I'm a celebrity tarot card reader who charges $500 for a one-hour session. Here's how I turned my hobby into a full-time career and pivoted during the pandemic.
- Angie Banicki is a professional tarot card reader based in Los Angeles.
- She's been practicing for 11 years, and has read for celebrities like Nikki Reed and Rachel Zoe as well as companies like Snapchat and Miranda Kerr's KORA Organics.
- Banicki charges $500 for a personal hour-long virtual session, and also offer group sessions at $600 an hour for up to 10 people.
- She says it was challenging to feel empowered to raise her prices over the years, but was encouraged by friends and family to charge what she felt she was worth.
- Banicki also enjoys teaching other people how to read tarot cards, because then she can show them "they don't necessarily need me to get the answers they're looking for."
- This is what her job is like, as told to freelance writer Nikhita Mahtani.
For me, tarot started out as a hobby. I'd just quit my job in entertainment PR and I was figuring out what to do next. I'd been to a tarot card reader in LA and thought it was cool, but there was never a time when I thought it was what I wanted to do. But one day, my friend gave me a set of Prada tarot cards, and it became a fun hobby I did with friends.
I would be sitting at Soho House or the Chateau having a glass of wine, and friends would be like, "Oh, let's read these or ask questions." Then I also started getting these moments where I would have a dream about something, and I'd share it with a friend, and they'd say, "That happened to me yesterday" or something uncanny.I slowly reached a point where I loved what I was doing so much that I was doing tarot while also in freelance PR. But before long, I realized that my passion was no longer in PR.
I learned how to do tarot on my own, and never had any formal training.
I just kind of knew exactly what the cards were saying, but I would verify with the small book that came with the cards and then also do research online. I also made up a system to dictate timing, so I'd not only know what things were going to happen, but when. I think once you have the gift and can have dreams and predict situations, you can know what the cards are telling you. It just takes practice.
A typical day for me includes a combination of readings, events, classes, and group sessions.
Prior to the pandemic, I did a lot of events. Companies or celebrities would hire me to read for their events, and then I did a few readings a day, either virtually or in-person. I've read for Sophia Bush, Nikki Reed, Rachel Zoe, and at events for Snapchat and Miranda Kerr's company KORA Organics.Now that we don't have events anymore, all of my readings are virtual. I've been doing online virtual tarot classes with Lively, and trying not to do more then three readings a day, though, because to me, that's the best in terms of me being able to give my all. I also do group sessions for companies now. I did one recently with a company's marketing team, and another with a banking group, which was really fun. It was a bunch of corporate people who maybe thought I was crazy, but later my friend who had brought me on mentioned how so much of it rang true for them. I never try to convince anyone, I just let the cards speak for themselves.
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My clients find me - I don't actively go out and search for them.
I've been really lucky that way - thanks to residual word-of-mouth clients and my website, I never have to go find new clients. All I do is work hard and do the best that I can, and that's my way of letting it be. People find me when they need answers, or I get referrals.
At one point in the pandemic though, there was a week where I realized I barely had any readings, and said to my partner Mark "Maybe I'm being shown I'm not supposed to do this anymore." Mark kept laughing at me, because the next week, I got busy again - about 15 readings a week, plus three to four events and then my classes.
I don't even recommend people to come back to me right away, I say they can come back after a year or six months if they need it. Anyone who waits a year, it's almost like the cards unload them with all this information since they won't be back for a year, whereas if you come every month, it's more of like a trickle down. It's more, "Here's what you need to know now." That's why I always am like, "Well, if you wait longer, it's better." But there are some people who come every month and that helps with their day-to-day.
Reading a celebrity isn't all that different from reading anyone else.I know a lot of times the news about a celebrity will be on TMZ or whatever, but that doesn't make it any easier or harder to read them. I try not to look, but sometimes it also helps to acknowledge it. Sometimes I'll say, "Listen, I saw what's happening for you in the news." But even then, I can look at my cards and they'll tell me things I wouldn't know from the news, like a pregnancy or a job offer, and so they can still trust me to know what's coming.
The price is an energy exchange.I started at $100, but slowly I've been raising my prices. The last time I raised it, I was talking to my friend about being drained and really struggling with booking more and and paying off my debt, and my friend said, "Are you kidding? You have that many people reaching out? You need to raise your rate." When I do raise my rates, I try to keep existing clients at the same rate they've been paying as long as I can. Still, I get really drained if I do too many readings a day.
Pre-pandemic, I offered both virtual and in-person readings, with the in-person readings costing $555 per hour. Now, I only book virtual tarot readings at $500 an hour. I also do a Tarot Happy Hour that costs $600 for an hour group session for up to 10 people, often friend groups so everyone can each get mini readings.I also offer other price-conscious options to help more people still have the experience of tarot, including $10 Tarot Tuesdays where I do an energy reading, talk about what the cards are saying, and answer people's questions.
I also enjoy teaching other people how to read tarot cards, because then I can show they don't necessarily need me to get the answers they're looking for. For teaching, I offer a five week course of weekly hour-long classes for $500 total.Read more: I'm a former pharmacist who makes artwork out of pills that sells for up to $700 a piece. My Instagram account has been crucial to my success - here's how I use it to sell effectively.
My goal with every reading is to provide guidance and help people navigate whatever it is they're going through.
I once had my own cards read about a year ago, and the reader told me he had no advice for me, that all my relationships were going to be difficult, and I should just never get into one. And to me that's a bad reading because it didn't offer any guidance. There is some reality to that, because I'm very happy on my own, but it's because I choose to be. My spiritual path is to go into the things that are the hardest for me and to try to fix them and grow as a person.
So instead I try to tell clients, "It's going to be emotionally harder on you now, but you have to go through this because it's going to be so good for you." Sometimes they'll show me this person has to go through this really hard emotional phase 'cause it's getting them ready for the next phase in their life and the only way is through.My cards always want to provide guidance, and it's not always about the predictions, but how to navigate what's going on right now.
Nikhita Mahtani is a freelance journalist based in NYC. She's covered health, design, and wellness content for several publications, including GQ and InStyle, and is obsessed with interviewing interesting people about how they live their lives. Follow her on Twitter and see more on her website.
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