2014-2015 Startup Internship Award winner, supported by theNeff Entrepreneurial Intern Fellowship fund
How did you find the position?
I found my position through personal connections! One of my close friends started a digital marketing startup a couple of years ago.
What was your motivation for working at a start-up this summer?
Entrepreneurship is definitely a path I intend to follow. Whether it’s now or several years down the line, I eventually want to become my own boss and start calling my own shots. My friend has been running his business for a couple of years now so I definitely looked up to him for his advice about how he structures and operates his business. Especially since I have a personal connection with him, I knew that I would learn a lot more about what it means to be running your own business.
What advice would you give to students interested in working at a start-up this summer?
The smaller the start-up team is, the better the experience. You want to position yourself so that you are working directly with the decision-makers of the company in order to get the most out of the time you’re putting into it. It also helps if you are interested in the start-up’s industry but should not be a limiting factor. I was not that interested in digital marketing before this internship but I was exposed to a lot of marketing concepts-in-action that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
Experience over the Summer
Over the summer, I worked as a project manager for my friend’s digital marketing firm. Because of the firm’s prowess at digital marketing, he was able to start many different side projects as well which were businesses in their own respects. In a way, I was responsible for handling all the operations for a business that involved securing small business loans called merchant cash advances. It was a lot of pressure and responsibility put on me but I was excited to get started learning the industry and try closing my own deals. I didn’t have to worry about marketing because the firm was going to take care of that. My job was to manage each lead that came into the company and follow-up with each client.
It was a lot of calling at first, and I was discouraged by the amount of rejection I received. I never had any experience calling people to pitch a financial service before but I had no choice but to make the mistakes and learn from them. With each call I got better at my negotiating skills and at earning the trust of the people I spoke with over the phone and managed to garner some positive interest. On top of calling, I always had to keep trying to improve the overall business structure and position ourselves so we can start earning more revenue and more leads. With this information I reported to my friend who would use that information to try to integrate it to the overall business strategy.
My Future Plans
I gained valuable insights for running my own business over the summer. I wanted to experience what it felt like to run a business and test whether or not a life of an entrepreneur was for me. It was daunting at first and I definitely struggled to learn the ropes but I thoroughly enjoyed the process. My outlook on my future career path is going to be more geared to becoming my own boss and pursuing my own business interests. Everyday I’m constantly searching for my own business idea that I can take and just run with it. I am not afraid of failure anymore because I can truly appreciate that it is the nature of being an entrepreneur. You have to always be on the lookout for new ideas and keep testing them and see what journeys unfold.