This is an excerpt from my recently published book, Have Tarot Will Party. E Book and paperback are both available at Amazon
Someone wants to hire you to read tarot for their upcoming party! You know how to read tarot, but how the heck does one book parties?
How much should you charge? What kind of paperwork do you need? How do you handle guests who want to test your skills? How do you read tarot under ten minutes when the guest won’t stop talking?!
Don’t panic! You have everything you need to navigate party readings right here.
Have Tarot Will Party is a fully comprehensive business resource for professional tarot practitioners.
Have Tarot Will Party includes real stories to highlight aspects of the party experience, and includes topics such as: how to find parties that will book you, how to negotiate a price that respects your worth, how to work with the host to ensure you are busy and safe, as well as template samples of paperwork like contracts and disclaimers.
House parties are where most public readers get started. There are two types of house party: hosted and non-hosted. In a hosted party, the host is paying you directly at a per-hour rate, and the guests are not paying anything. A non-hosted party is one where the host is supplying the place for the party, but each guest is paying you individually for their reading.
Even though a house party is fairly casual, you still need to give it professional treatment. You need a contract and should consider including disclosures for everyone to sign before you begin reading. It’s a crazy litigious world out there, so I want to cover my risks as much as I possibly can. In my day practice, all guests must read and agree to my disclaimer as part of the on-boarding process. I also have business liability insurance. I will talk more about this later, and I have a sample document that you are free to use for your own events.
Once you have agreed with your host, and the negotiations are over, I recommend a deposit to hold the time slot. Every time I’ve not requested a deposit, I have come to regret it. It’s no fun to have a huge Halloween party cancel on you one week before Halloween and you are left scrambling to find a replacement after turning down ten other invitations. As much as you may feel a spiritual purpose in doing this work, always remember that money talks! What if that cancellation means you couldn’t take another job? There goes the rent! It’s no biggie to them, but it could potentially be a huge deal for you.
Make sure to tell your host that the time and date is not reserved until you have a deposit in your hot, little hands. The deposit can vary. I usually only require a fifty-dollar deposit which is refundable up to two weeks prior to the event. But for fall events the deposit is a nonrefundable fifty percent of the ticket. I only accept cash, debit or credit, or payment through the app of my choice. I don’t accept private checks. Some readers I know also accept Money Orders or Certified Checks for private events. This is a smart move because like cash, once it is in your hand, it is yours. For non-hosted events, the host can either put that money towards her reading, or she will have it reimbursed to her on the day of the party, provided that the number of guests and everything you agreed upon is still in place.
A non-hosted party is a gig situation where the host is not paying you for readings but rather acts as coordinator. She is lining up her guests and providing the space, but each individual you read for will be paying for their own time with you. A non-hosted party is often the choice for readers who are within their first year and are trying to build their client base. A non-hosted party is tricky because no one is paying you for in-between time, and you can easily find yourself with a loss of thirty minutes or more because no one is in a rush to see you!
Another challenge is that the host does not feel pressure to make sure that the number of guests you both agreed on will be there when you show up. Let’s say you agreed to read for fifteen people over three hours, but once you arrive it’s a different story. Perhaps the host says that she couldn’t get fifteen, and that she only has six people, but she still expects you to stay and read for them. Tell the hostess to agree on a minimum guarantee to book. If she is unable to hit that minimum on the day of the party, then she is still responsible for covering the amount you both agreed upon. With her money on the table, believe me, this is the motivation she needs to ensure that the number of guests you agreed on will be there!
Some hosts are solicitous. They will stop by a number of times to ensure your drink is filled or offer you something to eat. Others will invite you to stay and enjoy the party. Good hosts will be mindful of the guests coming to your table and will pay you promptly when your time is up. I love these wonderful, thoughtful hosts: may they live a long and happy life!
As friendly and welcoming as a good host might be, never lose sight that you are under their employ and are working (not attending) their party. While a host might offer you cocktails, a plate of food, or an offer to stay and enjoy, it’s usually a bad idea to accept. For one, I never have time to eat while I’m reading at a party, and if I did, it looks devastatingly unprofessional to eat a platter at your reading table. For obvious reasons, you don’t want to enjoy those cocktails.
Finally, if you hang around at the house after you’re done, it can be awkward. Perhaps you talked about a guest’s divorce or a recent job change, and now you are clinking glasses with them? Trust me, it never goes well. The intimacy of the tarot table does not easily translate to any other intimacy. People will feel uncomfortable about the new role you are now playing, especially if they divulged something intimate with you before! Work to maintain that sense of safety with them. Stay in your lane.
This has become an often-enough phenomena that I’ve come to expect it. Usually, a host is so busy that they won’t have time, to get a reading from you. As the host stops by to pay you at the end of your time, they will mention how they never had a chance to get a reading. This is the only occasion that I will go over my allotted time without compensation. If the host who hired me didn’t get a reading, I want to make sure that she gets one. Hosts are going to be your biggest supporters and believers, and they will often hire you for other parties. So, you want to keep them happy. Remember, this is the exception to the rule — so only one freebie allowed. After that, make a quick exit if you can or negotiate a rate to stay.
Have Tarot Will Party is 180 pages full of my own best practices (including some stories of my own epic mistakes). Immediately downloadable on Amazon but the paperback is great, too, for quick reference. If you have ever thought to read tarot at parties as a side-hustle, to supplement your retirement income, or as a home-based business. This guide is for you!
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