Magic Money: Healers’ business challenges
- Healers are those practicing reiki, crystal healing, tarot card reading, yoga, or that work with human energies to heal.
- A lack of society infrastructure means healers have to be entrepreneurs — even if they don’t want to be.
- Healers need to consider whether or not they actually want to run their own business. (There’s nothing wrong with having hobbies or side hustles!)
The healer is typically an entrepreneur
When we mention “healing arts” here at Magic Money, we’re talking someone that practices reiki, yoga, draws tarot cards, provides therapy, etc. — anyone that works with human energies to heal. These practitioners are rising in popularity but still run into obstacles like a lack of support, respect, and education on money management that prevent their careers from taking off.
With the exception of professions like therapists, acupuncturists, and massage therapists, healers usually don’t have opportunities outside of being an entrepreneur.
“I think if you want to work in the healing arts, you often have to be an entrepreneur, whether or not that truly fits your personality,” says California Bay Area-based Jessie Susannah Karnatz. Karnatz’s business, Money Witch, provides financial education for those in the healing arts and creative fields.
The business of healing has unique challenges
Healing education programs typically lack courses on money and business management. As a result, many may struggle with successfully growing their business. Karnatz says she’s been hired by some herbalism programs to teach a one-day entrepreneurship course.
“I think it could be multiple days — it could be a much stronger part of the program,” says Karnatz. “Any vocation where the cultural assumption is: ‘You probably are going to have to have your own practice,’ I think should be coming with that entrepreneurship training.”
Phoebe Sherman, yoga teacher and founder of Girl Gang Craft, a community for artists and entrepreneurs, says that healers aren’t really taught about money matters. Instead, practitioners focus on the actual energetic practice.
“I think there’s even some disdain in the art community and in the healing community that it’s almost a bad thing to make money at it, which I think is totally backwards,” says Sherman.
Along with internal disagreements about money, the public perception of healers is to devalue their work. Some don’t see it as actual “work,” or assume that just because healers are in the business of helping people, they shouldn’t actually charge for services. That attitude extends to studios and collectives hiring the healers, too.
“I know that there’s some studios that are also making their teachers teach for free,” says Sherman. “There’s a lot of studios that make you do an internship or even pay for an internship to be teaching classes.”
There’s extra pressure on some healers of color to donate their services. Toronto-based psychotherapist and business coach Olethea Pimenta says people have assumed she’ll give discounted services to marginalized communities just because she’s a person of color.
Change your mindset for better money management
Shifting mindsets about money may help healers build more successful businesses. When Pimenta meets with therapist clients during business coaching sessions, she asks them to think beyond what they’re going to price patients.
“I ask clients in the beginning, ‘What is it that you want to be able to take home?’” says Pimenta. “If you’re not able to support yourself doing this work, you’re going to need to get two other jobs, right? And you’re not going to be able to do very good mental health work if you’re not able to look after yourself.”
Derek Hagen, founder of Minnetonka, Minnesota-based Money Health Solutions, says adopting an abundance-gathering mindset may help healers grappling with the morality of charging clientele.
“If helpers hold on to beliefs that money is not important, people with money are bad, then it can be difficult to earn and keep money,” says Hagen via email.
Although being a healer typically involves entrepreneurship, Karnatz says those entering the field should consider if they want to be their own boss. If not, it’s OK to do healing work as a hobby.
“People who are entering the healing arts and seriously considering it as a profession really need to pay attention to whether or not they think like running a business,” says Karnatz. “Otherwise you’re probably engaging in a project that isn’t sustainable in the long term.”
A deeper dive — Related reading on the 101
- Magic Money series | Finance101
- How to get the most out of meditation | Living101
- Inside the world of mystic travel | Living101