Our Take

8 Entrepreneurship Lessons From The Intern

For most people films are sheer entertainment. You have a good time and you go back to life as usual. But films also have another important role – they can get you to think. Think of things that you may otherwise tend to ignore or neglect. And something like that happened when we revisited the film – The Intern.


Image credit: Bollywood GupShup
As a group of women entrepreneurs running a start up, we could completely relate with the character of Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) and her struggles. She is the CEO of a a fast-growing e-commerce fashion startup, About the Fit. A retired executive Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro), applies to a senior citizen intern program at her company after retirement has become too boring for him.
Here are some Entrepreneurship Lessons From The Intern.
1. No one will love your baby like you do
Ostin is an hands-on entrepreneur who has a tab on every smallest detail about the company. When she interacts with prospective CEOs for her company, it is evident that they may never have the same passion about the company as she does.
2. When confused go back to what you started with.
While entrepreneurship gives you a lot of freedom to do thing your way. But then the problems and struggles are countless. When things are not going your way or even when you’re scaling new heights, if you’re in doubt remember what you started with. During the course of your journey, you may move away from the original idea. But revisit it again and again because that’s the soul of your business.
3. An experienced grey head doesn’t hurt in the middle of a pool of young employees.
Millenials often feel the older generation are not knowledgeable to discuss about new age businesses. And so Ostin does not take Whittaker seriously till he proves his mettle. His wisdom, experience and knowledge makes up for being technologically challenged. He helps bring perspective and stability with his valuable insights.
4. Maintain a healthy work-life balance
Your startup is literally your baby, your life revolves around it, you can’t think of anything else. The company comes first and everything else takes a back seat. Like most entrepreneurs Ostin too was so absorbed by work that her personal life suffered. While being passionate is great, it is very important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Find the time to spend with your family and friends. Do things you love to do.
5. Being a woman in a man’s world is not easy
How often women entrepreneurs hear stray comments about their business. “You’re joking right. This can’t be a real business.” or “Is this even a real job.” Sexism is deep rooted in our society and you just have to take it heads on. Being a passionate and busy entrepreneur can jeopardise your family life and this applies more to women entrepreneurs than their male counterparts.
6. Time to get help
While it is true that no one can take care of your startup like you do, it is humanely impossible to do it all yourself. Perhaps you need to get help from your team and other competent professionals. Start up is all about messes and everyday juggle between problems and solutions, a new member can bring a fresh perspective and see things more objectively.
7. Sustaining growth is not easy after rapid success
‘About the Fit’ reaches goals of 5 years in 9 months. And so the expectations get sky high to the point of becoming unrealistic. The faster you climb up the ladder, the deeper you could fall. Rapid success is not easy to sustain. Perhaps it’s time you assess your expectations, your team’s expectations, your investors’ expectations and your customer expectations and realign your thoughts towards more realistic goals.
8. Don’t underestimate an intern
It’s a common notion that interns are just newbies who cannot make a valuable contribution and so employers don’t take them seriously. They are asked to do random work with little or no pay in the name of opportunity. Whittaker proves that wrong. An intern however old or young can make valuable contributions.
Have you watched The Intern as well? What have you learnt from it? Do leave your feedback in the comments section below.



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