NATIONAL LAMPOONS ANIMAL HOUSE, John Belushi, 1978. ©Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection


We have entered a golden era for finding part-time and contract workers! Throughout my years of starting companies, I’ve had the most luck hiring interns. They have offered a higher return on investment than any other investment I’ve made. They are hard-working, affordable, ambitious, and can get shit done. Here’s why:

1. Less Drama; More “Grind”: When you’re starting an innovative company, you just have to grind it out. Much of the work isn’t fun. Experienced, full-time employees don’t often desire to manage not-so-fun but necessary details and projects; therefore, the founder must complete the work him or herself. Interns expect to do grunt work and don’t mind doing it as long as they’re paid and you teach them new ideas along the way. It’s a win-win.

2. Time and money savings: When you start a startup, a prerequisite for success is getting lots of work done. My previous post, “A Startup is 10,000 Little Details – All Smooshed into One” discusses work that must be completed and requires critical time commitment – such as the two hours it takes to purchase and setup a printer. Other critical work could include researching prospects, gathering website data, managing customer service issues, gathering feedback from users, and so forth. My post recommends you hire someone that is good with details ASAP. Trouble is, full-time staff who can manage these details cost $35,000+ per year. What if you can’t afford to hire this person? Hire an intern and fill the gap at a fraction of the cost. Interns typically cost $10-15 per hour and work 10 hours per week, so the cost is $150 per week, or $7,500 per year.

3. Interns aren’t jaded from years of “working for the man”: Interns are excited, open-minded, and eager to not only be earning money in the “real world” but also learning new things in a cool environment. Full-time, experienced employees are often jaded, bored, and can lack enthusiasm. Why not hire employees for less money?

4. Interns make for great future employees: At least five of my former interns have turned into outstanding employees. Their internship was a good evaluation period. By the time you hire them, they are trained and molded into the ideal teammate.

Finding and hiring interns is relatively easy. Just write up a job description and send it to everyone you know. One way I used to find my interns was by speaking at their business classes. No matter what way you go about finding your interns, just know you gotta do it!


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