New Moon in Pisces: Pro-bono and discount work

As astrologers we each have our style, preferences, and orientation for our practice. Every month, we choose a question about our professional astrology practice, and collect your responses here.
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Full Name: Kate Rusko
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New Moon in Pisces: Pro-bono and discount work

Postby Katerusko » Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:25 pm

We all know many astrologers are struggling to make ends meet. However, sometimes our clients also need support. What are your rules regarding pro bono work, discounts, and trades?

OPA supporter
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:46 am
Full Name: Kate Rusko
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: New Moon in Pisces: Pro-bono and discount work

Postby Katerusko » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:21 pm

Linea Van Horn

I rarely do pro bono work except for family.
I offer a 25% discount for single moms, unemployed, seniors, students, etc.
Students who repeat a class get half off the tuition for the second round (certain
exclusions apply).
I do barter from time to time, if the other person has something I want or need.
I have bartered for haircuts, housecleaning, graphic design and my website, massage
or other types of healing treatments and maybe one or two other things I can't 
remember since Mercury conjoins Neptune soon.

Margarita Logovatovskaya

I always try to meet the client halfway when he cannot pay the full cost of the service. At the same time I do not do a complete reading and instead do an express consultation, which doesn't involve a personal meeting, but a written response with the opportunity to discuss questions over the phone. This saves my time by allowing me and the client to get the something at no extra cost.

Dmitriy Paramonov

The issue of pricing is very complex, especially in the service sector where in addition to "profitable" and "not profitable" is necessary to take into account other points. As a rule I do not give a discount for my services. The rate is fixed and does not depend on chance. This is not a casino and a fair. A man comes up to me and he knows that the cost of my consultation fixed. This cost does not change from the status of the customer, it does not change the nature of the issue, it does not change with the seasons. This is the factor of stability which my client can expect.

Of course, not all is rosy and safely. The situations are different. For example, if I see that the customer is experiencing financial difficulty, I do not provide him with discounts, I just can not take off his board. For me there is no problem to study his horoscope and answer his questions. If I do not take money for my work, I do not call that kind of work as a consultation. I perceive it as a friendly conversation. It's just a friendly conversation on the exciting topic for both of us.
There are also situations when a person asks to study his horoscope, but he did not initially think that for this he will not have to pay. Man wants to get the job done in writing, but he did not realize how much work is behind this. Therefore, he does not think that such work must be paid. In such cases, I'm just releasing the text of the assembled program. Naturally, I give the text a beautiful view, do the cover, insert a description of their services, and the text of the horoscope corrective. Such horoscopes I give for free. These free gifts are different subjects: identity horoscope, baby horoscopes, career guidance, transfer, horary map projections. It is not difficult for me and nice to customers. I do not consider this a decent job of taking pay for it. I take it as advertising my services.
I built a system for myself that is comfortable for me and for my clients. I am happy with everything. I see no reason to carry out a special discount or bargain 

Vinnie Scotti

Erie synchronicity! The last person that was going to commit to about 6 months of readings ( we established working together while mercury moved into shadow before retrograding,but it didn't stick, we may pick up working together later) was very low income. He was a wood worker, we planned to make shelf's and have an awesome collaboration, we are both artists. It didn't work out , but! I care for the guy and may pray him back into my work. But this would actually be saving time and resources, I didn't have to look for a wood worker. Also the biggest leap I made in astrology was giving really cheap readings, I had my first long term client by giving cheap readings, if I was charging him more he simple would not be able to pay and I would not have had the experience of working with someone for six months.

Patrick Lewis

I don't make rules regarding individual charges to clients. Every person is different, and has different attitudes and problems. I've been a professional Astrologer for over 4o years since I was a young man. And raised 4 kids, and made a good living. The good book says we should give 10% of our income away to charity. But to me there are no rules. Each case is different.

Kay Taylor

My practice is very full and I am not struggling. Therefore, I do not promote sliding scale at this time, although on occasion if I feel compelled intuitively, I may offer a lower rate or even pro bono for someone who I believe could benefit from a session and clearly does not have resources. When I lived in smaller towns with a different economy I offered lower rates and trades to locals while maintaining my regular rates in general. I rarely do trades these days either, although when I was building my business I did because I had the time and it was good just to get to know people’s work and them to know and perhaps refer me.

Anne Ortelee

We all know many astrologers are struggling to make ends meet. However, sometimes our clients also need support. What are your rules regarding pro bono work, discounts, and trades?

Jupiter in Virgo tends to be a poor year as the focus is on service not financial volume or gain. Probono work comes in a few forms ~1) I have a radio show where we take calls from listeners; 2) I speak weekly at a drop in astrology meeting and answer questions about attendees charts, 3) I write a weekly weather column that covers questions from readers and 4) I answer emails and facebook queries. I occasionally offer discounts on readings to existing clients who are out of work or going through hard financial times. I very rarely do any kind of barter or trade, preferring money. If I don't want what someone is offering, I have a hard time saying that and I don't want to offend them that I don't want their service or product so my formal policy is no barter. I also don't offer sales. When I raise my rates, I let my existing clients book readings for the balance of the year at the old rate.

Arlan Wise

I stopped doing trades and barter long ago. It's much cleaner to be paid and to pay for the services or product of the other person. It's also less time consuming as with a trade you need to go get your side of the deal. It's kinder to say I don't do trades than to have to say I don't really want that thing you are offering me.

I do donate readings for silent auctions. They are big fund raisers and so I give up to three a year, trying to vary the places I give them to (though always to the OPA retreat silent auction!). I find that even though I am doing a "free" reading, the person who bought the reading at the auction often then buys a reading for a daughter or friend.

The wonderful thing about working for yourself and setting your own rates is the freedom to be generous. Yesterday I did a reading for a woman who is turning 80 next week. she mentioned that money is tight so when she asked how much to write on the check, i gave her a discount, though I didn't tell her. I have one client who calls for readings 3-4 times a year and gives me as presents about 4 times a year so I charge her much less than I do for a once a year client. There are some clients who have been with me from the beginning and so I discount their rate, a kind of loyalty bonus.

Sometimes people call and say that they want to come with friends and is there a discount for doing 3 readings on the same day. I say no and explain that it is more work to prepare three readings than one.

Cindi McNulty

When I first started out, I did do work for trade, never completely free, a sharing of services. I don’t do that anymore, except with one colleague that as sent me so much business in those early days, I truly owe her. Now I do a courtesy discount with other colleagues and if a client has trouble with my fee, I will do and have done an instalment plan for them.

Susan Falk

I have done discounts when I knew someone could not afford my price. I have also done trades and for close friends I have done free consultations- when they offered to pay,I said that they could take me out to dinner. I never want to be rigid about my fee.

Mary Lewis

I work on a sliding scale, though my rates are already quite low, comparatively. This is because though most of myclients have come via out of state referrals, the area I live in is very rural with very low per capita and household income. I have always had an issue with complementary or alternative services/practices being unavailable to many people due to price.

However, I have changed in how I *present* my rates. I presented the whole sliding scale to anyone who wanted a reading, previously. Recently, I have started stating my rate and then if *I* know or have a sense that this is a stretch for the client, present them with the sliding scale levels. I don't have a website, so info is individual with each client, via email or phone.

My rates are also lower because I do 90% of my work via phone, which is actually preferred by me and I do not offer recordings. I let the client know that they can certainly make a recording, and i have clients who have done this via phone. I am now, suddenly, doing more local readings and clients are making their own recordings and seem just fine with this.

I have bumped up my rate locally, slightly, as local clients are wanting to meet face to face, and this is more work for me, as I am usually going to them, or, meeting at a local alternative clinic whose owner is my friend and who is happy to support this work.

Philip Young

I have been working full-time as a spiritual adviser since July of 2012; the majority of my revenue comes from astrology readings. Before I opened my practice full-time I read an outstanding book by Michael Port, appropriately titled Book Yourself Solid. He presented several strategies, practical and philosophical, that I have employed to be successful in my work. I am a firm believer in energy exchange and my own value and am willing to do pro bono work in the service to a cause (by providing raffle readings to the Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill and other charities) and at certain events (I have partnered with the man who runs Speed Dating and Lock and Key events in the Raleigh area and read for participants before and during the events). Pro bono work, for me, is always done with an eye towards opportunity, mainly the opportunity to connect my services with people who might not otherwise seek them out and who have means to pay my rates with ease. In fact, this was one of Port's most important philosophical points, request of spirit the desire to have people get service at your going rate and feel that you are not charging them enough. I have raised my rates each year and no one has blinked.

I am a huge fan of trades, so long as the person making the trade can accurately value themselves so we can do a proper match of service/time/price. I actively seek out trade with other practitioners in other fields so I can build a list of people to recommend when my services are not the ones a person needs, such as massage, reiki, hypnotherapy, chakra balancing, direct psychic readings, channeling, palm reading, rune casting (have not found anyone for this one yet), and so on. I trade with other professionals to get personal work done and to measure a person's ability so I can determine if they are worth recommending to my clients. I have a theory of abundance approach and find my clients are very grateful when I do recommend them to someone because I know they need a different service than astrology or tarot. I have been known to trade outside the spiritual advising field, but rarely. Either way, I always make sure the ultimate energy exchange, measured in monetary value-to-energy output is close to equal or exactly equal.

Discounts, no. Period. No sliding scales for me either. I will adjust time, but not my rate. And here is another of Port's most important lessons and one I have come to understand well. Value yourself to teach others to value you. When you do discounts you "discount" yourself. I do not do a percentage off for Valentine's, Halloween, or any holiday. In fact, what I have found, and another of Port's points, is that setting my fee at a strong number encourages people to think of me as a professional. Here's the psychology ... the person who does not "discount" must be the better professional because he or she has no need for gimmicks. People will jump through all kinds of hoops for a new TV or tickets to an event, but continue to question their own value when they want to "get a discount" on their spiritual work. I will often respond, with, "Really, your spiritual work?" Clients should want to pay up, not down for the work we do. Bottom line, I have put in PhD level work to do what I do (and I know what that looks like because I have a PhD in English). I suspect most of you reading this, as professionals, have done the same as well. Even saying the word "discount" is like chewing on thumbtacks to me. In truth, I would prefer to do pro bono work for someone I judge to be in need, and I am going to use a real trigger word here, and worthy of getting the service for free. Too often I find people who want a hand up and then decide to sit back down again and then want another hand up. But sometimes, I find someone who I know will take the hand up and use it to dust off, and get back on track; I will give that person a free reading. As Edna Mode in the Incredibles said, "No Capes!" and I say, "No Discounts!"

I have also accepted a quality of my Human Design, a mixed system of Astrology and the IChing, which identifies me as a "Generator", which means my strategy in life is to "wait to respond." So, I do minimal advertising, a free Yelp account is my only outreach besides the pro bono work. I get maybe 2 to 4 cold calls from this resource and I do nothing to push it. The majority my business has been built and continues to be built by word of mouth. I do pick up some clients through the pro bono work, more than enough to make the pro bono effort worth it. It has not been an easy strategy to accept, but the results speak for themselves.

Moon Zlotnick

Over the years I have benefited from many different trades for services with my clients. I have traded for body work, building a new website, acupuncture, home improvements and professional development. This enabled me to enjoy services I couldn't always afford while helping other professionals and people in my client network. It took a while to work out, but trading for the dollar amount as opposed to time spent has worked best for me.

Occasionally I will do free consultations for clients who have fallen on hard times. I usually keep these sessions short, and think of them as a reward for client loyalty. For clients who struggle with money, if they can refer three or four new people to me I will give them a complimentary reading.

Elizabeth Rozan

Re pro bono work…I have often done charts for people who can’t afford a typical session. As I think about this, I realize they have been students or artists. I have bartered with them, and ask for a piece of their artwork. In other cases, I assess the true level of interest and give time to answer questions by phone, refer them to a book for study, or make referrals for their particular situation. I think this not only helps them in their understanding, but also broadens their view of the profession of astrology. Kindness never hurts. I am not in the position of depending on this income as my sole source, so I feel less of the pressure to make every minute equal a dollar sign.

Sue Minahan

I am relatively fresh to establishing my astrology career. I look forward to the March I-Astrology conference to project myself into business. Therefore, I wondered what I could share for this question, till a recent request made by a stranger who attended a lecture we both attended.

We were asked what were we passionate about; I answered, "Astrology". Afterwards, an individual asked me if I liked to teach, which I replied, "yes, I do". Turns out he wanted lessons and offered to do so over lunch, which really didn't appeal to me. In the end we talked over the phone, which was a good learning experience for me to relate, rather than face-to-face. I was pleased too, that in addition, he shared computer knowledge that is useful towards a business.

My bottom-line is to ask myself, does whatever I receive in exchange gratify a substantial benefit to reward my effort -- and make it well-worth my while, so I am perpetually pleased with the experience, and feel it's an equal exchange of value. I have Mars in Taurus 27 degrees in my 8th house, and for this, I am glad, as it balances my prominent air, giving me a desire to receive merit and substance....and to know the truth and basis of the relationship, so it will continue to work as an honest exchange.

Generally, I dislike the idea of trades, because it is difficult to envision how it would work to my advantage or interest -- unless I was traveling, and could have a great boat ride in exchange for a reading! So maybe there is potential!

I've read pros and cons about discounts, and see value to both (22 Libra Moon conjunct South Node 24 Libra...wouldn't you know?). It takes courage to raise prices, but that's exactly what needs to happen in time, to succeed. It makes sense to possibly offer a special price for their solar return chart. And again -- I ask myself Why? And I find it a lot of fun doing Solar Return Charts and would love to get someone back to find out with them, what's going on, and what their questions and choices may be for the next year. So, why not? I like that idea.

Pro-Bono -- If I could call it that -- I do that now to learn, with friends, astrology co-harts and some lessons to a few family members. Ideally-speaking, I could see doing pro-Bono for prisoners (truly, because they need all the help they can get), or totally disadvantaged folks who could use some enlightenment of their soul and it's growth. But that's a tall order, even for my Aires North Node. I love the idea -- would take courage though to follow up what Neptune in my 1st and Uranus/Venus conjunct exactly on my MC thinks how pro-Bono looks.

Jim Schultz

I am co-organizer of one of the largest astrology meetup groups in the US. Because our group is primarily directed toward teaching and learning I often do pro bono work, usually with short 5-10 minute sessions. When doing consultations with new and returning clients, I vary the rate depending on how much the person can afford, the length of the session and whether or not there is a need for any special considerations or questions. I have also done trades; however, it is not something I do regularly though I am open to it.

Lynne Hyde

I think it’s really important to give astrological information to those in need. So many people struggle to put food on their table let alone pay me for an astrology reading. I will trade if it’s actually something I want and if it’s not I will give them a short reading for free from my heart and in the spirit of helping. This doesn’t happen that often and when asked to give I just simply do…

Maurice Fernandez

I determine a fixed price for consultations, and at the same time offer a sliding scale for those who cannot afford the full fee. This is fully based on trust as I do not question the client’s request and suggested payment. I have seldom seen people taking negative advantage of this option, as most clients feel right about paying the listed price. I see astrology is a spiritual service, so I leave it to Karma to address those who would be dishonest about this.

I also adapt my prices to the economy of certain environments or countries. For example, a consultation in Greece is not the same price as it is in Germany or the US.

Armand Diaz

I don’t do a lot of pro bono work as far as free consultations go, although I do give discounts to clients who legitimately cannot afford my regular prices. I never want people to feel that they are overextending themselves financially to get a consultation, but on the other hand I also feel that astrologers need to respect their own financial needs and our profession. For me, it’s a matter of balancing compassion for the client with respect for our profession and my professional services. I feel that many astrologers are quick to undervalue their work, but once we work past that, it’s relatively easy to know when to give a discount and how much to offer.

On the other hand… Like many astrologers, I do give out a lot of free information, in the form of daily posts on social media, magazine and journal articles, videos, etc.. When it comes down to it, I really do quite a lot of work for which I don’t get paid!

Boaz Fyler

I usually do discounts for people I feel genuinely need the consultation and are in financial trouble. I do not, however drop beneath 80$ per reading unless it is either family or an emergency. I feel it is very important energetically to get paid for my services reasonably. I believe that paying for something helps people get more out of the reading as well, more than they would if they would get it for free. I do accept barters for services I can use but prefer payment.

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