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4 Compelling Reasons To Start An Internship Program In Your Business

4-Reasons-You-Should-Hire-Interns-To-Help-You-In-Your-Business-ASAP

June 7, 2024

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Crunchy mom of two, married to my favorite boy for life, and lover of the dark chocolate peanut butter cups!
I went from nearly losing my mind and business to an intentional, successful woman all because of systems.
I'm Chelsi Jo
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Today, I want to share with you the four reasons why you should hire interns to help in your business as soon as possible. Yes, my internship program is the love of my life, and it’s something I’m incredibly passionate about. Before you click away, I urge you to hear me out. This blog post is filled with valuable insights and is 100% for you. Let’s dive into why an internship program could be the game-changer your business needs. 

No matter where you are in your business journey, you can and should consider hiring interns. In this post, I’m going to explain why and hopefully change your mind, whether you currently view the idea positively, negatively, or are just curious. I’ll make sure to address all your questions about why having interns in your business is a must. Beyond the transformative systems we provide to families, my internship program is the greatest testament to the work we do in my company.

“No matter where you are in your business journey, you can and should consider hiring interns.”

Listen Below For The Entire Episode On The Systemize Your Life Podcast

The Value Of An Internship Program In Business

I believe that having interns in your business, no matter where you are in your journey, is absolutely the best decision you will ever make. Before I dive into the four reasons why, I want to share a bit about what this journey has been like for me.

I started hiring interns in my business before I had the funds to hire anyone. My appreciation for internships began in college when I was training to become a professional sign language interpreter. During that time, I was required to complete a year-long internship, dedicating a significant number of hours before I could even consider obtaining my credentials.

That experience as an intern changed my life in many ways. As a college student navigating internships, I encountered both good and bad aspects. For some reason, I became highly analytical of the entire process. The program’s structure, the hoops we had to jump through, the systems—or lack thereof—all captured my attention and influenced my perspective.

Some aspects were beneficial, while others were not, but I truly loved the process for everything it entailed. I aimed to excel, to be the best intern, and to secure the best job after the internship. This entire experience in college, going through the internship program, left a lasting impression on me for various reasons. I gained so much from it, and it stayed with me for a long time.

I found myself in scenarios that I genuinely wanted to experience but hadn’t yet encountered professionally. At that point in my life, I was still in my early twenties and in college, lacking the professional experience to navigate those situations with confidence.

Creative Solutions For An Internship Program

Fast forward to when I had been an interpreter for 10, 12, or even 15 years. At that time, my mom and I started an event-based wedding business. Given my background, I was fluent in sign language, but we didn’t have the cash flow to hire the help we desperately needed. The labor was intense and the workload was overwhelming. We constantly asked for help from family members and anyone else we could recruit. As our weddings grew in size and the setup and teardown became more demanding, I realized we needed more help. This led me to consider hiring interns.

I started getting really creative. I approached local deaf schools because I was fluent in sign language and knew these high school students needed work experience. They needed professional opportunities, and I realized many people are unaware of how to work with individuals who use American Sign Language or have different abilities. Often, opportunities aren’t extended to people who aren’t like the majority, and I wanted to change that. By integrating these students into our business, I aimed to provide them with valuable work experiences while also addressing our need for more help.

The Value Of A Well-Structured Internship Program

The magnitude of efficiency and effectiveness of having interns is incredible. It’s so simple, yet many people feel intimidated by the idea of bringing interns on board to help with their work. Let me share the four reasons why I believe you should start incorporating interns into your business right away. 

You already know my passion for this topic and understand that it’s not just about saving money or getting free labor. While there are financial perks, they are not the primary reasons I advocate for internships. In fact, they don’t even make the top four reasons I’m about to discuss. It’s much more profound than that.

And I’ll be really honest—many people shy away from this because they think it’s too much work, but it’s really not. Let’s get into it. Here are the four reasons you should consider hiring interns, regardless of whether you’re just starting out or already have a team of contractors. It doesn’t matter where you’re at in your business journey. You might be wondering if you should hire your first virtual assistant (VA) or an intern, and the truth is, you can do both. I have a mix of employees, contractors, and interns working with me, and it’s a fantastic combination.

Tip #1: Introduction To Outsourcing Through An Internship Program

Here’s reason number one. The first reason is that hiring interns is a great introduction to outsourcing. When you bring interns on board, you get a taste of what it’s like to hire and lead people. So, here’s how this works:

By starting an internship program, you’ll quickly become adept at instructing someone on exactly what needs to be done and creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) to guide them. Of course, I’m talking about running an internship the way I do it—structured and well-organized. Having interns without clear direction or understanding of their tasks can be very inefficient and frustrating.

So, when you bring interns into your work environment, you’re committing to giving them just a few hours each week. It’s not a massive overhaul. Start by identifying one task that someone else can handle, especially if you already have templates for it. 

If you don’t have templates yet, that’s your starting point. Create templates for tasks like graphics. For instance, every time you need to post on social media, update your blog, or promote your podcast episode, have templates ready. This was my first step. I asked my intern, “Can you create these graphics every Tuesday and Friday?” And that was it—simple and effective.

Supporting Online Communities Through An Internship Program

Another excellent place to start is by having interns support any online community you manage. This could be a Facebook group, a student group, or any other online community. They can provide feedback, engage with members, and offer support.

I remember feeling terrified about what this would look like in practice. I sat down and thought, “Okay, Chelsi, what do you do every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in this one small area?” I wrote down those steps and called it an SOP. That’s what I’m talking about. Creating a simple, clear process that interns can follow is the key to integrating them smoothly into your business.

That’s why you need to take this step. If you don’t push yourself here, you’ll never pull it out of you. You’ll continue wearing all the hats, keeping everything in your head. If you’ve worked with me, learned from me, or tried to implement your own workflows, you’re already on your way. This is just an extension of that process.

Taking Small Steps Toward Outsourcing Through An Internship Program

How do you hand that over to someone else? This is an incredible opportunity to do so. It’s not about taking a huge bite of the elephant but rather one small bite. Bring someone in for a few hours a week. It’s low pressure for both parties and can be a short-term commitment, just six to twelve weeks. This makes it a manageable, low-risk way to start outsourcing and delegating tasks.

I wouldn’t recommend anything less than six weeks because it usually takes people between two to four weeks to really get into the groove. For three years, I ran 12-week internships, but about six months ago, we switched to a six-month internship. We’ve only run one round so far, and now we do six months every time.

But that’s okay. How you go about this will evolve over time, just as mine has. It’s important to be flexible and allow your internship program to grow and adapt as needed.

Tip #2: Get More Done In Less Time With An Internship Program

Number two: The second reason to hire interns is to get more done in less time. This is an obvious perk and a compelling reason to implement this as soon as possible. When you take the time to delegate tasks you regularly handle, such as writing emails to your email list, you free up your time for higher-level activities. 

There are people out there, whether in your local community or online, who can take over these routine tasks. This delegation allows you to focus on growing your business and tackling projects that require your unique expertise. By teaching an intern to manage these regular tasks, you ensure that your business operations continue smoothly while you concentrate on strategic goals and initiatives.

Even if you run a brick-and-mortar business rather than an online one, you should absolutely consider hiring interns. It’s incredibly tangible and straightforward to integrate them into your daily operations. You can easily train them on various tasks, such as:

– Going through the cleaning station

– Handling the folding station

– Setting up displays or areas

– Bringing in clients

– Writing grants

Delegate And Empower: Boost Efficiency With An Internship Program

By having interns, you not only delegate these essential tasks but also create a learning environment where they gain valuable experience while contributing to your business’s efficiency and growth.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you run; you can absolutely have interns. Take one small, specific task that you handle and delegate it to them. By doing so, you not only blow their mind with the opportunity and experience but also free up five hours of your own time each week. This simple step allows you to get so much more done in less time. I’m not exaggerating—just this one change, this one intern, can make a significant difference.

And if I could go back to number one for a minute, you’ll also develop crucial leadership skills. The type of communication and leadership experience you’ll gain from managing interns is unparalleled. You won’t find this kind of practice anywhere else. It’s something you have to experience and refine through practice.

Tip #3: Build Your Future Team With An Internship Program

The third reason to hire interns is that it’s an excellent way to find a great future team member. I’ve never hired outside of my intern pool. If you want to work for Chelsi Jo Dot Co., you should start as an intern because that’s where we hire from. It’s where you’ll want to hire from too. I’ve had interns who stayed with me for over a year, continually learning new things, loving the community and the relationships we build. We get to know each other so well that they either end up working for me or I help place them in positions with other companies. This continuity and depth of understanding make the hiring process smoother and more effective.

I can’t tell you how many times I get emails from people saying, “Hey, I’m about to hire a VA. Do you have anyone to recommend?” Yes, I sure do, because we have interns coming through here all the time. So, no matter where you’re at, if you think you might want to hire someone in the next six to 18 months, start an internship program as soon as possible. Or, give yourself about two to four weeks to get everything in place and then roll with it.

Internships In Your Business Journey

My husband asked me, “Where do you find these people?” And I replied, “From my community.” Even when I only had 25 people downloading my podcast episodes—literally 25 downloads a month—I found interest within that small group. So it truly doesn’t matter how big or small your audience is; there are always potential interns eager to learn and contribute.

Obviously, you need to be in a position where you have something that you’re producing regularly. If you’re just starting to set up your business, aim to reach the point where you at least have something you’re consistently putting out that can be templated. Once you’re regularly producing content, there will be people watching and consuming it. Those are your potential interns.

I’ll tell you an interesting story. At one point, I thought about opening up my internship program to people outside of my community. You can absolutely do that, but my experience was a bit rough. I posted my internship opportunity in a couple of VA communities, and I got absolutely eaten alive. I would highly discourage you from posting in those communities. 

Finding Passionate Interns Within Your Community

It’s crucial to remember that for internships, you’re looking for people who have a heart and passion for what you do. When you go into communities where people don’t know you, they won’t understand why you want interns. They won’t grasp the real meaning behind your work because they’re disconnected from who you are, what you do, and your mission and passion.

If you run a nonprofit and seek interns in an entirely different community, they likely won’t share the same heart and passion for your work. That was a lesson I learned the hard way. While it’s not to say this approach couldn’t work for you, I believe the most valuable place to find interns is within your own communities. This could be both your local community and your online audience. 

When interns come from your existing community, they already understand and resonate with your mission and values, making them more invested and effective in their roles.

Tip #4: The Rewarding Experience Of Running An Internship Program

Here’s Reason Number Four. I’ve hinted at this and mentioned it several times already, but it’s probably the number one reason you should hire interns as soon as possible. While the first three reasons were my initial answers, I added this fourth one because it truly encapsulates why I’ve continued running an internship program for three years. It’s the most rewarding experience not only for yourself but also for the intern.

We take it very seriously because I have never experienced, and you will never experience, something more rewarding. Truly, what I get from the experience of teaching others is invaluable. Every intern—and I mean every intern—that has ever worked with us has walked away feeling sad to leave. The connection they build, the experience they gain, and the skills they acquire are unparalleled. And for us, the way we choose to run our internship program is unique and deeply fulfilling. You can run yours however you want, but the reward lies in the mutual growth and learning.

Structuring An Effective Internship Program

But we have broken it down so our interns work five hours a week for six months. At the end of those six months, they gain access to Systemize to Scale, which also includes Systemize Your Life and Systemize Your Biz. They receive all three of my courses without any additional cost. Of course, they’ve earned it through their dedication and hard work over the past six months.

But you will find that there are people in your community eager to learn two key things from you: how you run your business and the core knowledge you’re teaching. They want to understand both aspects. Every business owner I’ve seen implement an internship program has found this to be true. I know multiple six and seven-figure business owners, as well as those just starting out, who have adopted my internship model or something similar. They all say it’s incredible. It’s so rewarding to hop on a Zoom call and see a group of dedicated people working hard to advance a mission that means so much to you.

The Transformative Power Of An Internship Program

Here’s the coolest thing about giving of yourself and pouring into other people as a business owner: it’s not just about getting free labor or getting more done in less time. Yes, technically, you can achieve those things, but that’s not the essence of it. When you’re challenged to be a better leader, to communicate more clearly, and to guide and instruct effectively and efficiently, the transformation within you is life-changing.

Witnessing something produced for your business that positively impacts your community, without you directly creating it, is incredibly rewarding. Teaching someone else to develop a skill and then seeing their hard work make a difference is unparalleled.

Wrapping It Up…

I am insanely passionate about integrating an internship program into your business. It’s not just about the practical benefits of having extra help; it’s about fostering growth, both for yourself and for your interns. By teaching and guiding others, you develop your leadership skills, improve your communication, and contribute to the professional development of individuals eager to learn. This mutual growth creates a thriving, dynamic environment that benefits everyone involved.

So, whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand your team, consider the profound impact an internship program can have on your business. It’s an opportunity to give back, inspire, and create a lasting legacy within your community. Embrace the challenge, and you’ll find that the rewards extend far beyond the immediate benefits.

If you do end up putting any of these tips into place, I’d love for you to share them within our vibrant Facebook community or come over and visit me on Instagram. Not only will it serve as a piece of accountability for you, but it will also encourage other moms who haven’t yet taken action on what they’ve read. And remember that we would LOVE to see you inside of Systemize Your Life as a VIP student!

Thanks so much for being here with me!

4-Reasons-You-Should-Hire-Interns-To-Help-You-In-Your-Business-ASAP

Frequently Asked Questions

What other ways can I hone in on getting my business to run more efficiently?

Here are some other ways you can dig in. Check out some other similar blog posts that can be helpful like: Unlocking Efficiency: How These 5 Marketing Systems Can Transform Your Business Strategy or Navigating Outsourcing: A Step-by-Step Guide to Delegating in Your Business.

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