Pay Yourself a Barista’s Salary

Sole proprietors sometimes leave stable employment with predictable salaries to become his or her own boss. It’s tempting for the new to reinvest 100% of all available capital back into the fledgling business. Don’t. Pay yourself like a barista!

Draw a salary to satisfy basic financial needs.  Doing so will ultimately be far for the owner and also for the business.

Owners must make business decisions in the best interest of the business.  This can be difficult to do under the stress of immediate personal financial concerns. Making a decision to resolve immediate needs may sacrifice opportunities for the future. Having a clear head  can help to avoid damaging financial mistakes.

Although the statement may seem unnecessary at a first glance: the coffee shop may be yours, but it is not you. The distinction can be lost when working under extreme stress for long hours in the pursuit of a goal.  It is only an investment, so treat it like one.

Every retail coffee shop should be established as its own legal entity separate and distinct from you.

Have fun with your coffee shop.  Design it, manage it and personalize it but not lose your identity to the business.  Paying yourself a barista’s salary is one way to help maintain independence.

For reference of what may be reasonable today, check out this barista pay spreadsheet anonymously crowdsourced among the barista community of New York.