YI: What motivated you to quit your job and become an entrepreneur?
I have always had the desire to have my own organization. Add to this the herd mentality, poor innovation and boss pleasing that is prevalent in big organizations. Thus, after working for two years with three different media houses, I realized it was time to create something of my own. My partners and I wanted to make a difference and make our dreams count; that’s why we decided to quit our jobs and start a business of our own.
YI: Why did you decide on ‘Let’s Intern’ as a business idea?
Well, there are about 12 million students and about 2 million organizations, with no dedicated platform for these two parties to interact. This proves that opportunity in this field is obvious, huge and needs attention.
We are glad we decided to cater to the needs of students because India’s growth story is that of youth. Through letsintern.com, we are able to be in the centre of it all.
YI: What challenges did you face starting a company at the age of 24?
When we started out, we had no money, no great backgrounds and no idea on how a business is done. We couldn’t afford anything, so we begged, pleaded and persuaded people to do stuff for us for token money or free. We learnt everything step by step. I heard more ‘No’s’ from clients and investors than I did from girls in school/college. In all, it was a very exciting but tough time. We learnt to enjoy the rejections and kept moving forward. Movement is all that you can show when you are that young.
YI: How has winning Economic Times ‘Power of Ideas’ impacted ‘Let’s Intern’?
Winning the Economic Times ‘Power of Ideas’ gave us a platform, money, recognition, investor interest and everything else. IIM-Ahmedabad gives an average student immense opportunities in the job world. ‘Power of Ideas’ gave us the same thing in the business world. Through this, we had the opportunity to talk to the best investors, mentors and entrepreneurs. The entire process was a good learning experience.
YI: What role has social media played in the success of your product?
Social media is the only marketing tool that we had for the first nine months. Social media is free, viral and present everywhere. Our entire target group, which is college students, is always on it. Therefore, it was a perfect match. We have 22,000 + followers on Facebook and Twitter, all of whom are genuine, obtainedthrough word of mouth and without spending a dime.
YI: Why should students opt for ‘let’s intern’ over any other platform?
Which other platform boasts of internships from stellar start-ups plus SMEs (small and medium enterprises) plus blue chips like Times Group, HCL, Viacom, MTV, Channel V, Outlook, fashion designers, movie houses, advertising houses, etc? The variety and quality provided by letsintern.com is unmatchable.
YI: Do you remember your first internship experience?
Yes, it was with the Mudra Group and I do remember it. I was 20 years old and I worked really hard for those 2 months. In fact, my bosses still remember me and are always willing to employ me. It was a fun time and the only thing I did was be desperate to prove myself, do more and learn more.
YI: What should young students keep in mind while they’re looking for internships?
There are three things students should keep in mind:
a) Take an opportunity rather than sitting at home. Nobody sat at home and became anything, doing the smallest job is better than doing nothing. Working for free is better than not working as a student.
b) Be desperate to learn, to work across functions, and gather as much knowledge. Don’t try to be specialists in internships – be generalists.
c) Try to do varied internships to understand what you are good at, what you like, etc. Experiment more.
YI: Any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Just believe in your gut instinct and start.
Always think of three things always with respect to your business:
What value am I adding to the consumer?
What is my cash situation?
How am I different from my competition?
Rishab’s Tips to Make the Most of Your College Life
Star Young: Footballers, musicians, and others make a lot of money in their 20’s as they have been practicing their art since they were 5 or 7. So after 15- 20 years of hard work, they make millions and it takes anyone that much time. Thus, spend time from day 1 to further your dream, career interest and be desperate for opportunities and learning.
Good Company: An organization is defined by its people. Similarly you alone can’t succeed and you need people around you to challenge you, compete with, work along with and develop new ideas. The sharper the brains around you or better the people around you – the chances are you will also succeed. All leaders stress on surrounding oneself with the best talent around.
Learn to Take Step 1: Thinking how to make 1 billion dollars or be as famous as Richard Branson is daunting, scary almost. It keeps you lost in day dreams. Think of the first step he took – and take the first step – start a student magazine, start an internship, start working – thinking and moving forward. The rest of the journey to your billions will unfold. So take the first step and keep moving; don’t keep sitting and thinking of a billion dollars and all that it can buy.
People Make Money, Money Doesn’t Make
People: No amount of money will make you a different person. It can make you buy expensive clothes but cannot change your style. Similarly, don’t chase money – all the money in the world will take you nowhere as a person – you will be as insecure. Learn to be the person worthy of money – and you will earn more and will be on the top.
Be Friends with Geeks: The most popular kid isn’t the most successful. Be friends with everyone, you never know who could become tomorrow’s CEO – people change a lot in 1 decade – look back at your last ten years.
Volume 2 Issue 3