Being an Intern at a Startup: 5 Things I've Learnt

Being an Intern at a Startup: 5 Things I've Learnt

I consider myself to be a hardworking person, but I can honestly say that I had no idea what life would be like at such a fast-growing London startup! My first few weeks at Housekeep were a whirlwind to say the least, and I have hit the ground running, fully engrossed in the fast paced, dynamic environment.

Being an intern may not seem like the most attractive option when leaving Uni, but it's worth it! I’ve learnt a tremendous amount over the past 6 months, and I am proud to say I am now a permanent member of the Housekeep Team.

These are the top 5 things I've learnt by interning for a London startup:

1. Work hard

Startups don’t tend to adopt the standard 9-5 work model. The hours are longer and you find yourself trying to cram as much into those hours as you can. You may be asked to adopt multiple roles or take on multiple tasks at a time. For me, this is very different to my previous job, where I was used to serving a queue, one customer at a time. So further to learning to work hard, this internship has definitely improved my ability to multi-task as well.

2. Work efficiently

When you have a smaller workforce, the amount of time spent on a task becomes very important. The more efficient you become, the more jobs you can complete. The way I try to do this is by making lists of everything need to complete and starring those that are urgent. I find writing myself reminders on post it notes also helps to prevent things from being forgotten.

3. Look at the big picture

By this I mean try to understand everything in context of the whole company. Understanding how each task you do affects the company as a whole gives you a clearer insight into the goals and aims of the company and makes you feel more included. You may think small tasks such as signing for parcels or answering the intercom bear no significance, but in taking control of the smaller stuff, you show that you're willing to help with every aspect of the business, and therefore able to take on more responsibility.

4. Be inquisitive

Try to look at everything with a quizzical manner, you may find a solution to something or discover a new way of doing things that hadn’t been thought of before. Whether it’s a technical improvement or a brand new area that the company could expand into, startups thrive off new ideas and a new set of eyes may be just what the company needs. Asking to take part in meetings and being aware of conversations and things your colleagues are working on will increase your knowledge of the startup. The more you know, the more you will understand. It could be something simple - like identifying a spelling mistake - but any idea you suggest will show that you have an interest in the company and its future.

5. Finally, be nice.

When you are working in a small team, a positive personality can really make a difference. Yes it can be gruelling at times, but a smile can make all the difference. Being friendly and polite to customers is essential to providing good customer service, which in turn improves brand reputation. Just the same, being nice to your colleagues will create a positive work atmosphere, which in turn will lead to increased productivity. If you’re not sure how to start being nice - bringing in food, especially chocolate, usually goes down very well indeed!

During my time at Housekeep I have learnt a lot, and not just about how best to iron a shirt! It has been a thoroughly rewarding experience, and I am looking forward to the next couple of months to see what else there is to learn, as we continue to grow at a very fast rate!