Daydreaming about Opening a Tattoo Shop

Turning Tattoo Dreams into Reality: A Guide for Aspiring Shop Owners

Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about opening your own tattoo shop? Maybe you're currently working in a space where you feel underappreciated or constrained, thinking, "I could do this so much better on my own." You envision a place where your art and creativity can flourish without the drawbacks of your current workplace. Whether it's clashing with the owner's personality, dealing with inefficient operations, or simply wanting to focus more on your craft rather than the business distractions, the dream of running your own shop is a compelling one.

The Dream Versus Reality

But here's the rub: transitioning from tattoo artist to shop owner isn't just about being a great artist. It's about becoming a jack-of-all-trades. Borrowing insights from the book "The E-Myth," let's explore the three critical roles you'll need to embrace: the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur.

- The Technician: That's you, the artist. It's what you love to do and what you're great at. As a technician, your focus is on the craft itself.
- The Manager: This role demands a shift from working in your business to working on your business. It's about developing the systems, processes, and daily operations that keep the doors open.
- The Entrepreneur: The visionary. This role involves thinking about the future, staying innovative, and ensuring that your business doesn't just survive but thrives by adapting and growing.

Many tattoo artists excel as technicians but stumble when it comes to the managerial and entrepreneurial aspects of running a shop. They underestimate the complexity of these roles, assuming that removing the pain points of their current job will automatically lead to success. However, managing a shop involves more than just paying rent to a landlord instead of a shop owner; it encompasses advertising, financial planning, creating a welcoming shop environment, and more.

Crafting Your Shop's Identity

Opening your shop is just the beginning. The true challenge lies in defining its role within the community and ensuring it has a lasting impact both inside and out. It's not enough to create a comfortable space for yourself; you must also develop an experience that draws people in. What makes your shop different? Why does it exist? These are questions you'll need to answer as you think about how to innovate and attract customers.

Remember, most businesses falter because they fail to see beyond their immediate surroundings. Your shop needs to resonate with people, creating a reason for them to choose you over the competition.

Striking a Balance

Achieving harmony among the technician, manager, and entrepreneur roles is crucial for a successful tattoo shop. It's a delicate balance, requiring you to wear multiple hats and understand that each aspect is equally important. Neglecting one for the other can lead to common pitfalls and a harsh learning curve.


Dreaming of opening your own tattoo shop is the first step toward an exciting journey. But realizing that dream requires more than just exceptional tattooing skills. It demands a comprehensive approach that includes strategic planning, management, and innovation. By embracing the roles of technician, manager, and entrepreneur, you're not just opening a shop; you're building a legacy.

Ready to embark on this journey? Remember, it's not just about removing the negatives of your current situation but building something that stands the test of time and makes a real impact.

Matt Hodel

Tattooing Since 1995

Business Coach

Photo Jul 25 2023, 2 08 33 PM

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