The media really glamorizes start-ups. It seems like all fun and games and a few sessions of bullet concentration here and there. However, it’s a lot of hard work, and sometimes requires manual labor, something I’d never imagined I’d be involved in when I was accepted as an intern at my start-up. I guess this concept isn’t consistent amongst all start-ups, but since this start-up involves a physical smoothie vending machines that need to be stocked with smoothies, Berries by Astrid requires some manpower. During processes that require this type of labor, you learn a lot about how far people will go for the sake of the company. It is a test of your character, your ability to work with others, and the sacrifice you are willing to make for the sake of your company.
I wouldn’t call the experience of dragging tons of boxes of smoothie to and from events an enjoyable time. However, seeing our CEO working just as hard as everyone else on the team really emphasized what it means to be a leader. Being a good leader is so different from being someone’s boss. A leader leads their team by example. A leader treats everyone on the team as their equal. A leader knows that respect can only be earned over time. Respect cannot be demanded.
Seeing the kind of dedication, loyalty, and respect it takes to be a good leader really inspired me. I was also inspired to be more entrepreneurial in the process after seeing how far my CEO came after deciding to reject Stanford’s offer to teach there and to rather follow her entrepreneurial dream.