I am a consultant and have used paid interns for the last ten years.  First my kids, then their friends, and recently graduatesAssistants.jpg who are looking for their first real career job but need to get some real world experience.

I don’t like the term intern.  It’s from the Old Normal.  I prefer to call them Assistants.  I wish I could come up with a catchier name.  In the New Normal, Assistants are part of the Slash Generation.  In the Old Normal, the availability of intern positions is as dead as a doormat.

I have written about this from their perspective in an article called Why Graduates Are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places.  In it, I wrote that recent graduates who need experience could cross that goal line by working for Solopreneurs like me.  Many of my interns are now in the corporate world. One of my Assistants recently got married and his wife works for my first Assistant that I hired ten years ago.

They are all different. Some have their own podcasts, some love YouTube, and some Tweet and others don’t.   Some love music and play in bands.  All text and use Facebook.  They all use PowerPoint better.  They are all unique.  They are all valuable.

Since I am a Marketer, I have found that I have had the best success with Assistants that came out of PR, Advertising, or Marketing school programs.  They know the basics and they know the jargon (if you are in Washington, I know someone who speaks four languages!).

My assistants help me with tasks.  These are the things that we need to do but shouldn’t do as consultants as you can’t bill for your time.  For instance, repurposing my thought leadership is an example.  They don’t write my blogs, but they certainly can think of places to post my content.  I could spend time posting my blogs on my fifty Linkedin groups but why should I?  Should I go to the UPS store to send out packages or should they? I would rather pay somebody $12 an hour and pursue initiatives that could monetize me more.

I often speak on Networking, New Business Development, and Social Media.   Many organizations do not pay for speakers.  Should I use my time to chase non paying gigs or use my Assistants for the initial outreach?  We all have too many things to do with less time.

Most Millenials came out of the womb texting.  They were born into technology.  My current Assistant built her own computer.  Why would I sync my iPad and iPhone when they can do it?  Who knows more about apps?

I love it when my Assistants come to me and ask, “Have your ever thought of doing it this way?” “No,” I say, “but let’s start.”  We all need a little realignment.

In the end it is a win-win for everybody.   They need you and you need them.

They improve my productivity and I can go back to what I like doing best:  being an Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man.