Bartenders earn modest salaries that range between $20k to $25k. The best bartenders make up the difference through tips.
Professionals who tend bars already work as independent contractors for the service industry. However, those who want to dive into freelancing benefit from developing an entrepreneurial mindset.
For example, bartenders must differentiate themselves from others, especially in hot markets like Los Angeles, New York City, and Miami.
The following are five ways to launch your freelancing bartending career.
1. Learn the Skills of the Trade
Successful bartenders concoct the best drinks. Therefore, to launch your freelancing bartending career, start by learning the skills of the trade.
Veteran professionals pour drinks by feel. They have mixed the same drinks for so long that veterans have developed an eye for the perfect proportions of each ingredient and garnish. Plus, they add flawless additional touches, such as flavoring the glass rims.
However, the skills of the trade begin with a solid foundation.
Some individuals practice mixing drinks for their friends. Then, their friends provide them with feedback. It also helps to test your concoctions with veteran drinks who know how the original ones should taste.
If you’re from an area or living in a location famous for particular drinks, also learn how to perfect them.
2. Obtain Experience
To launch a successful freelancing career in any trade, obtain experience. Most bars start their bartenders as barbacks. Then, they allow them to work their way up to behind the counters.
Barbacking allows bar professionals to gain experience from the ground. It affords them an appreciation for the art and environment. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from seasoned pros and watch how they nurture clients.
For example, the DJs work in tandem with the bar staff in nightclubs. DJs pull crowds onto the dancefloor so that they have a good time. DJs will raise their heart rates so that they break a sweat. Then, they’ll give the crowds a break by slowing down the music, which creates a window for them to grab drinks.
More importantly, starting at the entry level will afford you opportunities to fill in for other bartenders and test your skills with customers who have expectations.
3. Obtain Any Necessary Credentials
Government authorities require that more career paths credential and license their professionals, including bartenders.
Even though you want to freelance as a bartender, you must also go through the licensing and credentialing process.
Authorities establish credentialing requirements to ensure professionals understand the regulations governing their career paths. Bartenders serve adult drinks that intoxicate them.
The National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drunk driving kills 32 people daily. Bartenders don’t serve every person that dies in these accidents. However, some people will overdrink at bars and nightclubs.
Thus, bartenders must know how to establish limits and how to handle minors who attempt to drink
Learn more about starting your freelance bartending business here.
4. Develop Unique Skills
Some professionals turn bartending into art. They pour perfect proportions of every ingredient, garnish it, and make it look drink-worthy. Other bartenders kick things up another notch by becoming show-stoppers.
You may have come across professionals who turn mixing drinks into a show by maneuvering shakers and glasses in a manner that catches the eye.
Other professionals like to light things on fire, which is less common since the fire poses risks to establishments.
As a freelancer, you must find ways to differentiate yourself from employees and other freelancers. Therefore, learn how to serve the tastiest drinks and develop unique skills that will land you ongoing gigs.
5. Market Your Skills
Freelancers must balance perfecting their trade while selling their skills. Bartenders can work at bars and nightclubs. They can also pick up gigs for private parties, corporate events, and festivals.
Therefore, plenty of opportunities to earn an income exist.
If you don’t have any gigs lined up, consider working with event planners or catering companies. Then, use the experience to build your resume and market your skills.
In these career paths, the trick is to become noticed. Once you start making connections, sustaining your freelancing bartending career becomes easier.
In 2022, it’s possible to launch several types of freelancing careers, including bartending. Customers judge bartenders by the taste of their drinks. Therefore, learn the skills of the trade and pick up some showmanship abilities to boost your profile.