Spellcasting as a Job--pt. 1: Setting Up Your Business

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

Being a professional spellcaster is a tricky job.  That is why I so rarely do it these days.  I bring magic to the public in many ways, but this is one I reserve for special occasions only.  But that's not to say it cannot be done, only that it must be done with great understanding and care.  In three parts I plan to outline how to give your spellcasting business that kind of forethought, effort, and edge to be a success.


The Concerns Over Professional Spellcasting
We need to begin with a somewhat obvious topic, controversy.  You would think that by now the magical community would tire of judging the living daylights out of one another for their minor differences in preference, but no.  Casting spells for pay is still a hotly debated issue.  Some folks take their magic to be a sacred office and insist that no one should be paid for what is sacred.  This view is popular today, but it is by no means traditional.  The sacred office of ancient priestesses was a paid position that funded the temples. On a mundane level, if you want to get something from a knowledgeable person on any topic, you need to provide value.  In many cases, both ancient and modern, that value is money.

You will probably only have to deal with this issue when you're discussing your work with other practitioners.  Regular folks expect to pay for your work.  I have only rarely been approached by a non-practitioner who asked for free spellwork.  More often than not price is brought up directly after they finish making their request.  So you're looking at two sentences: "Can you do this?  I will pay you that."  But a fellow practitioner will keep you engaged in debate for an hour or more with no intention of engaging your services.  That may sound harsh, but it has happened to me on several occasions.

So decide first how you're going to handle this. My chosen method is to tell the person that we each have our own way of doing things and that they cannot dictate my choices anymore than I can dictate theirs.  This usually does the trick and they leave you in peace.  If they're particularly nasty about it, though, go ahead with a "If you were any damn good, maybe people would be offering you money!"  So, on that note, onward we go...

Another concern is that there is a limited market for this kind of work.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  It doesn't matter where you live, there is someone out there wishing they could meet someone like you.  When a person like that actually gets the chance to meet someone who knows magic, it is really rare that they are interested in casting for others.  Many practitioners won't cast unless it's a situation they completely agree with or have a personal stake in.  As you can imagine, it's not too likely that some random individual will be able to fulfill these obligations with their request.

Having only a handful of spellcasters who are willing to work for strangers means that each practitioner has the freedom to set up their business the way they wish and not be bound by what every other professional on the block is doing.  Also note that with less witches about there is less competition.  With a little effort, you can easily be the go-to caster for your town.

And that brings us to publicity.  Good word of mouth is your best asset.  A newspaper ad (if you can pull it off) might get you some attention out of curiosity, but having solid recommendations passed person-to-person will get you clients.  Interested parties tend to be regular people in desperate situations.  They are often professionals, parents, and those who consider themselves rational yet fairly open-minded individuals. They are always noted by their attitude of being willing to take a chance on anything if it works.  Speak to those people, and you will have a quick following.


How to Do a Good Job
Sure, it may seem easy to hang your shingle on the door and be open for any magical business that comes your way, but there are a few things to work through first.

How will you manage your business?  Unless you work from a storefront (lucky you!), you're going to have to arrange business hours and days of availability.  Now decide how you will make this public.  Keep it really simple and you won't have to bother with signs and other fanciness; people will just know when you'll be around and can easily spread the word to others.  Maybe your hours are weeknights after 7 or only on weekends.  Give a comfortable yet personal way to contact you (a cell phone number or IM, perhaps--not your house phone) and openly receive your clients at those times.  

Will you receive walk-ins?  Some people just want something small and they want it today. Can you provide that?  If you're doing this from home, you must realize that there's a good chance you'll get occasional surprise visitors (usually accompanied by someone you already know) on your doorstep during your "open" hours.  Can you have some goods ready ahead of time for them to take?  Set a reasonable price for these goods before you begin.  Try to make them all about the same value so that people know how much cash to bring.

Remember, too, that you may have to be firm about your hours.  Do not extend them unless you're ready to set that as the new norm.  If knocks at the door at 11 PM and phone calls at work are out of the question, you must insist that they stay that way.  People don't often recall that you made an exception for them, they just know that you were okay with it.

Your next step is to set your spells.  Don't feel bad about excluding certain types of magic.  For example, I really don't like doing love spells anymore.  It's not a moral thing, I just have had too many bad experiences from it in the past.  Many of the love spells I've cast were for people so painfully desperate that they could not let go of the situation so that the spell could work.  Others ruined their own success by acting weird when their love interest suddenly began to moon over them.  I can't work like this!  I just got so disenchanted with the whole issue of bringing together these people who won't let their own fondest dream come true that I don't even want to do it anymore.  So I hold the rule now that I don't do love spells.  Simple as that.  If a client wants one, there's other witches out there that can help them.

Choose the forms you are comfortable working with on a regular basis.  As you know, I really like formulas. So my clients get a lot of them.  But I also like many other things, too, like talismans, knots, novena candles, conjure/mojo bags, poppets, and anything with herbs.  I have a high success rate with them, know them well, and have all the goods to work them on a regular basis.  So that's my core and I pick spells from them when I'm going to work for someone.  This makes it easy for me to stay stocked up on the necessities and quickly research spells to use, as well as helping a client know what to expect from me.

What's Next
After-care of a spellcasting is another important part to consider.  As I mentioned before, some folks are not
too keen to let you do all the work while they twiddle their thumbs.  They get restless and can end up working against their own objective.  Giving them things to do can be a real help to the both of you. Anything from positive affirmations to repeat every time they have doubts to ritual baths to consecrated talismans can work in both a magical and a mundane way to console their restless minds and further your efforts.  Consider how you will offer these things and when, plus what kind of items and advice you will give.

Another aspect of after-care is how long you will be available to clients after the spell is cast.  I've had folks that came, got their spell cast, and I never heard from them again.  And then I've had those who thought that fixing all their problems forever would be a life-long effort on my part.  If you're still receiving calls about the ups and downs of a client's relationships or their job months after you're done with their spell, something needs to be done immediately.  And before you get ahead of me, this isn't about whether or not your spell worked; problems that don't have a definite ending will always have the potential to turn from wonderful to not so favorable from time to time. Let's say your client wants to improve their relationship with their mother. Things go well after the spell is cast, so they call and share the great news.  But then mother gets ill and they are worried.  So they call and ask your advice about whether years of your directed anger made her sick.  Now she's on the mend but resentful of the amount of time your client was unable to be at her bedside, so they call and worry that the spell is failing.  This can go on for years!  Make your clients aware of how long afterward you will be available to discuss the matter.  After that point, they should know that they will be responsible for maintaining what you have created.

Being a professional spellcaster can be a difficult job but with a few tricks you can simplify it into a very rewarding one.  Make the essential points clear to clients: the value you offer, the price you request, time to wait for results, what to do in the meantime, and what will happen afterward.  Tell them the kinds of spells you cast, when and where the working will take place, and if they are allowed to be present.  Make sure they know that they are responsible for coming in with a clear idea of what they want to have happen (though you can counsel them with this beforehand, if you choose), how much information they're willing to share, and to obtain some personal item of the target if such is necessary.  Let them know your terms before you begin and you have a greater chance of a successful result for all concerned.


Next time...

Spellcasting as a Job--pt. 2: What It's Like to Work for Others

Images from:
witchesofeastend.wikia.com
lovespellsandmagic.com



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About Me

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My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at QuillsOccultSupply.Etsy.com) full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 








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