September 20, 2022 6 min read
I get a lot of questions about my tattoos and even more questions around why I got them; but my favorite questions are about tattoos and money. How much did those COST? Was your artist expensive? Does your tattoo impact your ability to find work?
Hi, I am Coach Hill, Personal Finance expert & NFL Money Coach. I love helping people win with your money game, so I founded Financial Footwork after years of coaching and training pro-athletes, I took what I learned from the Pros and made it all about how you can train your money for success.
So back to money and tattoos because I know I’ve peaked your interest. As a financial educator working with the NFL, you can imagine that ink is a pretty common topic of conversation between players and I. Hell, we budget fortheirink and I budget formine.
Often, I get stopped in airports, while at a restaurant, at the grocery store; Most of the time, people look at my arm or my back and say, “I love your ink!” (Bear in mind, I have about 40+ hours of tattoo work done, which includes my entire left arm and the right side of my back.) Hiding my tattoos is not something I worry about, or would even consider.
However, in some places of the world, it is still taboo. In fact, in some cultures my tattoos would absolutely NOT be accepted. However, they are pretty common to find in the US and people are always interested in talking about the COST of getting a tattoo and how to find quality work.
Tattoo’s are my jam so I knew I had to talk about it from a financial educator's point of view, a cost point of view, and of course a tattoo lover's point of view.
Here are a few questions I get asked about the monetary impacts of tattoos:
I travel for work, I am at different NFL facilities and companies year-round providing keynote presentations and financial education coaching. That puts me on the move regularly and gives me the opportunity to meet people all over the US. Because of that, I get this question at least three or four times a month--if not more. “Do your tattoos stop you from getting work?”
Real talk. To date, my ink has not been an issue for me because it does not define my work ethic, ability to coach people on their financial game, or my credibility as a financial educator.
Now, I want to preface that I own two companies so I do get to make my own rules. But a strong brand and reputation is of the utmost importance to the credibility of my companies. As a business owner and the face of both of my companies, being tatted does bring its own set of questions, but to date it hasn’t been a problem.
My ink is mellow. It’s artistic, abstract and in memory of my mother and my journey since her death. There is nothing offensive or disrespectful about the ink I’ve chosen to put on my body. Which I believe is part of the reason it is not an issue. If I had “F you” stamped on my arm, we’d probably be having a different conversation. It’s just the way of the world--I’m not one to sugarcoat things.
I’ve also chosen to work in an industry where my choices do not impact my ability to do what I love, which is to teach people about money, how it works, and how to use your money to make the lifestyle they want.
I cannot say this is true for every industry or company so pick and choose your battles and make choices that willnotimpact your money in a negative way.
I.e. If you are a fashion model and looking to make an impact on runways at a high level, tattoos may not be your best choice as fashion designers want the clothes to speak, not your ink.
It’s a personal choice, once you’ve made it. There is no going back so be damn sure you are good with having something permanent on you.
When someone grabs my arm and practically yells, “OMG I LOVE YOUR INK, who is your artist?” It’s super flattering and puts a smile on my face because it is an amazing feeling and my artist is 100% to thank for it.
I walk around with what I think are 2 large, GORGEOUS pieces of artwork on my body, things that mean the world to me because of my life experiences. Now, I am not saying that I am walking around with Piccaso level artistry on my body or something that you can auction off for millions, but I am walking around with someone's design, creativity, and collaborative vision on my body... for life.
ART is a preference but more importantly, it is a lifestyle and one that has turned into a booming industry. Tattooing is a career, it is a way of making a living. This is the part of, “who is your artist,” that I want to touch on.
First, I need to take a minute to appreciate that an artist can go from concept or idea to paper, to ink on the body, and they do it on a daily basis.
Now let’s look at the tattoo industry as a whole:
According to comparecamp.com Tattooing is the 6th fastest growing American industry as of May 2020 and as of 2020 it is estimated that the tattoo industry generated between 1.6- 1.8 Billion in revenue. Small potatoes, I think not.
Last but not least--most tattoo artists, along with being skilled creatives, are self-employed! They run their own business, now this does vary from shop to shop, but keep in mind that this is a booming entrepreneur base within a growing industry.
So who is my artist? Well, he is a badass technician, a genius artist & collaborator, an expert communicator, a small business owner, a contributing member of society, and a MAJOR cat lover. So you know I've gotta shout him out, Austin Allen, thank you for being an incredible human, business owner, and artist. You inspired me to talk about the financial world of tattoos!
The compliment, “I LOVE YOUR INK,” followed by, “so how much did it cost?” This one is my favorite question and always makes me smile, when people see “good ink” they know it is not cheap, plus when you know the VALUE of good ink, you just want to know! Let’s face it, I am walking around with what amounts to the cost of a brand new Chanel boy bag on my arm.
How much does it cost? Well... Let's start by assessing VALUE vs COST for a minute.
Value: The importance orworthof something.
Cost:An amount that has to be paid or spent to buy or obtain something.
I look at my tattoos as something of value, an investment I was making for MYSELF. I was willing to pay for the right piece done the right way. I saw value in paying for great work, and I took the time to save money so I could get it right.
I’ve seen too many people make decisions based on COST, not value. They are willing to hurry the process, cut corners, and end up with something that they don’t love or really want. This is a problem. Where is the value in that?
So back to “how much did it cost?” My response? “Priceless.” I did it right. The value outweighed the cost. NOW…the financial educator in me will say this.
I budgeted for every damn dime of ink on my body. I made the choice to take three years to complete two pieces so I could get them right. Patience, discipline, and a savings plan got me to the VALUE of a good piece of art.
If you are trying to walk around with a tattoo just because. Go for it! If you want something of value, be ready to pay for it.
Making a choice to get inked is a whole lot more than, “I think I want a tattoo.”
Here are 3 money tips for helping you make a solid monetary decision when it comes to getting a tattoo:
First, ask yourself if your tattoos will impact your career opportunities? We have to ask this question, it sucks and I hate it but it is reality! If you are looking to go into certain career fields, ink may not be an option for you.
Second, don’t half-ass your piece because you don’t have enough money. Get a quote and budget for it. This is an investment in your life, you have to walk around with this on your skin forever. Half-assing it is a sure-fire way to live with regret.
Third, from one ink lover to other. Enjoy the hell out of the art you create or choose because let’s face it. The value should always out way the cost!
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