Just like the many different recipes for cookies, recipes for start-ups vary from person to person, from one field to another. Some people succeed at the very first attempt, some experience several failures before discovering a suitable recipe for their start-up. Some recipes show the results right away, while some take longer. However, these three essential ingredients are a must for any type of start-up: blood, sweat, and tears. Each of these elements is a metaphorical attribute for a successful business.
Human produces sweat when our bodies exert forces or strengths. In other words, sweat in this case means efforts. A start up needs extra efforts and dedications to validate a business idea.
Jun-Wan Tong, a 24-year-old risk manager from Brooklyn, N.Y., is one of the very first interns of IntroAmerica (IA). After his internship with IA, Tong received a full-time offer to work at Tembo Coffee Company in Tanzania. While working for IA, Tong and his friend, Andrew Hu, came up with the idea of a video contest to promote IA. To attract more participants to the contest, Tong spent a tremendous amount of time finding sponsors and visiting a lot of colleges to raise awareness about the contest.
“My biggest moment with IntroAmerica is when we finished the video contest and announced the winner” Tong said. “A lot of work went into it. It may not have been as successful as everyone wanted it to be but it was a great start.”
Wenjing Mao, 32, IntroAmerica’s web developer and Promotion Assistant in Vancouver, Canada, has been a vital part of IA from the beginning. Mao was attracted by the idea of helping international students to receive American education. She has been dedicating all her time and knowledge to oversee the developing process of IntroAmerica’s website.
“When we launched a new website, it felt like all of your time, effort and energy finally turned into a product which people could see and use” Mao said.
Whenever a person faces hardships, it’s easy for him/her to feel depressed and helpless about the situation. Tears come out as the result of challenges and difficulties. Although no one likes to be in a difficult situation, hardships are parts of lives. This also means no success for start-ups without hardships.
Mao reminisced about the old days when they did not really have a real office space. All team members would gather at a team member’s house or a public place to work. “Eventually we were able to move into a cubicle but the space was so small that there’s no way the whole team could sit together. Everyone could not come to the office at the same time” Mao said. “Sometimes we got together in the office, sometimes we worked at home.”
Tong said IntroAmerica was struggling to find financial support in the beginning. Jamie Gao, 24, an international business associate at Beijing Zhongdun Security Technology Development Co in China, agreed with Tong.
“Building of a brand is not an easy thing” Gao said. “Through this internship experience, I learned not only a lot of marketing skills such as deployment of major social media tools, but also aspects of operating a company such as finding cooperative partners.”
Human resources determine a company’s success. During the past two years, IntroAmerica has been receiving a lot of support and commitment from passionate and talented team members like Tong, Mao and Gao. The talents and abilities of all team members are crucial to the growth of IA just like the blood-stream that keeps human body functioning.
Tong graduated with a degree in Information Systems. However, his experiences with IntroAmerica took him on a totally different path. Tong learned how to do marketing, to pitch your company and to find funding.
“Betty Wong, our CEO, taught me a lot of things,” Tong said. “She forced me to do things in marketing that I would never do by myself. Personally she knows how to have fun. She knows how to evenly distribute work among the teams. She definitely knows how to start a company and make it grow.”
Gao said her internship with IntroAmerica definitely equipped her with skills that are necessary for her career.
“IntroAmerica has a young and energetic team. You’ll be involved in a nice working environment,” Gao said. “You may make friends your age here, practice networking or help each other out. IA provided almost every aspect of an intern job. Of course you’ll get a specific position and some job tasks but you could have opportunities to take part in company operations and make great decisions with the team. You will learn a lot and you’ll grow with this brand.”
Mao could not believe that time flew by so fast. Mao remembered last year the whole team went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate IntroAmerica’s first birthday.
“There are a lot of barriers for international students in the states,” Mao said. “However, don’t be afraid of trying different things. Who knows what great things you may accomplish?” IntroAmerica achieved so many different things by its second birthday including a 2nd generation website and the launching of the Phoenix Jiangsu Star Search.
On IntroAmerica’s two-year anniversary, our hope is that we can share our knowledge and experiences to everyone and become a reliable and trusted source for students all over the world. However, what you bring to us is important too. We need your trust and support. Together we can “LIVE LIFE BETTER”.