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Melissa Kraman - 3/14/2018

Through a Young Entrepreneurs Across America, YEAA, internship, freshman computer science major Sean Wolfe is gaining experience by running a business. 

As an organization, YEAA works to develop young students into effective entrepreneurs by offering them a real-world opportunity to run Student Painters, a house-painting business. 

YEAA supplies training, resources and mentors to each intern so they are properly equipped to take on the venture, but it is up to the intern to guide their business to success. 

Currently, Wolfe is working to expand the business by hiring paid full-time summer employees and marketing around Muncie with flyers and posters. Wolfe said he is inspired and motivated by the idea of running his own business, but likes having the safetynet and support from YEAA. 

“It’s rare, especially for a college student, to get this opportunity. It’s incredible how much learning experience we get through YEAA to actually run our own business,” Wolfe said. “It’s cool to show people there’s a lot of opportunity out there, and that you don’t have to be a senior to get an internship.”

Wolfe was hired as an intern in September, but his training began just two weeks ago. He is now a branch manager for the business in Muncie and will continue his position until August.

There are also other Ball State interns who collaborate, attend weekly meetings and are branch managers for their hometowns through YEAA. The interns also attend conferences about sales, estimates, acquiring and managing Student Painters, the process of painting houses and cold-calling. 

“It’s a lot of hands-on training,” Wolfe said. “For example, to practice cold-calling, one branch manager would pretend to be the housekeeper and another would be the manager.”  

Wolfe said his biggest challenge has been coming out of his shell, but he gets motivation by striving to be the best person he can be, he said he is seizing the opportunity to become a more communicative, outgoing person.

“One of the biggest things I’ve learned already in just two weeks is that confidence is key. You have to be able to talk to people,” Wolfe said. “I’ve developed so many soft skills like being able to relate to people, communicate with them and interact, which is what employers are looking for now days. It’s what a lot of the world runs on.”

Charles Beck, Wolfe’s mentor, works with Wolfe on marketing, sales and estimates as well as how to talk with homeowners. 

Beck also played a role in helping Wolfe find his “why” by guiding him through a three week course designed to help interns discover what drives them. 

“Sean’s way out of his comfort zone doing this, which is a good thing, he’s learning a lot,” Beck said. “He’s a very hard worker and he’s persistent. Even though he’s out of his comfort zone, he’s making it happen.”

Aside from breaking through his shell, Wolfe also said he has learned organizational and time management skills that help him stay on top of his various responsibilities.

“You have to learn from new experiences,” Wolfe said. “If you live day-to-day doing the same thing, not risking anything, you never actually grow. Taking risks, taking that huge internship, or class that you’re scared of will help you develop.”