How Interning At a Startup Influenced my Entrepreneurial Path – #6

I specifically joined ELP (Entrepeneurs Leadership Program) and interned at a startup this summer because my goal is to start my own company someday.

I already have a small business of my own and I blog from time to time, but this is all small-scale stuff.

Like many other young entrepreneurs, in the future I hope to create a company that impacts thousands, if not millions of people, but I know I’m not ready to do that yet.

Interning at SpellBound reinforced my desire to create an impactful company in the future, and taught me many valuable lessons I’d like to share here.

  1. Have a Strategy, but Be Flexible– Many early stage companies don’t have a strategic plan in place for what they’re trying to reach which can often be their downfall. Startups have to be flexible and can’t be rigid in their ways, but they also need a certain end that everyone is working towards even if that end shifts around from time to time.
  2. Don’t Argue to Win, Argue to Understand and Figure Things Out– This is one of the most important, but hardest lessons I’ve learned/had reinforced. When we argue, our natural tendency is to try to “win” the argument where we should be trying to understand the other person and be willing to readjust our views. No one has the absolute truth at their disposal so the goal of an argument is to come out at the end of it having learned something.
  3. You Don’t Know How Much You Don’t Know– The famous Dunning Krueger curve states that as you start learning something your confidence in your skills sharply increases until it starts plummeting once you realize how much you really don’t know. I’ve been guilty of this many times and know I tend to be overconfident at times so this is an important skill for me to have.
  4. The Team is Everything– Having a great team that is skilled and makes you excited to come into work every day is crucial. There will be failures at any startup. There will be nights where you have no idea what to do or where to go because it will feel like your entire world has been destroyed. But having the right team by you can bring you through these scary times and is overall a more pleasant experience.
  5. It Takes Time- There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Most overnight successes we see are people who have worked for months, years, or even decades, and then finally got their “lucky break.” There was a company on our floor that was on the brink of death for years, but the founder kept working on it. Now they’re hiring like crazy and are doing super well. To an outside observer this seems like an overnight success, but to those in the know it just looks like a reasonable result of his years of effort.

One thought on “How Interning At a Startup Influenced my Entrepreneurial Path – #6

  • August 30, 2018 at 8:50 pm
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    Ilya,
    It’s been great to read about the wrap of your internship! Again, I really enjoy your writing style and reflections — it’s clear you’ve learned so much this summer!

    Thanks for sharing your takeaways on things you would have told yourself 3 months ago, including being more open from the start, and pushing yourself to contribute right away. Valid that those can be challenging as you learn a new environment and work culture! How did SpellBound do a good job of building that trust and environment for you to feel comfortable in? Might be helpful to consider as you look to your own business goals!

    I look forward to seeing what you build in the future – you’re already strategic about building the skills needed to get there and make it happen. Any thoughts on how SpellBound has been able to bring together such a strong team to support their growth through the uncertainty, time/effort, and shifting goals? (one of the lessons you noted)

    Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom from your work with SpellBound this summer!

    Thanks,
    Beth

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