As a NYC business owner you should be spending your time on the most important tasks to drive your business forward like sales, developing relationships, strategizing, product development, meeting with clients and so forth. Everything else should be delegated to someone else.
The challenge is that many new business owners are unable to hire staff members to delegate some of their work to because they have limited cash and resources to do so. What do you do in this case?
Hire unpaid interns to help grow your business
Hiring low cost to unpaid interns is one solution. Interns can help you get some of the low level tasks crossed off your list every week, like, scheduling your social media posts, doing research, creating newsletters, setting up meetings, creating presentations, invoicing and more.
Are unpaid interns even legal in New York?
As long as you meet the New York Department of Labor guidelines outlined here, it is legal.
Where can you find unpaid interns in NYC?
There are dozens of non-profit youth organizations in NYC that focus on helping young people develop the skills necessary to be more marketable in the workforce and many of them have programs where they pay young people (14-26 years old) to work at small businesses throughout the city to get relevant work experience.
There are several non-profit youth organizations that connect small businesses with unpaid interns in NYC. Below are 6 of them.
Reach out to some of these youth organizations to find out how you can hire an unpaid intern at your business.
We will continue to grow this list as we uncover more organizations in NYC that pay young people to intern at small businesses in NYC.
How long do most internship programs last?
Most internship programs are approx. 3 months, which means that on average you will have up to 12 weeks of support from an intern.
What will you be responsible for when hiring an unpaid intern?
Typically, non-profit youth organizations that provide unpaid interns to small businesses in NYC will ask you to:
Interview and select the interns that you want to have on your team.
Train your new intern on relevant business skills. The internship should consist of more than just making photocopies and answering the phone.
Record the number of hours that your intern works on your business each week.
Create a sign in sheet, for your intern to sign in daily and record their hours.
Provide feedback to both your intern and the youth organization on your interns performance.
What else should you do when hiring an intern
Have specific tasks that you want your intern to accomplish each week. Take some time out at the beginning or at the end of the week to outline specific goals and tasks that you want your intern to be responsible for.
Create a learning plan to train your intern on relevant skills, like using your business software (i.e. google docs, accounting, website), scheduling and social media.
Provide your intern with regular feedback on their progress and on how they can improve. Be available to answer any questions in person or via email and text.
Provide your intern with all of the tools necessary in order to do their job.
And if they do a good job, write them a letter of recommendation for future employment and school.
If done correctly, hiring and working with unpaid interns in NYC will prove to be a win-win for both you and the intern.