Professional tattoo artists, like many other creative entrepreneurs, face numerous challenges as they navigate their artistic careers and businesses. The pressure to excel in their craft while managing the financial aspects of their work can lead to overwhelming stress, self-doubt, and limiting beliefs.  Consequently, many tattoo artists struggle to reach their full potential as entrepreneurs.

This blog post was created in collaboration with Ryan Roi, a talented tattoo artist, studio owner, and financial coach, to explore the top five limiting beliefs that often hinder tattoo artists' financial success. Through his coaching program, The Artful Dollar, Ryan has been able to empower countless artists through personal barriers with their businesses. 

We hope that this blog will help tattoo artists reframe their relationship with money and the business side of the tattoo industry, and provide some additional tools to help better align with their goals. 

Belief 1: Discussing money and pricing stresses me out.

One common limiting belief tattoo artists face revolves around discussing money or asking for fair compensation. This discomfort often stems from questioning their value as professionals, which contributes to the "imposter syndrome" that afflicts many tattoo artists. However, through the practice of Ryan’s Belief Framework, tattoo artists can realign these beliefs with their true worth and confidently charge what they deserve.

Ryan suggests viewing beliefs as a way of being, a distinct mindset that influences actions and reactions in various aspects of life. Just like how tattoo artists approach their craft feeling excited and adventurous, they can adopt a similar way of being when it comes to money. Shifting this perspective takes practice, and Ryan offers a framework to examine and test these beliefs against one's values and goals.

By practicing new beliefs that align with their worth, tattoo artists can confidently charge what they deserve and create fulfilling partnerships with their clients.

See below for the breakdown of Ryan Roi’s Belief Framework!

Belief 2: I should focus solely on my art, I'm an artist not a businessperson.

Most tattoo artists think of themselves primarily as creatives rather than business people which leads them to neglect essential aspects of their profession, such as finances. However, the moment an artist starts charging for their work, their art becomes a business. 

If an artist doesn't view their work as a business, they will counteract their own growth and negatively impact overall success. Ryan experienced a personal transformation in his career when he decided to consider business practices as part of his creative process, not separate from it.

Embracing an entrepreneurial mindset not only enables financial success for tattoo artists but also frees up more time, energy, and resources for their art. In parallel, sound business practices enable ethical operation which positively impacts clients, employees, and the community.

Belief 3: Money is the root of all evil. I shouldn't put my energy into thinking about money, that's a toxic mindset. 

Ryan admits to holding this belief in his early twenties, feeling that money was the root cause of all his problems. However, he realized that money is a function of everyday life, a necessary evil, and opted to develop a healthier relationship with it. Ryan learned to view money not as good or bad, but as a flow of energy that fluctuates throughout your life.

This perspective allowed him to remain unattached to financial experiences, preventing negative emotions from blocking the flow which ultimately enabled Ryan to make better decisions and cultivate a positive mindset towards finances. Acknowledging the emotions you feel towards money can help tattoo artists can foster a healthier relationship with their finances. 

Belief 4: Nowadays there's too many tattoo artists. The market is oversaturated and it's hurting the value of my work. 

Misconceptions about competition and the saturation of the tattoo industry often stem more from personal feelings than statistical evidence. In fact, the tattoo industry has experienced healthy growth, with projections indicating a significant increase in its value for years to come.

In 2023, the global tattoo market was valued at $2.04 billion USD. A common metric for the growth of an industry is Compound Annual Growth Rate (“CAGR”). The standard for a good CAGR is 9% and the tattoo industry boasts a CAGR of 9.87%. Based on this evaluation, the tattoo industry has shown healthy growth and is projected to nearly double in value and grow to $3.93 billion USD by 2030.

European Tattoo Industry Market Size and Market Value 2019-2023 Tattoo Market Projections and Forecast for Tattoo Businesses, Tattoo Studios, and Tattoo Shops

Tattoo artists ought to embrace this as an opportunity and approach their business with a growth mindset. Ryan encourages tattoo artists to focus on controllable factors like developing their brand identity, building goal-oriented tattoo business marketing plans, and carving out their unique selling proposition in the tattoo industry.


Belief 5: Tattoo artists should take every client that they can get, even if it's underpaid and unfulfilling.

In the early stages of their careers, tattoo artists often accept any opportunity that comes their way, regardless of the pay or budget, as a means to learn and make ends meet. However, as their skills and preferences evolve, it's crucial to set clear boundaries and value their work appropriately.

Setting boundaries may initially feel uncomfortable, but consistent practice will lead to positive changes in pricing and clientele. Ryan emphasizes that raising prices enables tattoo artists to focus on offering more value which attracts clients who appreciate their work…which more than makes up for the occasional loss of “bargain hunter” clients.

Ryan Roi - Tattoo Artist and Financial Coach for Creative Professionals - The Artful Dollar Business Coaching - Pictured Ryan Roi Focusing on Tattooing a Client's Elbow Tattoo

Final Thoughts: What you resist persists.

In conclusion, embracing new perspectives and exploring limiting beliefs with curiosity, rather than resistance, can help tattoo artists foster personal growth and financial success. Ryan encourages self-awareness and a willingness to challenge and shift beliefs towards more empowering ones. 

Cultivating a positive belief system around money empowers tattoo artists to thrive financially and creatively in their artistic journey.

Ryan Roi - Tattoo Artist and Financial Coach - Money Mindset Limiting Beliefs Quote - The Artful Dollar Business Coaching for Tattooers Creative Professionals and Freelancers

Ryan Roi's Belief Framework

By questioning your beliefs and reframing them, you empower yourself as a tattoo artist and business owner. By acknowledging your worth, embracing the entrepreneurial side of tattooing, and fostering a healthy relationship with money, you can unlock your potential for financial and personal success in the tattoo industry.

Current Belief / Way of Being

  • Acknowledge a topic of belief that you may be resisting or having difficulty with.

  • Example: I acknowledge that I feel uncomfortable asking for payment.

What’s the impact / cost?

  • Analyze your current beliefs and ways of being and recognize the impacts on your life. What are the costs of this belief?

  • Example: I’m uncomfortable asking for payment and the impact is I’m stressed when appointments are over and I typically undercharge clients.

New Belief / Way of Being

  • State a new belief you want to practice. By affirming a new desired belief, you are consciously taking small steps toward shifting your perspective.

  • Example: Instead of feeling uncomfortable asking for payment, I confidently state my prices because my prices occur as an opportunity for clients to invest in themselves.

What’s possible?

  • Compare the possibilities of your current belief system with the possibilities of the new belief, understanding the potential financial losses and gains.

  • Aim for belief systems that benefit both you and your clients, leading to growth and value for everyone involved.

  • Examples: 

    • What’s possible with my current belief? I continue to be stressed about money and I lose out on significant income by undercharging myself.

    • What’s possible with my new belief? I can confidently charge what I’m worth and my clients and I are both excited about the opportunity to grow together.

Ryan Roi Financial Coaching for Creative Professionals - Mindset Worksheet - Identifying Limiting Beliefs and Ways of Being. State Your Current Belief / WOB, What are the Impacts and Costs? What is the Payoff? What's your new belief? What's Possible?

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