The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 176, titled:
With Chris Brennan and Tony Howard
Episode originally released on October 20, 2018
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released October 18, 2022
Copyright © 2022 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode is recorded on Tuesday, October 16th 2018, starting at 1:44 pm in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 176th episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and help support the production of future episodes by becoming a patron, please visit theastrologypodcast.com/subscribe. In this episode, I’m going to be talking with astrologer Tony Howard about what it takes to make it as a professional astrologer in the early 21st century. Hey, Tony, thanks for joining me.
TONY HOWARD: Hey, Chris.
CB: All right. So this is your second appearance on the show. The last episode we did was late last year, we did an episode with Cassandra Tyndall and that was on how to find a professional astrologer from a client perspective. But today I want to talk to you a little bit more about what it takes to actually become, or what it takes to make it as an astrologer in the early 21st century and to have a successful practice, and that there’s many different hats that you have to wear at this point in time in order to pull that off, I think, right?
TH: Yeah, for sure. And at least there are a lot of different choices and there’s a lot of different paths you can take. There are a lot of different paths open to folks that some folks might not even be aware of. So, happy to talk about that with you today.
CB: Brilliant. All right. For a little bit of background on this, part of the reason I wanted to have this conversation with you is your introduction to the astrological community almost a decade ago was that you launched this website called findanastrologer.com, where you were sort of setting up a database or a classified section where astrologers could list their services, and it would be an easy place to go and find astrologers, basically. And through that, you ended up actually building some pretty close connections with some major leading astrologers in the community, and eventually became kind of a manager of sorts to some pretty big astrologers like Demetra George, Steven Forrest… Who are some of the other astrologers that you work with pretty closely?
TH: Mark Jones, Lynn Bell, Darby Costello, and Kelly Surtees. Actually, I’ve been helping Kelly Surtees in the last couple of years, who you know very well. [laughs]
CB: Yeah, I’ve heard of her once or twice.
TH: [laughs] And a few people before that as well. Technically, I started working with some of those folks before findanastrologer, so I was just doing that behind the scenes.
CB: Brilliant. You’ve kind of played this sort of support role for some of them. And that’s interesting to me, because it gives you a really deep sort of behind-the-scenes insight into what it takes to have a successful astrological practice at this point. And I thought you would be a good person to talk to then for this topic. I recently launched a course called The Professional Astrologer course where I’m trying to help people make the transition, both into doing astrology full time, but also figuring out different strategies for how to be successful at doing it. And not just scrape by, but actually make a reasonable living doing what you love as an astrologer. So I wanted to talk to you because one of the things that seems like it’s come up is that the practice of astrology and how astrologers are becoming successful is a little bit different now in– what are we? towards the end of the second decade of the 21st century, things have changed a little bit and it seems like astrologers are diversifying what their offerings are a little bit more than it was a few decades ago. Would you say that that’s an accurate statement to make?
TH: Definitely. And for all the reasons that we know, it’s mostly technology and the resources that we have available through technology now that have really changed the playing field. And because of that, there are more choices that just weren’t available several years ago.
CB: Right, and you’re involved in a lot of those. So you do a lot of website design work, you help a lot of astrologers to develop content for their websites; both content in terms of writing articles or doing videos, but also doing webinars, which is relatively new thing in the past decade or so as a common thing. You also are starting to help organise some online conferences and summits. You actually have one coming up at the end of this month, right?
TH: Yeah, definitely. Through Astrology University. Which is just a labour of love, pet project of mine.
CB: Right. Yeah, that’s one of your other many websites, astrologyuniversity.com where you sort of bring together a bunch of those different astrologers for selling classes, but also doing webinars and other things like that.
TH: Yeah. Definitely. We have a whole great, amazing crew of folks delivering webinars pretty much every two weeks. We sometimes do more if there’s a special need that arises, for instance a really important planetary ingress like Jupiter changing signs. And if one of my astrologers just has like… Some of them have really great creative muses that are not always turned on, and when they turn on we want to kind of seize the moment. So we’ll do some extras thrown in there. But pretty much every two weeks, we have a webinar going on some specialized topic. We’re also working on developing a two and a four-year curriculum for folks as well. So we’ll be rolling that out, hopefully next year.
CB: Brilliant. And the webinar this month is on the topic of destiny, right?
TH: Yeah, so this is a summit. We have 14 speakers talking over two days. It’s actually free to watch for two days if you can tune in while it’s happening. Each talk will be up there for about 24 hours for free. The theme is destiny and life purpose. So within that theme, I’ve left each astrologer a lot of free rein to kind of share anything that they want to share under that theme. And remarkably, everyone came up with a really different topic. So it’s gonna be really cool. I’m excited.
CB: Awesome. Cool. All right. So let’s see, where do we get into here? One of the interesting topics of discussion today that I wanted to touch on first was, we had a discussion a month or two ago about the feasibility of a person making that transition into becoming a professional astrologer and how easy or hard it is. And, yeah, we sort of discussed that because you had personal an opinion that it can be kind of tough, or it takes a lot of dedication and a lot of enthusiasm in order to do what it takes probably in order to make it and become really successful in the field. Right?
TH: Yeah. I think we started that conversation because when people are just getting started, what happens usually is that somebody gets a reading, or they get a deeper experience of astrology and sort of get bitten by the astrology bug and they’re like, “Oh, I want to learn more!” And they start digging in, and they think, “Oh, it’d be really cool to be a professional astrologer myself, I want to do that.” And they don’t always– because astrology is not taught at university and there aren’t as many kind of like… There are programmes out there that are systematic, but the general public doesn’t necessarily know how to find them or even know that they exist. So if you’re just kind of shooting in the dark and doing an internet search, you may or may not stumble on one of those sources. Like OPA, for instance. You were talking to OPA recently, the Organisation for Professional Astrologers or any of the astology organisations, if you just do a Google search for astrology you may not hit one of those organisations. And so there can be– There’s a preconception that come across that people think, “Okay, well, I’ll just study astrology for a year and then I’ll become a professional astrologer and I’ll all be great.” Right? And I just think that what you find when you do study astrology for a year is that you want to learn more, and that there’s a lot more to learn. And most people need a little bit longer than that to both feel proficient, and then to start setting up a professional practice.
CB: Yeah, so this is not like a get-rich-quick scheme, this is a major lifelong commitment and it’s something that takes a while to build up to. And you actually mentioned a specific timeframe where you felt like you thought about four years as probably the point at which either most people start feeling comfortable, or in which maybe it’s– I don’t want to say appropriate– but how would you frame that? You were talking about like a four year range, maybe.
TH: I like the word ‘appropriate’ in certain situations. But I think of it more as a word, “appropriate to you.” Like, there’s a time where it feels appropriate to you. There’s a time when you feel ready. I mean, when we’re launching a new career there’s always a moment where we’re kind of jumping out there before we feel totally ready, I guess, especially if we have a lot of Virgo planets like someone I know. So you do have to push yourself up against the edge in that moment and take a leap of faith. But there’s also a moment where you just really realise you’re not ready. For instance, you pull up a chart… Let’s say you’re practicing reading charts for the first time or you’ve learned enough techniques that you feel like you can open up a chart and start to analyze it with the techniques that you’ve learned. And you just feel totally stumped. At that point, you might not be really ready. You know… What I’m trying to say is you know inside when you’re really not ready and you really need to put in a little bit more work. But I might just have that four-year number in my head because of that’s how long it takes to get an undergraduate degree. In fact, I probably bet money into this so that’s why I think that. And I think that it’s not an accident that that’s how long it takes to get an undergraduate degree. I think that that’s a really solid number for putting in a serious amount of time studying something. And at that four-year mark, you really do realise you can look back at the one-year mark and you can see your progress and you can realise what you really didn’t know at that one-year mark, and you can really see the value in having put in that much time of study. I’ve also met people in the field who have been studying astrology for they say 15 years, and they still feel like they’re not ready. At some point, there’s a self-confidence issue that comes into play too. And after 15 years, my bet is that that person could sit down with someone in a reading context and talk for a good hour with them and have really valuable insights to share.
CB: Yeah, the tricky thing is that there’s some kind of balance there that’s difficult to figure out, where some of the better astrologers or the more thoughtful astrologers, I’ve noticed, will often put off making that transition perhaps longer than they should. And that they could have actually started seeing clients much earlier, but because they’re aware of how much they still don’t know about astrology because it is a lifelong study, they maybe put it off too much not realizing that nobody ever gets to that point where they just, you know, they know everything there is to know about astrology and they don’t need to learn anything more. Because in reality, even the most oldest and most established astrologers in the field are still learning things all the time, perhaps even from every new client you see has a unique chart. And you learn something unique about the way that they manifested those placements. I mean, would you say that that’s the case for some of the older astrologers that you work with? Are they still learning and sort of growing as astrologers in some ways?
TH: The ones I love the most are. [laughs]
TH: Because you can really see when… You really know when the art is really alive in them because they are eternally curious and they are still learning. Because there always is something new to learn. I think that every chart is unique and every chart has something new to teach us. And even though you may have seen a Venus square Saturn before, you haven’t necessarily seen it in the context of that chart that you’re looking at and in the context of the transits and the moment that that person is going through. Every moment is kind of arising anew and unique. And being open to seeing what that is and not thinking always that you know what that is, I think makes for a really wonderful astrologer. That’s the kind of astrologer I’d like to sit with; somebody who’s present to the moment with me in that moment.
CB: Sure. Yeah, there’s some people that maybe put that off too far. And also, there’s only a certain like.. You can only go so far with book learning but at some point one of the things that people have to realize is that astrologers learn a lot by sitting with clients and going through charts on a day-to-day basis, because you learn something new from each client. So there’s some point in your studies where if you don’t start actually reading charts for strangers, you’re actually sort of stunting your growth in some way.
TH: Yeah, I agree. And I think that that’s something also that needs to happen a little bit earlier in the learning process; is, you don’t need to wait until you feel like you know everything. Because number one, you’re not ever going to feel like that. [laughs] I’m sorry. But if you really are starting to learn astrology, there’s just an endless amount. And then there are always new books and approaches and people doing research projects and some new book being translated. So there’s always, always, always something more to learn. But at some point you do have to get your feet wet and just jump in even though you don’t know a lot, because part of learning astrology is starting to read charts. And so even if it’s just looking at the charts of famous people, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend or a family member and letting them kind of let you practice with them, at least pulling up the charts of famous people and taking what you know about that person’s life or what you can glean by even just reading a Wikipedia entry on them. And then seeing if you can see that in the chart reflected in the chart, maybe looking at some things that are happening in their life and see if you can connect that to transits, that’ll go a long way tooo. But at some point, you do have to kind of just jump in and say to a friend, “Hey, I’m learning astrology. Do you mind if I practice with your chart?” And really do that. Because a lot of people put that off for too long because of competence issues. And it is part of the learning process. Like if we have a… You know, as I’m creating a four-year program for Astrology University or even a two-year program, that’ll just be a part of the program. That’s something that you’ll be required to do because it is such a crucial part of the learning process. So I’m not saying that somebody has to wait four years to read charts, not at all. What I’m saying is that when you read charts in year one and then you read charts in year four, you’re going to notice a qualitative difference in your own skills.
CB: Yeah. There’s something– I think it was around four years or so into my studies that I probably started reading charts for clients or accepting small amounts of money so that there was some exchange between myself and whoever’s chart I was reading, even though it was just like maybe a few dollars– initially, and that really was like a transition point but it’s something that I definitely I think around the four-year mark, probably started feeling comfortable to start making that transition at least.
TH: Yeah, and I think that’s a really important topic. I feel like you and Austin talked about that recently about the exchange, and how important that monetary exchange is, even if it’s just kind of honorary or symbolic, that it does create a different energy, right? Where somebody’s paying you for your skills and your services and what you’re giving back to them, and then there’s kind of an even flow. And then hopefully over time, it becomes more and more even. [laughs]
CB: Right, yeah. It sort of forces you out of your comfort zone and into doing something where you’ve got to perform. But it also means that it’s sort of like a two-way street so that your knowledge is being valued in some way, and there’s something important about that on some level.
TH: Yeah. When you’re being paid for it for the first time, you’re really stepping into the energy in a different way. You’re showing up in a different way. And that comes across to the person you’re sitting with.
CB: Sure. So seeing clients, it seems like even nowadays for 90– I want to say some high percentage– like 90/95% of astrologers, it’s probably going to be your primary source of income or a good chunk of your primary source of income, I think for most astrologers, right?
TH: You’re saying that consults are the bulk of the income. Is that what you mean?
CB: Yeah. Would you say that that’s… I think that’s true for most astrologers. I realize that’s changing somewhat nowadays and that’s something that we’ll go into a little bit later. But for most astrologers, reading charts for clients becomes the bulk of your income.
TH: I think that’s true for… I don’t think it’s true across the board, for sure. And I think that there are a lot of astrologers working who don’t make consults the main part of their business. And that’s something I’m hoping to share with people in case you haven’t realized that there are other ways to make a living doing astrology. And you don’t have to just do consults, I do think that at least understanding how to do consults is important because that’s kind of that’s kind of crucial. If you’re teaching other people to do astrology, for instance, then hopefully you know how to reach out to yourself, right? That’s kind of a no-brainer. But I do know plenty of astrologers who make a great living and they’re just teachers, or they’re just bloggers, they’re just writers, they’re just working online for instance. I mean, there are a lot of ways of working online and having a blog and monetizing a blog that don’t have anything to do with seeing clients. So thinking of a person I know who if I said the person’s name everybody would recognize, and this person doesn’t actually do a lot of consults. And you might be surprised by that. But in terms of how many people like that there are, I think that you’re right and that there are probably far more kind of unknown, amazing, mostly women in any town in America, who have a very full and thriving astrology consultation practice. And they’re just seeing five clients a day or three clients a day and five days a week maybe, and that’s their whole business. It’s just doing consults. And it’s all built through word of mouth. And I know women like this who don’t even have a website. So I think there are probably far more of them than there are of the rare-celebrity type of astrologer who’s able to make a very great living just writing blog posts, for instance.
CB: Sure. I think that is definitely the more common older model. And there’s a lot of those astrologers that you’ll meet locally in different cities who are just people where doing consultations is almost entirely their income. And they’ve largely just been doing it through word of mouth and they haven’t even necessarily published a book or anything else. They’re not known in the community or known most of the time even outside of their own city, they are just a local in-person astrologer. But it seems like at this stage, one of the things that’s changed is that astrologers are diversifying a lot, astrologers are going online. That when you offer your services through the internet or when you have a website– which most new astrologers do at this point– that suddenly you’re not just limited to seeing people who live in your city, but instead you could have a consultation. Somebody could come have a consultation with you from anywhere around the world and so suddenly that opens you up to a much bigger market. And then part of the trick at that point becomes the astrologer figuring out how to get their name out there or how to market themselves so that more people do know that they offer consultations or classes or other things like that.
TH: Yes. That was actually a really big deal and a real sea change for professional astrologers at the time when that shift started to happen when some of those technologies started to become available, when it did become an option to do a reading for somebody in Paris while you’re sitting in Oklahoma, you know? That was a game-changer for certain people. One thing, I think it’s okay to say this out loud on a podcast, but I did work with some people in the 2000s who were at a low point with their consultation practice. And that very thing was what caused a shift is that they were able to reach more people online. And the people I’m thinking about who fall into that category are people who had published books and had sort of a name, they had spoken at some astrology conferences so they were known in kind of the niche of the professional-astrology niche. But because they had people who knew them in different parts of the world and then they suddenly had access to give those people readings in a way that was just easier to do for both parties, it took them out of the slump again, but obviously had to use a lot of technology to connect with those people. So making improvements on the website, and then employing those technologies to connect with people.
CB: Sure. And I guess that’s the difference. Because for decades now, people could have a consultation over the telephone so maybe that’s been there for a while. But the difference now is that with those astrologers in order to know about an astrologer that you would want to have a consultation with like that over the phone, you would probably need to have read a book of theirs or attended a lecture that they gave at a conference or something like that. So it would have been restricted a little bit more to just leading astrologers that have published a book or something like that that are well known. Whereas now with the rise of the internet and websites and everything else, things have been– I don’t know if democratized is the better word– but decentralized a little bit so that now anybody can come in. And if they demonstrate or if they build a profile for themselves as astrologers somehow, then they will sort of have a market for their skills and other people may or may not want to either take classes with them or get a consultation with them or something like that.
TH: Yeah. And again technology is an important contributor there. Because even though some of the folks that I’ve worked with could indeed do readings over the phone with people overseas, you’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes just mentally thinking, “I don’t have to pay for this call. I can call you with Skype.” It just it removes a No. It removes a barrier to getting the reading, so it creates a Yes. For some reason it facilitates more people saying yes. Even though, you know, actually paying whatever the price-a-minute would be for a long-distance call back then, which actually wasn’t cheap. [laughs] Not that I remember it. Yeah. It was like, there’s the cost of the reading and then there’s also the cost of the hour-and-a-half or two-hour long-distance call. That could create a No in somebody where, you know, knowing that you could do it for free on Skype would create a Yes. But then also just websites. Being able to create a landing page for somebody that describes you and your practice, that tells people what they can expect, that just makes you look more professional… A lot different than your friend saying, “Hey, you should see Chris Brennan for reading. He’s a really great guy.” And the person just totally has to go on your word without knowing a thing about you. These days they can say, “Oh, Chris Brennan, let me just write down. Does he have a website?” They’ll say, “Oh, yeah. Visit him here.” And then they’ll go to your website and then they see a picture of you. They can read your bio, and if your website does a good job of communicating with them as kind of a new client, they can either know instantly whether they resonate or not, but also see that you look professional. Or at least that you’ve looked professional. Because with websites, we can also make ourselves look professional and not really be professional. So for business to work, you have to do both. You have to really show up in both ways. But you can show them, “Yeah. Hey, I’m a serious astrologer,” and they land on your website. That’s really obvious.
CB: Right. And it seems like… So it really… The name of the game at a certain stage becomes… It’s like you make the transition into doing astrology professionally and seeing clients, and that’s half of the battle. The other half though then become content creation and getting your name out there and drawing in or building an audience somehow. And it seems like that started at first about a little over a decade ago. It seemed like blogging was really the very first way that that started happening. I mean, maybe a little bit before that would have been just like writing articles on web pages, but I really noticed in like the mid-2000s that blogging became a big deal in the astrological community and there was a lot of astrologers that were getting into that as a way of generating content and drawing in traffic. Because every time you would write an article about something, people would do a search on Google and if you wrote an article that dealt with that topic or had those keywords in it, then they would be drawn to your website and then they might end up getting a consultation with you or something like that. And that was like the first sort of stage or like era in that new form of astrologers building a profile for themselves through their writings online.
TH: Yeah. Again, technology providing people access to reach people through their writing. Whereas before in the 80s, astrological publishing kind of had a heyday and we sold a lot of– I think this is true that we sold exponentially higher numbers of astrology books then, although we’re actually kind of heading towards a peak right now. We’re in an increase right now again with book sales, and especially over the next year you’ll see a lot of major publishers publishing astrology books whereas for a while there they weren’t. Because the sales just weren’t there. Whereas the sales in the 80s were great. But to get a book published, you had to go through all the traditional routes, right? You had to submit a managed manuscript, you had to have an agent, you had to have some reason to be published in a lot of cases, or have written a really killer book and have a great agent and have all of that working at once. But you could also have a really great book and not know the right people and not get the right agent and for whatever reason not get your book published. And then boom, you were just totally denied access. Whereas the internet websites, blogging, basically opened up access to people who couldn’t go through those traditional routes to get published. And now you can create a blog yourself. And then of course in the late 2000s as print-on-demand publishing became more accessible to people, now you can self-publish. And self-publishing doesn’t have the stigma that it had in the ’80s. Lots of vehicles are open there for people to be able to work as astrological writers. Which there are people who… You can make a living… If that’s your thing, like you love astrology and you love writing, and maybe you’re just not as comfortable doing readings with people or you don’t want to, but you you can read the astrology of the moment. You can read the the transits that are happening and analyse politics, for instance, or you can read the transits that are happening and analyse films. I love looking at films and astrology and what’s in the films and even in the actress charts. That just fascinates me and I love writing about it. You can actually make a living doing that. I like telling people that. Because you may not realize that you can, and you and you totally can. You have access to do that now.
I also know people who, if you’re blogging for instance, you need to also get some skills about how to monetize your blog. Because just writing the blog and getting a big fan base, that’s not going to make you money. Because as you already know, you’re writing the blog for free and the fans are reading it for free. So you have to have some way to create a financial exchange there. So, you have to-
CB: Right. Some people mistakenly think that like AdSense are running ads or they’re gonna make a bunch of money doing that, but that’s actually not realistic because you have to have tonnes and tonnes of millions of hits in order to really make money through ads.
TH: Yeah. And then again, in the 2000s when it was new, you could. I mean, the reason why that myth is out there is because there was a time when you could. But like you said, it’s a different landscape now. And you can make some money, but I think one of the things you said at the beginning of our talk is that you need a diversified approach. So even with a blog, you can use Adsense or you can have different ways of monetizing ads, but you need some other approaches to building income as well.
CB: Sure. And so the primary thing is you have your writings that draws in traffic, and then you will offer your consultations as your primary thing, but also perhaps offer classes, online classes or recordings. Recordings and selling different types of recordings of lectures and other classes has become a big thing, and that’s something that you really encourage all of the astrologers that you work with to do pretty regularly, right?
TH: Yeah, the intention there was just a little bit different in that I’m working with a lot of astrologers whose work I love. And in some cases, I’m just really interested in having them share their teaching in a way that’s being recorded for posterity; to have a record of their teaching in the world that we can all benefit from an access. Because there have been astrologers. There’s astrologers that I know, for instance Charles Jayne, I love studying declination and he, in the last– I don’t know how many years, 50 years– he knew more about declination and work worked with declination more than any other astrologer I know. I would love to be able to hear him teach a class about declination. He wrote a few books, they’re just famously difficult to read and to interpret. They’re the kind of books that I read it and I have a million questions that I want to ask him. Because I didn’t quite get something or I want to know how that can be applied because some of the books are really technical. And so if somebody like me had been around to record him teaching back then, I would be really eternally grateful. So I’m trying to record some of these great astrologers that are living now, so that we have a record of their teaching in the future to refer to. But also if you’re a new astrologer and you’re building a business, or if you know that you want to teach some people, just have a natural affinity for teaching. And that you know that that’s kind of what you want to set your sights on. To become a really great teacher with something really profound to offer, ideally you want to have some years and some wisdom underneath you. But you can actually teach people how to read charts, and there are a lot of kind of fundamental astrology techniques that you can teach without having, you know, without being 70 years old and having looked back on a whole life teaching astrology. I mean, that astrologer is going to have a different kind of wisdom to give you, but in terms of understanding that there are aspects and what an aspect is and what you’re looking at when you look at a natal wheel, all of those things are things that can be taught by younger astrologers. So there are definitely ways… There’s definitely room for even younger astrologers to make a business teaching other people what they know.
CB: Right. And that becomes crucial in terms of diversifying your astrological practice and developing sources of both active and passive income. There’s active income where you’re doing something, like doing a consultation or you’re teaching a class. But then there’s passive income, where you have something that you put energy into creating. But once it’s done, it’s sort of out there and you can sell it. And you don’t have to do anything else but people just buy it, and that becomes a sort of income stream in your overall practice.
TH: Yeah, like a book. You can also do subscription services that are kind of built on– they’re built on a model of constantly creating new content. But once the content is created, it starts to snowball over time so that there’s a massive content created so that a new person sees that with the subscription they’re getting this new content, but they’re also getting access to archives of three years of content. And that’s a big selling point as well.
CB: Right. I know you and Kelly have been experimenting with that a little bit with her monthly forecast series, right?
TH: Yeah, definitely. That’s basically a series where Kelly’s giving insights about the astrology unfolding in the month ahead. So it’s a very in-the-moment– an important and helpful in-the-moment kind of content. And that’s something that people are really interested in hearing what Kelly has to say about that. There are a lot of astrologers creating that kind of content. It’s definitely one of the ways that you can make a living doing astrology; is to create an app or a subscription service where you’re kind of telling people what the transits are that month. Not unlike what you’re doing in the podcast each month with Kelly and Austin where you’re looking at the month ahead and you’re kind of all talking about it, where you guys are all kind of talking about the energies together and it’s a conversation. If you were creating a product for yourself as an astrologer, you’d basically kind of imagine that you’re speaking to a client. And what would you be saying to that client about the upcoming Venus retrogade? What are the tips you might give them to navigate it? What are the ways you might have of recognizing that transit and recognizing that energy in their life, and then of course coming from whatever astrological approach you have and whatever philosophies you have, you would build all that into what you’re sharing with folks. But you’d be addressing it to everyone in general versus what you’d be doing in reading where you’re looking at someone’s specific chart. But there are definitely… These transits are happening, if you’re just looking at transits for instance like where the planets are in the sky today, they’re unfolding a new every day. You can track the Moon. A lot of people track the moon and that’s their gateway drug to astrology, and it’s also their gateway product to create with astrology is to talk about the Moon. The Moon when we talk about the Moon, it’s just not as far off to understand as if we use the word Uranus, for instance, where… We just have an emotional connection to the Moon. It just seems simpler and easy to get. And when you talk about the Moon cycles like the phases of the Moon; the full Moon, the new Moon, a lot of people will talk about new Moon and full Moon phases. And that’s something that the general public can easily understand a little bit easier to understand than saying… As soon as you say, “Uranus is square Saturn,” you’ve lost a tonne of people. But if you say, “The Full Moon,” people are like, “Oh yeah, I know what the Full Moon is.” They get that. And then you can start talking about astrology from there.
CB: Yeah. It’s interesting astrologers choosing what their market is and what their sort of target market is partially based on what level that they’re going to talk about their astrology at. And there’s the most general level that has the largest audience, and then it sort of goes upwards in terms of the more and more advanced you go in terms of how you’re going to talk about astrology, the smaller and smaller your audience becomes within the astrological community or relative to the astrological community versus the general public. But there are… I do see different astrologers that target different audiences really based on, I don’t know, what their own interests are or just, I don’t know, I guess partially it’s conscious. People do make a very conscious decision about what audience they want to target with their teachings or with their content creation.
TH: Yeah, definitely. That takes us into a big subject I’d love to flesh out a little bit, which is about finding your voice as a professional astrologer. Because there’s not just one right way to do it. And one mistake people make in general not just in astrology but in a lot of kind of people-focused careers or personality-based careers, is they think, “Okay, I want to have the most clients I can have, or I want to reach the biggest audience I can reach. So I’m going to adjust what I’m saying to reach the widest audience.” That’s a big mistake that people make. It’s a rookie mistake that a lot of people make. Even as a blogger, if you starting out as with a blog and you’re like, “Okay, normally, I would say it like this,” but you find yourself self-editing because you’re like I don’t want to say this because it might not reach this particular type of person or wouldn’t speak to everyone, don’t do that. The biggest way to your best audience is to totally be yourself. So, fully step into your energy, speak in your voice, use the words that you would use and don’t self-edit. I mean, of course, correct mistakes. Correct your typos. I’m not saying don’t correct your typos, but definitely work at finding your voice. You’re not necessarily going to fully be in your voice. Like if you start writing a blog tomorrow and you haven’t written one before, again, in a couple of years if I talk to you, you might have a moment where you could look back and say, “That’s when I really found my voice in my blog. You can really see a shift in my blog entries where I stepped into some, I stepped into something.” And that just comes through having done it several times, having done it repetitively over time. Whenever we do something again and again and again over time, we can reach a level of mastery. That’s one of the promises of Saturn. But it’s important to have that be the goal, is stepping fully into your own authority in your own voice versus just trying to reach everyone. So don’t make reaching everyone a goal. Because what happens when you’re yourself is people show up and they’re like, “Oh, I really like this Chris Brennan guy, I really resonate with just… I like the tone of his voice. I like how he talks. I like what he’s saying.” Versus some other people who are like, “I don’t know, I found them kind of boring.” Or even people who are averse to you. You don’t want those people in your audience. [laughs] They don’t like you. You don’t want them, right? You don’t want to be half of you. Because if you’re only half of you, your audience is only going to ‘half’ like you, right? You want people to be all-in because those people are going to be your biggest fans. And you want your audience to be made up of your biggest fans, and then you create a mutually beneficial kind of energetic where they’re dying to hear what you have to say and you’re dying to tell them.
CB: Yeah. One of the advantages I’ve found to being genuine and adopting your genuine voice is not burning out and being able to stick with it in the long term. Whereas if you’re doing something that’s not genuine to your own voice or your own approach, it’s going to be harder to stick with that consistently over the long term because you’re going to end up hating that you’re constantly not able to present yourself as you really are in some way.
TH: Such an important point because I think that to me the remedy for that is keeping open to being open to change and being open to growth in yourself and allowing yourself to shift. And you may find out that you sort of start writing Moonphase articles and that you kind of develop an audience for that, and at some point you discover some technique or some new insight or you’re working with it in a totally different way, allow yourself to grow and shift into that new thing and just be really transparent with your audience in that in those moments. Just say, “Hey, I have loved talking about Moon phases with you guys and I know you’re really into it, but I’m really into this other technique or this other thing now. And I’m really excited to share that with you.” And then take them on that ride. I’ve seen astrologers who have really public online personas who go through this, and it’s always a risky transition especially if the thing that you’re switching to is really dramatically different. Like, for instance, I used to be a freewill-based astrologer and now I’m a deterministic astrologer. That’s a whole conversation if you don’t understand what that means when I just said that, but basically, like, I think that you’re totally in control of everything versus you’re not in control of anything. If you make that shift with your audience, you’re gonna lose some folks. But if that’s who you authentically are now, just tell people what’s up and then put your eggs on that basket, and those people will show up for you too. So the beauty about the internet, and again the access to technology that we have, is it’s not like the old days of traditional where all we had was traditional book publishing so that if you made that kind of change, you didn’t even have a kind of real-time way of communicating those things with your audience. And now you do. Now you can just, you could change in a week. You can send out an email and say, “Hey, this is what I’m doing now. Do you like this?” You know?
CB: Sure. Yeah. I mean, there’s something to be said for consistency in terms of building an audience. Let’s back up, though, because that’s actually a really interesting point that you specialize in on some level at this point, which is the shift towards self-publishing and how so many astrologers now are moving towards self-publishing and there has been this downturn in the astrological publishing amongst major publishers for the past decade, probably partially just because there’s a downturn in book publishing in general. But astrology, especially, I’ve really noticed to the bookshelves, the astrology shelves shrink dramatically at most bookstores over the past decade or two. And part of that is because people are moving to self-publishing. That, now, has lost a lot of its stigma and you can actually viably self-publish a book and do relatively well with it or promote it relatively well. Right?
TH: Definitely. And I do think that we’re gonna see a shift right now only because… I mean, it remains to be seen but I do know several people who have contracts right now with major publishers. And that’s a new thing. That hasn’t happened for quite a while. And I know several people in this boat. So definitely the major publishers are interested in astrology right now and they’re seeking titles. So if you’ve got something to submit and you want to go that route, this might be a good time to try to jump in. And so I think we might start seeing more titles on the bookshelves again. But that said-
CB: Yeah. And I’ve seen that as well. But there’s no way it’s going to be returned to the heyday of like Linda Goodman and the late 1960s selling millions of copies of Love Signs or something like that.
TH: Yeah, those days are gone because people have a lot more choices with accessibility to information and entertainment. And yeah, so it’s great that the stigma for self-publishing is gone. Because you can have- Even though major publishers are starting to publish some books, they’re really interested in books that are going to sell to the masses. So they’re not… They were not touch my Out of Bounds Planets book with a 10-foot pole. They’d be like, “What is that? No, I’m never going to publish that book.” Because it’s a niche topic and niche technique in the field, and so if I want that book published I’m gonna have to self-publish or publish with a small publisher who specializes in astrological titles and isn’t looking for a mass audience. Because that book is never going to… A book about any really technical book about astrology that’s really geared towards professional astrologers is going to have a much smaller audience. That might be your passion to write that book and you can totally make a living making that your niche, but it’s just a much smaller piece of the pie and the major publishers are just not interested. So it’s amazing that we have print-on-demand so accessible. And basically for the cost it takes to hire a designer to do the cover– of course if you’re a designer yourself, you can do that– the cost it takes to get the book laid out; so having a layout, hiring a layout person and the cost it takes to edit the book. Aside from that, the actual cost to set up with a company like CreateSpace or Lightning Source to print your book on demand; which just means that I order a book today, they print it tomorrow, and they send it wherever I tell them, that’s what print on demand means. Versus I order 2000 copies of a book– and I sure hope to God I can sell 2000 books, [laughs] which is the old-
CB: Right. So that’s really important. That used to be the barrier to even self-publishing. It’s you needed to do a large print run. So you needed to print up 10,000 copies or something like that in order to make it financially viable. Whereas nowadays with print-on-demand, the two main companies you just mentioned are IngramSpark, I guess is actually what it’s called slash Lightning Source, and the other one is Amazon CreateSpace. And with those, they literally just print. You can either order 10 copies or 100 copies for yourself and then sell them, or you can order individual copies and send them to the people directly from the printer.
TH: Exactly, yeah. And so before where you would have to have like maybe a $5,000 investment and hope that you would get your money back over time. Now, you can make those labor investments. You could get all that done for $500– not necessarily at the highest quality that you could get– but you can get it done for $500. And then with Lightning Source which has changed their name to Ingram Spark for that part of the print-on-demand, and then Amazon I think is also changing to just KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing. Because they’ve incorporated CreateSpace into Kindle Direct Publishing now, they’ve been making that change this year. I don’t know if they’re gonna ditch the CreateSpace name at some point. But anyway with CreateSpace, there’s not even a fee to upload a title there. It’s just free to upload your title. If you want to do a proof copy, you have to pay, you know, whatever, 12 bucks to get a proof copy. But with Lightning Source, there’s a $75 fee. Which again, is like nothing compared to what it used to be. And then there’s one more fee that you keep in mind, which is the fee to purchase an ISBN. It’s that long number that you see attached to an Amazon book. You can have Amazon generate one of those numbers for you if you only participate in their system, but if you really want your book to potentially be able to be purchased by your local independent bookstore, then you need to get an ISBN. And there’s a fee for that as well. It’s in the realm of… I think you can get a block of five for tune of dollars or something like that or $100, I don’t remember. But it’s not… You don’t have to spend $5,000 to publish your book anymore. You can spend maybe 750 and have it ready to go.
CB: Yeah. And that’s a huge deal. Because I remember the tail end of that about a decade ago where Ben Dykes, his first book, his translation of Guido Bonatti, he had to spend a tonne of– I think he had to take a loan or something like that in order to print up a bunch of X amount of a thousand copies or something of this big thick hardbound book, and then eventually had to make that back through sales of the book. And then eventually once he ran out of copies, that was it for that print run, unless he did another print run. But then eventually over the past decade, he switched to these print-on-demand companies where he doesn’t have to worry about that anymore. And that’s become a decent part of his income, is publishing those different translations of ancient astrological works where he publishes a new one every few months it seems like?
TH: Yeah. It also frees up your creativity too. Because in the past where Ben would have had to basically become a Bonatti salesman for the next few years to try to sell that book, instead he can just put the book out there and then keep focusing on wherever the creativity lies for him in the moment. And of course he’ll continue to sell the Bonatti book, but he won’t feel the pressure. Like, “I’ve got 2000 books sitting in a warehouse, I have to sell them and I have to get my money back.” That creates a kind of pressure where it has an impact on your work. And so the PoD system creates a kind of creative freedom too, which is kind of cool.
CB: Yeah. The downside, of course, is there’s probably a lot more lower quality books on the market than there used to be, which is obviously one of the issues also with blogging; is now even though it’s lowered the bar to entry for a lot of people, and everybody regardless of what their background or financial situation is can now teach astrology or talk about astrology, the quality is still not quite as good as having some of those barriers to entry. Even with simple things like publishers hiring an editor, that really makes a difference. And sometimes newer astrologers or astrologers that are just getting into self-publishing don’t realize the advantage of some of those professional services like hiring a professional editor or a professional layout person or somebody to make diagrams for you or what have you.
TH: Yeah, and I do want to say that even though I said that you could get in on the cheap, so to speak, and have your book published; if that’s all you can do and that’s the only way you can do it, then o that if that’s what you’re called to do. But ideally, it is totally worth paying for a good editor. It’s totally worth paying somebody who went to school to study graphic design, and not just your cousin who likes to play around with Photoshop to do your book cover, right? It’s better to pay a professional. I mean, it’s better in any field, right? It’s better to pay a professional astrologer to get a reading than it is to read your horoscope in a magazine. It’s just better, right?
CB: Yeah. That seems like one of the big secrets of being a self-employed astrologer is eventually starting to realize that you need to delegate responsibility to other people, but also sometimes you need to find specialists who specialize in different areas in order to make sure that the quality of what you’re putting out is the best that it can be. And sometimes just putting out a quality product can in and of itself set you apart from what other people are doing.
TH: Yeah, definitely. I think you and I have had that conversation before about when I started doing websites for people in the 2000s, there was a little bit of a quality issue so to speak, with astrologers’ websites. And I was trying to elevate the image of astrologers, especially some of the astrologers I worked with, the image on their website did not match the quality of their work at all. It just was a total disconnect. Right? So it’s like, there’s this really deep profound psychological work coming out of this person, and their website’s purple and has stars swirling around on it. It’s like [laughs]
CB: Right. Well, that’s the role that you’re playing for a lot of– especially some of the older astrologers where, you know, they didn’t grow up coding MySpace pages so they don’t know HTML or something like that. They don’t know how to do a website. They’re really good at astrology, but they need some help or they need some sort of support doing some of these other technological things that either they don’t know how to do or would just take too much time and would be too much of a distraction from the more important work that they could be doing to stop everything and take a four-month course on web design or something like that. And that’s the stage where people do hire out or get help or something like that.
TH: Yeah, and I always recommend that. Because early in the game if you’re low on funds– and there are times in which you just have to do it yourself, right? Because you just can’t afford to hire X, Y, or Z person– But you definitely want to keep that as a goal. You don’t want to make it your goal to do everything yourself. Because ideally, you want to be a professional astrologer, you don’t want to be a professional web developer. So you don’t need to learn how… You don’t need to learn PHP code. If you have a website that has a coding problem and you need help with that, you want to be able to just pay the coding expert to fix it for you. That should be your goal. Although I understand that at the beginning, it’s not possible for a lot of people. And the good news is that now more than ever, you can set up a website with something like Squarespace, which has a set of templates that all of the templates, any of the templates would be fine to start out with. They’re clean, they’re easy to read, the information is naturally organized in a way that works for the average internet user. And they make it easy for you to drop in your own content. So you’d choose the template. They even make it easy for you to make a makeshift logo and then you drop it in your content and you’re ready to go. You hang out your business shingle. So the barrier to entry is much much cheaper and easier than it used to be. But ideally, over time, you want to kind of graduate into hiring the professionals to kind of amp up your game.
CB: Sure. There is probably something to be said for self-sufficiency as a self-employed person, and especially if you have the time to learn things to familiarise yourself at least with the basics so that you’re not always dependent on other people. I mean, ideally, there’s some sort of give and take there that’s hard to establish, but it seems like all self-employed people end up having to find some sort of balance in.
TH: Yeah. I think that you and I are those kinds of people where we’ll, you know, we’re not scared of instruction manuals. [laughs] If we need something and it’s broken in the moment, we’ll try to fix it and figure it out and do it ourself. I guess like you said, more DIY type of people. But at some point, like for me personally, it’s not a good use of my time to do a lot of those things. It’s a better use of my time to be developing content for the school or to be fine-tuning the message on the next summit or something like that versus fixing something that’s broken on the website. Which I can do, but it’s just a poor use of my time because I have a lot of things calling out for me and it’s better for me to do. I think they say, I talked to the someone earlier this year who said if it’s something that anyone can do, those are the things that you want to farm out in your business. And if it’s something that… You want to try to focus on the things that only you can do, or that only you want to do. Like, focus on the things that you’re of course passionate about and drawn to. But also, there are things in your business and in your astrology practice as you grow that really only you can do. You really don’t want to be the person writing the blogs, you want to start farming out your blog posts to someone else, right? But you don’t have to be the person who fixes your website. You don’t have to be the person who designed your book cover. If you’re the rare person who is an artist and an astrologer and also a web coder, I mean there are people like that out there, well, then it’s maybe a different conversation. But I don’t think it’s everybody, Chris, who can do all of the things or can just learn how to build their website by cracking a couple of manuals open. I come across a tonne of people who just don’t even have the first desire to do that. So they’ll kind of stop there, they’ll get stuck there. And I guess one of the things I’m saying too, is to ask for help from the professionals. [laughs]
CB: Sure. Yeah, definitely. Let’s see what other topics I meant to touch on. In terms of content creation, it’s grown so much. It’s not just blogs or writing books, but people are also doing YouTube channels. Like, YouTube’s taken off in the past few years really wildly seeing that explode after the- You know, for the first decade or something of YouTube, not a lot was going on there in terms of the astrology. And it seems like, I don’t know, it was about five years ago or somewhere towards the earlier part of this decade that suddenly people figured out how to do that properly and started doing really a job of developing an audience there. But YouTube and social networking sites like Twitter, and Instagram, and Facebook, there’s some astrologers that are doing a really good job of actually building an audience there through those platforms. And instead of just using them to share their stuff, they’re actually using them to generate content by writing unique posts and sharing unique content on those platforms, which then helps them to develop an audience. Are there any other things like that that I’m not thinking of that are areas where astrologers are using to build an audience at this point?
TH: Well, all of the social media platforms can help you do that. And again just like with blogging, you have to keep in mind once you build the audience, how are you going to monetize the audience? Maybe you’re doing that because you’re building your audience and you’re really kind of giving people an introduction to what you would do in a reading and then you’re trying to get them to do a reading with you though, that might be one way. You might be trying to sell an e-book or connect them with some teaching or some course that you have through building the audience. But with each, there’s so many platforms at this point. So there’s blogging, but there’s also like you said, YouTube. You can build a following on Instagram, you can build a following on Twitter, you can build a following on Facebook.
CB: Podcasting. I just forgot the very thing that I’m doing.
TH: [laughs] The thing that’s right in front of you. Podcasting. And then of course when we talk about monetizing things, we can’t not talk about Patreon and crowdfunding at this point. Which are also, again, something that technology brought us in recent years that have made it more possible to connect with those fans that I was describing who are your rabid fans; the people that you’re really connecting with that really love your work and want to support your work. And now we have a way to help them do that. There are some people… I think that I’m right with this that this model got started in the music industry. I know one person in particular who made this model work where even before the website Patreon existed or GoFundMe or, I don’t know all of the names of the crowdfunding websites, but before there were any crowdfunding websites, this person set up a subscription model where she was– I’ll just give you a little tiny bit of her backstory. She was having trouble getting her records produced by any of the big labels anymore. So she had been sort of popular at one point and then her popularity waned a bit and then she was kind of not. They were like, “Yeah, we don’t want to put another record out.” But she was still producing music and she still had an active fan base. And so she created a subscription product for them where over email, and she just used PayPal, you could PayPal her $30 a month and what you would get in return is every month she would record something in the studio and you’d get a window onto that.
It’s not unlike what we’re doing now with Patreon or with podcasting, except it’s just at a more polished level. And we’re giving people a really easy way to do it. Like with Patreon, it’s super easy to contribute to someone’s work that you love. And then we’re also just setting up this great model where people can support the things we love in a really direct way. And what people like you are doing with the content, which is so wonderful, is because you’re getting that positive feedback, you’re also able to create content that really serves them. You’re able to say, “Hey, what do you guys want next month?” What this woman did with her music business was she would give them a piece of work in progress and she would say, “Hey, what did you like or not like about this song? I’m still working on it. Let’s work it out together. I had this idea to put this in the chorus or this, which do you like better?” And then it was this interactive creative process where they created. And then by the time she got to the last iteration of the album, it was like an album that the fans just not only loved, but they had helped make. That’s all possible through crowdfunding. And so it’s… I think I might have got off-topic from the original question but I think it’s just a really great… It’s another great source of income that I think is both… It’s positive in the sense that it makes it possible for people to do work, but it also makes it possible for the fans of the work to connect and participate in a new way that they couldn’t before. You know? Back in the day it was like, go to the record store, buy the record, listen to the record, go to the show. Possibly absolutely no interaction with the artist or the process or any of it. So, even having a window onto the process but then getting able to participate, that’s amazing.
CB: Yeah. It’s made a huge difference for me just in terms of improving the quality and the consistency of being able to do this as much as I do, would not be possible at all. And if you look at the first few years of me doing the podcast, it was very sporadic. I would do an episode like every few months. And it was only once I started having that support from the patrons that I was able to do this consistently four episodes a month, plus the bonus episodes and everything else just for patrons. So yeah, that’s huge. And that’s a completely new thing that’s just really come out and emerged in the past few years. There’s probably other emerging technologies and markets like live streaming that I think people haven’t really been fully tapped into yet in the astrological community that I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with that, and who will figure out a new way to use it.
TH: Yeah. And video is huge right now and video’s really important to kind of wrap your mind around if you want to be the kind of astrologer who has a personality-based business. Again, if you’re working on your consult business and you just want to do consults and you don’t want to have a blog and you don’t want to be on the internet, you don’t have to be to make a living as an astrologer to have a thriving consult practice. I know a woman here in Portland who sees five clients a day five days a week and she’s never had any of those things. And she’s obviously totally successful if she’s booking that many readings and she’s been doing it for years and positive feedback loop there. It’s just that these technologies have enabled us to create other positive feedback loops with our clients and our fans and it’s just way more accessible. And I would also say to somebody or to people for encouragement, whether you’re interested in making a blog or a podcast, that don’t get discouraged by the fact that there are already so many out there. If you’re really called to do it and you’re passionate about it, do it. Because to my earlier point, you’re going to do it in a way that’s different from me, that’s different from Chris, that’s different from anybody else who has a podcast or a blog or a website or a YouTube channel. You’re going to put everything through your filter and you’re going to speak in your voice. Recently did a side project summit called Fresh Voices in Astrology, and I had an intention there of bringing in people to honoring and celebrating diversity. And one of the things that happens when you give yourself agency to speak in your own voice and you find your own voice and you speak to your fans, you’re going to be able to connect with audiences that we didn’t connect with in the 80s. Because some publisher was deciding who got to be at the top. It was just like that in the music industry, right? Back then, some music agency executive could say, “Oh, your hair’s not blonde enough. We need somebody with really blonde hair.” I mean, it could be that ridiculous. And they get to decide who makes it to the top, or who even just gets access to make it to the top. And even then, there were people in the audience that were being sort of disrespected by that viewpoint and there were people in the audience that were being ignored. And now, we can find our audience and we can connect with them. So if you’re inspired to do this, go out there and find your audience. You totally can and the technology is available. So definitely, seize the day and go for it.
CB: Yeah, definitely. There’s still a lot of room for growth and for people, and I’m excited to how many people are getting into YouTube and podcasting and everything else. And there’s still a lot of opportunities there for people to get into it and also to build, to speak to unique audiences that they themselves are coming from. One of the most really notable examples over the past few years has just been Chani Nicholas and her work and just how amazing of a job she’s done in cultivating an audience within a specific community and speaking in a way that’s very genuine to who she is and what her interests are and what her beliefs are and everything else, and not holding back and not watering it down or editing or something like that. And being successful doing that. Yeah, that’s been really impressive and I think is a good source of inspiration for other astrologers and what’s possible at this point in time.
TH: Yeah, she’s a perfect example, Chris, of somebody who is just speaking in her own voice unashamedly saying what is. And if she had presented a book idea back in the 80s to somebody, she might have been rejected. She might not have gotten the platform to speak in her voice. But yeah, she’s a great example of what to model in terms of not like try to say what she’s saying, but in terms of like she’s just being wholly herself. She’s like, “This is myself, and I’m talking about astrology and the techniques of astrology. Anyone can learn, we all have access to the books, the same books and the same teachers.” Well, most of us do, I guess. Many of us do. I’m sure there are people who don’t have access that are going to be listening to this podcast. But hopefully, there are ways to get these teachings. And then you put them all through your filter and you project them all through your particular voice and experience, and you’re gonna have something unique to say and unique to contribute. And we’ll all benefit from it.
CB: Definitely. I love that. I mean, my note I always leave try to leave this to me on a point of optimism, because I do think it’s more possible at this point in time to become a professional astrologer and to make it as an astrologer than any other time in history because of a lot of these different options that are available to us through technology and everything else. And so that’s kind of what this is about and that’s kind of what I’m about is trying to help other people to do that and to make that transition, and also to do it successfully. I know you’re somebody who also is trying to help other people to do that through your teachings and through some of the different programs that you’re creating with Astrology University and through some of the other webinars or summits through that. So yeah, do you have any other final thoughts or advice for anybody that’s thinking about making that transition and what they can do to try to do it successfully? [Tony laughs] That’s kind of a big question.
TH: Yeah, I know. The first thing that comes to mind is I think what actually started this whole conversation between us privately, which is, I would tell people keep your day job for now. Because it’s not going to happen overnight in 99.9% of the cases. There are definitely a couple of cases out there that I can think of where people make things happen really quickly, but not for the reasons that Chris and I have been talking about today. If you really want to do this well and with a lot of heart and integrity, it takes some time. It takes some time for you to feel comfortable, it takes some time. There’s a lot of information to learn. I’m sorry but it takes more than a year to learn everything that you could know to give a decent natal reading. If that’s all you did for a year was just study astrology, you could be exposed to the information. But some of the concepts are deep enough that even if you read it in a book today, you haven’t really learned it. Right? So like Chris and I were talking about earlier, you learn the technique. But then you start applying it to charts. Charts, plural, right? You don’t just apply it to one chart and then you get it. It’s not like a math problem where you’ve just worked out the problem and now you understand how to do that kind of math problem. It’s like every chart terms it in a different way and you’re looking at that same aspect in a different way in a different context. Because when you’re looking at a chart, it’s important to put everything in the context of the chart. And to even be able to think you have a grasp of what that context is takes a lot of time. So you want to give yourself time to study, and then give yourself time to practice the art, and then give yourself time to build a client base. Your client base isn’t going to grow overnight. I have a dear friend who did astrology part-time for several years, and it took her 10 years before her client practice was strong enough that she was able to quit the part-time job. Now I’m not saying it’s going to take everyone 10 years, I’ve definitely known people who achieved that same goal much sooner, that’s just how it worked out for her. And I’m only telling you that story not to discourage you but just to kind of keep in mind that probably if your game plan– like, if you have a year’s worth of savings in the bank and you’re going to quit your day job tomorrow because you’re passionate about astrology and in a year you’re planning to be fully up to speed seeing clients, you might want to have a plan B as well, because it’s probably going to take a little bit longer than a year. So definitely, keep your day job. And the reframe I like to do with that is, don’t think of the day job as something that you’re forced to do that you hate. Think of it as the thing that’s giving you the money to do the thing that you love. Think of that as the thing that’s supporting you and your passion. And then you’ll go to work with a different… You can go wait tables and have a totally different experience of it.
CB: Yeah, definitely. Because you can dive in, but it’s gonna take a while to build… all this takes a while to build up. All the different little income streams that you have to have as an astrologer take a while to build up, and in addition to just learning the subject in general. And I know when I tried to make that transition, there was definitely some lean years. There were several very lean years of, you know, eating spaghetti every night and not going out for entertainment or whatever, just working 24/7 and grinding really, before eventually reaching a place that was a little bit more comfortable or a little bit more successful. But I feel like people like me and Austin and Kelly and other people are examples that it can be done and that you can have success in that field if you put in the work and the effort and have the patience to see it through in the long, long term.
TH: Exactly. And that’s what I’m trying to get across to people. I mean, the amount of work that you put in Chris, alone, it’s just… You have to be that passionate about astrology, right?
CB: Right. Yeah. [crosstalk] first rule is, “Are you very, very passionate about it?” Because you need to have an overriding passion and interest in this subject in order to see yourself through the hard times, if you want to make it as a professional.
TH: Yeah, because if you’re like me, to the outside person watching you spend 12 hours that day do whatever it was that you were doing, that might look like you were working too many hours to them. But to us, it’s like we love the work so it doesn’t always feel like work, right? If you love what you do, then the hours are just like, you know, they’re about getting tired and needing to go to bed. [laughs] It’s like, at some point you need to stop so you can go to bed. But it doesn’t feel like 12 hours working in a factory, for instance, where you’re really not connected to the work and it’s not your passion or your calling. So the thing about putting in all these hours to learn astrology is it’s fun. It’s amazing. It’s exciting. It’s interesting, it provides endless avenues for creativity and exploration. So I definitely recommend it if you’re interested and even if you’re curious to kind of dip your toes in and check it out because it’s a really wonderful and fulfilling career to be involved in. But it’s also not something that you’re going to be able to kind of do overnight. You can’t go to a weekend astrology training and become a professional astrologer, even though you can find those trainings out there. But I’m just going to tell you right now, don’t waste your money. Do Chris’s program instead because you’re gonna get a better head start and a better foundation.
CB: Sure. Yeah, I’ve-
TH: Or I guess not to sound like we’re only hyping your stuff, but find a reputable astrologer and do a program with them, you know? Versus somebody who’s… If they tell you you can be a professional astrologer after a two-week course, definitely raise your eyebrows and look for other options.
CB: Right. Yeah. Well, that’s one of the things that’s nice these days is that, again, with the internet and everything else that’s happened is you can study more directly with some of the leading astrologers in the world than you could at any other time in history. And there’s something really special about that that’s unique. And that gets into a whole separate issue about certification and astrology organizations and stuff like that, but we will save that for another discussion.
CB: So yeah, really quickly, let’s talk a little bit as we wrap this up. This is pretty much the end of the discussion but I did want to mention again, because I’m excited about this summit that you have coming up, so really quickly could you just remind me what that’s about later this month?
TH: Sure thing. It’s called Astrology Life, Purpose and Destiny. I chose that topic because there’s a little bit of a hook in it there. It’s a kind of a leading topic. But we’re all really… A lot of us come to astrology to kind of find some answers to those questions. The truth is that it’s my opinion that astrology can’t just a hundred percent give you the answer in a way that’s going to just work and make everything in your life perfect. That’s a dream that a lot of us have, but it’s really not a reality. But astrology can provide some kinds of answers to these questions, these big life questions; What’s my life purpose or what is my destiny? Do I have a destiny? Is destiny real? Is destiny a thing? These are all big, big, big questions that there’s no simple answers to. But astrology can engage with them in a way that other disciplines can’t, and in a way that’s really beautiful, creative, interesting. So it can lead to some beautiful, interesting creative conversations and thoughts and inspiring lectures, which is what we have planned for you. At Astrology University, I try to have a diverse group of astrologers with different viewpoints and backgrounds, so you’re not just going to find a one type of astrology being practised there. Although at this point we do only have Western astrologers, we don’t have any Vedic astrologers in our crew– although at some point I could totally see that changing, just again to be more well rounded. But what we have some people who call themselves evolutionary astrologers, psychological astrologers, traditional astrologers… So, a lot of different viewpoints, and even among them, different viewpoints to share. So they’re all kind of looking at these questions from different angles.
Each presenter is going to present for about an hour, and there’s gonna be 14 presenters, so seven talks each day. And you can watch this summit for free for 24 hours each day so for a total of 48 hours. You can tune in at astrologyuniversity.com, you can find a link there on the homepage, and signing up is free. If you can’t attend for some reason, we give you the option to be able to purchase the recordings afterwards. So don’t feel like you’re missing out if you have to be on vacation that weekend or something definitely. Do your vacation instead of the summit. [laughs] But yeah, we have a lot of great seasoned astrologers wrestling with some of these big questions. So, hope you continue it.
CB: Yeah, you’ve got some friends of the podcast. Like, Kelly Surtees, Mark Jones is going to be giving a talk there. Lynn Bell is going to be giving a talk, and there’s also a number of other great astrologers that haven’t been on the podcast before like Steven Forrest, Darby Costello, Frank Clifford, Jason Holly, Greg Bogart, Kira Sutherland, and several other people.
TH: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And if you haven’t heard some of those names, definitely take the opportunity to tune in free and see if you resonate with some of them, because you may find somebody new that you resonate with.
CB: Yeah. Okay, so it’s a live thing. It’s October 27th through the 28th, and it’s completely free if you attend live. And then afterwards, I’m sure for those that only listen to this, like next month or something you’ll be selling some sort of recordings package or something eventually. Right?
TH: Yeah, definitely. You can actually sign up for the recordings now if you want. It’s called the All Access Pass, but it’ll be available later too. So if you totally miss out and you’re listening to this a month later, you can totally still get the recordings and we threw in some bonuses there too. So, yeah.
CB: Cool. Well, people can find out more information at astrologyuniversity.com.
TH: Awesome. Thanks, Chris.
CB: Great. Awesome. Well, thanks a lot for joining me today to have this discussion. I really appreciate it. It was good talking to you. And yeah, if people have any questions, they can leave them in the comment section below on the website or on the YouTube page for this episode if you’re watching the video version. Other than that, thanks everyone for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
TH: Awesome. Thanks so much, Chris.
CB: All right. Thanks.