Is Freelancing the Future for Baristas?
When thinking of freelancing, a barista is certainly not the first profession that springs to mind. In fact, most people would be completely unaware that freelancing for coffee makers even exists.
Yet in the 21st century with the rising gig economy and need for flexible working arrangements, it has become a far greater occurrence than many would be led to believe. So, let me take you through a brief overview of the role of a barista and how freelancing in this industry could be the next great opportunity for you!
The Skillset of a Barista
Let’s start with some of the basic skills required for becoming a great barista, regardless of working freelance or in a continuous position:
Like all jobs in the workforce clear and concise communication is pivotal. It lays the groundwork for all skillsets not only in the hospitality industry but in all industries regardless of whether the role is a junior position or if you’re a CEO.
Yet communication as a coffee maker is not just about taking a person’s order and letting your co-workers know what’s going on. Rather, communication can be seen as a key aspect in how you and your business (either yourself as a freelancer or the place you work at) is viewed by customers.
Great communication skills enhance a person’s experience at a café or coffee shop – whether that be a simple conversation about someone’s day, the thoughtfulness of remembering their name or coffee order, or an in-depth description of bean types or preparation methods, communication is the one aspect which trumps everything else.
Ability to Multitask
Coffee making can no doubt at times be stressful and a barista may need to be able to handle high pressure situations. Peak coffee times and eating hours are non-stop and in the busiest of coffee shops a good barista knows that they must be performing any multitude of tasks at a given time. Whether it be making coffee, grinding beans or frothing milk, or more service and store-oriented roles like taking orders, waiting tables or cleaning up, having the ability to juggle a number of tasks at any one time is a ticket to being not just a great barista but a great employee.
No employer likes a tardy employee and being a freelancer is no excuse to lack professionalism just because you work for yourself. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
The freelancer must go above and beyond the duty of a regular employee if they are to get ahead and impress the people whom they are working for.
Things such as punctuality and presentation are no brainers in any line of work, but professionalism also equates to the manner in which one conducts themselves in and out of a work environment. Taking pride in the job and giving particular attention to the small tasks that are easily overlooked or ignored will make you that more attractive to prospective employers, whereas cutting corners is a sure-fire way to not only lose respect but also lose any future work prospects.
One of the positives about hospitality work and the coffee making profession is that no matter where the location there is always some form of demand.
Large cities in Australia such as Melbourne or Sydney are always a person’s best chance at finding a multitude of position vacancies, but even in smaller regional or coastal settings there are a plethora of cafes and restaurants in search of decent baristas. In fact, growth of the industry over the last decade has been quite strong, with job opportunities rising from 21,600 to in 2011 to 37,200 in 2016.
Salary and Wage Growth
According to payscale, the average hourly rate for a barista in Australia is $26 or $51k per year, which is quite high considering that the average full-time barista works 2 hours less than the average Australian worker and that more than half of those in the position work part time.
Successful freelance baristas have a huge advantage here as they are able to work at more than one location and claim a higher rate as they are employed on a casual basis with the ability to shop around for a higher pay rate.
Is Freelancing the Future for Aspiring Baristas?
With the move over the last 30 years to a more casually employed gig economy workforce, it seems as though job security is a thing of the past.
This is why freelancing has become a go-to for up and coming baristas who are looking for more flexible working arrangements. Gone are the limitations of being tied to the one location and having to work around someone else’s schedule, rather, a freelance barista with a strong reputation for professionalism and quality service can not only work when they want to at a variety of different places, but they can also demand a greater rate of pay than their non-freelancing counterparts