In-Person Consultations & A Business Admin Update

October 7, 2023

It’s uncanny that I have to wait till this day to come up with something I’m about to announce here. Let’s cut to the chase.

I will make in-person consultations a lot more accessible and a viable option for clients. The new sysmte will be a hybrid model of sorts. Let me get the administrative things out of the way first, and if you’re interested, you can read what’s on my mind that led to this decision.

Here’s the breakdown:

Current Workflow:

You will up the form, wait, and get an initial report. The Q&A follows after that. Everything is done over email, and it’s been like this for ten years.

This system worked because it’s convenient for clients, and by Heaven’s grace, I have a bit of a reputation such that people trust me to do this online and even wait three weeks for their report.

Proposed New Workflow:

The only change I’m making is adding the option to do the Q&A in person. This will be on top of the Q&A over email. The most significant benefit is that clients come for the Q&A after reading and digesting the initial report. It will make the in-person Q&A session a lot more fruitful. There are, however, some caveats:

  • Opting for the in-person Q&A will have a fee because it takes more time and effort. I will price it at USD$200 for a 1 to 1.5-hour session of in-person Q&A. I’m using USD due to the scheduling app I’ll be deploying.
  • The in-person Q&A won’t be extended to everyone. It’ll still be on a case-by-case basis, and this is for my safety and well-being. I won’t withhold this option if you’re not a problematic client.
  • The Q&A over email will still be provided, and questions can be asked anytime within two weeks from the day of the in-person Q&A. T&Cs still apply.

This new mode of doing things aims to give the client a choice for their customer journey. I will only implement the new system after 2024’s Chinese New Year. I don’t wish to launch this during my peak period (which is around the corner), and I’ll need some time to figure out the logistics and set up new systems and processes.

Please do not misconstrue this as an opportunity to earn or siphon more. If I’m committing more time and effort, I do have to charge more. There is no gimmickry involved to make you part with your money. If you’re OK with the old way of doing everything via email, you don’t need to pay more, and I’ll always continue to do my best. If you’re more comfortable with the traditional way of doing things, an in-person option is available for the Q&A segment. It allows me to combine the best of both worlds.

If you only want to know the administrative and business side of things, you can skip whatever’s below. The gist of this post is to inform everyone I’m giving an additional option for the Q&A. That’s it.

Everything else below is just me sharing my thoughts and what led to this decision.

Being Transparent With What Goes On In My Head

I’ve always been very open with the way I conduct things because I feel it’s for everyone to know. It’s in my FAQs and old blog posts. I’ve not spoken about it for a while, but I’ll take the opportunity to touch on it again.

Everyone should know by now. I do not try to be gimmicky with what I do and entice prospective clients to part with their money to close a sale. I do not run advertisements promising you it’ll change your life, I do not run promotions, and I will always tell you to take your time to decide whether you wish to come for a consultation. It’s basically like your doctors, dentists, or lawyers. You don’t need them until you need them, and shoving their services down your throat when you don’t need them not only feels wrong but is a very undignified thing to do.

I will reiterate how I price my services. It’s based on the following:

Market forces

It’s simple demand and supply. I had no choice but to increase my fees over the years. This is mainly to balance/manage the volume I can handle and the quality of clients I’m getting. Currently, my target audience has been OK with $488. It’s a sweet spot for both me and prospective clients. It’s not high enough to price out the market and not low enough that the entire market, or worse, Cat 4. clients flood and overwhelm me. I feel motivated enough by this fee to commit my time and give my best, and I am attracting the right kind of clients.

Benchmarks against other practitioners

If I know a ‘practitioner’ out there isn’t half as good as I am or what he or she claims to be or is producing a templated, generic report to mass sell, I will not price my services below them. It does not make sense to me. I don’t say this in an arrogant way that suggests I no longer have anything to learn, but I know where I stand, and the clients who have gone through my blog or a consultation with me know what I mean.

The simple way to put it is that I’m charging a fee that makes sense and considers several variables. My role requires me to be personally involved at all times, which is why higher fees are always involved if more time and effort are required.

I hope everyone understands that if the Q&A is to be done in person, I will need to charge an additional fee for it.

I pride myself on once being a national-level chess player, and I do spend a lot of time strategizing and thinking about how I can best function and not over-strain myself because I am the business. If I can’t function well, I can’t give good readings. I do not need to capture the entire market, and I can’t because I am not selling generic, templated reports like some charlatan practitioners out there. I am targeting a very niche group.

The Events That Led To This Decision

Anyone following me will know that there’s this Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner I consult for my health. I also refer my clients to her. This TCM practitioner is one of the few people in this world that I respect tremendously. It’s not just because our occupations share the same roots. Because of what I study, I know when a TCM practitioner is good, average, or mediocre. This TCM practitioner I visit is in a league of her own and one of the most amazing individuals I’ve met. She’s more than 60 already, and she’s full of wisdom and poise. You can imagine the vast amounts of knowledge and experience that she has gathered. She has done a lot for my health and shared a lot of her knowledge and wisdom with me through the few years I’ve been consulting her.

She’s one of the few people in this world that I’ll take advice from. I had an appointment with her on the 5th of October. During the session, she said I should consider giving consultations in person because I would get more out of it. She didn’t need to say much, but I knew what she was trying to get at.

Giving consultations in person humanises the process – both for myself and the client. I acknowledge that this is important for my growth as a person and professional because I don’t want to be that unapproachable person and give off the wrong impression with my online-only persona. Developing empathy is also important for my role, which is something I can work more on. That said, I will still always play the role of “tough teacher” because that’s intrinsically what I’m born to be.

Prioritising Technical Proficiency Over Humanity

It’s been almost ten years since I’ve started giving consultations. You would recall this started as a side gig as I had a full-time job then. It was impossible to do this full-time, let alone give in-person consultations. I could only do it via emails, and thankfully, things gained traction, and the media knew me as someone who reads fortunes online. I was lucky enough to have built a good enough reputation for people to trust me to do this via email, but only because I know my stuff and can break down the chart so that the layman can understand his or her own. I could also somewhat thank my unpretentious and blunt side for that.

How I conducted things was for maximum efficiency. Naturally, the human aspect of things took a back seat.

I left the corporate world in October 2019 and married in the same month. The plan was to travel the world with my wife and continue doing consultations via email, but COVID-19 happened. Because of these events and stages of my life, I didn’t meet most clients for a large part of my career.

My priority has always been technical proficiency over anything else because this was what I felt was lacking in the industry. I am appalled that most practitioners out there mask their lack of proficiency and sloppiness with pretence, false kindness, and whatnot. I didn’t want to be like that. My industry feels like a charade because you can pretend to be nice, utter a few new-age spiritually charged positive messages, and there will be enough suckers out there waiting to throw their money at you.

I’m at a point where I am happy with my proficiency, and I will shift the focus a bit. That said, I’ll always make it a point to get better – not just in technical proficiency per se, but in all other aspects of doing what I do. I guess you could say technical proficiency alone is nothing if it’s not coupled with a bit of humanity and delivering the message the right way, and it’s time that I achieve a bit of Yin Yang balance in how I conduct things.

Meeting People In 2023

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll see that I’ve met a lot of clients in person this year, but this is usually after the consultation is complete. It’s not that all these people I meet eventually become friends. It takes a lot for me to call someone “friend”, and you could call these people “professional acquaintances”. Many of the fulfilling moments I’ve had in 2023 were due to building a connection with clients – it felt nice – and the final nudge from the TCM practitioner gave me the push to change things up a bit.

As much as I love my alone time and enjoy solitude, it doesn’t mean I dislike being around people or don’t like connecting with others. You would have seen me hanging out with clients-turned-friends at a gay bar owned by a client-turned-friend. Enjoying solitude and connecting with others aren’t mutually exclusive. I’m making in-person consultations more accessible because I think it’ll make things more fulfilling for both sides.

Intellectually, I know it’s harder to get angry with someone when seeing them in person. Communication is also much more effective and well-rounded, so I guess there’s no need to use harsh words and risk people misinterpreting the intent of using those sharper words.

It’s been almost ten years of me doing this. I’ve been very blessed to be able to do what I do simply via email, and thank you all for allowing me to conduct what I do this way and trusting me so much.

Doing consultations in person has always been an option I’ve been considering. It’s just that I didn’t get the time to sit down and think about it due to the corporate job and the pandemic. It’s also because if I give this option, it will be more costly for clients since it’s more time and effort, and I’m not sure if people will be receptive to it even if I did provide it. I did a poll on Instagram, and people seemed receptive, so that’s rather encouraging.

I’m unsure how things will evolve over the years after I apply the changes. Perhaps there’ll be more stories, and perhaps I’ll slowly start to change as a person. I don’t know for sure, but I must embark on this to find out.

We’ll see! One thing’s for sure: I’ll definitely still be blogging and sharing my journey as I go along!

– Sean

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