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Staff Performance Reviews In Your Tattoo Business

Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by Hayley James No Comments

When employees hear of "staff performance review," most will certainly have a negative response. This is because we think of reviews and assessment as questioning one’s worth and capabilities. It almost feels like reviews are the boss’s way of exposing what is wrong.

But this should not be the case.  

A successful business is driven by a strong foundation based on relationships. Staff performance reviews is not about picking on the mistakes of your team. But rather it is about strengthening the ties you have with each other.

A regular staff performance review will help in better planning for your business’s strategies—in terms of what needs to be implemented and scrapped out.  This will enable you to know where your staff are as well as where they were and where they are headed.

Some of the aspects that need to be focused on in the review are the following:

  • Is your staff performing according to your business mission and goals?
  • Do they meet the service expectations of your customers?
  • Do they clearly understand the service standards that you want to offer your customers?
  • Staff’s feedback — do they have the venue to give feedback?
  • Do you have a staff’s training plan to provide trainings not just to newly-hired employees but also the long-time employees?  Don't make the assumption that employees who have been with you for awhile are already trained and know everything there is to know. Be open to more possibilities and continued learning.   
  • Management of Over-all Performance— evaluate whether or not the standards are being implemented.  Recognize and reward staff members who are providing the service levels that you ask for.  
  • Room for Improvement—identify potential weakness;  Options must be laid out so that your staff will know what they can do.

The performance of your staff needs to be reviewed on a regular basis if you want your business to thrive. If your business doesn’t have a clearly defined review strategy then it is about time to develop one.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Getting an apprenticeship in a tattoo studio

Posted on: January 18th, 2014 by Hayley James No Comments

Do you want to learn how to tattoo?

I must tell you—there’s a big difference between learning theoretically and through praxis. Just like baking, even if you do have the recipe and the step-by-step procedure on how to do it, it is still different when you’re actually doing it.

Take coding in website designing as another example. You may know the codes but it is actually getting the site up and live when you can really say you know how to. That’s when you encounter challenges that are not exactly in the code manual you have.  

In doing tattoos, it is beymore than simply buying a kit for tattooing. You discover more with experience. And what better experience is there than to learn “under the wing” of a skilled artist through an apprenticeship in a tattoo studio.   

You need to find an apprenticeship that will provide you the proper training to get you into the business of tattooing. You need to learn the proper skills involved in the business of tattooing like sterilization, proper cleaning, needle making, prepping, making stencils and every other aspect of the business.

Finding the right fit for you may not be that easy. Go and make rounds to as many reputable shops as you can, then leave your contact details.  Let them know that you are interested. Don’t be shy to follow up with a phone call to inquire about the status of your apprenticeship. It shows them that this really matters to you.

Here are some important aspects on getting an apprenticeship in a tattoo studio:

Be respectful and presentable.

You may be surprised to find yourself in a studio with what your Mom may consider as bad-influence-looking-people (even thug-like looking), not to mention real heavy metal music but it does not in any way give you the excuse to behave like you’re the real villain and forget your manners.  Do not forget to maintain your respect towards others. And always be presentable. (The secret is to look neat and clean.)

Gain Knowledge.

Do not pass the opportunity to learn and discover new things about the tattooing business—even the little things which you think may be too small to be unimportant. Learn from the experience and enjoy your time learning stuff.

Be Sincere.

Do not be someone you are not. If you know something, share it even to your mentor. And if you don’t know things, don’t be afraid to ask. Be yourself and be honest.

Image courtesy of Marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to plan your marketing in your tattoo business for the next 12 months

Posted on: January 11th, 2014 by Hayley James No Comments

One thing I realized after a few hits and misses, it is not really about finding the right methodology, it is more about planning your marketing and acting on it that adds up to true success in the long-term.

Think about it—the facets of marketing is evolving as we speak. What we thought works yesterday may not actually work today. It is dynamic and if we are not ready to adapt to its changes, then we are left out in the cold.

But if we develop a marketing plan, then we can adapt it if there are unforeseen changes. Then, we are not left in the dark coping and groping not knowing what direction to go in because we did not make a road map to where we wanted to go in the first place.

With the opening of 2014, this is the best time to review your plans and update. Consider the following while you create your marketing plan for the next 12 months.

Set your major goals

Begin with the foundation of your marketing plan—your goals. Be clear on what you really want to achieve this year for your business. Let these goals be something you can identify with this will enable you to stick to them for a longer time no matter what challenges you are facing in your business.

Some of your major marketing goals can include the following:

1.       Target getting high web traffic to your main site.

2.       Create a strong brand awareness.

3.       Be the authority in your niche

4.       Create loyalty with existing customers.

5.       Increase new clients.

6.       Build a better network.

Plan Your budget

Marketing can be very expensive—from staffing to the marketing activities. But you can plan ahead and work smart to take advantage of every penny you spend on your marketing activities. You can read Getting the Right Exposure For Your Advertising Dollar and Make Money From Your Tattoo Business.

Here are some of the major areas where you can set your budget:

1.       Content creation

2.       Research

3.       Email marketing.

4.       Social Media Management

5.       Website maintenance

 

Plan your content

Ever heard of the statement, “Content is king?” Well, it is true. So you need to focus on this one in your marketing plan. Think of how you can use your content as a marketing tool and give value to others.  Remember that your content must be in line with your goals and your targeted niche.

You can present your content in various ways. You can choose blogging, use social networking sites, podcasts, webinars, vlogging, infographics and so much more. Be creative.

Your content can include the following:

1.       How-to and tutorial posts

2.       Profile and portfolio posts

3.       Case studies

4.       Comparison posts

5.       Real life stories

6.       FAQ's

7.       Interviews

8.       eBooks

9.       Special reports

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Protect Your Health This Holiday Season

Posted on: December 11th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

If up to this point you have been keeping your personal life separate from your business life, then let me tell you there are times when these two must interconnect.

For instance, being healthy and feeling energized will definitely make a great impact on your professional life. If you have very low energy levels, it will show in your mood and be conveyed in your conversation.  This can greatly affect your business and interaction with others.

You don’t want to run your tattoo business with a very low energy level. More so during the holiday season when time can really fly so fast and your 'work-load' seems endless. The healthier you are, the healthier your tattoo business will be. Remember you need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your tattoo business and your customers. Read more from my previous post on taking care of yourself and your tattoo business here.  

Protect your health and practice better fitness this holiday season so you and your tattoo business keeps functioning.

Let’s go back to the basics.

What we’ve been told when we were young still holds true. A balanced diet, enough rest and exercise will keep our energy high. It may sound simple. However, we often neglect these basic principles.

The stress levels can go higher during the holiday season with all the preparation, increased work-load, working longer hours, shopping, and even parties to attend.  If we let stress get in the way, this can be extremely detrimental to how our business performs.

The less stress we have to deal with, the more positive any situation can become. We can reduce and even eliminate stress by keeping ourselves in shape coupled with a proper diet.

We need to keep our energy on a high level. Remember, a person with high energy can be contagious. Even with the seemingly endless activities this holiday season, we can influence others to keep the excitement going by sustaining our own high energy.

If we are physically feeling good, there’s no way our emotions can go astray. Our emotional estate is connected with our physical health and vice versa. Therefore, let’s improve our frame of mind and the state of our body.

People tend to reciprocate to this energy. Everybody wants to be happy. One’s own moods can be influenced in the presence of someone with high vibration. With a lighter mood and a healthy body, you can improve your productivity— needed to generate bigger profits.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 


 

Verbal and non-verbal communication in your tattoo business

Posted on: November 27th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

Whether you deal with your customers or you deal with your staff in your tattoo business, communication comprises verbal and non-verbal. In percentages it looks like this:

  •          35% attitude (perception)
  •          15% content (words)
  •          50% non-verbal (impact)

You may be surprised; but what you say plays second fiddle to how you say it. Often times,  the attitude and perception of the person communicating determines how the message is conveyed.

So how do you manage communication for ongoing improvement?

For starters, improve your communication by putting yourself in the shoes of your customers or your staff and follow the golden rule. How you want to be treated as a customer or staff member is how you should treat others. It really pays off to use the right words at the right time to become a good communicator.

And what makes a great communicator? These are the underlying verbal and non-verbal aspects in communication which you need to become a great communicator:

Exchange of Ideas    

A great communicator acknowledges the reality that there must be an exchange of ideas and not just a one-way street of one's message. Try listening to your customer's ideas before you convey your own. The foundation of what you want to say is laid upon the other person’s needs.

The Intention of the Ideas      

The intention of your message must be clear. Your purpose must be direct. And it pays off if the intention is out of genuine desire to serve rather than to follow a set of protocols.

Give Your Attention     

Giving your attention and being able to listen to other people’s needs is a crucial skill. You also need to be able to try to understand what they mean by what they are saying even if you don't agree with it.

Empathy 

Everyone wants to be heard. People want to feel understood. If they are heard, which does not even mean necessarily agreed with.  You can show your empathy by placing yourself in the other person’s shoes. 

Successful communication leads to good business. It is rooted in the ability to measure other people’s  communication style and expectations and then to reflect and respond appropriately. 

Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your Tattoo Business – The importance of working on your business not in your business

Posted on: November 22nd, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

Are you swamped with tasks and a backlog of paperwork and just thinking about them is paralyzing you even more such that you are unable to do anything at all? Do you need help to de-clutter this annoying pattern of not being able to manage and organize your time and be more productive and effective in your work?

Work on your Tattoo business not just in your business. Use this simple principle on how to do it:

Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson's Law is adapted in various productivity-centered activities. This originated from Cyril Northcote Parkinson, the famous British historian and author. The statement first appeared as the opening line in an article for The Economist and later becoming the focus of one of Parkinson’s books, Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress. It is the amount of time which one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.

Let's say, you give yourself a month to complete a week-long task. Psychologically speaking, you will make the task more complicated so that you can fill the allotted time of a month you set yourself to complete it. You may not even fill the extra time with more work. You may only be filling it up with stress and tension with having to get it done.

You can stop right where you are and have three of the most practical solutions you can apply immediately to shift your work pattern and manage your time and energy effectively:

1.    Divide a huge task into smaller parts.

Chunk your tasks in smaller parts and give yourself half that time. If you have a mammoth task, dividing it into smaller parts will work best for you. It will help if you work little by little towards the accomplishment of the task rather than working aimlessly at getting the huge task done immediately.

2.    Set a deadline

The deadline we are talking about here is not completing a two-hour task in 1 month. That will only validate the observation which supports the Parkinson's Law. Be reasonable with your timeframe. As you progress and become an expert on this, you may be able to squash your deadline to the minimal level to complete each task. The deadline will motivate you and guide you to your completion.

3.    Cut off on the extracurricular activities

Be wary about the little activities and distractions like checking your email,  updating your status on facebook and reading your friends', checking out the latest gossip in Hollywood, taking a quick peek at the latest trending video on youtube and more. You might usually think these activities only take ten or twenty minutes of your time only to be surprised that summing them all up have already eaten a big slice of your precious time.   

Cut off the time you spend on these extracurricular activities. In fact, don’t give these tasks any more attention until you’ve completed everything on your to-do list that day. Unless of course your task is basically responding to emails and email blasting or social networking, then you can do all these to your heart’s content.

There are tasks where 20% of what you do is important and 80% is absolutely useless. Reverse this and apply the Parkinson's Law to your advantage and become even more productive in your Tattoo Business.

Image courtesy of cooldesign/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Taking care of yourself and your tattoo business

Posted on: November 13th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

A happy "you" results in a happy customer in your tattoo business. The happy person serving the customer NEEDS to take care of himself first before he can take care of his customers. In reality, you are there to serve and not to be served. You are the one who need to fill a certain expectation and not the other way around.

Therefore steps must be taken to make sure that you are being serviced too.  It is important that you continually address your emotional, physical and mental needs because you are serving your customers.

How to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your customers?

You have probably developed the habit of fulfilling everyone else’s needs before your own. You have probably been convinced to think that if you don’t take care of other people’s needs, you are going to lose your business and your customers.

We are not saying here that you do not take care of your customers. The line of reasoning is you do not put yourself in the backseat and ignore your needs because you are too preoccupied taking care of your customers. Take care of your needs before you take care of someone else.

Here are some practical things you often ignore which can tremendously help you recharge and regain your focus to serve your customers better: 

  • Don’t be everything to everybody. Learn to delegate. Learn to say "no."
  • Don't forget to give attention to your health and physical condition.
  • Continuously grow mentally. Engage your mind. Read a book. Learn a new skill. Spend time on a hobby.
  • Take care of your spiritual needs.
  • Spend time alone.  Create a "me" schedule apart from your daily routine.
  • Have fun.
  • Build relationships
  • Don't forget you are important, too.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Art of Self Promotion – How to ‘tell’ your story to attract customers to your tattoo Business

Posted on: October 2nd, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

What do you think of self-promotion in your tattoo business?

There are various reasons why a lot of business owners do not want to promote themselves. It almost seems embarrassing and even sickening for them to “sell” themselves. Perhaps, it's because of the idea that they don't feel worthy. While they believe in their skills as an artist, at the back of their minds, there is doubt.

Yes, it is so easy to believe that people don’t want to hear about you raving on about yourself or your skills. And it is often easier to undervalue your talent.

But I tell you, the one thing that successful entrepreneurs have compared to the mediocre ones is their confidence to promote themselves.

So work at your shyness and the mindset of not being worthy. In business you will profit more if you are willing to sell yourself.

Here are some ways you can promote yourself and your business:

1. Stamp your name in your business

You may be thinking, if this doesn't work at all, everybody will remember my name and associate it to a failed tattoo business. Then, I would be like walking with a tattoo on my forehead which says, "LOSER!"

Do not be afraid to use your name in your business so that people will know who they are dealing with. It will be easier for your customers to associate your product with you and say, “You know, I trust him/her; I’m going to do business with him/her.”

2. Include an image of yourself in your marketing

Aside from your logo in your business marketing, it will be a big factor to include your image or a profile picture.  It pays to see who you are dealing with. Use a profile picture that people can easily recognize as you. Include your story and how you got into the tattoo business in as many of your marketing pieces as you can. This way, people will get to know you a little bit and consider what you are offering.

3.Maintain a blog

Blogging is a great tool for marketing. This is the venue where you can give more value and share yourself to your customers.  Start posting on a monthly basis if you like.  If you get the hang of it, you can update and post on a weekly basis. Maintaining a blog is your ongoing communication with people and can be a great way to promote yourself.

People will be able to get to know you and see your designs. And if they are able to identify with your work, then you have earned possible clients. 

Self-promotion is in itself an art. It is one of the most important things you can learn and implement as a business owner. It may not feel comfortable in the beginning. However, think of what you can achieve once you start to implement the skills on how to effectively promote yourself.  You can gain new customers by telling them about your products and services.  You only need to be unabashed and do it despite any initial fear of promoting yourself.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Tattoo Expo’s – How to get the most out of trade shows to grow your tattoo business

Posted on: September 26th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

You can grow your tattoo business by maximizing the benefits you can get out of tattoo expos. You see, trades shows must be viewed as a potent aspect of your total marketing plan. But there are entrepreneurs who consider trade shows as an expense—and they may be right if you don't know how to get the most of these trade shows to grow your business.

For instance, most companies will be spending their money on their display and their booths when they should have given more focus and training on the people manning the booth. Come to think of it, your people must be one of the more important components of trade show marketing because they are the ones who make the sales, not the booth.

Here are other considerations to get the most out of trade shows to grow your tattoo business:

1. Join trade shows for the right reasons.

Joining a trade show is not just to stamp your presence because your competitors have. It is not because your next-shop tattoo business is going that you are also going.  Yes, it pays to be seen but don't make this as your only motivation for attending.

You need to establish your goals on why you want to join trade shows.  Vision a positive outcome from the trade show and put the steps in place to achieve them.

2.  You need to prepare for the event

Planning and preparation are your crucial ingredients to address the unforeseen circumstances that can be challenging during the trade shows.  You will never know what will happen during the expo. And this can be beyond your control. You need to have back-up plans.   

3. Maximise your time during the trade show.

Don't waste your time by simply sitting at a trade show booth doing nothing but eating, reading or having conversations with the people in the next booth.  This is a very common scenario in trade expos.  Take advantage of all trade show opportunities. Know why you are there and what is expected of you. And if you are taking a team with you, train them too to take advantage of every opportunity to make a good impression.

Joining trade shows is a very powerful tool for businesses so long as you approach it with the right attitude and planning.  It can be very exhausting but never rob yourself the fun that it can also bring you. Aside from the big opportunity of networking with people and other businesses which can put your tattoo business on the map so to speak, it really is the venue to showcase your craft and tell the world, "This is my contribution—my drop in the bucket."

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How To Keep Yourself Motivated In Your Tattoo Business Everyday

Posted on: September 19th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

In truth, you won't wake up in your tattoo business everyday with enthusiasm. There will be days when you become skeptical. Or worse, there will be times when you really want to throw in the towel and give up.

But it's what they use to say, success is usually just one step away from when you said, "No more!" And you don't want that, do you? You don't want to live regretting what might have happened if only you had kept on moving forward. What could have happened if you stayed motivated and persevered despite all of the difficult times?

Here are a few tips to keep you motivated in your tattoo business everyday:

  • See yourself attaining realistic goals

     

    While it is good to set high goals, aim at something realistic and attainable when you are still taking your baby steps. At the beginning of your ventures, set smaller and achievable goals. Every time you achieve these small successes,  you will be able to highlight these and be inspired push yourself further. Motivate yourself through these and celebrate.

  • Focus Your Mind on Your Dreams

     

    Your reality will be presenting a different scenario from your dreams if you haven't connected the gap yet between the present and where you want to be. Often times, it will appear difficult.  Even if you see that dream not happening soon, keep on moving forward. Focus on the dream and not what is happening right now for nothing will stay permanent.

  • Get into Inspired  Action

     

    With the happy thoughts generated through seeing your dreams coming to fruition, you will be motivated towards inspired action. It is only through this that "doing" brings out results and it will keep you charged up. Never act from other rationale other than the inspiration that prompts you to make it effortless.

  • Don't beat yourself  for the mistakes you've made

     

    Don't beat yourself up every time you make a mistake. Learn the lesson from a mistake and use  this to avoid making the same mistake again.

  • Be with like-minded individuals

     

    You would want to be with people who will motivate you rather than crash your spirits.  Associate yourself with people who are driven and success-oriented and embrace their way of thinking and philosophy. Let their positive vibration be an inspiration to you.

  • Don't Forget to Reward Yourself

     

    You will need more than a pat on the back every time you achieve something. Reward yourself with something great. You deserve it. You are the most important aspect of your tattoo business.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net