May 28, 2024
The Artful Dollar

The Artful Dollar Empowers Tattoo Industry Entrepreneurs With Financial Literacy

Ryan Roi is the founder of The Artful Dollar, an organization aimed towards helping tattoo industry professionals become more financially literate, better understand money, and plan for retirement. In the following article, Ryan Roi of The Artful Dollar discusses how, as the industry continues to thrive and evolve, it is vital for artists to not only excel in their craft, but also to understand the financial aspects of their careers.

Tattoos have been around for thousands of years.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that tattoos were a symbol of protection and a way to forge stronger connections with the gods. In recent times, however, tattoos weren’t regarded in the same positive light; it wasn’t long ago when these body markings were not widely accepted in various parts of the world, being associated with criminal behavior.

It is only quite recently that this industry has gained mainstream popularity. It has evolved into a modern art form where artistry, individuality, and self-expression take center stage. Skilled artists have gained celebrity status – their work is displayed on the bodies of actors, athletes, musicians, and influencers.

Below are some tried and true strategies for how tattoo industry professionals can make informed financial decisions from setting up shop to planning for retirement.

The Artful Dollar on Setting the Foundations

How much an artist earns will depend on his or her level of experience, the size of their client base, their business location, and many other factors. For entry-level artists, income tends to be lower as they begin to build their clientele and skills.

In an interview with Laura Martinez, owner of Fleur Noire Tattoo Parlour in Brooklyn, New York, she stated: “If you want to be a tattoo artist, don’t do it for the money – my apprenticeship was “free” money-wise. I was helping around the shop to compensate for my mentor teaching me. I worked at a bar on the side. I had to give up all my free time, but it was so worth it! I loved the idea that someday I could become a professional artist, that it kept me motivated.”

Ryan Roi says that apart from the uncertain income potential in the beginning, artists who want to set up their own shop must be prepared for a huge up-front investment in equipment.

The Artful Dollar explains that estimates of start-up equipment costs can range anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000. This does not include costs for apprenticeships, on top of of licensure fees.

Ryan Roi notes that other veteran tattoo professionals state how it’s best to invest in yourself as the artist, not just the shop. It’s important to learn how to build clients, how taxes work, and how to market your portfolio of skills.

Below are 5 valuable tips to help industry professionals improve their financial literacy, stabilize their financial future, and lay the foundation for a secure retirement.

The Artful Dollar

Ink and Income

• Perform a Financial Assessment

A financial assessment is a good starting point for anyone looking to kickstart their financial journey. Both new and established artists, especially if they are business owners, should start by assessing their current fiscal situation. Determining one’s net worth can help establish a baseline in what’s required for setting specific financial goals tailored to their personal needs.

• Master the Art of Budgeting

Ryan Roi explains that any business owner knows the value of budgeting money. However, one common mistake that many body artists make is not separating their business and personal expenses, which can cause confusion and tax issues. After setting up separate accounts for each, use budgeting tools or apps to streamline budgeting processes.

• Set Up an Emergency Fund

The Artful Dollar explains that an emergency fund serves as a financial safety net designed to cover unexpected costs such as medical emergencies or sudden business downturns. Experts recommend saving at least 3 to 6 months’ worth of living expenses in one’s emergency fund.

To ensure consistency and reduce the temptation to use the money on something else, it’s advisable to automate the savings process – set up automatic transfers to the emergency fund every month.

• Plan for Tax Expenses

Tattoo artists won’t always collect a steady paycheck, therefore taxes cannot be deducted automatically. For this reason, it’s recommended to set up the Self-Employment Tax and keep good records to avoid audits by the IRS.

Explore Retirement Options

Retirement is ultimately something everybody has to prepare for, whether one is in the tattoo industry or not. It’s also never too early to explore retirement plans – tattoo artists should explore options for self-employed individuals. Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA or Solo 401 (k) are good options that offer tax advantages.

The Artful Dollar explains that financial literacy will allow artists and business owners to navigate money matters in their industry with confidence and security. By following the tips above, these creatives can achieve financial success and ensure a prosperous future in their industry.