As I’ve noted before, this summer is the first summer J. Leigh Events has ever had a summer intern. It’s a major step for my business, and as exciting as it’s been, it’s also a little nerve-wracking!
Luckily I had worked with Rachel before - she’s helped me out with a few events at Waverly in the past. When she mentioned she was looking for an internship for the summer, it worked out perfectly.
Rachel is a rising senior at Liberty University and has been helping me out all summer. (If you want to learn more about Rachel, head here.) She’s been doing a phenomenal job, but let me tell you, it is definitely not easy giving up aspects of your business to someone else, no matter how great they are.
Before Rachel joined me for the summer, I was very nervous about making it as fruitful as possible for her. Having never had an intern before, I didn’t know what to expect, but I wanted her to really learn about the event planning industry and walk away at the end of the summer feeling like she had some great opportunities.
At the same time, I’ll admit that I am a hardcore type-A person, and for years now it’s just been me running every aspect of J. Leigh Events. The thought of relinquishing some of that control has been as much of a learning experience for me as the work Rachel’s been doing has been for her.
Recently, the coworking space I work out of and help do some work for, hygge coworking, asked to feature us on their Instagram and share our story - from Rachel, they wanted to know why she was interested in event planning.
“Working the day of and event, that's all you see, so I wanted to see all of the behind the scenes and where to start with planning stuff,” she said. “I've learned social media, marketing - it's been cool."
And from me, they wanted to know how I’m ensuring that Rachel’s short time with J. Leigh Events was as productive and educational as possible. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here’s what I said:
“I've been trying to give her stuff like events that I feel like I need to let go of anyways and the things I'm going to need help with down the road. She's doing an event pretty much solo on Friday; she'll be the point person. I've given her run of this smaller wedding in July. I'm also trying to hook her up with vendors I work with to give her an idea of different areas she can go into. If she doesn't want to go into being the event planner, there's venue coordinators, there's rental people, there's social media management."
You can see the full post here.
The goal for me is allowing Rachel to do hands on work, and not just watch me do the work. I have her do things like venue scouting for our clients, sit in on meetings, running my social media and even being the point person for smaller scale events that aren’t too daunting for her.
But again, as much as Rachel is learning about event planning and marketing (I hope, at least), I’m learning from her as well. I’m learning that at a certain point, I’ll have to step back and allow other people to have control over certain aspects of my business as I continue to grow. I’m learning how to do that. I’m learning how to be a leader as well as an entrepreneur.
Cheers, friends, to a summer full of learning, whether you’re the intern or the boss.
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The J. Leigh Events team is expanding! This month we welcomed two new additions, both of whom happen to be named Sam. Head here to learn more about our new project manager, Sam Kimball, and our new event planner, Sam Poler.