By Stephanie Butzer
The High Point Enterprise, N.C.
She started looking for an internship and ended up running her own business.
Skylar Fritz, a human relations major and senior at High Point University, wanted a meaningful internship where she could get valuable experience. She came across Young Entrepreneurs Across America and knew she could get more from the experiences they offered than she could anywhere else.
Young Entrepreneurs recruits students around the country to run a small business called Student Painters. After several interviews, Fritz was selected to be a branch manager in October for the High Point area’s Student Painters company.
In her position, she finds business leads, hires workers and balances finances. Meanwhile, Student Painters covers all marketing costs, carries liability insurance and uses its partnership with The Sherwin-Williams Co. to train painters and sell supplies.
“I’m not required to put a lot of money into it, but I put in the time,” Fritz said. “They truly do invest in me.”
It’s a paid position, and most managers make between $7,000 and $8,000 by the end of the summer. Fitz pays all of her eight employees and creates different incentives to inspire them.
“I’m trying to create a culture where I can find people who reflect me, but I also can help them because I’m being helped so much,” she said.
Fritz said her company covers exterior house painting, power washing and deck care. Her marketing team helps spread word of the company in the community and her painting team works on the homes.
She said she often talks with other branch managers when questions or concerns arise.
“No one else in my university knows what I’m going through except for those other managers around the country,” she said. “I can call any of them up and ask how to deal with something. It’s this great support system of all these young entrepreneurs.”
The company’s preseason will end in May, once Fritz graduates and school ends. Production will begin then and last until August. So far, she has given out about 30 estimates since mid-February and by the end of April, she hopes to reach 100.
But it’s not always easy. In entrepreneurship, there are many obstacles to overcome.
“This is a business where people don’t like cold callers to begin with,” she said. “You have to remember you can always move up from there. You have to see things in a positive way. That’s my biggest thing — looking at things positively, but realistically, and keep going.”
Her boss, the regional manager, has noticed her hard work.
“They see I’m a hard worker and they say I’m very, very good at relating with the customer and developing rapport and being trustworthy,” Fritz said. “Right now, I am meeting everything they tell me to do, and I’m going above and beyond.”
She said she is not sure what will come after Student Painters, but her dream job involves working with people on something she can be proud of.
“I’ve never been so passionate about paint in my life, and it’s something I never thought I would be so passionate about,” she said.
She’s so excited about her work that even though she is on spring break and working, she’s never been happier, she said.
“I am a full-time student, and I’m running a business,” she said. “I’ve been doing boot camp and working out. Even with all of this, I have a 27-page paper due. I’ve never been happier and I’ve never been busier, which almost surprises me, but I’ve never felt more at home.”