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Entrepreneur Office Hours: Issue #187
Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself...
On Tuesday, I shared a message with everyone explaining that I’m on vacation this week, and that you, as an entrepreneur, need to take vacations, too.
However, for those of you following closely, you may have noticed I’ve still been posting new articles (shared below), and I’m even sending this issue of EOH.
So which is it? Are entrepreneurs supposed to take vacations? Or are they just supposed to pretend that they take vacations so people don’t think they’re crazy, work-obsessed lunatics?
Honestly, the answer is probably a little of both. Yes, you should take vacations, but taking a vacation doesn’t mean your responsibilities as an entrepreneur stop. Instead, you have to prepare for your time off.
In my case, as a creator, that meant writing and scheduling content for the week I’d be gone because, as all the creators I work with know, content creation never stops.
The same is true for you and whatever venture you’re working on. Yes, you can and should take breaks, but taking breaks doesn’t mean dropping everything and ignoring your business. It means responsibly preparing yourself to disconnect.
How can you prepare your business to run without you for a few days? Figuring this out is a necessary first step toward ultimately being able to separate yourself from your company. It’s also an important first step because the real goal of entrepreneurship is to ultimately build a sustainable venture that outlasts you. You’ll never be able to get there if you can’t figure out how to successfully extract yourself for a week.
And it turns out the thing that matters most in a startup name is never what most people think…
Are you building your startup in a way that actually makes sense with how you personally operate?
Office Hours Q&A
What is your thought on startups taking interns?
My co-founder thinks it’s a great way to get cheap help. But when I worked at a corporate job before this startup, managing interns always seemed like a lot of work.
Is there a way for startups to make interns productive? And, if so, what is it?
Thank you for your thoughts on this,
Part of me wants to tell you that you should absolutely bring on interns, but that’s only because I feel like every startup founder should discover what it feels like to fall for the intern trap at some point in their startup careers.
However, just to be nice, I’ll go ahead and tell you that hiring interns as a startup is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea.
I realize, at first glance, it doesn’t seem like a terrible idea. Instead, as you mentioned with your co-founder, interns appear to be a source of cheap and/or free labor, and what could be bad about that?
The answer, of course, is that there’s no such thing as “free.” Free things have costs, they’re just not monetary costs. And, in the case of interns, the cost to startups is almost worse than monetary costs because the cost is an even more precious resource: time. Interns will cost you lots and lots of time.
The reason interns cost lots of time is because, by definition, interns don’t know anything about the work they’re applying for. After all, that’s why they’re pursuing internships. This is fine for established companies because they can afford to spend the manpower and money to train people, but startups can’t. At least, not newer, younger, resource-constrained startups.
Do yourself a favor and wait to launch an intern program until after you’ve got a bigger, more successful, and better-resourced company.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!