by Stacie Krajchir,
Ladies Who Launch member, Los Angeles
1. Familiarize yourself with the term “intern.”
If you haven’t heard, interns are the new black. If you don’t have one, find and hire one. Actually, get as many as you can.
Not only are interns smart, young, eager, willing, and able, they are in most cases free. As a launching entrepreneur, that is like finding this season’s Marc Jacobs bag with a $0 price tag.
My general entrepreneur intern mantra is this: Treat your interns with the deepest respect, say thank you often, and find ways to show them you value them beyond the obvious “Hey Jillian, great job today.” I support and encourage a few off-campus staff outings (think mani, pedi, massage, or a nice long lunch), which give the whole team a chance to just be who they really are outside the office structure.
I always make a point to ask interns what they want out of their experience with my company and I give them actual duties beyond getting me coffee, filing, and Xeroxing—seriously people, court your intern like you might a super hot guy. I tend to give my interns more responsibility than the norm because if I demonstrate I trust them to do key work that matters, they will in most cases step up to the plate and hit the ball out of the park. If you invest the proper time, training, and effort, I guarantee your intern will turn into your best, most loyal employee.
I require interns to commit to at least three months—if they can’t hack three months of basic training, they aren’t really sticking around anyway. When they do stick around that long and want a part-time job, even if you don’t think you can afford them, give up your daily latte for two weeks—there’s their starter salary and your new star employee. Congratulations.