How to Respond to Requests for Free Advice

March 31, 2010

As a professional astrologer who – by virtue of having a blog – is perceived as available, you’re likely to receive requests for free advice. After all, you’re an expert. You might get hit up in your comments section, via email (if you make that available on your Contact page), or even on Facebook.

Many readers do not seem to understand that many astrologers want to make a living as astrologers. These readers feel entitled to free advice or information. I would attribute this attitude to a misunderstanding of the vast amount of resources an aspiring student must spend on becoming adept in this field. Perhaps you just know this stuff, because you were “born with it.” (I think Julie Demboski articulated this hypothesis.) Not that you spend hundreds of dollars and countless hours on books, classes, teachers, conferences and software.

Another reason a reader may feel entitled to free advice is that our culture does not respect the divination arts. It may seem paradoxical that someone would want help from a professional whose art is devalued, but I think there’s truth to it. As a matter of fact, anything that reeks of feminine is devalued. Doctors and lawyers (masculine or Logos fields) are paid well, whereas social workers and teachers are not.

Be that as it may, some readers just have a sense of entitlement, or they just don’t know where your line in the sand is – partly because every astrologer has different boundaries. Some will be happy to answer detailed questions because they think it will get them paying clients, or because they just want to help, or because they think more activity in the comments section will make their blog more popular. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re feeling used or burned out or taken advantage of by your readers, you need to find ways to say, “No.”

I cannot provide a script, because everyone will set their boundaries differently. But if someone writes you with their birth information or their planetary vitals and wants to know when X will happen or why Z always occurs, it helps to have a response at the ready.

Some possible responses:

  • Unfortunately, I cannot make the time to answer specific chart-related questions in the comments section (or via email), because I want to devote my energies towards writing an excellent blog and serving my paying clients. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation, please see my Services page.
  • That’s a great question. I feel confident that you can learn more about it at [this link].
  • I’m sorry to hear about that. I’d love to be able to help you find some perspective – please see my Services page to learn about consultations. But if you’re strapped right now, [these computerized reports] might be able to help, or you can find some comforting words about Saturn transits [here].

The key is to not come across as angry or defensive. Just communicate that your time is at a premium, and that you are not available for freebies. You may still want to rant about it, but honestly, I don’t know how much it serves anyone to take it out on your readers. You don’t need to justify your answer, you just need to set a boundary that you’re comfortable with, and stick to it.

If you’re feeling guilty about saying, “No,” do some soul-searching to figure out why. Are you afraid that you won’t be liked, or that you’ll lose a reader, or that you’re being unspiritual by not helping a soul in need? Do some writing exercises or talk to a trusted friend to process these emotions, because codependence is a recipe for burnout and resentment.

Comment below: How do you respond to requests for free astrological advice?

About the Author
Jeffrey Kishner is publisher of Sasstrology. He is also a blog consultant.


One comment

  1. I have it spelled out on my pages. I’ll answer a single question for publication on the page. If someone wants me to reply to them privately I politely tell them that my time constraints prevent me from answering queries like that. (And that’s so true!) I don’t like telling people directly, “well you can hire me to answer that for you” but I do have that little advert on Astrology Explored inviting people to sign up for a personal consult. So enough is up there to get across the message.

    People will still ask though, and I suppose that is the nature of the beast. They do it to their doctors too if they meet them outside of the office, so we aren’t the only ones!

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