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Fast Pitch: From intern to entrepreneur

December 20, 2010

With so many companies still sitting on cash reserves instead of hiring, you might have had time recently for a bunch of crazy thoughts. Is bypassing the hiring process, taking the plunge and starting your own business really all that nuts?

It’s a risky proposition – one that isn’t likely to work the first time you try, and IS likely to stress you out, drain your money and push you to the brink of insanity. But unemployment does all those things equally well, and it doesn’t put you closer to achieving a dream. With a good business plan, a laptop and some crafty tricks (and friends) up your sleeve, you don’t need much more than a few hundred dollars to become a legitimate entrepreneur.

Still, if you want to turn that money into something viable, you’re much better off learning from someone who’s been there. That’s one very compelling reason you should consider shunning that Fortune  500 internship in favor of a startup that nobody’s ever heard of. No, really … I’m not kidding.

While interning at a small company might not give you high-profile connections or the name-recognition boost on your resume, it can give you a total view of what’s involved in starting a small business. You and your boss will probably forge a closer relationship than you would at a large company,and that can often extend to discussion of aspects of the business that you’re not directly involved in. Often,entrepreneurs like talking about how they brought along their company from an idea to a viable operation, and listening to their accounts can yield valuable lessons.

You might find that the things you see and hear every day at work – while probably not a substitute for MBA courses – really can equip you with the basic knowledge necessary to launch your own enterprise some day, from the basic legalities of registering a limited liability company (LLC) or a holding company to hiring practices and tax reporting. In fact, we recently featured a young entrepreneur on our blog, Jeremy Levine, who told us he gained the confidence and knowledge necessary to start his own successful sports stock market website from his experience interning for Accelgolf founder Will Sulinski one summer.

We’re going to be talking to Jeremy more next week, so watch this space for more insight on how to turn your internship into practical training for launching your own enterprise.

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