The threat of being exposed, destroyed, ruined, and annihilated on the internet hangs over every business and every self-employed person. And the chances of being brutally dragged over the red-hot coals of cyberspace is probably greater for those involved in the intuitive (or psychic) industry than most others.
And this is because of the power wielded by psychic forums… they can make other review sites feel like a big warm cuddle!
Now, I am not suggesting that these kind of forums shouldn’t exist, or that everyone who uses them is evil – ABSOLUTELY NOT! What I am saying is that some (note, I said some, not all!) people seem to believe that they have the ultimate weapon to use against any reader who, for whatever reason, is deemed to have fallen short. And I believe that one of the main reasons that decent readers sometimes tell customers what they believe they want to hear is… fear! And that just feels plain wrong to me, not to mention sad.
It ain’t all black and white…
Of course, not everyone who works within the intuitive/psychic arena is above reproach, and even the best of us have to learn how to take productive, constructive criticism on the chin… as much as it hurts. But, unfortunately, it isn’t that simple and straightforward. One person’s meat is another’s poison, as they say. And the way in which an assessment (or assassination) is approached and worded can be very revealing; is it articulate and reasonable, a calmly delivered opinion, sticking to the facts as the critic sees them? Or, is it mean and spiteful, more of a personal attack than a genuine critique? And who joins in with what, and how they join in, can also be very insightful. As I said, it isn’t all black and white.
So, what inspired me to write this blog? Well, not, as you may think, having been the subject of recent critical discussion on psychic forums (anyone who knows me can tell you that I have been metaphorically tarred and feathered on forums, many times!). I may well have been the subject of recent online diatribe, of course, but I wouldn’t know because I do not frequent them. The reasons that I do know that I have been are that, over the years, some of the most ardent critics have revelled in letting me know that they have been publicly ‘destroying’ me, and some have even gone as far as to gather together an angry mob of Leanne-haters, delivering their individual, scathing opinions of me by email. Or, loyal customers have informed me (asking me not to land them in the brown stuff!), or, as once happened, I Googled something and noticed my name pop up – which I clicked onto, only to read some pretty unpleasant comments made about myself, interspersed by a few that were kinder and more flattering.
No, what inspired me to write this blog is the consequence of giving a firm NO to a customer I no longer wish to work with, for very considered reasons. And the fact that this is not the first time I have said no – with consequences. You see, I figure that, as a self-employed person who is solely responsible for the business I have created – a business that will thrive or die, dependent upon the way in which I conduct it, and a business that has to remain faithful to the values I myself have assigned to it – I have the right to choose who I work with, and who I don’t. After all, the customer always has the luxury of deciding whether or not they want to work with me… and it is not just one-way traffic. And the consequence tends to come pretty speedily, such as an emailed reminder of how s**t I really am, and how all of those who have had bad things to say about me are actually right (with a few other insults thrown in)… and it is obvious that the next port of call is some psychic forum somewhere – which brings me back to my observation that the hand grenade of being ‘exposed’ and busted is always out there, just ready and waiting for detonation! For the thin-skinned and self-doubting intuitive/psychic, this can prove to be too much to cope with, and they either resign themselves to feeding the customer with bull poop, or they throw in the towel and quit; the thicker-skinned, more seasoned readers learn to accept it as an occupational hazard; and the less than honest and ethical? Well, they couldn’t give two f***s either way, so it matters not to them.
Find her guilty!
One customer even went as far as taking out 4 cases against me through Paypal, immediately after I refunded her payment for a consultation (and not just out of the blue, either, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to her). Luckily, Paypal is a smart organisation, and I didn’t lose out. But what this kind of behaviour shows me is that I was right to want to disassociate myself from the perpetrator, because the reaction was immediate, and vengeful.
Don’t get me wrong, though; this is not a common occurrence, and the vast majority of customers would not dream of behaving in this way. And I don’t cut people out willy-nilly – it usually takes a lot for me to reach that point, and I honestly, seriously think it through. But once the decision is made, then that is it – even if the customer allows some time to pass before imagining that I have probably ‘gotten over it’ by now and makes another payment! If this happens, I simply refund the payment without another word, because it has already been done and dusted. And as for the person who took out 4 cases against me through Paypal, she actually changed her email address and name, and paid for another consultation, just a couple of months later (which was swiftly returned, because I knew who she was!).
Selling my soul to the devil!
Do you want to know what has enabled me to reach this point? Well, I will tell you anyway! Not being so skint that I NEED the money, therefore having to take everything that comes my way, regardless. I still need the money, but I no longer NEED it, if you know what I mean! I remember, during my travelling-out-for-group-booking years, sometimes having to grit my teeth so hard they almost crumbled… because I was absolutely dependent upon the payment. There was one evening in particular when I arrived at the said house, at the allotted time, only to find no-one home; I called the lady, who told me that she and her friends were on their way home from work and stuck in traffic. Fair enough – so I waited in the car for what felt like an age, and they eventually showed up. Great, I thought – now I can get on with things. Not a bit of it. First of all they settled down to eat the Chinese take-away they’d brought home with them (stuck in traffic, eh?), and then the lady of the house gave her friends a grand tour of her newly acquired home… all whilst I sat around like a spare part. On top of that, they weren’t the most responsive bunch either, and the whole evening left me feeling second-rate and sick to my stomach… because I was so in need of the money I felt I had to sell my soul to the devil!
Stay away from the monkeys!
In truth, I did meet some genuinely lovely, hospitable people on my travels, but I would say that it was probably a 60 – 40 split, in favour of those who were less than accommodating. There is something about ‘booking the psychic for a girl’s night in’ that brings out the worst in some folk. I finally quit travelling out, after more than 20 years, because I was becoming defeated, angry, and disillusioned… and it was spilling out into all areas of my work. But you know, it was that foray into those comments thrown up by Google that was the turning point where my finances were concerned. One person, who had been speaking of me in a less than friendly or complimentary manner, made a comment that really allowed the penny to drop for me: “Well, I see that she’s got a half-price sale on, so I might as well give her another go”. Wow… so that’s how it is. By asking for peanuts, I was running the risk of attracting at least a few monkeys! And from that point on, something within me changed. Not only did I stop giving my skills away for small amounts of money, I actually increased my prices. And so, to whoever you are who made that observation – thank you! And thank you (for very different reasons, obviously) to all of the thousands of wonderful, reasonable people I have been lucky enough to receive as customers over the past 25 years – and who make the work worthwhile! Remember: know your worth, stand by your values and your decisions, learn to say NO when necessary, try to listen to and learn from constructive criticism… and view the monkeys of life as valuable teachers!