As I celebrate my 25th anniversary, there’s much to say about the journey which took me here, but the one thing I can assure you is that behind the glitz of the new shop is an epic journey that has been filled with plenty of ups an downs. In short, there’s much that I’ve learned early on in the game and I’ll tell you that learning from other peoples mistakes will spare you plenty of heartache and pain, so here’s a few things that I learned and hopefully it’ll help you out on your own journey.
1. BELIVE IN YOURSELF. BUT DOUBT YOURSELF.
You should always believe in yourself but make sure you listen to any self doubt. The first shop I opened came as easy as look, call, sign and lease. Soon thereafter, I had doubts about my partner and it turns out that it didn’t work out. The bottom line….When your gut tells you something do yourself a favor and listen before it become a costly mistake.
2. ART IS A BUSINESS.
Before you go off in the deep in end, please read this through. They say art has no business being a business but in the end it is. From lease agreements, to credit card interest and taxes, you’re going to have to learn the business side of art if you plan to sell anything. The bottom line….get educated or hire someone that is. Cheating taxes may be fine and dandy but remember that the IRS is the biggest gang in the country and I’m sure you don’t want to chuck it up with ’em anytime soon.
3. GROW THICK SKIN…USE A TORCH.
OK so I’m not being literal even though I wish I could. The tattoo industry is a great business but as with any business there will always be it’s fair share of snakes. Though I’ve been burned time and time again, I’ve learned to accept that you can’t change the world and help everyone so I keep moving forward. The bottom line: Grow your business, put everything you have into it and eventually you will atttact and keep good people.
4. GET USED TO CHARGING.
If your art is worth it, charge accordingly. Starting off in this business means lots of time put into others as you master the craft and at that point their trust is payment enough. But as you build your skills and create your following you will soon realize that there soon comes a point in time that you’ll be able to charge. The bottom line…..build your skills, build your portfolio and then…..charge accordingly.
Hope this helps some of you out and best of luck!
*(photo up above was of two of the shops I started off with)