College Works Painting - Unlike Anything Else
IRVINE, CALIFORNIA -- I was incredibly skeptical about College Works when I was first approached about doing the program. I think any right-thinking college student would be. College Works recruits very aggressively. 19-year-olds aren't used to being recruited for an internship, especially one that is supposedly ranked so high and pays so well (Almost $10,000 they say the average intern makes). That is what got me a little uneasy. As great as I thought I was right out of high school, why would such an outstanding opportunity be recruiting ME? What college freshmen don't realize is that ll great companies recruit. That's what you do if you want the best employees. And what I later found out, is that this isn't your typical internship where you do garbage work 12 hours a day, and leave the summer saying you got to "hang out" with a bunch of business people. You earn the money you make. Not everyone make $10,000. In fact, I know a lot of people who didn't. But I also know they didn't work as hard as I did.
I have to say, this internship is TOUGH. It tested me more than I had ever been before. In high school I played 3 sports, graduated with honors and was in clubs and all that jazz. I held a part-time job the summer after my senior year. I busted my butt to prepare myself for college. College Works brought new meaning to the term responsibility. I thought football practice and English homework in the same night was tough in HS. Then I was introduced to communicating with clients, scheduling sales appointments, creating marketing plans, sourcing and screening potential employees AND 17 credit hours worth of homework each night. Not to mention, maintaining some sort of a social life as a college freshman. I gave up about half of the weekends during the spring semester of my freshman year to work on my business, on top of what I mentioned above. My friends thought I was crazy. At times, so did I.
I was relieved to get my finals out of the way so I could focus more on my business. It sounds odd, but with all the responsibilities I had, my life actually got MORE organized. It felt like I was in high school again, when I did everything, and I did everything well. It was tough balancing it all at first, but after a while I got used to it, and really started to get into it. So by the time I reached the summer, I was excited for what was ahead. Up to that point, I had really only learned how to source leads for my business and sell paint jobs. It was starting to get a little monotonous, although the prospect of growing my business larger and larger was strangely addicting. Maybe it was the competitive nature of it. Maybe it was the idea of constantly striving to improve. Maybe it was a combination of both. Either way, I was starting to enjoy what I did.
Once I got out of school, I was slightly overwhelmed with even more responsibility. On top of continuing to grow my business, I now had to interview painters, schedule design consultations with clients, get my equipment together, and start planning out my production schedule. Once I did all that, then it was time to actually fulfill the promises I had made to all these people who had entrusted me to beautify their most valuable assets. I spent time training and managing my painters. Yes, I said training.
College Works helped me with this. Painting really isn't that hard. It just takes a sort of blue-collar mentality and a little attention to detail. I had to make sure my painters were up to par. If a painter was bad, I fired him/her and found another one. It wasn't hard to find people looking to make some money. I also had to manage my business's profitability. This means budgeting labor and material costs on each project, and making sure we stayed within those budgets. I was in charge of customer service and processing payroll every 2 weeks so my painters could get paid.
Looking back on it, I can't believe I was given so much responsibility at 19 years old. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. After a while it got easier, just like the spring. I found some good painters, figured the whole profitability thing out, and eventually my business wasn't as dependent on me. I still worked, but nothing crazy. I had time to do other things that a normal college kid does in the summer. I had a ton of help the whole way. I had a district manager who helped me at each step. I had meetings with her 3-4 times/week from start to finish. She worked very hard to make sure I knew how to be successful. Rarely did she ever do anything FOR me, but she was always there for advice (even if I immaturely ignored it sometimes). I appreciated that.
By the end of the summer I couldn't believe everything I had accomplished. I ran a $60,000 business. I had 15 different employees work for me. I sourced over 150 leads, executed over 70 sales appointments, and completed 20 projects, all the while maintaining customer satisfaction, painter safety, and profitability. There were other people who did a lot better. They ran bigger businesses, made more money, etc. There were others who didn't do as well as I did. Some of these people took longer to figure it out. Most didn't work as hard as I did. Now, College Works is the only thing job interviewers want to talk about.
No one with College Works ever lied to me. They told me that if I worked hard, I would experience more and gain more than anyone else my age. So I gave it my all, and that is exactly what happened.