I’m a HUGE advocate for internships. This year has been all about starting my business and creating internship awareness through my listings, blogs, advice, tweets, appearances, speeches, etc. I’ve met all kinds of individuals - mostly students, employers, other career experts, parents, and professors. One of my observations, is that many students that were interns in college have now started their own business. Are there stats on this ? Not yet. This is just a correlation that I’ve observed.
Reasons Interns Become Entrepreneurs
1. INTERNS START THEIR CAREER PATH EARLY. As an intern, you are placed in an office environment at a young age. The earlier you intern, the earlier you start thinking about your professional life. At school, students speak about weekend plans, getting “wasted”, parties, tests, homework, study groups. In the work place, people discuss their futures. The number one question I was asked at my first internship was “So where do you want to go from here ? What’s next?” I had never really been asked that before. My parents cared about me getting good grades. My friends cared about partying, boys, and when I was available for a trip to the mall. My teachers cared about my grades and attendence. No one had asked about my future. As an entrepreneur, I’m always thinking, “What’s next ? What’s the bigger picture here?”
2. INTERNS LEARN NOT TO GIVE UP. I learned not to give up and to always try all of your options when I got rejected from several internships as a freshman. I dealt with “internship/job-related rejection” at a very young age (18). When I was ready to start my own business, I was very used to this kind of rejection. I think that rejection is what stops lots of people from starting their own business - the fear of rejection. I got over this fear at a young age. I get different types of rejections every day, running my company, but it just makes me try different options and encourages me to keep trucking along.
3. INTERNS MUST GET THINGS DONE - EFFICIENTLY. If you’ve ever had a demanding internship, you know what it’s like to feel rushed and under pressure. My second internship was at BACKSTAGE - theatre trade publication - in New York City. The paper was published twice per week and the office was insane. I had never been around such chaos and personalities in my life. After getting yelled at for not completing an assignment on time, I realized that you don’t have all of the time in the world to complete things. Tasks must be done asap. In my business life, certain companies/people take weeks to get things done. I wouldn’t have my company if I couldn’t get the work done at a rapid pace.
4. INTERNS LEARN RESPONSIBILITY. During my college career as an intern, I learned the “No One is Capable” mentality. This meant that I was to assume no one was good at their jobs and take everything into my own hands. It was my responsibility to make sure things got done efficiently. As an entrepreneur, we learn that we must be involved with everything - especially at the beginning. I am always involved with every part of my business. I never asssume that someone else will get the job done.
5. INTERNS LEARN THE SATISFACTION OF ACCOMPLISHING A GOAL. Interning is still a newer idea - for both parents and students. The idea of interning becoming a necessity for students is also a new idea. Many students set the goal of achieving one internship before graduating college. If the student achieves this goal, before graduating, they get to think about what is next and what their next goal will be. If you would have asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up (as a freshman in college) I would have said, “A writer.” I interned and then worked for several magazines all through college. As a junior in college, I wanted to be in Publicity. After about 4 or 5 publicity internships, I was ready to move on to the next goal which was running my own business.
What do my Tweeps Think ?
“Not sure it’s causal, but maybe internship experience provides valuable foundational skills for entrepreneurship.” @sweetcareers, http://sweetcareers.blogspot.com/.
“Some entrepreneurs find that they need to build their own thing at internships. Some others learn what is needed there.” @jjaime, http://jjaime.tumblr.com/.
“Every job I ever had (the few that is) were working for really exciting entrepreneurs!” @ysnjen,
Have You Interned and Do you Want to Start a Business ?
“Yes.Zackery Moore, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Cayenne Creative. PR and social marketing.” @zakmo
” I’m Rebecca Eltzroth, my company is Ball and Buck, I interned at local music mgmt firm, maax, the empower program, Sen. Olympia Snowe. @ballandbuck, Owns an organic clothing company, http://ballandbuck.com/old/.
“Yes. Megan Marquez, DePaul. Intern: atBig City Bride, Jasculca/Terman, Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago Symphony Orchestra.” @MZMarquezs.
” I interned @ a black owned cosmetics company (Clear Essence Cosmetics) and i mean, it’s 2009 evry1 is tryin 2 b their own boss.” @MiaMcK
”I interned at American Cancer Society. I doubt I’d ever start my own business.” @RaylondoCaved.
”I am interning for The Henry Ford this semester. Yes, I think about it. in 12 years I would like to have a viable corporation.” @jrdbryan
“I would work 4 someone, but also have my own thing on the side. best of both worlds.” @MiaMCK
“PR agencies and a hospital. I’ve never really considered starting my own business, but maybe later down the road.” @heatherdamico.
“All of the time. Not a current intern but I completed 5 before graduating last Aug.” @marerockcity.
Helpful Links: Internships Create Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurial Opporutnity on TechCrunch: http://bit.ly/RihA0