How I got my first paid internship when I was at school and turned it into a money making machine!

This goes back to my school days at Ryan International School around 2008. I was an average school kid who had just entered class nine and had started experiencing my teenage years, when everything was more fun and less serious.

My Time TableBefore I get close to what excited me to do an internship, let me tell you something about my family. My father, back then, was serving as a Chief Manager at State Bank of India. My mother was a typical homemaker who was more concerned about her son’s results rather than her family’s next trip. My sister, three years younger to me, was in the same school. Raised up in an average middle-class family, I’ve grown up in an environment with fixed timetables for every activity. And the same was with my pocket money. In class seven, I used to get 150 Rs. per month, in class eight; it was 250 Rs. per month and 350 Rs. per month when I was in the ninth grade.

Love at SchoolNow everyone’s been through this phase, where there is that one beautiful girl in the class and you want to do anything and everything to please her. Yes, I was in love. She was sweet and she loved chocolates. I still recollect that almost every day, I used to get chocolates for her. On first day of the month, generally the day when I used to get the pocket money, I used to get her Cadbury – Fruit & Nuts. After few days, when my cash supply got over, I used to bring her Kaccha Aam (a tangy mango flavored chocolate).

However, throughout this adolescent phase of my life, I was never left with any money in my wallet. One fine day, I asked her a very silly question

Will you be with me if I have no job in future, and still love you the most?

Her instant answer was a BIG NO! Yes, that’s what she said. Now this silly question of mine had already started haunting my childish imagination about my future life. LOL! Believe me, I even cried for couple of next few days thinking how mean she was. However, when this faded, there was this part within me, which always prompted me to do something through which I could start making more money (more than my pocket money). And like they say, life gives an answer to every problem, but one has to keep watching. Because there was no proper medium to find some student opportunities, I started making paper cut-outs from the JOB section in the newspaper. One fine day, I called up this local firm which wanted students for their data-entry job. It was part time opportunity, and I cleared my interview. The compensation was around Rs.6000 per month; and that was HUGE for me! 🙂

There were about 50 desktop machines at the office. During my first month at the office, I learnt that the antivirus that was installed in every computer was a cheap one, which not only made the PCs slow but also didn’t detect the latest malware and infected files. Since this was affecting my productivity, I immediately took this up. I tried to explain to my boss  about the disadvantages of using that antivirus and why they should go for a better one. With an old grumpy smile, he asked me to get one for my PC within a price range of 800-1000 INR. This seemed an odd job, as it was supposed to be done by the company, but I took it as a challenge.

The next day, I went to Lamington Road, a popular hardware and software market in Mumbai, where most of the computer peripherals and software were cheaper. I bought one for Kaspersky Internet Security (1 User) for 550 Rs. While returning back, I realized that I can give this software at 750 Rs. to my company and they won’t mind it because it was already below their specified price range.

Lamington Road - Street View

And that worked! I continued my work at the company, until one day when the branch head called me up and said that they would like to have the same antivirus software installed for all the remaining computers in the office. Yes! That was my first biggest accomplishment – where I had made around 9800 Rs. in a day.

After this, there was no looking back. I had already got my business cards printed with the name – Mottled Services: Your Antivirus specialist. I distributed the paper brochures from the newspaper guy, and bingo! The calls were rushing in, one after other. I kept doing the same thing over and over for around one year. No one bothered that I was just 17, as everyone was concerned about the genuinity of the software.

Mottled Services (Back then)

By the time, I was 18 (where I didn’t even know the word ‘entrepreneur’), I already had 3 marketing interns, each 4-5 years older to me, working for Mottled Services. The name by now was already a registered proprietorship firm and I was accustomed to manage the passbook of my current account.

Regarding the numbers, I guess I sold around 16,500 antivirus software within a year’s time. After all the mistakes, throughout this journey, I had already learnt the mantra of saving money and spending it wisely 🙂 And most importantly, never letting go of the smallest opportunity you have in your hand, coz you never know when it turns out to be big.

So, I am going to jot down few important comparison facts b/w 2008 and today that might help you realize how lucky you are:

Back then in 2008:

  1. I was a school kid with no knowledge of what an ‘internship’ was?
  2. I wanted to work because I wanted to get more than my pocket money.
  3. There were no internship platforms catering precisely to the students, so I had to take help of the newspaper and try my luck.
  4. I had no choice over selecting the company I wanted to intern with.

Today in 2014:

  1. You may either need more pocket money or not, but your real goal is to be independent.
  2. Today, you’ve Switch Idea with you, and you can get your first paid internship within few days.
  3. You are living in the most epic stage of internet where you have a completely free platform like Switch Idea which helps you explore and apply to awesome companies of your choice.

To all those students who are reading this and are looking to jump-start their career, join Switch Idea today and go get the jobs/internships that you want! All the best!

P.S: Tell your friends too! We will be very happy if you do that 😀