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Risks & Rewards of an Internship at a VERY Small Business

By 9:00 AM , ,

This summer I was lucky enough to have a Social Media Marketing Internship at a boutique local to north Texas, called Kiki LaRue. During my internship, there were a total of 7 interns, and only 4 full-time employees and one part-time employee for the company. I've worked for small companies before, but never one with a staff this small. 
I was so very excited when I got the offer because I knew that working at a small business would expose me to so many different areas of the company, and let's just say I did not know what I was signing up for. 

A Little Bit About Kiki LaRue
Kiki LaRue is a very new company, only having started in 2013, from Southlake, Texas. KLR provides clothing for women of all sizes, focusing on a flattering fit and cute, trendy pieces that women, regardless of size, will actually want to wear. Despite being a bit of slump at the beginning of my internship, I was fortunate enough to be apart of this company during a very important time, during the soft and grand opening of their first retail location. From my time with the company, the store looks to be incredibly successful, and it's a gorgeous manifestation of exactly what the company was supposed to be. 

Any internship, or job for that matter, has it's risks. Maybe you don't enjoy working there as much as you thought you would, maybe the job isn't what you thought it was going to be. But working at a small company, especially one as small as Kiki LaRue is, has it's own special risks.

Little Staff, Lots of Work 
The simple explanation is: the fewer employees, the more work everyone has to do. This is true of any business really, when people leave or are understaffed, someone has to pick up the slack. During my internship, everyone's workload was huge, constantly. Everyone is always busy, and the schedule for the upcoming days or weeks is always chaotic. 

Drama and Unprofessionalism 
One perk of working for a big company, is that there is a disconnect between the employees and the management. Fewer employees mean closer bonds, and that always leads to a less than professional atmosphere. Tensions could be high, drama between employees, gossiping. There's always drama at every job, but when there are so few employees, sometimes the drama can overshadow the work. 

No Room for Growth 
When you work at a company where everyone has their hands in every aspect, and a few number of people are responsible for running an entire company, there's no way to move upward. I was the Social Media Marketing intern, and I was largely responsible for posting all all social media accounts, but there would be no way for me to move up from there because I already did everything. 

Smaller businesses are harder to work for, but there are also some great aspects too. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. 

More to See, More to Learn
Because there are fewer employees, everyone becomes involved in all aspects of the business. I was the Social Media Marketing intern, but I was not the only one who worked on it. Everyone would help brainstorm and create content, as well as respond to customers. And the same is true for other positions, I was not the Product Specialist, but I assisted naming, counting inventory, pulling and packing orders, etc. Smaller businesses means being more involved in all aspects of the company, which means learning about more functions of the company. 

Lack of Bureaucracy
When you work in a large company, there will a great deal of "red tape" to get a lot of things done. When I had an idea at this internship, I got to see it all the way through, with very minimal changes. Having an idea at a large corporation, so many different people will touch and change your idea, but that isn't the case at a small company. The sense of pride and accomplishment from seeing your idea come to life, is indescribable, especially when it comes out exactly as you imagined. 

Building Rewarding Relationships
I am so grateful for so many people at my internship, and for everything they have taught me. Working with such a small group of people, allows you to be very close with all of them. I felt so close to some of the girls, it was very hard to leave and know that I probably would never see any of them again. Networking is essential in any industry, but to have a connection like the ones you make at tiny companies, they're the best connections you could ever ask for. 

Regardless if you enjoy an internship or not, it's an incredibly valuable learning experience. Each position has it's ups and downs, and despite the fact that I decided not to continue with the company, I learned so much more at this internship than I could've learned at an internship with a large corporation. I'm not sure where I will work once I graduate, but I know that this internship was well worth it for everything I learned. 

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