She started her business with a chunky Dell laptop and $5K. Today, Lauren Berger is CEO of InternQueen.com, author of the National Campus Best-Seller, All Work, No Pay and her newest work, Welcome to The Real World, not to mention the go-to expert on all things internships.
Last month I had the chance to sit down with Lauren at her inaugural Intern Queen Party in DC. We talked blogs, the benefit of breaking the rules, how to make it without a mentor, and how a celebrity chef inspired her business.
Cara Paige: So, how did Intern Queen get its start?
Lauren Berger: I had 15 internships when I was in college…which is a little crazy… no one needs 15 internships. I was the ambitious “little-engine-that-could” and no one would help me. So, I got all my internships on my own through breaking all the rules… cold calls and everything else they tell you not to do.
When I graduated college I thought ‘what if there were a resource, person or destination that could help connect students with the opportunity of their dreams?’ Then a light bulb went off and I said fifteen internships… my friends and peers can learn so much from my experiences. Why don’t I call myself the Intern Queen? The goal was to be the Rachel Ray of the ‘internship world’ and to have a more personal website, because I knew that places like CareerBuilder and Monster could be so overwhelming. That’s how it all started.
CP: Did you have a mentor?
Not really. A big misconception is that everyone has these mentors and that’s just not true. I reached out to so many people for advice and no one really wanted to help me and I get it… I was just a girl with a laptop. So I felt that I really needed to prove myself then people started turning their heads a little bit and saying “Oh I’d love to talk to you” or “I’d love to help you.” But I think there’s a difference between the people that say they want to help versus the people that actually help. In my entire career I think there have only been a few people that have helped. I think a lot of times people are waiting for this “knight-in-shining-armor-mentor” that’s gonna turn their lives upside down, and I think you have to turn inwards and kinda be your own mentor.
CP: So why is blogging important for you?
On InternQueen.com we’re blogging about internship advice so it’s important for us to constantly be giving our audience a wealth of new information. Just when they think they’ve heard everything about their resume, they hear something else from us. We need to keep them motivated that way.
Our new site, LaurenBergerInc.com, was launched because I [personally] wanted a new challenge and a lot of the users that have been with us since 2009 are graduating and going into that first, second or third job. I wanted to be there to help them. So it’s been a fun challenge for me to launch the new book Welcome to The Real World, helping our audience connect with advice and information about the opportunities of their dreams.
CP: What’s next for Lauren Berger?
We’re taking over the world… at least that’s on my agenda today (snickers). Just kidding, our goal is always for every student in the world to know about Intern Queen. We have a lot of work to do still. Slow and steady wins the race and we’ve been in the game about 5 years now, so it’s onward and upward from here. We’re also planning on increasing our career content so that when students graduate they don’t loose Intern Queen and I, Lauren Berger can still be someone that helps them through their career.
Thanks for this insightful interview, Cara! We love hearing about smart online brands like Lauren’s. Have a ‘Getting Schooled’ Moment that you’d like to share on the Blogalicious blog? Let us know!