In the Internet Era, when businesses seem to flourish almost effortlessly while many of us are struggling to figure out the simplest things, a good piece of practical advice is always welcome.
In my particular case, I am constantly making a hot mess with my website and, as a good Taurus, I need step by step indications on how to get the dumbest little thing done with my computer, this is why I am so in love with Christiana’s work. It is direct, practical, feasible and it doesn’t promise a quick and glorious business without effort!
Fortune Stellar is a wonderful how-to guide that has provided me and hundreds with insight, valuable advice and guidance on how to get shit done, if the old version works, even for clumsies (hey! #explainlikeImfive!) I can’t wait to see what the new edition has to offer.
So, let me finish with all the blah-blah and give a warm welcome to Christiana Gaudet!
Fortune Stellar or How To Get Shit Done. – Interviewing Christiana Gaudet.
Q. – Hello Christiana! Thank you so much for your collaboration! I really appreciate this! So, for those who are not familiar with your work, you are the author of “Fortune Stellar: What Every Professional Reader Needs To Know” which is soon to be re-edited. Did writing a book have a significant impact on your career?
C.G. – It’s great to be appearing on your blog, which I’ve just discovered and truly enjoy!
I knew I would write books from the time I was a small child. When I fell in love with tarot it made sense I would write about tarot. How I ended up writing “Fortune Stellar” is a funny story which I share in the new edition. For now, we’ll just say that writing a book about tarot business was sort of an accident, and had a wonderful-but-unintentional impact on my career.
Being one of the very few people so far who has published a how-to book about professional tarot has given me a lot of visibility as a tarot mentor, teacher, reader and business coach. I would argue that what qualifies me for these roles is not that I wrote a book, it’s that I’ve worked as a tarot professional full time since 1995. That’s a lot of different experiences from which to harvest spiritual, practical and creative business advice, as well as a few cautionary tales!
I never thought I would be viewed and utilized as a business expert. But, in a very real way, “Fortune Stellar” has made that happen.
Q. – As far as I know, a few notes have been added to the book in order to adapt it to the times. However, it was first published in 2010, have things really changed that much in only seven years?
C. G. – Surprisingly, OMG yes! Although the financial crash happened in 2008, we didn’t really see how that would change the face of microbusiness with the arrival of the sharing economy and the growth of the gig economy until a few years later.
Perhaps even more significant is the arrival of the smartphone and social media. The first edition of “Fortune Stellar “admonishes you to have a MySpace page, and maybe consider checking out Facebook.
When I wrote “Fortune Stellar”, I still advertised in my local newspaper, with disappointing results. Now I spend my advertising dollars online, with good results.
The digital age has changed so much about how we do business. While the groundwork for that was being laid for the past twenty years, it’s only in the past seven that we’ve seen the practical result.
The other thing that’s happened in seven years is I’ve grown a lot, as a reader, a teacher and a professional. Seven years represents a little less than a third of my career. From that perspective, in a field where we learn every day, seven years is a long time.
The new edition of Fortune Stellar leaves the original work intact, but includes approximately thirty author notes and updates, some lengthy, as well as a new preface and supplemental appendix. I’ve tried to reflect all of these changes and advancements in these updates.
Q. – Is there something significant about the Tarot business that you wish you knew when you first published Fortune Stellar?
C. G. – When I wrote Fortune Stellar, I wrote it for an American audience; not intentionally, of course. I’m an American reader and I know how to be a pro reader in the US. It didn’t really occur to me that my audience would be world-wide.
That’s another change of the past seven years. Social media has made us more aware of potential friends, clients, colleagues, students and teachers from all around the world. In working with some of these new friends I’ve discovered that some things about pro tarot can really differ by region (actually, even within a single country). However, the majority of what is true for us tarotists in one country is true around the world.
In the new edition I’ve tried to acknowledge tarot around the world, and the growth of our worldwide community.
Q. – In regards with the last question: Is there some advice or recommendation you regret giving in the first edition of the book?
C. G. – There’s only one thing that stands out, other than my cringe-worthy request that you build your business with MySpace. In discussing working with online psychic services, I suggested that an advantage to that sort of gig is that you could count on the business to promote you, rather than having to promote yourself.
I had the notion this was true because, back in the 1990s, I was a “Dionne Warwick Psychic Friend” on a 900-number telephone service. When these sorts of services went to the internet, I understood them to operate the same way as the 900 lines, where the company paid for extensive advertising.
As I’ve discovered from many of my students, this is now not the case. If you work an online service, you will need to spend both time and money to promote yourself to make it worthwhile. I’m sorry I was misleading about this, and have corrected it in the new edition.
Spoiler Alert!!! Pro readers have also struggled with Court Cards!
Q. – How was your first professional reading?
C. G. – I had done countless readings for friends and family, and friends of friends and family. I had read in exchange for cookies, childcare, dinner and massage, but never professionally. I had also never received a professional reading.
It was 1993 in Connecticut, I had a two-year-old son and a brand-new boyfriend who asked me a question.
“You’re a smart girl. Why don’t you have a career?”
My answer was, I’m only good at one thing, and I can’t figure out how to make that a career.
He suggested he had a solution for me, but said little more at the time.
That Friday he called and said that he had booked me to read at a psychic fair. My biggest concern was that I had never worked with a clock, and did not usually do short readings. The psychic fair worked with bells strictly timing the readings at fifteen minutes. While setting up, an experienced reader befriended me and gave me some good advice. “You’re just giving them a sampler” he told me. “Don’t go into depth, just give an overview and let them ask questions.”
I don’t remember individual readings from that day, but I do remember praying that no Court Cards would appear. The day must have gone well, because they asked me back for Sunday. That day I remember one reading of the many I performed.
It was a mid-thirties couple who said mine was the best reading they had ever had. I didn’t tell them it was only my second day. It was evident that they were psychic aficionados who had experienced many readings. That was the moment I knew that tarot would be my full-time career. A few short years later, it was. Also, that boyfriend who booked my first gig became my husband and business manager!
Q. – If you could, what would you tell to your younger self pulling that first paid reading now?
C. G. – Just that the Court Cards really aren’t so difficult if you have key words for both rank and number, and consider that they can be people, advice, situations and predictions even at the same time!
Q. – What was the bigger obstacle that you encountered when growing your business?
C. G. – When I was first working as a reader fulltime I did a huge number of parties, between two and five a week. I found it challenging to keep each party reading the same length of time.
Sometimes party hostesses would be upset that the party ran late. Other times people would be upset if one reading lasted twenty minutes while another was only fifteen.
Over the years I have developed some good techniques for staying on track and on time in a reading, but these techniques were definitely borne of trial and error!
Q. – And now, is there any part of it you are still struggling with?
C. G. – There are some true limitations to one-on-one service jobs. As tarot readers, we suffer the same issues as massage therapists, counselors and cosmetologists. There is a finite number of people we can serve in a day.
Many readers develop products and programs to help with the need for passive income. For me, books and other educational materials fill this need very well. However, I am so busy with readings and the non-billable work that supports readings that it becomes very difficult to find time to write the books and create the products.
I would love to be able to clone myself, or maybe, more practically, hire an administrative assistant!
It’s interesting to note that my very first concern when doing a professional reading was about time, and, a couple of decades later, time remains my greatest concern, but in a different way.
Q. – What was “the moment” when you realized you were actually a well-known Tarot reader?
C. G. – This is a great story. So, It’s around 1999. I’m the Resident Psychic of Q105 FM in New London Connecticut. A few of my students and I drive three hours away to Albany to attend the American Tarot Association Regional Convention, where I’m presenting on Tarot Reversals. I’m sitting in the hotel restaurant for lunch with my students and some of the other presenters, whom I consider famous tarotists. There’s a tap on my shoulder. A mom and her tween daughter say “Excuse me, are you Christiana? We love you on the radio! We listen to your Psychic Hour all the time and recognized your voice!”
They had traveled from Connecticut for other reasons and happened to be in the same Albany hotel. I thought it was a nice moment, but one of my lunch companions said, “Wow, you are a famous tarot reader” and my students nodded their heads.
That was the moment for sure.
Q. – And last: If you had to forget everything you know about the Tarot business except for one thing, what would it be?
C. G. – How to actually work with the cards. Never would I want to lose that sense of guidance, inspiration and connection that tarot gives me personally.
Q. – Well, Christiana, I guess that you have a whole community eager to read this new edition of Fortune Stellar! I sure am! Let me reiterate my thankfulness for your collaboration and I really wish you the best of lucks in your endeavour!
C. G. – Thanks, it’s been fun! “Fortune Stellar” is getting closer to publication. The process of self-publishing can be quite intricate to get right, but we are getting there! Keep your eyes open for announcements!
If you want to learn more about Christiana Gaudet, click here to check her Bio!
She’s a prolific Tarot Blogger herself! Don’t miss some of my favourite posts:
As well, you can book a reading with her here.