Early Spring, I signed up for a business course, geared towards those who want to set up an online business. It was a considerable investment, but I felt that I needed business clarity to help me set up my own practice as a coach-astrologer. I made this investment in my personal education because I have found that in the healing professions, when it comes to talking about money many feel uncomfortable doing so. When I underwent my counseling psychology program in the midst of all the classes we had to take, we only had one class on money.
Nothing was said about how to set up your private practice, handle marketing, or how to get clients. It was heavily focused on the ethics of being a counselor, which of course is immensely important and necessary. But we live in a culture that praises financial abundance, and yet considers talking about money a dirty subject. This is especially true in the healing professions, of which I believe some aspects of the astrological work falls under.
While working towards my Diploma certification with the Faculty, I’m also trying to start up my business as a coach-astrologer. It has been a slow process, at least for my 4-planets in Gemini self, but deeply informative. On one hand, I’m honing my understanding of astrology through the Faculty’s in depth training, while fighting my inner fear dragons’ message that ‘one can’t make a living’ as an astrologer.
Throughout my astrological studies, I have done personal readings here and there, but never really set myself up as an astrologer, or identified myself as such. The clients I’d work with were friends or their friends. Most of these readings shared something in common: over preparation on my part while slowly chipping away at my lack of confidence as an astrologer. Even when I did start charging for these readings, there was still something very amateur about my approach to it. Of course, I’d pay attention to confidentiality, boundaries and ethical matters, but inside my lack of business clarity held me at the amateur spot.
Taking this business course has opened a whole new vista for me and my approach to astrology. For starters I met a great community of women entrepreneurs who have motivated me to get out there and make it happen. For once, the topic of money isn’t taboo, even though it’s still difficult to talk about real numbers.
Nevertheless, inspired by this online community, I decided to run a Beta Offer of my services. My offer is for a recorded session of 45 minutes at a no-brainer price. This offer is focused on people who are in a threshold phase in their lives, sensing the upcoming changes, but grappling with stepping into their new life. I had 10 spots open, and within a couple of hours I was booked. It was a mixture of excitement, fear, and making my month of July much busier. I really wanted to exercise my astrology muscles, so having all these readings in one month is definitely giving me a mental workout.
Next order of business was setting it all up. I don’t have my astrology website built yet, but I had to figure out how to invoice via PayPal, find the software that would take care of the scheduling, create the pre-session questionnaire and the feedback sheet. Right off the bat I learned that the administrative side of things takes longer than you think, especially when you don’t have a system set up yet.
Then it was on to prepping and doing the readings. Having only 45 minutes per session has taught me to get to the essence of the issues presented. The pre-session questionnaire is a major help in getting the client’s psyche prepped, while giving me a tool to step into their mind space. I have found that for this case, working with the natal and progressed Moon has rendered more incisive sessions and connection with the clients.
The other learning experience is how I’m forming my own brand as an astrologer. Each encounter is helping me to see what works and what doesn’t. Since I’ve been recording these sessions, I’m sure that in the future they will serve as gems for my own personal brand research. For now, I’m focusing on doing the best that I can, delivering good service and noticing where my strengths and weaknesses reside.
Receiving the feedback from these beta clients has been both helpful in giving me confidence, but it’s also anxiety provoking. The good feedback helps me see that I’m on the right track. But waiting for the return of the feedback questionnaire fills me with impatient anxiety. The reason being that, it is the feedback that I feel will help me fashion my website copy and to better understand my ICA (Ideal Customer Avatar). Nevertheless, I have already had some seed ideas of products and services I can offer in the future, all thanks to my beta clients.
What’s the point of all of this?
First, I’d like to meet fellow astrologers who are also navigating the waters of setting up their business. Second, if you are just starting out on your astrological journey, do a Beta offer. Get out there and do short readings. Meet different people that aren’t just friends of friends. Set up your own administrative procedure, organize your business space, and envision what it feels like to be a professional.
I believe for astrology to continue to regain its respectable place in our culture, we need not only to be ethical astrologers, but be business savvy as well. We also need to learn from our own chart how we can best position ourselves as a brand and as a professional astrologer.
If you are interested in the business of becoming an astrologer, I’d love to hear your insights and experiences. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vanessa Couto is an artist and counseling astrologer in Portland, Oregon,USA. Originally from Brazil, Vanessa has lived in many other places, before calling Portland her home. Her love for astrology has been with her since she was a child. She was the only kid in the playground going around and asking all her friends, “What is your sign?”
She has a M.A. in TESOL (Teaching English as Second Language) from New York University, and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.
She also loves to create personalized astrological mandalas. She infuses them with a symbolic interpretation of her clients’ natal charts.