You Have to Understand That Money Doesn't Solve All of Your Problems

Interview with Sean Dowdell
Originally published on
1. Tell us more about your company and your journey.
Thora and I own 15 different companies. Our largest is Club Tattoo which is a luxury tattoo and piercing studio chain that we established in 1995. We currently have 6 studios in Arizona and on the Las Vegas Strip including locations in The Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes, The LINQ Hotel & Casino, Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile Shops, and on 5th Avenue in Scottsdale, AZ. 
This company currently does approx $13m in revenue annually and employs over 100 staff. Thora is my wife and my partner and together we have grown this brand from nothing. We have changed the dynamic for our entire industry over several years and have made many positive long-term contributions to the industry and are renowned for being among the most successful in our fields. 
2. What is Club Tattoo’s unique value proposition and what sets it apart from its competitors?
It is differentiated in its industry by a multitude of factors/qualities. The first being the aesthetic that we bring to the industry with our upscale, female-friendly environment. Second is our attention to detail and customer experience. Our customers have come to expect a higher standard from us over our competitors. 
3. What makes you happiest and most effective when working with others?
Finding out other people’s strengths and passions. I love figuring that out and then being able to work with those strengths to get the best result. I do love creating and working with others. 
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
That would probably be best answered by someone who has read our style. I find it hard to analyze our work in that way and make a clear distinction of stylist differences or quirks. 
5. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Writing is difficult and getting a book to completion was very difficult for me and Thora. This is my second book so I have a huge amount of respect for authors that write books. Around the age of 30, I started to read a lot. Now I listen to audiobooks on my commute and when I work out. I am constantly learning new ways of approaching writing.
The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged shaped my economic philosophy on what works, why, and how. I read/listen to a book a week on average and could recommend hundreds, however, Awaken the Giant Within and Money, Master the Game by Tony Robbins really helped shape me professionally. I am a huge believer in what Robbins has to offer the world. 
6. What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur?
Work ethic is no. 1. I have not met any entrepreneurs that have been successful (long term) that don’t have an enormous work ethic. It has been our no. 1 driving factor to our growth and success and our staff sees how hard we work and can appreciate the effort that the owners give. This has a long-standing effect on your team/staff. 
7. How can one overcome a hurdle of lack of funds when starting up?
Most young entrepreneurs think that funding is their biggest problem, and I would say that they are wrong. Most can’t see past their funding issues and are willing to make big mistakes with other people’s money. This (in my opinion) is why many of the entrepreneurs fail so quickly in their start-up businesses. 
You have to understand that money doesn’t solve all of your problems and you need to be willing to make “affordable mistakes” so that when you do (and you will), make mistakes, you can recover and move forward from it.