Have you ever thought about hiring interns to help you run your business? Do you have a lot of little tasks that just need to be outsourced?
IE 199: How Hiring Interns Can Grow Your Online Business with Christina Hitchcock
As business owners, we have to know when it’s time to hand certain tasks over to someone else. This allows us to focus on our zone of genius and continue to do the things that will grow our business.
Hiring an intern can sound overwhelming, and you might be wondering how it even works.
Today, we’re going to dive into exactly how to recruit, hire, and manage an intern so that you have more time to focus on the things you love.
My guest, Christina Hitchcock is a former marketing VP, turned blogger, turned business coach.
Interns Provide Freedom to Grow
Christina’s first website, It’s a Keeper, was a recipe/lifestyle website that she started in 2010 on a whim. As she was growing her website, she started to get overwhelmed with all of the things that needed to be done. Everything on the to-do list seemed to be multiplying.
She had a major “ah-ha!” moment when she realized she could use interns in her business, applying the principles she had used at her previous job. This was a game-changer for her business.
Now, she was able to start another website, write a book, and acquire clients all because hiring interns gave her freedom in her business.
She now coaches bloggers on how they can work smarter and scale their businesses.
Recruiting and Hiring in School Semesters
Christina’s recruiting and hiring process follows the school semesters. Fall, spring, and summer are the big times of the year for her. This is the time when students are looking for internships and when schools are able to help you find interns.
For the spring semester, Christina starts her recruiting process in January. You have to be a couple of steps ahead, just like when planning an editorial calendar.
If you know you need interns in the spring, January is a good time to start reaching out to professors and making introductions.
Outsourcing to Make More Money
One of the first steps in hiring an intern is:
- Understand that you can use an intern in your business
- Understand how you can use an intern in your business
Whether you are a big or small blogger/influencer, you have an experience that you can share. The whole premise of an internship is to provide a student with a real-world learning environment. There isn’t a magical size that your business has to be in order to hire an intern.
You have to know what your time is worth. Your time is valuable. It’s too valuable to be spending time on those $10 tasks that could be easily outsourced.
Your primary focus should be on the $100 and $1000 tasks that will grow your business and take it to the next level.
What Should You Outsource?
Think about the $10 tasks in your business. Regardless of the size of your business, there is always something that can be outsourced and something that you just don’t enjoy doing.
The next thing to think about is what tasks take up a lot of your time but aren’t necessarily making money. Those tasks should also be outsourced if possible. Facebook and Instagram are perfect examples of things that are easy to outsource.
At least twice a year, Christina makes a list of everything she is working on and then decides which tasks she can outsource.
You can outsource to a virtual assistant or you can hire an intern. You will save money and still be saving yourself time.
Systems Are Everything
In Christina’s course, she shows you the exact systems she uses when it comes to outsourcing to interns.
She has processes for everything. She teaches you exactly what she does when it comes to recruiting, hiring, training, and managing her interns.
You don’t want to end up wasting the time that you just got back by hiring an intern by trying to manage them.
It’s all about planning and being organized.
Christina gives you all of the tools, templates, documents, and checklists you need to run your business while using interns. Your systems have to be in place and they need to be easily replicated.
The First Steps to Hiring an Intern
Most of Christina’s interns work remotely.
During quarantine, she sent out her summer intern job description, and within a few hours, she had over 70 applicants. The large companies that are typically go-to’s for interns don’t have the time or resources to take on interns during Covid-19.
Here are her steps to finding interns in your area:
- Research the schools in your area. (For remote work, you can go outside this boundary.)
- Find out who the professors are that you want to reach out to.
- Find the school’s career development office.
Before you reach out to anyone from the school, write up the job description. You need to sell your internship opportunity. A well-crafted job description makes recruiting easy.
You can also post your job description on social media sites, like Facebook or LinkedIn, to recruit.
Finding Interns Who Work for Free
Can you hire an intern for free? Christina has only ever used unpaid college interns. She makes it very clear that the position is unpaid from the beginning and has never gotten any pushback.
She has worked with over 100 interns and most of the students are getting college credit for their internship.
She provides a great educational experience for her interns. This gives them the opportunity to gain knowledge and build up their portfolio. She always writes great recommendation letters for them at the end.
You do have to ensure that you are providing an educational experience for your interns. You can’t just use them for free labor.
If you’re an online influencer and entrepreneur, there are so many things you can provide to an intern: marketing and communications, social media management, content creation, etc.
(Make sure you check with your state and local governments to make sure you are within the guidelines of hiring an intern.)
Interns appreciate the opportunity to be really involved and a part of the process. If they have taken over a Facebook group, they can put that on their resume for future employers.
Streamline Your System
Christina stresses that you need to have your entire program planned out before you even think about hiring an intern.
She first started using interns when she was working full-time. She was making it up as she went along. On top of the work that she was doing at her job, she was constantly hand-holding her interns. She spent more time directing the interns than she did doing her actual work.
It was stressful and exhausting.
You have to streamline your system in order for it to work. The extra help doesn’t do any good if you are having to still do a ton of work.
As busy business owners, you have clients to impress. You cannot afford to waste your time.
This is why planning is so important. Plan out your interview and hiring process. Plan out what the interns will work on and how you will train and manage them.
Skyrocketing Your Productivity
Christina’s program is laid out this way with checklists and templates. It allows her to roll it out as soon as she needs to and it can be replicated over and over again.
Christina’s guide “How to Use Interns to Skyrocket Your Productivity” is designed to help you understand what goes into a successful intern program and to provide you with a framework for setting up your own program.
She provides you with tips and worksheets to help you implement your own program.