Starting a new business is exciting and also terrifying! While working for yourself in a field you love sounds empowering, it often comes with the burden of added financial stress and the pressure of every business decision you make and how it affects your wellbeing. When you work for yourself you are the one who has to decide how hard to work, how often, when to grow, and what to invest in. Often we imagine that this will mean we will treat ourselves more gently than our previous bosses or corporations have but in my experience entrepreneurs can be their own most brutal bosses. We more rarely stop to appreciate our efforts, give ourselves time off or invest in our own personal growth.
A recent study from Harvard Business school shows that “entrepreneurs are more at risk of burnout because they tend to be extremely passionate about work and more socially isolated, have limited safety nets, and operate in high uncertainty.” I feel like this is more greatly intensified in psychic or healing businesses because we are our businesses, not only the face of our business but our bodies, minds and spirits often need to be a priority in order for our work to meet our standards. As a spiritual business owner your energy is your currency.
Five years ago, I was burnt out and forced to make a change. My mental and physical health were suffering because of the way I had been living my life and I quit my job as a finance manager and made the decision to start working full time as a psychic medium with almost no plan or expectation of how it would go.
It’s important that I stop here and recognize some privilege because I did have a lot going for me. I was able to have a lucrative career working in the auto industry for my family's business and built up my savings for years prior to leaving my job. I also had the benefit of business and marketing experience from my career in the auto industry as well as the skills, drive and hustle acquired working in the restaurant business before that.
Another thing I had going for me was that I was in such rough shape that I didn’t care much about what happened to me or my business at first. I acted soley on my instincts to follow a calling to step away from everything that was hurting me and follow what I felt was my purpose. I began by renting a small office space and created a website where people could book a free reading. After the first two months, I had given readings to over 40 clients and my sense of well being seemed to improve. I decided I would travel to the UK to study mediumship at The Arthur Findlay College and this ended up being a great confirmation of my choices. When I returned home I began putting all of my energy into my psychic mediumship business and over time have created a sustainable income for myself. This year I published my first book Uncovering Intuition which delves more deeply into my personal journey.
The following list is by no means exhaustive, rather it is some of what I’ve learned after starting a psychic mediumship business and what I’ve experienced having worked for a small business for 17 years prior to running my own. Some of these are mistakes I’ve made and others are common ones I see in other psychic mediums and healers that I’ve had the privilege to know and work with.
Do you think of yourself as a small business? Do you call yourself a business owner? A passion, calling, or spiritual gifts are all common words that mediums, psychics and healers easily use to refer to their business. “My business” is not one that I hear often enough. For some, there seems to be some shame around charging for their services and in some cases this might be a lack of self confidence or imposter syndrome especially if you haven’t worked in a business atmosphere before.
If you are getting ready to start offering your services to the general public you have likely invested time and money into training, securing a professional space, materials, website or utilities to name a few. There are clients that need your services and you deserve to be paid for your work just as any other professional. If I call an electrician to come to my house or consult with an attorney I don't expect them to help me for free because they have been "gifted with unique abilities". Psychic, mediumship and healing services should be seen similarly. You’ll need to manage your time, money and business as such. I have seen this simple shift in thinking hold many people back from charging what they are worth, marketing their services and placing boundaries around their time. Start affirming yourself and your work by thinking of it as it is, a business that you care for and that will hopefully take care of you.
You may have heard that comparison is the thief of joy. It is especially detrimental to small business owners. While it is helpful to look up to and be inspired by other professionals in your field, constant comparisons will have you in your head and not in your flow of work. My advice is to have a process in place that you consistently stick to and measure your success not by specific achievements, but by overall performance in your individual process. For example, I developed a simple strategy of posting on social media in 2020. I gave myself office hours where I would plan content and brainstorm about what my business would be able to provide for others and part of my process was asking for feedback from clients. I have a process for how often I practice, record myself and assess myself. When I was writing my book I had a schedule that I forced myself to stick to and hired a writing coach for accountability. I challenge myself to practice self development and professional development every year. This allows me (for the most part) to focus on what I’m doing and not get caught up in comparisons with my colleagues. This is one of the most essential and life changing steps that I took early on and with this I feel I could easily get distracted and feel defeated by what other people are doing when I’m feeling vulnerable. Focus on your process, that way you’ll have an accurate measure for how effective you are rather than comparing your business (and all your hard work) to someone else's highlight reel. For more advice in developing a process I highly recommend reading Atomic Habits by James Clear.
I mentioned earlier that part of my process is committing to regular self and professional development and I feel it’s essential to my growth. First let me say that I also see the opposite in business owners and it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that someone else out there has “the answer.” At some point it’s time to stop taking classes and trust yourself and your abilities. We need development, but if we are constantly looking to coaches and spiritual teachers to validate our skills it can be undermining and confusing at best. You are unique, and what you have to offer the world will be different than what anyone else has to offer. I recommend self development that helps you to become the truest version of yourself or learn essential skills to your craft. As professionals, we can't go jumping from every course in our field that’s available in order to see what's out there. There are other ways to gain insight, skills and development. This year I participated in a hypnotherapy training and became a certified hypnotist which has helped enrich the meditations I offer my clients and given me a greater understanding of levels of consciousness. Some things that I’ve enjoyed researching lately are the human brain, astrology, cult dynamics, color theory, communication styles and death cultures throughout the world. These subjects have given me knowledge and inspiration for my work. Seek out only what is enriching and be discerning. When you do find something that resonates with you don’t be afraid to invest! Self development is esential in this work, remeber your energy is your currency.
You can start creating systems for your business that work for you now. If there is a common question or concern that gets emailed to you on a regular basis, have a format to answer that question or a place on your website you can direct clients that answers for you. There are a number of online services that can handle scheduling for you (I use acuity) you so that you don’t need to spend half the day emailing back and forth with clients—some of whom may never even schedule with you. Provide clear directions to your office, give clear instructions for virtual sessions and automate appointment reminders to save yourself time and energy. Decide how much you will charge for a session, what your process will be and try to automate that, this way you are not concerned with collecting payments the day of your sessions and your client can have peace of mind in knowing what to expect. Communicating clearly on your website and through emails with clients will save you time and create meaningful connections. People appreciate honesty and clarity. As you go, create a plan for various situations that may arise.
For example, some common questions to consider are:
What if someone cancels an appointment the day of?
What if a session is not going well and your client asks for a refund?
What if a client needs or asks for help beyond your scope of practice? (you might decide to have a few therapists you can refer clients to, the name of resources in your area for domestic violence, emergency mental health services etc.)
What if you become ill and have to cancel a session?
Having a process can help remove a lot of the stress you feel as a small business owner because you will know how to handle difficult situations as they arise.
When things get difficult your business plan and mission statement are ways for you to reconnect to your “why”, the reason you do what you do and "how" you plan to get there.
Your business plan doesn't need to be complicated, but without direction there is only so far you can go.
Here are some questions to get you started in writing a business plan:
What is it that I do?
Who are my potential clients?
What do I offer my clients?
What is my favorite part of my work?
What is unique about me and what I offer?
How will I let potential clients know what I offer?
How can my work affect others or the world in a positive way?
How do I feel when my work affects others and the world in a positive way?
What are my goals with the work that I do? Short term? Long term?
To look at the economics of your business you’ll want to know:
How much money is required to start your business?
How much to sustain your business?
How will you collect money and what are the potential revenue streams for your business?
Look at some financial projections so that you can plan for the future and know what it takes to accomplish your long and short term goals.
You likely have the answers to most of these questions inside of you. Take It one step further and share the mission statement part of your business with your clients to create connections and attract people who are excited about what you do and how you do it!