Tip #1 for Your Professional Psychic Business: Choosing Which Fairs To Do
I often get asked what it’s like being a full-time intuitive (no matter what the local title is: fortune teller, clairvoyant, spirit medium, psychic medium, and so on). Well, it’s as different as the number of psychics and Tarot readers and mediums and channels out there, my friends — but it’s a heck of a life, if you do it right, and you love what you do.
These days, people ask me about my career, specifically when they are thinking of doing it themselves. And that’s fine with me — I have long said that there arebillion people in the world, and I can’t read all of them, so the more the merrier. But you should know about the business end of it, because it’s not glamorous by any means. For every John Edward and Lisa Williams garnering six and seven figure salaries, with fame and fortune and all of that hoorah, there are those of us that in the mundane world would be called “working stiffs” — we may never be famous or drive a Bentley, but we’re good at what we do, we make a decent living, and we’re glad to be in the business we’re in.
To give you a feel for what it’s like for me, let me run you through what it’s like to do a psychic fair — sometimes called a spiritual or holistic expo.
When you’ve been doing it as long as I have, you generally know which shows are good and which ones to pass by. But in the beginning, you’re going to have to investigate every possibility. One way you can do that is by surfing the Web, googling words like “psychic fair” “spiritual expo” “metaphysical expo” or “holistic expo.” If you have certain states you are willing to go to, add that in. Another way to investigate possibilities is by going to certain sites that list shows (Body Mind Spirit Directory is a good one). But most importantly, you need to set some rules for yourself:
- How far will you travel?
- Will you go by car, or are you willing to fly?
- If you fly, can you afford to ship all your show gear (and there’s usually a fair amount)?
- If you are driving, what’s your radius? (Mine’s about ten hours one way from my home in upstate NY.)
- Will you only do shows that are more than one day? If you are willing to do a one-day show, what is the radius for that? (For me, it’s two hours one way).
- Where is the show located — a hotel, a fire hall, an exhibition center, a casino?
- How many readers are there vs. how many vendors (those who sell but do not read)?
- How long has the show been going on?
- Is this the first year, or does it have a track record?
- Do they require you do to a lecture?
- What about door prizes — are you responsible for supplying one?
Once you decide to do a show, there is usually a contract to sign and up-front money to pay. Expect to pay a minimum of $125 per day for your booth; for the very big venues, it can be up to $500 per day. (You may want to get established before you tackle one of the big behemoths.) Most places will include electricity, though the very large ones will charge extra. For example: when I do shows in Kitchener or St. Catharines (both in Ontario), the promoters include electric, because it’s a relatively small show and they are held in small convention centers. When I do the very large expo (150+ booths) in Toronto, electric is extra because that is THE premiere exhibition hall in Ontario. Same thing in the US — most shows include electricity, but the Mind Body Spirit Expo held in the Garden Station Convention Center also charges extra — and is also a show with hundreds of booths.
It will be very important for you to watch for deadlines regarding getting your money in to the promoter! Some folks expect it all up front, especially if you have not worked with them before. Others may take partial payments. Be sure you check with the promoter and get your money in AT LEAST A WEEK BEFORE IT IS DUE! When you are an unknown quantity to the promoter, that goes a long way to demonstrating your professionalism and honoring commitments.
But before you sign that contract and send in your money, I highly advise you to get a few names of people that have done the show from the promoter and pick their brains. Why? Because promoters can promise the moon — and often do — but it’s the readers and vendors who know whether the moon gets delivered.
Some questions to ask those who have done the show:
- How well do the promoters promote?
- How easy is set up and breakdown?
- Is there enough parking for people to attend? (Trust me; if people have to fight for a parking space or walk blocks, they don’t bother.)
- How many people are usually through the door? If this show has been going for a few years, have the door numbers gone up or down?
- Is there “bitchcraft” among the readers or does everyone play fair, watch out for each other, and treat each other like respected colleagues/family?
- If there is a problem, is the promoter willing to step up and solve the problem or do they look the other way?
- What kind of people (rookies, people who know their stuff, people looking for bargains, people who just collect the freebies) are usually in attendance?
- Is it the kind of show where you NEED a front person, or is it optional?
- What is the quality/level of the other readers?
This last question is not as “snooty” as it sounds. There are some shows where beginning readers are welcome. A long-running fair I do every February has “reader’s row” where newer folk have a card table and read for $25; the rest of us, called “wall psychics” because we have full booths around the perimeter, can charge as we like. The promoter does such a fabulous job (the show has been going on well over two decades) that the aisles are packed from open to close, and there is plenty of clientele for everyone at every level.
However, some fairs have beginners in the majority. Because they charge a lot less than seasoned (what I call “A List”) readers, it can be problematical if you’ve been reading for a long time and your prices reflect that. Example: last year, I did a small show where the promoter blithely mixed $20 readers’ booths with $80 readers’ booths — and guess who got the readings? This was a show on a college campus, advertised to people who would normally not go to a psychic fair, and who therefore did not understand the difference between the two. Their understanding was “psychic as carnival entertainment.” Needless to say, I didn’t do much business, and I won’t go back.
So — once you have checked into which shows you want to do…checked out the location and the promoters…made sure that the readers are ones you’ll want to share your business world with…made sure you can afford the booth fee and all the peripherals and get the money in on time…now it’s time to set up your own personal space…
Interested in finding out more? It’s all in my new book YOU’VE GOT THE MAGIC, WHO NEEDS A GENIE? on Kindle!