Tip #4 for Your Professional Psychic Business: Choosing a Front Person
When you are on the show circuit, you can’t always do it alone. I know, for example, that when I am at a four-day show in Canada for eleven hours a day, or involved in a massive Boston-area expo with over 200 booths and thousands through the doors, I need someone with me to hand out information, take the money, do the scheduling, and keep me fed and watered while I read anywhere from 30-60 clients in a weekend and do a couple of lectures. Without someone to take on such a workload, I’d spend half my time selling the booth, half my time reading, and all my time before and after show hours trying to de-frazzle myself. And I guarantee you I would burn out a lot faster and be on the road a lot less.
A sharp and savvy front person can be the Radar O’Reilly to your Colonel Potter, the Zoe to your Captain Mal, the Companion to your Doctor. Your front person can take all of the administriva of running a show booth off your shoulders, leaving you time and space to be the best intuitive you can be. And knowing that someone else has your back means you will be completely focused on your work, rather than trying to keep eyes and hands on everything within the ten foot booth perimeter.
But how do you find someone like that? The same way you would find and interview anyone important to your business. So let’s run through the steps:
WRITE UP A JOB DESCRIPTION
If you ran a retail store, an architectural firm, or a flooring manufacturing plant, you would never start looking to fill a position without knowing what was required. So the first thing to do is to formulate a job description. Half requirement, half wish-list, the write-up should include all responsibilities and expectations for your sidekick from show open to show close. My description includes dress code; responsibilities for setting up and breaking down the booth; table set up; a lengthy discussion of client interactions including how to make appointments, forms of payment, and rules for clients that must be enforced (examples: if they are late we do not “tack on” time at the end of their scheduled session in fairness to those that follow… NO gum chewing… no barging into the booth when I am taking a break… all appointments must be paid for at the time of booking); what the front person need to do to keep me fed, watered and unstressed; points to make to the clients when they describe my services; and finally what NOT to expect (lengthy breaks, hot meals every day, or time to wander around out of the booth during the show).
It also lays out very clearly what they can expect from me in terms of amenities and salary. If they travel more than an hour to front for me, they always share my accommodations, and if it’s not included with our lodgings, I also cover breakfast out. We always keep a stocked mini fridge at the show hall, and it’s stocked out of my pocket, not theirs. If they go out on a coffee run, they know that they are always entitled to grab something for themselves if they have a mind to. Any exceptions? Yes — if we go out to a restaurant after the show day, they usually cover their own costs. Otherwise all costs are on me.
Also, I detail their salary — what they are paid, and how I calculate base and commission. Which brings us to:
PAY YOUR FRONT PERSON NO MATTER WHAT
You might think “well, of course!” on this, but unfortunately not everyone understands this particular ethic. I know some readers who promise payment but if they have had a bad event, they just shrug and say to their assistant, “oops, sorry, can’t pay you.” No restaurant ever doesn’t pay the prep cook. The folks at the auto parts store get their check even if nothing is sold that day. And it should be the same with your front person.
My front person gets what I laughingly call “danger pay” — a base per diem for showing up and doing her job. Period. She always gets it IN CASH the moment cash comes through the door. And if nobody (or no cash, since we take plastic) comes through the door, I make sure I have at least her base pay in my own wallet so she doesn’t go home empty handed.
Whether or not to add a commission structure is your choice. I choose to include it as part of the package. Because I demand a high level of attention from my front person, I pay pretty generously — 10% of my gross after expenses are met, which are usually around $1200-$1500 per show. While not everybody pays commission, I find that base + commission ensures that a front person will work harder, because if you read more, they get more in their pay packet — simple as that.
CHEMISTRY, CHEMISTRY, CHEMISTRY
Someone may be perfect as Psychic A’s front, but horrific for Psychic B. And it’s purely a matter of how well the energies mesh.
Example: at a recent show in Toronto, where I share a double booth with a friend, our usual front person was unavailable and we had to use an untested fill-in. The girl had never done a psychic fair before. She was shy and introverted. As a result, I absolutely intimidated her simply by being me. She fouled up my schedule, lost credit slips, and neglected to take at least two payments. At the same time, she was wonderful doing the exact same job for my friend, simply because said friend comes across softer, gentler, and “not as scary.” By the second day of the three-day event, Miss Timid was fired from my half of the booth, but continued to work for my friend. A quick Sunday step-in was a young Goth-Punk child with tattoos and piercings and strawberry hair. While I would not necessarily have hired her if I’d had a choice of several people, she did a wonderful job and helped me pull what would have been a disastrous weekend up to at least acceptable. Why? She matched my energy — outgoing, funny, delighting in the interaction with attendees. We were comfortable with each other’s energy and therefore BOTH of us did a far better job than my Friday and Saturday front allowed.
That’s why it is important to know who will be able to match your energy, your style and your appearance. I have been a professional in corporations and in my own non-psychic business. I am very used to being in front of people, have appeared on television and the stage, and also have a strong sales background. As a result, I look for people with professional backgrounds, whether they have owned their own business or they work in an atmosphere where rules and regs are important to follow (a teacher, for example). Their appearance must have style and flair without being outlandish and “overly wicky woo.” They must be absolutely comfortable talking to people — and be absolutely self-confident. They must be able to listen carefully and do what I ask the first time, the way any good executive assistant performs in a corporate setting.
Generally most of them have also had successful readings from me — in fact, I find that clients are my best source of new front people as needed, simply because they have experienced me and believe in my skills. But at the same time, I prefer people who are NOT looking to get into the intuitive business themselves. That way, they will not be tempted to listen in on readings, sell their own services, or offer extraneous or unasked for metaphysical advice to a client (all of which has happened when I have someone as a front who works in the field).
If you would like a copy of my personal job description for my front people, I’m happy to share it; email me with the subject line “Front Person Job Description” and I’ll send it along. But do try to make your own first. You will have different criteria, different needs and a different set of wants and needs for your Show Companion — and that will be the most important information to share with your potential employee.