This past summer I interned at a startup advertising agency in Minneapolis called Bullseye Media. All in all, it was an amazing experience! If you’re interested in working for a startup ever, here’s what it may be like.
You’ll Get to Know Everyone at the Company
And fast. Most startups are relatively small at first—there were only about ten people that worked at my company! At first this seemed kind of crazy to me, but after a week or so, I realized it was so nice because I already knew every single person there. Even the president. Bullseye Media was so cool because even though at twenty I was the youngest one there, there also wasn’t even anyone over thirty. You can imagine it’s pretty motivating to see all these millennials working so hard to make the agency a success!
They’ll Rely on You for Ideas
I remember one of my first days on the job, we were having a creative meeting to think of new ideas for a client. I was just kind of sitting there soaking in everyone else’s ideas so I could get a feel for how Bullseye operated. Then my boss turned to me to ask what I thought and what my ideas were. I was a little shocked to be honest, but you can’t just say that you don’t know! So I just told him what was on my mind at that exact moment. This was the usual for the rest of the summer. Although you are an intern, they may be bringing you on for fresh ideas. So make sure you’re always thinking because they could rely on you a lot! Even if it’s just an idea you think of out of the blue, don’t be afraid to share it, because likely your opinion will be heard.
You’ll Get a Huge Variety of Work
In my closing interview, my boss acknowledged that some of the work I had was really boring but some was also pretty exciting. He appreciated that I never gave up and worked hard no matter what kind of work I was doing. I think this was really important! Even if some days you get easy, boring work, you have to push through, because they aren’t going to give you the more exciting things unless you work hard at everything! And I guarantee that you will get to work on some really cool projects as the company is growing.
Passion Will Become Very Evident
This was the coolest part about my job! I’ve really never worked with people who are so passionate about what they do. I could really tell that everyone there loved what they do. The thing about a startup is that you have to work hard to get paid, whereas at some other places workers have the mentality that as long as they show up, they will get paid. This was really inspiring for me to see how important my coworkers’ jobs were to them. It was very evident that they enjoyed what they do.
There May Be a High Turnover Rate
For employees that is. During my three-month internship, we had two people get let go and two people also quit. While I was there, they also brought on two new workers. At first I was like jeez this is kind of crazy. But if you think about it, at a startup, it really doesn’t help to have people there who aren’t passionate about what they do. Owners/presidents will be looking to find people who really want to grind and make the company a success!
You May Not Make Much Money
This honestly was probably the only downside for me. This previous summer I was lucky enough to get bumped up to getting paid $13/hour at my retail job. After being used to this, when they told me interns only got paid a small monthly amount (relative to what I used to make), I was a little bummed. Also be aware, some startups will want their interns to work for free. For me personally though, I saw this opportunity as something that was going to be a great experience. If it’s something you’re interested in, I’d say still go for it. It will be worth it.
Dressing Business Formal Isn’t a Thing
For both of my interviews I showed up in a nice dress with a blazer. Right before I started, my boss sent an email saying they dress “business casual” most days. On my first day I showed up in dress pants, a nice shirt with a cardigan over it, and flats. Over the summer my outfits got more casual! Most of the guys in my office would show up wearing jeans and a collared shirt or even a t-shirt. The girls would wear jeans some days and dresses other days. It seemed like in a startup environment, you can really just wear whatever is comfortable to you, which is really nice. On days where my coworkers had meetings, you could always tell because they would be dressed up a bit!
You Will Learn More Than You Could Imagine
Everyday I came in, I learned more about how the company operates and got to work on new projects. I got the chance to learn so so much over the course of the summer interning at Bullseye Media! Probably more than you would if you interned at a big company. Your voice will be heard and you’ll be a lot more involved in the company. Now go for it! Start applying to some neat startups.