Startup Internship Program: Reflection From Jasmine Farley

Thanks to a gift from the John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation, the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center sponsored 6 undergraduate student internships during the 2015 summer at premier Chicago startup businesses.

Below, sophomore Jasmine Farley, a Computer Science/Software Engineering major, reflects on her time interning at FanPay, a crowdfunding website helping college athletes earn an education.

FanPay is a company that motivates college athletes to graduate from college by offering them a monetary incentive through crowdfunding. As an intern, I worked directly with the one of the owners of the company, Tony Klausing, and assisted him with his projects. Because FanPay does not have an office, I worked remotely most of the time, with the exception of the weekly check-in I had with Tony at a local coffee shops. Most of the summer, we worked on getting more traffic and funding on the website, because not many people knew about FanPay yet. One of my projects was to gather a list of 100 companies, finding reliable contact information and contacting them to see if they would be interested in sponsoring FanPay. As expected, there was a lot of rejection. My greatest learning experience during this internship has been learning to accept rejection. Before starting at FanPay, Tony warned me that there would be a lot of rejection, and told me about the piles and piles of cease and desist orders, but I didn’t fully believe him until I experienced the rejection myself. One part of the project was to send proposals for sponsorship to various companies. Of the 50+ companies we emailed, not even a quarter of them responded, and of the ones that did respond, only about 5 companies were interested in sponsoring. Having this internship, and especially working with Tony, has motivated me to work harder and not to give up, even when  faced with what seems like endless challenges. Developing upon these traits has made me a better entrepreneur.

Looking back on this internship experience, I will definitely remember my personal development and how much I have learned from working with Tony over the course of the summer. I think one of the biggest lessons Tony has taught me is that success does not happen overnight, or over months, or possibly over a year. Before having this internship I was accustomed to doing work and seeing the effects of the work I have done; however, working with FanPay (and I’m sure any startup) requires patience and faith that your work will eventually pay off.

If I had to give advice to other students working an entrepreneurial internship, I would say that although it may seem as though the work you are doing is not immediately affecting the company, it is important not to give up nor to stop giving your all, because if you stay consistent you will eventually see the results of your continuous hard work.

I really enjoyed my internship experience this summer. This experience allowed me to help FanPay become a better company and in return, it helped me become a better entrepreneur.

– Jasmine Farley

As a finale to the 2015 Startup Internship Program, please watch a short video, with comments from all 6 student interns.