for tax season… how to ride out slow-earning months… how to banish money-eroding mindsets that keep you in a pattern of under-earning… and more. If you are struggling to make decent money as a healer, mystic, or spiritual entrepreneur, you’ll want in on this awesome sauce!
CLICK HERE for details on all the lessons plus the extra goodies that come along with the course, like a heart-pumping “Money Jam of the Day.” (‘Cause music makes everything better!)
You can start this course anytime you want. Today. Tomorrow. The next day. Whenevs. You’ll receive your first GET IN CHARGE email instantly and boom, you’re off to the races.
I love helping people to make mo’ money and I LOVED putting this course together for you. Enjoy to the max. Cha-ching!
photo from stock photography
@ Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015