“It’s like a rollercoaster ride.”

“I feel I’ve aged 10 years the last couple of years.”

These are just a couple of statements I hear constantly as an entrepreneur. I’ve never felt them to be more true then this past week.

Yes, I said this past week and it’s only Tuesday. Let me explain.

I’ve been heads-down the last few months viciously working on 123Linkit’s beta launch. My CTO and I departed earlier this year due to his other commitments. Since then, I raised a small F&F round and have been working with contractors to get the product ready for our next release.

The main two contractors I’ve been working with have been referred to me by friends. The first, we’ll stick with his first name, Dan, has been absolutely exceptional. He is in constant communication with me, updating me on what he’s working on, reaching out when he’s stuck, and he’s been honest and straightforward in his time estimates and rates. I love him almost as much as I love chocolate. Almost.

The other is a WP developer (who shall remain nameless for now)  from the  suburbs that I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting. I needed someone to refactor our plugin, he had the credentials, I trust my friend so we worked out the details and signed a working contract. I’ve had the extreme opposite experience with this guy. He’s barely in communication, full of excuses and has missed EVERY deadline we’ve set. Even more so, he runs his own development shop!

The difference between the two has been frustrating. On the one hand, I have this star developer who I possess the highest accolades for. On the other, I have to babysit this supposed business owner who’s full of broken promises.

Focusing on the latter developer, we had originally agreed on a delivery date of April 23rd and I paid for half of the development costs up front. I’ll save you the million and one reasons we ended up being six weeks overdue. I will say that at every deadline, I had to reach out and ask for an update. I almost never heard back on the same day and when I did, I was fed yet another reason the project was being held up. Regardless, tension reached a standstill a couple of weeks ago and I sent an honest email explaining how the project has not gone to expectations, how we’re more than a month behind schedule and that we had an impending launch date getting closer and closer. In addition, I provided a proposal that gave him 10 days  to send me the final product and in return I promised we’d depart as friends and ensured I would fulfill the rest of his payment.

He responded within the hour, saying I’ll have it BEFORE the June 6th deadline I outlined in my email.

Whew!

Wait, not so fast…

We went back and forth a couple of times and yesterday, I received this email:

Yasmine,
I’m saddened to report that I could not complete this on time and to expectations. I hate having to admit defeat, but I just could not figure out the issue of why this was working incorrectly.
I feel that at this time its best to just break contract and go our separate ways so that I quit wasting your time and so you can find someone that can actually resolve your issue.
-#@!&*#

What?! Did this guy really just wait until the day of the newly proposed deadline, after the project has been overdue by SIX WEEKS, to say that he can’t finish the work?

As you can imagine, I was LIVID. I cursed up a storm, threw things around my poor boyfriends’ apartment and repeatedly punched his couch pillows (Shhh…don’t tell).

I drafted a few responses, deleted them, and sent a note back saying I’ll call him to discuss getting a refund on my down payment. We talked later in the afternoon and he promised to have a check to me by next Monday. I was civil, didn’t raise my voice, didn’t scream at him…it’s as if I had taken lessons at a lady etiquette school. Then, a friend of mine brought up a good point. “All this guy has done is make promises he hasn’t kept. How do you know he’s really going to send that check?”

Ah, that is true. I called him again, said exactly that and he promised again he would send the check out by the end of the week. He sounded so calm, so undisturbed that I couldn’t hold back any longer and I started telling him how his actions have set my Company back. Not even 3 sentences in, he interrupts and says “If you called to complain, I have work to do.”

Wait…what did you just say asshole?

How can you make sure you don’t work with someone like THAT?! I took a step back and analyzed what could have gone better and here’s my list:

  • Get references! Even if your Mom swears on him/her, do it anyway. This is my biggest regret.
  • Set expectations early. I assumed because this guy ran his own shop, he would be in constant communication with me. That was clearly not the case. Don’t micro-manage but ask for updates along the process and establish a schedule before you began.
  • Set milestones together. Our original timeline was two weeks to complete the project. What I wish I would have done is worked with him to put together a plan on what he’s going to do for those two weeks. For example, he’ll work on refactoring the plugin for the first 3 days. I’ll test it to make sure nothing broke, send it back and he’ll finish it up. A week later, I should have a complete version to test against the issues we were having before the refactoring. If something doesn’t work as expected, we’ll go back and forth to get resolved. Two weeks in, we’re almost finished and we were in-sync all the way (this is how I wish it would have went down).
  • Pick up the phone! I prefer communicating by email and so did this guy but I wish I would have initiated more phone calls. I never met this guy, we didn’t have a relationship other than the mutual friend that referred us. You can only get to know someone so much by email.
  • Don’t ignore warning signs. This particular guy is extremely active on Twitter. Take a Twitter buddy of yours that’s always on the site and multiply his usage by fifty. Yes, this guy tweets incessantly. Nothing wrong with that…except when I see you’re BBQ-ing when you told me you’d devote your weekend to the plugin, when you’re complaining about all the work you have to do, etc.
  • Nip it in the bud. I had the chance to voice my frustrations early on but I decided to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. BIG mistake.

Our beta launch has now been pushed back two weeks as a result. Don’t get played like I did. Less than six days and counting until I’m supposed to receive my refund. Should we take odds on whether or not I’ll have to take him to small claims court?

Super Startup Intern WantedI posted a list of internship resources startups can use when recruiting interns a few weeks ago. A commenter asked if I could write a follow-up entry on what I actually submit when I distribute my listings. In this post, I’ll do just that as well as provide recruiting advice to increase the probability of attracting the best interns for your Company.

Backstory:

I’ve have tremendous success with interns at my startup. I started as a marketing intern myself at Team and a Dream (now Philly Marketing Labs) and it is how I got my start in this industry. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had professionally and I attribute it to the Founder, Skip Shuda, and his philosophy of providing interns with “big shoes to fill” as he liked to say. His thought on the best way to learn is to provide someone with a big project or task to see how he/she ends up “fitting” into the shoe. At the same time, this method gives the employer a sense of what that person’s strengths and weaknesses are early on. From there, the employer can incorporate him/her into projects where their strengths can shine and help them work on the areas they need to improve on.

Intern Description Techniques:

I like having diverse groups of students apply for the opportunities we post at 123LinkIt so I don’t include specific details in the requirements sections or add limitations such as GPA. This is because I want a wide range of applicants. I’ve found that students with higher GPAs and double majors (excluding graduate students) have limited work backgrounds while those with average GPAs possess real life experience. While it’s rare to find students who fit into both, they do exist and I try to grab them quickly.

Startups have an advantage over established corporations because they can provide interns with more responsibilities and a better experience in a shorter time-frame. If you showcase that in the right way, you’ll have numerous applicants…even if the position is for experience only. Most of the job descriptions you read are boring and they eventually start to sound alike. Knowing this, the best advice I can provide is to make yours stand out. Here are some other Do’s and Don’ts:

Do’s:

  • Sound human vs. corporate-like.
  • Start by explaining why your opportunity is great in one or two sentences (an eye-opener of sorts).
  • Describe in detail what they’re going to get out of it.
  • Provide credibility factors (if any – such as awards or press received).

Don’ts:

  • Don’t try to sound bigger than you are.
  • Don’t use ninja, rock star, superstar, etc. Yes, it’s been overdone.
  • Don’t copy your Company description directly from the site (customize everything).
  • Don’t set an education or GPA requirement.
  • Don’t be vague about the compensation details or not list them at all.

Intern Description Example:

I dug this out at my archives and I remember being inspired by another Company listing I read. I wish I could remember the name so I can give them credit. You’ll notice it fits the criteria listed above.

Prepare for the experience of a lifetime! Work with great people, learn how to market online, and help a startup expand from the ground up.

You will join a local startup with an impressive Board of Advisors and an experienced entrepreneur. Get ready for more responsibility than anyone else would dare give you.

About the company: 123LinkIt.com is a local startup that specializes in creating online tools to help bloggers make money from their sites. Our first tool, a WordPress affiliate plugin, automatically transforms product keywords into revenue generating links.

We’re looking for two student interns who are passionate about technology, innovation and entrepreneurship to assist an emerging local startup that has received First Place in Temple University’s Business Plan Competition. In return, we will offer you mentoring, experience, referrals and visibility into the inner circles of the technology industry.

Internship details:

- One role requires great writing skills and out-of-the-box thinking. Interns will be supplied with a list of advertisers and blog categories. They will be asked to devise blog topic ideas for users that promote products/services in a unique and creative way.

- Another role requires leveraging the company’s communities on Twitter and Facebook to continue building their online community. Social media training will be provided.

Prerequisites: Openness to learn, willingness to try anything, good communication & writing skills, web-savvy. Bloggers preferred but not required.

Location: Temple University’s Main Campus IEI office

Hours, compensation: Hours are as flexible as you can handle. Compensation includes meals/transportation.

Send resume to: Yasmine Mustafa, Founder of 123LinkIt.com, yasmine@123LinkIt.com

Finding great interns takes time and it’s well worth the effort. On a future post, I’ll be following up with how to wade through resumes, conduct interviews to find the right candidate and I’ll also provide tips on how to work most effectively with interns.

 

 

interns wanted image

I’ve had great luck with interns and I’m always amazed at how under-utilized they are at other startups. The most common complaint I hear is where to find them besides posting a description on Craiglist. That inspired me to put this list of ten fifteen resources together. I’ve broken them down by unpaid, for credit and paid internships. You will notice there are duplicates that fit into both unpaid and paid categories.

I’ve also made the information available in this Philadelphia Internship Opportunities Google Doc.

Tips for getting started: Filter the resources you’re most interested in and start by looking at the link(s) provided. Your best bet is to post a description of what you’re looking for. Most of these will require you create a profile and some have an approval process. If you have any questions, contact the party specified below.

Unpaid Internships:

1. Drexel University – Steinbright Career Development Center
Student Type: Undergraduate
Concentration: Arts & Sciences, Business, Nursing & Health Professions, Biomedical Engineering, Media Arts & Design
Contact Information: Mark Gress Jr, 215.895.6467, gress@drexel.edu
Availability: Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer or Summer only
Website: http://www.drexel.edu/scdc/employers/coop-recruiting/index.html
Guidelines: http://www.drexel.edu/catalog/GENERAL/coop-index.htm

2. Drexel University – Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship
Student Type: Graduate
Concentration: MBA
Contact Information: Rebekka Shepherd, 215.895.2143, rsw36@drexel.edu
Availability: Anytime online
Website: https://www.lebow.drexel.edu/Centers/Baiada/Entrepreneur/NewVentures/index.php

3. Temple University – Center for Student Professional Development
Student Type: Undergraduate
Concentration: Accounting, Business Management, Entrepreneurship, Finance, HR, Legal, Int’l Business, MIS, Marketing, Real Estate
Contact Information: Jean Bandini, 215.204.1158, jbandini@temple.edu
Availability: Anytime
Website: http://sbm.temple.edu/cspd/employer.html

4. UPenn – Career Services
Student Type: Undergraduate or Graduate
Concentration: Arts & Sciences, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Nursing, Business, Biomedical Graduate Studies, Graduate School of Education, Graduate School of Fine Arts/School of Design, Nursing, Social Policy & Practice
Contact Information: Shannon Kell, 215.898.4827, shakelly@upenn.edu
Availability: Anytime
Website: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/pennlink_employers.html

5. UPenn – Wharton CareerPath
Student Type: Undergraduate or Graduate
Concentration: MBA
Contact Information: 215.898.4383, mbarecruiting@wharton.upenn.edu
Availability: Anytime online
Website: https://wharton-csm.symplicity.com/employers

6. UPenn – Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs – Resume Book
Student Type: Undergraduate or Graduate
Concentration: Entrepreneurship
Contact Information: Megan Mitchell, mmitch2@wharton.upenn.edu
Availability: Anytime
Website: http://wep.wharton.upenn.edu/WEPResumeBook.aspx

For Credit Internships:

1. Temple University’s GSM Internship Program
Concentration: Entrepreneurship
Contact Information: Coming soon
Availability: Fall/Winter, Spring or Summer

2. The Philadelphia Center
Student Type: Undergrad (full-time for 8 or 16 weeks)
Concentration: Accounting to Zoology. A full list of majors can be found here.
Contact Information: Char Vandermeer, 215.735.7300 ext. 14, vandermeer@tpc.edu
Availability: Fall/Winter, Spring
Website: http://www.tpc.edu/internships

Paid Internships:

1. Drexel University – College of Information Science & Technology
Student Type: Undergraduate & Graduate
Concentration: Information Technology
Contact Information: Jennifer Lally, 215.895.1077, JL352@drexel.edu or forward your description to placement@ischool.drexel.edu
Availability: Anytime
Website: http://www.ischool.drexel.edu/APF/JobPlacement/Search/JobPostings
Guidelines: http://www.ischool.drexel.edu/APF/JobPlacement/Search/JobPostings/Guidelines

2. Drexel University – Department of Computer Science
Student Type: Undergraduate
Concentration: Computer Science – for a full list of job types, click here.
Contact Information: webmaster@cs.drexel.edu and on Twitter @drexelcs
Availability: Anytime
Website: https://www.cs.drexel.edu/jobs

3. Drexel University – LeBow College of Business (MBA Career Services)
Student Type: Graduate
Concentration: Business/MBA
Contact Information: Stephanie Johnson, 215.571.3593, stjohnson@drexel.edu
Availability: Anytime
Website: http://www.lebow.drexel.edu/CareerServices/index.php

4. Drexel University – Steinbright Career Development Center
Student Type: Undergraduate
Concentration: Arts & Sciences, Business, Nursing & Health Professions, Biomedical Engineering, Media Arts & Design
Contact Information: Mark Gress Jr, 215.895.6467, gress@drexel.edu
Availability: Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer or Summer only
Website: http://www.drexel.edu/scdc/employers/coop-recruiting/index.html
More information: http://www.drexel.edu/catalog/GENERAL/coop-index.htm

5. Drexel University – Steinbright Career Development
Student Type: Graduate
Concentration: MBA, Information Systems, Engineering, Biomedical Engineering
Contact Information: Ken Bohrer, 215.895.1642, kbohrer@drexel.edu
Availability: Every June and September
Website: http://www.drexel.edu/scdc/coop/graduate

6. National University of Singapore – Overseas Colleges Program
Student Type: Undergraduate (35 hrs/week for one year at $1650/month)
Concentration: Entrepreneurship
Contact Information: Yu Ling, 215.966.6083, yuling@nus.edu.sg
Process: Resumes are sent to interested parties every April and October
Website: http://www.overseas.nus.edu.sg/forCompanies_partnershipOpportunities.htm

7. UPenn – Career Services
Student Type: Undergraduate or Graduate
Concentration: Arts & Sciences, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Nursing, Business, Biomedical Graduate Studies, Graduate School of Education, Graduate School of Fine Arts/School of Design, Nursing, Social Policy & Practice
Contact Information: Shannon Kell, 215.898.4827, shakelly@upenn.edu
Availability: Anytime
Website: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/pennlink_employers.html

8. UPenn – Wharton CareerPath
Student Type: Undergraduate or Graduate
Concentration: MBA
Contact Information: 215.898.4383, mbarecruiting@wharton.upenn.edu
Availability: Anytime online
Website: https://wharton-csm.symplicity.com/employers

9. UPenn – Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs – Resume Book
Student Type: Undergraduate or Graduate
Concentration: Entrepreneurship
Contact Information: Megan Mitchell, mmitch2@wharton.upenn.edu
Availability: Anytime
Website: http://wep.wharton.upenn.edu/WEPResumeBook.aspx

You can also try CareerPhilly, another resource that I’ve had success with previously. If you have an additional resource or an update to the list, please let me know in the comments and I’ll make the change. I hope you find this helpful!