No Experience, No Internships, No Problem

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Confused dog depicting find a job without any experience by GradSimple.

It was March 2020, and I was at the tail end of my 3rd year in university. I don’t know about you, but March 2020 was a pretty crappy month, some may even say “unprecedented.”

At that point in time, I had a grand total of zero internships and zero work experience. My only extracurricular was being a member of the first aid club (I was a business student. Literally nothing to do with healthcare).

I thought I had Options

My plan, albeit naive, was to secure an internship that summer. 

And said plan entailed being EXTREMELY picky with opportunities, and the few and far between that I did bless with an application, maybe, if the offer was good enough, would be graced with my talents like I was the number one draft pick in the NBA.

I’m sure you can imagine how this turned out for me.

The World had other plans

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in every sense of the word, F*@#ed. Top students who had gotten internships were getting their offers revoked. Businesses were dropping like flies. And who would have thought that toilet paper would become such a hot commodity? Yeah, unprecedented. 

I was delusional enough to even think that I stood a realistic chance of getting an internship, with or without a global pandemic. Let me reiterate: zero work experience, next to no extracurriculars. But what about my dazzling 4.0 GPA, you may be wondering? Don’t make me laugh.

Though I must say, the world descending into chaos was a pretty good excuse for why I never heard back from LuluLemon or Amazon. Surely that was the reason. 

I know I’m not painting a very good picture of myself but wait, I did do something right.

Tyler’s Incubator

While the world was burning around me, I turned my apartment into a lab (of sorts), with the help of my wonderful girlfriend. 

Since the lockdown was in full effect, in-person ventures were on pause. The only thing we could think of to make money and gain experience was to sell things online. So, we started building our very first website using Shopify.

The learning curve was STEEP. Looking back, we had to figure out everything through trial and error: logistics, finances, pricing strategy, web design, graphic design, Google search engine optimization, advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, leveraging influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, copywriting, video editing, and the list goes on (newsflash: we sure as hell did not figure everything out).

Selling Dog beds seems lucrative

Our initial product of choice? Dog beds, as recommended by some random e-commerce internet guru.

Our name? Dreaming Pet. Surprise surprise, it didn’t work (duh). On launch day, we had 0 visitors.

We quickly realized that people didn’t just “stumble” onto websites by chance—there’s actually no luck involved. You don’t just show up on Google after creating a working website. No one accidentally makes a sale. 

Something Started Working

Fast forward 4 months, our Instagram account had grown to over 10,000 followers, our website was top 1% in traffic among all Shopify stores to launch within the same month, and we had generated over $27,000 in sales.

More importantly, we’d gained a plethora of new skills. Skills that we used to leverage our way into full-time job offers before graduating. We found something that helped us grow and expand our knowledge. I wouldn’t trade this experience for a “normal” internship.

The fulfillment we got from running our own store was, in a word, addicting.

We trialed, and we errored, and we ended up making it work. 

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The human who runs the ship. Occasional writer, occasional web developer. Yes, this is the guy who hired a raccoon (if you know, you know).

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