Kelsey: Hello listeners! Welcome to the JingJobs podcast!
Lindsay: I am Lindsay Trameri.
Kelsey: I am Kelsey Gausman, and we are the new interns at JingJobs. Today we are meeting up with Fredrik van Huynh – the founder of the internship program that brought us to China – Absolute Internship. Born and raised in Sweden, Fredrik was the first in his family to attend high school and university, picking up seven languages along the way! He was able to grow $2000 into a multi-million dollar company, and he now helps students around the world find life-changing internships in Asia and Europe. Now, I’m going to hand it off to Lindsay who will ask Fredrik a few questions about his experience with his startup. Lindsay, take it away.
Lindsay: So Fredrik, how did you get started with Absolute Internship?
Fredrik: Hi Lindsay! Great to be here today. Great question. Many years ago, I was a student back in Japan, and some of my roommates from the U.S. were looking for summer internships. It happened to be that I knew a lot of my previous friends back in Shanghai that had been interns. They had great connections with some companies, so I was able to match my classmates and friends from Japan with the internships in China. Long story short, they had a lot of issues with their visas and couldn’t find accommodations for the summer, and I ended up doing all of that for them. I realized that this was a problem that needed to be fixed. I started to write a small business plan and studied how to create a program for a bunch of students from all over the world – making friends for life, experiencing China, Hong Kong, any city in the world I was thinking but started originally with China. That’s how the idea was founded.
Lindsay: So many people face failure as entrepreneurs, but you were able to successfully grow $2000 into a multi-million dollar business. What is the most common reason for people failing, or just giving up, in their startups?
Fredrik: That’s another really great question, Lindsay. From my experience and from what I’ve seen through other startups, the reason why they fail is simply giving up – not having the persistence and the stamina to keep going. A lot of people do not realize that in order to become an “overnight success,” it takes 5 to 10 years. The average I would say is 10 years. A second reason is discipline. A lot of startups and entrepreneurs don’t have the discipline to just keep grinding for years. Persistence is very much required to create something successful.
Lindsay: What challenges do you face in your startup, and how did you face them?
Fredrik: When you start off, one of the challenges would be – let me put it this way – credibility. When you are new, you just have to keep pitching, keep receiving rejections, and keep on going. Try to market your company as much as possible. Brand yourself and build a reputation. You all have heard what Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, but only 5 minutes to destroy it.” That is something that we have as a challenge, and I think year by year, as we become older and older, we are building a reputation slowly. Today, we let our reputation speak for itself.
Lindsay: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing at 20 years old, what would it be?
Fredrik: Dream Bigger. Very simple – just dream bigger. I was already myself when I was 20. I am still myself now, and I wouldn’t pretend to be something that I’m not. Nothing is impossible. I already had that mindset back then. “Impossible” – that word basically says “I’m possible” – right? So think even bigger. Really dream bigger. Believe that nothing is impossible, and just go for it. At the end of the day, the success lies in the journey – not in the destination.
Lindsay: Awesome! Well thank you! Listeners – if you have friends or family overseas who are looking to intern in China or other cities around the world, now you know a good resource to send them to find where they can live. Thank you for your time, Fredrik, and we look forward to hearing more about Absolute Internship in the future.
Fredrik: Thank you so much, Lindsay!
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