Solopreneurs are no strangers to multi-tasking. As a business owner, we wear many hats and sometimes, we need help keeping them all on. We not only juggle the work of our business, we also juggle planning, strategizing, business growth, family, friends, personal passions and hobbies—it can be a lot.
And while sometimes it may feel overwhelming or exhausting, we want you to remember that there is help. We don’t have to do it all alone. So, before you hit burnout, let’s talk about how we can bring others into our fold – we’re talking about interns.
If you’re not ready to take the leap into full-time employees, interns can be a great option to help alleviate some of your tasks while also supporting someone in their career growth. Hiring an intern has the potential to cost less in overhead or to try out additional help at a more part-time level.
Interns may fall into one of the following:
Students who are still in school or studying a similar area of your business
Career changers who may currently be working in one industry or focus area and are looking to shift into a completely different area
Workforce reentry professionals who may have left the job market for an extended period of time and are ready to come back to work
In all instances, interns have the potential to be highly motivated as they look to build their portfolios and experiences in new areas. For you, it can provide the opportunity to delegate tasks that cost you time and resources, and to test out new team members in the business.
Research competitors or new product ideas
Answer phone calls, monitor appointment bookings or your Scheduler
Update website content
Schedule social media posts
Design flyers, postcards, or other marketing materials
Help with inventory or fulfillment
Edit digital content (e.g., podcasts, video, imagery, posts)
Make follow-up sales calls
Organize or develop new processes for streamlining business systems
Assist with bookkeeping or business records
Keep in mind that your intern wants to be valued and is also looking for meaningful work. Be prepared with an onboarding process, provide them with clear direction and feedback along the way, and ask for their feedback.
Before you start your search for the perfect intern, you will want to have a few things figured out. Start with identifying what from above and then:
Craft a job description that outlines the intern's responsibilities, skills you’re looking for and any must-haves or non-negotiables. Be transparent on whether this is a paid position, what that rate is, and how to get in touch.
Have clear goals: What do you hope your intern will help you accomplish? How will they know they are successful? What are the intern’s goals? What are they hoping to learn or get out of this position? Establishing this ahead of time - in writing ideally - will create a helpful structure for both the company and the intern. We like using an Individual Development Plan to stay on track.
Consider the tools needed for your intern to accomplish the goals set? Will this person work with you in your home office? A brick-and-mortar store? A location of their choosing? What software or other tools will they need access to and are there additional costs involved?
Connect with schools or professional organizations that list job and internship opportunities. You can connect with local university or college departments relevant to your business, look for parent groups, or even check the ‘open for work’ tags on LinkedIn. One such tool we like relevant to women re-entering the workforce is Bus Stop Mamas.
Spread the word on your website, social media channels, and your personal network. You may also consider posting in school career centers, LinkedIn jobs or other digital job boards. Use your Sparkle Site Share Link to add an option for those who visit your site to check out your internships opportunities.
Set up interviews as candidate applications come in. Save time by using We Sparkle’s Scheduler tool, an easy way to schedule interviews with candidates using a pre-set availability that you provide ahead of time.
Hire wisely but don’t delay the process. The job market moves quickly and you don’t want to miss your chance of bringing someone fabulous onto your team because they decided to go elsewhere. Once you have your selection, make the offer, reiterate position expectations, stipends or payments, and schedules. Have your new intern sign an agreement outlining their responsibilities or duties as an intern and have them fill out their IDP (Individual Development Plan).
The need for an intern may be born out of work overload, but as you work through the internship process, you will also come to gain new insights and diversity by bringing fresh ideas and perspectives from others to your business. What started as an internship may also have the opportunity to grow into full-time work or future employment as your business grows.
Remember your part too! Nurture relationships with your intern. Provide mentorship, great communication, and introduce them to your network and connections. An internship is a two-way street and works best when all parties are growing together. Build them up so they, in turn, will build up your brand.
Tip: We love having interns write a personal user manual This helps us know how to communicate with and support them, and helps ensure that everyone gets the most out of the experience.