How to Develop Your Greatest Business Asset as a College Student; Effectively Dealing with People 

“Be thankful for all the difficult people in your life and learn from them. They have shown you exactly who you do not want to be.” – Anonymous

The importance of people skills in today’s professional climate cannot be over emphasized. Without effective communication and the ability to address the concerns of others, you cannot conduct the business of fulfilling their needs.

In every real-world monetary transaction – the exchange of currency for goods and services – there are personalities on both sides of the equation. As a business professional, merchant, manager or entrepreneur, you must continuously deal with people of every disposition whenever you engage in commerce. Inevitably, you will cross paths with individuals who rub you the wrong way, are combative, are insulting or otherwise unpleasant to be around. This is an unalterable fact of life, and the sooner you get accustomed to it, the sooner you can begin learning the skills necessary to handle difficult customers, and for that matter, all types of people in general.

An internship with College Works Painting is an ideal way to gain invaluable experience dealing with people. As the manager of your own residential painting business, you will speak to, interact among and negotiate with people on a daily basis.

These “soft skills” of dealing with people in-depth are not part of most traditional college curriculums. Higher education covers the business world in theory only, leaving it up to you to seek out an experience that offers real world training in everyday business situations. For 30 years, College Works has been creating successful business leaders who are highly adept at dealing with people through their manager internship program.

The College Works Painting People Skills Training Model

Through an internship with CWP, you can expect to hone your ability to successfully interact with other people through frequent engagement in these capacities:

Contacting potential clients

Pitching projects to interested parties (selling)

Reviewing current projects with existing clients

Speaking with your team managers about your current workload

Presenting managers and other colleagues with questions and issues about current projects

Ordering materials such as paint, tarps, brushes, tape, ladders, etc. from suppliers

Hiring subcontractors to complete paint projects

Directing your subcontracted painting crews on the specifics of each individual job

Invoicing and collecting payment from satisfied clients

Team building retreat-type events with your CWP management colleagues

On any given day, you can expect to talk with potential clients, communicate with existing clients, manage job sites, hire subcontractors, direct workers on job guidelines, negotiate with suppliers, collect from customers and more. Amid these endeavors, the occasional combative person will emerge. That is when your “people skills” will need to kick into high gear so that you can overcome whatever objections they may have and get back to conducting business.

People 101: The Basics

There are a few fundamental, long-established guidelines for successfully dealing with people. All are based on the principles of effective communication:

Know Yourself

By understanding your personality type, you can better prepare for daily interactions with others. If you have a dominant alpha personality, knowing that you should not be too overbearing is key. If you are more of a passive, “like to be liked” person, it is important to be aware that others may attempt to overpower your will with their ideas. You can pinpoint your exact personality style by taking a DiSC Assessment, and familiarizing yourself with the different facets of all personality types. According to the DiSC model, the four personality types are dominant, influential, steady and conscientious. Every person is different, with one or two types representing the majority of their personae and the other types having a lesser presence in the overall makeup of their personality.

Know Who You Are Talking To

Whether you are speaking with clients, vendors, subcontractors (employees), other managers or company superiors – learning which type of personality you are dealing with is important to communicating effectively. Most problems in business and skilled labor contracting (house painting) arise from poor communication. If you are dealing with a highly detailed person, the more information you can give them the better. If you are dealing with a more conscientious person, the more reassurance you can give them that everything will go smoothly is highly important.

Understand by Listening

The most important part of a conversation is when you are not talking. Waiting for your turn to speak, however, is not the same as listening. When the other person talks, they are offering insight into their intentions that they may not actually say verbatim. The person speaking will offer context clues in the form of objections to your sales pitch or their general reaction to the idea of having their home painted, increasing its value and enhancing curb appeal. They might air out their general concerns about life or express their grievances about other seemingly unrelated subjects. By listening intently and responding with clarity and respect, you can earn their trust. This makes them far more inclined to hire you than they would be had you not taken the time to learn about their individual needs and concerns.

Speak Clearly

Simplification of your statements is another important facet of effective communication. You should find the most concise, easy-to-understand way of explaining things. This can apply to a sales pitch, a project description, specific painting techniques, etc. Avoid obscure technical, industry-specific terms as well. While jargon might make you seem well-informed, if the person you are talking to is not familiar with what you are talking about, they will begin to disconnect and you risk losing an account just because you were trying to sound sophisticated.

Time it Right

Addressing the needs of others and dealing with certain issues can be a time-sensitive pursuit. Choosing a Monday morning to ask a client to pay a past-due invoice is probably not the best strategy, while pitching a potential client to paint their home at the advent of spring is better timing than the middle of winter. Being on the lookout for windows of opportunity is a key strategy to effective timing. As a good listener, you can generate strategy based on listening to a client talk about themselves. You may gather intel about an upcoming family gathering or a plan to refinance and take advantage of low interest rates which could help you find the right time to pitch a painting project or an upgrade (upsell) from an existing work order. Also, after you deliver a world-class paint job is a well-timed way of asking for referrals and customer reviews.

Difficult People 101

Regardless of how well you listen, how clearly you explain things and how good your communication skills are as a whole, you will inevitably encounter people who are determined to be difficult to handle. While most folks are pleasant, more or less, the combative ones are out there (in far fewer numbers), and they can emerge at any time. Thankfully, through the people skills training built into your College Works internship, you can learn how to spot the culprits of conflict, diffuse their negativity and turn a potentially fruitless situation into a successful business transaction.

Conflict Resolution Scenarios

The Problem: Unmet Expectations

An upset customer feels that they didn’t receive what was promised – either because of poor communication, unrealistic assumptions or error on the part of the painting crew. A great strategy for mitigating this is to never make promises you can’t keep and to always over-deliver. Right now, however, there’s a person whose main focus is to complain loudly and at length – and most likely at high volume.

The Solution: Deflect, Don’t Reflect

Taking an upset customer’s assault personally can cause a situation to quickly escalate rather than dissipate. It is important that you step aside from your attachment to your business and see things from their viewpoint. If an apology is truly in order, be sincere yet firm. What you don’t want to do is become emotionally unbalanced, like the customer, so that at least one person (you) is thinking rationally. A fair remedy to the situation may be nothing more than the customer needing a chance to express their disdain to someone who is there to listen and be genuinely engaged. As a College Works intern, this situation presents an opportunity to learn from someone who has already been through it. You will reach out to your district or regional manager, explain the situation, and devise a solution which is fair for everyone.

The Problem: Someone Who “Knows It All”

Even if they have never picked up a paintbrush, this person is convinced they are the leading authority on all facets of professional house painting. They will talk over you while you attempt to explain things and even go as far as to offer advice on how to execute a project in the most efficient, proficient and cost-effective way. These folks are terrible listeners, yet they seek an audience, so you need patience and focus in order to deal with them successfully.

The Solution: Listen, Listen, Listen

Although they may be full of hot air, they have made it clear that they want to expel that steam in your presence. Once again, you must remove your personal attachment to the situation and consider it an instance to learn more about your client’s concerns and more importantly – their needs. Commend them on having “done their homework” while maintaining the mindset that you know what you are doing, and you are prepared for the job at hand. Oftentimes, a know-it-all customer may talk themselves into an upgrade of services – since they insist they are an expert on the subject at hand. Either way, you should focus on staying as calm as possible, not allowing yourself to get upset while listening intently until they run out of steam.

The Problem: Cautious and Meticulous

This person is difficult because they can’t make up their mind, yet they have an arsenal of technical questions that never seems to run out. While they may seem interested in becoming a customer, they seem far more interested in not deciding while simultaneously taking up as much of your time as possible. Their overly-cautious demeanor might even make you wonder how they ever make it out of the house to go anywhere at all.

The Solution: Remain Engaged

The overly-cautious would-be customer needs an exorbitant amount of reassurance. In the DiSC personality assessment world, this person is known as a “High C” – conscientious, cautious and skeptical. The best strategy here is to offer short, concise, straightforward answers to their questions and to avoid over-explaining anything. Highly-detailed answers will only add to their trepidation and give them more things to worry about. Once again, listening intently and answering with sincerity can help you to understand your client while (eventually) revealing their underlying concerns and other needs they may have which your business can fulfill.

The Problem: Aggressive and Mean

This person is always in a combative mood, projecting discord from other facets of their life onto you and your business. They are short-tempered and self-centered – usually wielding a heap of unreasonable demands. Whether they are having a difficult day, a bad year or a bad life is anyone’s guess, but right now they are taking it out on you.

The Solution: Invert Their Approach

Combative people love to argue, so the first step in disarming this person is to not take the bait and to adopt a passive demeanor instead. Once the problem is identified, do your best to see it from their viewpoint and then apologize with sincerity. Next, you can lay out a plan to fix whatever they are complaining about – as long as it is within the scope of the painting project. Your intent should be to use all of your faculties such as tone of voice, body language, facial expression, etc. to de-escalate and diffuse the situation. There is a limit, of course, to how much abuse is tolerable. If they simply will not calm down, you owe it to yourself and your crew to vacate the premises. This is another instance where intercommunication with your College Works managers is key. Once you clearly and concisely explain the situation, they will guide you on the best way to proceed.

The Problem: Let’s Make a Deal

While bargain hunters mean well in terms of their own personal interests, their pursuit of amazing deals can reach ridiculous proportions. This is the sort of person who seems to always be in an irrational, ongoing pursuit of cheap goods and services. It would seem that they are in a fierce competition – trying “one up” their buddies by attaining bragging rights about how they “beat the system.” The bargain hunter can easily shift into the know it all, so the sooner you spot them and apply the correct strategy the better.

The Solution: Stand Your Ground

When dealing with a frugal customer, expect them to compare your prices to those of any competitors in the area. Know that, by doing this, they are trying to get you to drop your prices and thus, devalue your service. Use the aforementioned strategy of listening to them explain their concerns so that you can get an idea about what it is they really want and need. It is important that you kindly set boundaries by establishing your pricing structure and explain to them that it is a firm immovable part of your business model. Since they like to talk about prices, however, you can take advantage of that area of interest by asking their price range and explaining to them which of your services they can afford. Once they agree, you can talk them through the sale and even upsell services based on intel you gathered earlier when you were listening to them talk.

Transferable Skills

As a College Works intern with your own residential painting business, you will have a unique ability to learn – firsthand – how interpersonal dynamics work in the business world. You will encounter personalities of every type and learn how to deal with people when they are at their best and worst. By learning the various blends of personality types and working styles, you can learn to treat everyone you encounter as the unique individual they are. This is an invaluable skill that has earned many high-level professionals a favorable place among their colleagues, clients and competitors.

By honing your abilities to communicate effectively, to listen intently and manage the occasional difficult person, you will enter the professional world as a highly-marketable asset to any employer.

Plus, should you choose to pursue the entrepreneurial path, your experience with College Works Painting will prepare you to handle any people-oriented situation the high-octane world of business might throw at you. Contact us to learn more about a business management internship that will teach you the secrets of handling people that you can’t learn in a classroom.

Extracurricular Education: How to Develop Selling Skills Outside the Classroom

“Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her to solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service. “ – Brian Tracy


If you are considering a career in business, marketing, innovation, design, product development or entrepreneurship, understanding the principles of selling is key to your success. 


As a college student, you will eventually encounter the topic of selling – especially if you are majoring in communication, finance, public relations, social science, liberal arts, economics or any number of other fields which are concerned with the interaction of people and money. Most majors, however, do not provide students with hands-on, real-world, person-to-person selling experience. The only way to gather actual selling experience at the collegiate level is through an internship with a commerce-oriented, sales-driven company. 


College Works Painting (CWP) is one such organization, and for nearly 30 years CWP has been teaching the principles of selling to university-level students. A management internship can allow you to gain real-world experience and build business skills that put you miles ahead of your peers. As a College Works alumni, you can graduate from college and enter the workforce as a highly valuable asset to any company looking for qualified recruits.   

A Life-changing Opportunity

The College Works Internship program trains participants to utilize a proven, time-tested, turnkey system to build their own residential house painting business in their spare time. The business model includes selling at its purest form – researching valid candidates, contacting them yourself, pitching them your service, walking them through a sales pitch and closing the deal. Once the contract for your services is in place, you subcontract the work to a crew (which you will hire) and then you repeat the process again and again. The CWP model is so effective because, as an intern, you will have access to guidance, assistance and expertise from managers who have already successfully worked the business model. Aside from learning invaluable business skills while still in school, you can also earn enough money to pay off student loans so that you graduate from college debt-free. (Tyler, insert backlink to Earn Money for Tuition blog here)

College Works Internship Sales Skills

As a College Works intern, you will participate in every phase of the selling process. The hands-on, real-world aspect of the CWP business model allows participants to learn the art and science of selling by doing, rather than by reading about it in a textbook. Your experience will include the seven steps of the selling process. This is a framework that has been in place in the business world for many years, and while it changes in small ways from one industry to the next, its effectiveness explains its longevity:


Prospecting and qualifying – Viable candidates for a professional house painting service are identified by you – the entrepreneur — by researching homes and homeowners throughout the adjacent communities. 

Preparation / Pre-approach –  You will determine your opening sales pitch via script, practice so that it sounds natural, and make sure you have all necessary sales material on hand for when a prospect starts asking specific questions. Also, it is important to have specific information about the client on hand (without sounding intrusive) such as current color of the house, type of trim, style of construction, etc.

Approach – You will introduce yourself to prospects in person, explain the purpose of your visit and begin to establish rapport. After asking a few easy introductory questions, you will do the all-important sales technique of LISTENING to the potential customer so that you can determine if a presentation is warranted. 

Presentation – Here you will present a solution to a prospect’s problem. You will explain, in detail, the aesthetic and monetary advantages of a professional house painting job. Since you asked them preliminary questions and listened closely to their answers, you can tailor the presentation to fit their specific needs whether they are looking to sell, refinance or upgrade the visual appeal of their home. 

Overcome objections – Most potential customers will raise objections as a natural part of the sales process. You will acknowledge their viewpoints and offer solutions while asking more questions in order to further understand their needs. 

Close the sale – You will simply ask the customer if they are ready to make a commitment and purchase your services. Once all terms are agreed with, the work contract is made official, and it is time to get to work.         

Follow up – Once you complete the work, it is important to make sure the customer is satisfied. Once you are assured that their expectations have been met, you can ask for a review of the service and for referrals of family and friends who can benefit from your service. 

Essential Principles of Selling

The subject of selling is of extraordinary interest to countless people. The topic has been studied, dissected, perfected, reinvented, tried and tested many times over. Among these efforts, there have emerged approaches and philosophies which, after reliably generating success, have become essential components in the canon of sales techniques. During your College Works internship, you will be presented with opportunities to put these ideas to work for you and experience the results first hand. Selling is both an art and a science, and each person involved in this time-honored business tradition must find the tools that work for them and develop their own unique style of selling through hands-on application.    


Ask and Listen

Sales experts the world over agree that in order to be successful, you have to listen more than you talk. It is of crucial importance that you actively listen to what your prospect has to say – somewhere in a 60% to 40% listen/talk ratio – so that you can understand their needs and respond accordingly with solutions. Ask important questions relative to their needs and your service and then give them your undivided attention. 


Sell Yourself

It is important to have confidence in your company and your product, so as a College Works intern you can use company metrics and success data to bolster your poise. Conversely, it is crucial that you balance this modality with an ample sense of humility. Avoid bluster and bravado while making sure you are not too meek and unassuming. You have to find that fine line, which is to essentially apply your own personality in a professional, respectful manner.  


Engage with Individuals

Each prospect is unique, and folks living next door to one another can vary drastically in personality style and how they respond to your sales pitch. As you utilize the “ask and listen” principle, you can begin to understand the specific needs of each individual client and respond with fine-tuned solutions. 


Link Features to Benefits

The various aspects of your College Works Painting business will include services such as removal of loose paint, caulking of exterior trim, painting of primary surfaces, etc. It is important that you point out the benefits of each service such as enhanced surface appearance, protection from water damage and beautification of the property as a whole – respectively. The advantages of each service may seem obvious to you, but unless you take time to point it out to your sales prospect, they may not make the conscious decision to take action based on the benefits.   


Sell the Results

Based on the “ask and listen” principle, you can create an image of what the finalized house painting project will look like. You can then describe this ideal end result to your client to help them visualize a picture that aligns with their fundamental reason for hiring your service.  


Emotions Drive Sales Conversions (Not Logic)

People rarely make buying decisions based on reason. According to Harvard Business School, “95% of our purchase decision making takes place subconsciously.” While facts and figures can bolster confidence in your sales pitch, the way your products and services will enhance the customer’s life and experience in the short and long term are what drive conversions. Once you can get a prospect emotionally engaged in the outcome of their decision to buy, you are on the way to closing a deal.   


Focus on Solutions

It is important to address a customer’s concerns, but it is equally important that you not linger on these areas. In order to move the sale along, you must shift the conversation to solving these problems and how you can help. These solutions are best presented in person, so that the client can appreciate, firsthand, that you have considered their concerns and have taken the time to show them ways to resolve these issues.   


Be Professional

While developing rapport and camaraderie with customers is key, it is also crucial that you don’t get too comfortable and that you maintain a professional demeanor. Getting people to like you is not as important as if they value and respect you. If you earn a client’s trust with a professional sales presentation and service, it is best kept by maintaining that formal demeanor.  


Develop Yourself

As a newcomer to the world of business and sales, some of these principles will come easily while others will not. No one becomes an expert in sales overnight. These skills must be developed over time through hands-on experience. One of the great advantages of College Works is that you are getting a massive head start by learning how to apply selling principles and techniques while you are still in school.  


Sell Value not Price

A sales pitch based on numbers alone will fall flat almost every time. Your presentation of your products and services as well as your own confidence in your business should be at the focal point from step one. Once you have listened to a prospect’s concerns and presented them with a personally-tailored set of solutions, they should be able to easily understand why your services are prices as they are.  


Know Your Stuff

As a college student, you most certainly understand the importance of doing your homework. As a College Works intern, you will encounter clients who want to test your knowledge and understanding. You will also meet folks who need as much reassurance as possible before they take action. In order to get this, they will ask you every question imaginable about your services. The College Works business model is unique, as you have access to experience managers who can help you answer questions from an overly analytical client.    


Be Unique

While it is crucial that you maintain a professional demeanor, it is also of utmost importance that you are not fake or that you do not speak like a robot. Your personality is what will ultimately sell most clients on your service, so don’t hide it when asking them questions, listening to their concerns and presenting them with solutions. 

How A College Works Internship Can Enhance Your Major

The business skills you can acquire as a College Works intern, specifically your knowledge of sales and selling, can complement your studies and help launch your career in your chosen field. 

While a CWP internship is separate from your college or university, you can consider it an auxiliary education – a genuine, introductory excursion into the world of commerce. 


Communications – This field is largely focused on advertising and mass media. These are forms of selling which utilize many of the fundamental principles outlined above. A comprehensive understanding of sales – which you could gain as a College Works intern – would make you a valuable asset in this industry.     


Finance – The financial services sector handles nearly all aspects of money for individuals and corporations. The “ask and listen” as well as the trust-earning aspect of sales are crucial in order to convince others that you are qualified to handle their money. Thorough knowledge of selling psychology and the emotional ties people have to their money can be an invaluable part of your skill set in this industry. 


Marketing – Similar to the Communications field, this industry is synonymous with selling. While much of the messaging is delivered through multi-media outlets and digital platforms, the one-on-one skills a College Works internship helps develop can offer incredible insight into the true reasons why people take action and make buying decisions. 


Business – Majors in this field study just about every aspect of the financial world including marketing, project management, finance, economics, accounting, international relations and more. Your sales experience from College Works Painting as well as the rest of the business skills you will learn in your internship will perfectly compliment your studies in this field. 


Public Relations – A degree in PR can lead you into an industry where you work to magnify the attributes, benefits or advantages of people, places and things. Just like explaining the benefits of a product or service during a sales pitch, you will do so utilizing industry tools such as news releases, speeches, internal communications and more. A foundation in sales built during a College Works internship can help position you for a great career in this field. 


Social Science – A career in this field can integrate the psychological aspects of selling into your large-scale studies of society and human behavior. Hands-on experience in selling through a College Works internship can give you vital insight into the human psyche and the subconscious factors which influence most buying decisions. This can be applied to interpersonal situations as well as seasonal, quarterly and global financial trends.   


Liberal Arts – A degree in this field could lead you into a career as an artist, actor, writer or otherwise independent, creative entrepreneur. All of these areas involve the principle of “selling yourself.” Previous experience in sales will give you a distinct advantage in markets which are saturated with artists who understand nothing of the principles of selling.   


Economics – This field focuses on the science of money and the analysis of buying incentives and how marketplace fluctuation reacts to human interaction. Intrinsic knowledge of the psychology of sales – gathered through a CWP internship – can provide you with a working model of the theories you will learn in the classroom as you pursue your degree.

Sales are a major part of many areas of study and their subsequent careers. College Works is an auxiliary learning experience which can teach students vital, essential, crucial business skills which are simply not offered in most university classrooms. An internship can place a young professional at the top tier of the labor pool once they enter the workforce after college. Contact us to learn more about an invaluable way to learn about the many facets of sales and selling. 

Higher Education You Can’t Get in a Classroom: How College Works Teaches Business Management and Leadership Skills 

The best way to gain the specific skills which can help you succeed in business is through real-world experience. As a college student, you are learning the fundamentals of accounting, marketing, general business principles and the like. Yet, most of that information is only useful when applied to actual situations wherein services are exchanged for money. 

As you work your way through your undergraduate studies, consider starting your own business within a reputable, time-proven, highly successful company. Pursuing an “auxiliary education” can provide you with the practical skills gained from hands-on experience which will allow you to excel in the fast-paced, competitive world of business.


College Works has developed a widespread professional network which uses a turnkey business model to teach participants about leadership skills, business ethics, communication skills, organizational management and sales principles which cannot be imparted in a traditional classroom setting. The mechanics of these business fundamentals can be applied to any profession while giving young people an edge over their peers when they are ready to leave the university and enter the highly-competitive world of business. 

Lead the Way 

One of the main characteristics of an effective leader is the ability to motivate others to take action. Managing a business which involves a team of workers is an excellent way to take the principles of leadership into the field and learn how you can make them work for you. A College Works internship provides an opportunity to learn the highly sought-after fundamentals of leadership and how to apply it in the real world. 

Inspire Action

True leaders motivate others to take action, whether it is on their own behalf or for the greater goodwill of an organization. Your painting business will provide the set and setting to see this phenomenon in action — which starts with your initial call to action at the onset of every project or workday. 

Learn Honesty and Integrity

Running a business, especially a house painting enterprise with multiple parties involved requires transparency. You will learn to begin every professional relationship with full disclosure of all details pertinent to each individual and to maintain the integrity of your communication by giving the same information about bids, timelines and such to all concerned parties. This is a rare and valuable asset in the business world and gaining experience in College Works on how to “shoot straight” can serve you well beyond the classroom. 

Practice Strategy

As you take on jobs during your internship, your managerial role will require that you see the big picture on each account and where it fits into your workflow. Being able to step back from the nuts and bolts of business and see where the current trajectory is taking you is a major part of learning to be a leader.  

Curate Communication Skills

Effective communication between all aspects and levels of a business is key to success. As a College Works manager intern, you will quickly learn that being as specific as possible and repeating exact facts, timelines, numbers, and expectations to workers and clients can and will save lots and lots of headaches, backtracking and wasted time and energy. 

Lead by Example

As a manager, circumstances will arise that require immediate, decisive action in order to be resolved. This opportunity will offer plenty of instances where someone needs to make a plan, delegate responsibilities, and get the ball rolling by rolling up their sleeves and getting into the work. This part of leadership ties into the motivational aspect yet is defined by the fact that it must be applied actively rather than in theory. 

Decide with Clarity

While delegation is an important aspect of leadership, as the manager of your own College Works team, there are some decisions that you alone can make. This is because, as the owner/operator, you have more information about all aspects of every account — unlike anyone else. This part of leadership also involves gathering as much information as possible, which involves listening attentively to what others have to say and adding that intel to your cache of knowledge so that you can make the best decisions possible in any given situation. 

Sound Business Ethics

Successfully conducting commerce — especially over a period of months and/or years — requires a solid understanding of business ethics and why observing them is important. These policies and practices serve as a road map for navigating controversial issues that you will inevitably encounter in the business world. Such concerns include discrimination, bribery, corporate culture, fiduciary responsibility and transparency. How you interact with employees, subcontractors, the government and customers will reflect your business ethics and in turn, will reflect the general perception of you and your company by the community at large. 


It is important that you present a forward-facing professional identity (as a disclaimer on all hiring messages and personnel literature) which states that you do not, in any way, discriminate against race, religion, sex, gender identity, nationality, age, medical history or disability. As a College Works manager working in proximity to an institution of higher learning, you will no doubt encounter a diverse variety of people from every imaginable background. Your internship will help you develop a healthy sense of how to be inclusive in your actions, politically correct in your speech and thorough in your considerations. 

Workplace Accommodation

It is also essential that you state that any and all necessary changes will be made for applicants and employees who need special workplace accommodations for religious or medical reasons, as the law requires. This means, in your painting business as well as future endeavors, you will make any reasonable requested changes to the workplace environment that a person with religious observations asks for or someone with a physical condition needs.  


This business ethic is more of an unstated principle; however, it must be ingrained in your mindset during everyday transactions and interactions that corrupt practices will not be utilized, tolerated or entertained in any way. In your College Works experience, by associating with other entrepreneurs, you will learn to engender a workplace culture wherein others are not influenced unethically, illegally or dishonestly. 

Company Culture

As a College Works business manager, you will learn to implement your business ethics through the sort of company culture you establish. As a leader, you will be able to set the tone and attitude of your company as a whole. This will determine how your employees (subcontractors) react to you as well as your clients. Your association will currently successful managers will help you learn to define and establish company culture, will serve you exponentially in future business ventures. 

Fiduciary Responsibility

The College Works turnkey business model as well as guidance from your extended management team will show you how to properly account for profit and loss (P & L) assets, expenditures and accounts receivable. You will also learn the proper way to file taxes and accurately claim business expenses while taking advantage of any and all tax credits you may qualify for, and as a student working your way through school, there will be plenty. 

Your College Works painting business and your interactions with those who train you will teach you how to be transparent in your dealings with customers, suppliers, investors, partners and employees (subcontractors). This simply means that all your transactions, since they will be legal, upstanding and legitimate, will be available to anyone should evidence of your business practices be requested.  

Communication Skills

A large percentage of the problems that arise during the course of doing business do so because of poor communication. Your College Works Management Internship will demonstrate the importance of being clear, concise, consistent, objective, relevant and understanding when imparting any sort of information — whether it be through verbal or written means — to colleagues, employees, partners, investors, and customers. Clear communication is the cornerstone of successfully conducting business, and you will have many opportunities a day to practice and master this all-important skill. 

Be Clear

It is important to write and speak in simple, easy to understand terms. Although your vocabulary is undoubtedly expanding in your post- high school years, business is best carried out when all parties are crystal clear on what the terms of the current agreement are and exactly what roles each party is expected to play. Throughout your College Works experience, you will learn to conduct business using straight, direct language and to reinforce each transaction by reiterating the original message.

Be Brief

The ability to be thorough yet brief in your communications, whether they are via telephone, email or in person is — in essence — a time management tool. As you apply this skill to your business, you will set a tone with colleagues and clients that tells them you are not interested in getting bogged down in unrelated matters or spending precious time having a casual chit chat. As there is a time and place for everything, your business will flourish when you spend time at work handling work-related matters and saving socializing for another time. 

Be Consistent

Success of your painting business will also rely not only on consistency of service (the end product) but of your work habits and your messaging. You will learn to deliver top notch work, to conduct yourself with professionalism at every turn and to keep the same tone and content in your advertising as well as in your daily work-related discussions.  

Be Objective

The professionalism instilled by the College Works organization will teach you to be fair and impartial when conducting business. This lesson helps avoid the pitfalls of subjectivity — which can cause people to make decisions and judgements based on emotion rather than logic. Being objective helps maintain a rational mind, especially when the inevitable situation arises where there are obstacles to overcome. 

Be Relevant

Staying on-topic when communicating with clients, other managers, colleagues and employees helps maintain the aforementioned qualities of clarity and conciseness. As an intern/manager, you will learn to stick to the matters at hand and to avoid wavering from one subject to another — as such a tendency has been proven time and again to hinder the progress of completing a project, finishing a transaction or closing a sale. 

 Be Understanding

One of the top business ethics in the arena of communication is learning how to be understanding. As a manager of your own painting business, you will encounter situations where a subcontractor or a client has an extenuating circumstance that somehow delays or disrupts a project. You will learn to listen to them attentively until they have explained themselves thoroughly and to express a sufficient, professional level of empathy. Then you can begin to implement solutions in order to get business back on track. 

Organizational Management 

Another key principle you will learn during the course of your College Works internship is how to effectively manage an organization. Your leadership skills will be an important component of this facet of your business, and additionally, you will learn how to implement planning, execution and delegation.


In this phase of managing your internship business, you will learn to utilize schedules and timelines to maximum effect. Here, you will learn to identify and procure project details such as staffing, equipment and materials and you will learn to approximate the necessary time required to complete a project. Through this process, you will develop an understanding of how well-made plans increase the chances of a smooth execution.


In this stage of organizational management, you will reap the fruits of your planning by carrying out the work. Here, every facet of accomplishing the project will be handled including the prep work (taping and cleaning of surfaces), application of all shades and necessary coats of paint and a thorough cleanup of the job site.


Many times, as a project manager, you will find there is more work than one person can accomplish over a reasonable period of time. This is when, in your painting business internship, you will learn to assign certain tasks to people who work for you. Your leadership skills will be fine-tuned here, as you will need to be on-site to lead by example, yet there are other facets of a job that must also be tended to such as quality assurance of the work, follow up with the client and collection of payment.  

Ethical Selling

This part of your College Works manager internship will define how you are perceived personally and professionally and encapsulates leadership, management, understanding, clarity, conciseness, transparency and just about every other principle mentioned above. 

Ethical selling is ensuring that, as you present your services to the community at large, every customer and prospect is treated with honesty, integrity, fairness and respect. As a marketer of your own business, you will learn to be considerate to the experience of others as they interact with you rather than pushing your agenda on them. You will achieve success by making honest claims, not disparaging others and utilizing a “serve don’t sell” approach. 

Be Sincere

When explaining how your painting service can benefit a potential client, it is crucial that you make honest claims. While exaggerating might help close a sale, the proof will be in the end result. If your assertions don’t add up to the visual proof of your work, the customer will probably let you know about it along with everyone else they know including friends, neighbors and family. Instead, if you are forthright with your explanation of how your service can improve the look and curb appeal of their property, they will have reasonable expectations and they just might send you referrals. 

Be Virtuous

As a business offering a popular service, you will no doubt encounter competition in the marketplace. In your College Works internship, you will learn the merits of not talking poorly about your competitors. Many prospects, as a negotiation tool, will test your integrity by asking why they should pick your service over “the other guys.” Rather than disparage another company, you can use the instance as an opportunity to explain why your service stands out and how you are dedicated to quality and excellence. You can also cite glowing testimonials from previous clients of College Works Painting and perhaps highlight what makes your service unique. 

Be Accommodating

Lastly, your internship will give you ample opportunity to test and perfect the “serve don’t sell” approach to business. This method is based on the idea that you are serving people by helping them make informed decisions. This lifts the pressure of ever having to utilize the much antiquated “herd sell” method by prequalifying your prospects, establishing that they are interested in your service, letting them know how you can help them and giving them a bid for the project. 


A life-changing experience in learning business management skills through hands-on application awaits you with College Works. Contact us to learn more about a management internship that can help you pay for school while giving you a razor-sharp edge in business for when you graduate and enter the professional world. 

Financial Support for College Students: The Many Benefits of a Business Management Internship 

“The hardest thing about going to college should not be paying for it.” — Bernie Sanders

Funding for tuition is one of the top concerns for college students, especially those looking to avoid student loans. In the search for a solution, many young people achieve solvency through internships which can also offer a host of additional, highly valuable benefits.

The Problem

Student loans are a problematic option for financial aid due to the long-term, high-interest debt most of these financial instruments can carry. While some Federal loans can be reasonably configured with (somewhat) low rates, loans from private lenders can carry up to 15% interest — making them nearly impossible to pay off in a timely manner. This can result in a long-term debt situation that can impede an individual’s success for untold portions of their post-college years.

The Solution

A better way to finance your higher education is to “earn while you learn” and pay for school in real time. With this approach, you can graduate and enter the workforce debt free with real-life work experience which you can apply to any field. Successfully working your way through college, while seemingly a daunting pursuit, is absolutely possible with the right company.

College Works Painting provides a proven system designed specifically for students looking to generate income for tuition while attending university classes. The management intern program teaches participants to earn money working a part-time schedule while allowing the necessary time for attending classes and pursuing studies. The experience has helped thousands of students across the United States not only avoid student loan debt, but to gain an edge in the business world by entering the workforce with hands-on knowledge of how to develop business, manage finances and become financially solvent.

A Legacy of Success

Since 1993, College Works has been teaching students how to successfully operate their own house painting business. By following a turnkey system and working with an experienced support team of managers, participants can earn money for tuition as well as their monthly living expenses. This dynamic allows College Works Painting interns to completely avoid having to take out student loans and incur the difficulties of long-term, high-interest debt.

Within a few months of a College Works internship, many students are earning money and applying it to their tuition. Student interns who may have taken out loans for their initial year or two can quickly pay off those loans before the interest buries them beneath an ever-growing pile of debt.

Executive Conversations

College Works CEO Matt Stewart, in addition to his many duties, is also the host of the acclaimed podcast Edge of Excellence. Here, Stewart interviews highly successful individuals across many fields and professions about their journey to prosperity and their personal philosophies about success. Among his subjects are several former College Works Painting interns/managers who offer unique perspectives into how their experience with the company helped them pay for school and excel in the professional world.

Case Study #1: Sean Nachtigall

Sean Nachtigall was in his second year of engineering studies at California Polytechnic State University when he was approached by a College Works Painting Manager about an internship opportunity. In a recent Edge of Excellence interview, he recounts his experience: “I discovered, in my sophomore year, how to run my own painting business,” he begins. “Before that, I didn’t like sales … but I did it because it pushed me out of my comfort zone. By the end of that year, I had run a $100,000 business. Then, I got promoted the next year and ran a $500,000 business,” he says.

Nachtigall’s experience is an excellent example of how a student with no preexisting business experience or sales skills can quickly plug into a proven system with long-lasting benefits. College Works teaches skills which students can build upon and leverage towards any other career. “Through those experiences,” Sean explains, “I was able to get introduced to [people] in the mechanical engineering fields,” he says. “I helped found the (Cal Poly) Sales Engineering Club and then, I ended up with a company in Wisconsin for six months of training in air conditioning where I basically got a masters in AC.”

Unexpected Benefits

In addition to the financial benefits, Nachtigall acknowledges the value of the many skills he learned through College Works. As an engineering student, he recognizes that developing business acumen has made him a rare asset in a field where the traditional curriculum does not teach business development to students. “There are tons of engineers out there, but there are also tons of people who are good at talking,” he begins. “But, to truly become successful to where you are a highly valuable asset, you need to be able to set yourself apart. If you can combine the gift of gab and the technical background, you are going to do very, very well because not many people can do that,” he says.

Nachtigall goes into further detail about his personal challenges with the prospect of selling. “I was absolutely terrified by the prospect of selling,” he begins. “Looking back on it now, I don’t know what triggered me to say yes. I remember thinking ‘this seems like a really big challenge.’ But I was given examples of other people who had been successful at this challenge, and I thought ‘who says I can’t do it too?’”

Nachtigall also places emphasis on how College Works helped him to understand the true nature of selling compared to what he thought it was. “I had a total misunderstanding of what sales is,” he says. “A successful salesperson is someone who is helping people satisfy a need they have and understanding what it is that is going to make them, the customer, successful. A lot of people, when they get into sales, they struggle with the fact that they are taking money from people. They feel bad about it — that there is a negative connotation to it. However, if a customer comes to you and they have a need and you are able to legitimately satisfy that need, they want you to take their money because that money is a direct representation of the value they associate with the service you are providing for them,” he explains.

Sean recalls how his choice to go the hard route made all the difference. “Engineering [students] are used to hearing ‘you don’t want to be a salesman’ from their family and friends. But I decided, when College Works approached me, that maybe the thing I should be doing is what 95% of the other people were not doing.”

Additional Insights

A subsequent interview with Sean Nachtigall delves deeper into his experience as a College Works intern. Here, he explains what he learned about the management of money and time. “You have to manage your entire P&L (profits and losses) yourself,” he begins. “If you don’t, you won’t make any money.  I have always been good with money, but actually having to budget and watch costs in a business environment was a critical learning experience.” Concerning his day-to-day schedule, he says, “I would write out my schedule for the week in 15-minute blocks. That sort of time management de-stresses you because it pulls the information out of your brain and onto paper. So, the never-ending cycle of everything you have to do flowing through your head is stopped.”

Show Me the Money

Nachtigall recounts how he began making money with College Works fairly quickly, “My first check, I remember, was around $5,000 and I used it to pay off all my credit card debt I had racked up. My profitability was one of the things I was most proud of from my intern year. I was awarded ‘Top Producer’ in my division as I had the highest margin at the end of the year.” he recalls.

Nachtigall looks back on his internship with fond memories and hopes other students who find themselves in his position choose to go for it with College Works. “This is by far the best opportunity to make as much money in college as possible,” he says. “You determine how much you make based on your efforts. It is a risk/reward [scenario]. More important than money you will be paid is the fact that you will gain a full understanding of who you truly are as a person.  You will learn so much about yourself that you will carry with you the rest of your life. It is only through adversity, trials, and challenges that we grow and discover our innermost self. I would say most people never discover who they truly are, but you will if you take on this challenge.”

Sean Nachtigall is currently an Outside Sales Engineer at Vertical Systems, LLC in Santa Fe Springs, CA.

Case Study #2: Alexi Rabadam

Alexi Rabadam was a student at San Francisco State University when she decided it was important to look for a way to separate herself from her peers. In her search for a worthwhile internship, she discovered College Works Painting. In a recent Edge of Excellence podcast with College Works CEO Matt Stewart, she recalls her initial reaction to the program and the long term effect it had on her life and her professional career. “Even though it was hard,” she begins, “It was probably the best experience I’ve had in my entire life. When I was 18, my first job out of high school was in retail. But then, when I met you (Matt) and the other mentors in the College Works program, my ability to be entrepreneurial and to succeed in life skyrocketed” she says.

A Quick Transformation

Rabadam went from working for an hourly wage to being one of the top producers on her College Works Painting team. “The amount of experience I gained, even in the first year, was massive,” she recalls. “In my first year, I ran a $100,000 business! I came back as a manager the next year and learned how to manage other folks. I was with the company for another two years and I really separated myself [from others] by learning how to run a business at such an early age. Learning those skills really set the tone for my professional career,” she explains.

In the aforementioned podcast, Alexi is quick to point out the importance of getting out of one’s comfort zone — especially for college students. “I think that early on, students just need to try everything … things that challenge them and make them uncomfortable.” Even in a state that does not offer College Works specifically, Alexi recommends, “internships where they [students] are going to receive great training, anything that is different and unique from the average college student.” Rabadam was fortunate enough to be in an area where a College Works internship was available at the time. She sums up her outlook on this aspect of internships with a critical observation, explaining, “A college student, in order to do well in any space, needs to be able to think critically.”

The Road Less Travelled

CEO and podcast host Matt Stewart then summarizes what to look for in a college internship with a few “qualification question” making a distinct clarification that an “assistantship” is NOT an internship:

 “Is it harder work than you’ve ever done before, and you don’t think you can do it?”

“Is it totally uncomfortable and out of the  box?”

“Is there regimented, proven training where you know you’re going to go through steps A, B, C and D?”

Stewart then relates a similar story to Rabadam about when he stumbled across a worthwhile internship during his college years, explaining, “We did the things that made us cry, we did the thing that gave us nightmares, we did the thing my dad told me to not do because I was working too hard, we did the thing everybody said was impossible. And when you do the impossible, when you prove everybody wrong, the next thing you know you’re running a media company and throwing hip-hop events in New York City for women launching their careers in music.”

Through her experience at College Works, Rabadam learned the business skills necessary to excel in other fields. She has found a way to turn her passion for music into profit through her NYC-based music PR company Finessed Media. She attests, “The leadership at College Works Painting is absolutely amazing and has helped me become a better leader to the people I manage.”

Case Study #3: Breanna Brady

Breanna Brady was initially considering degrees in medicine and/or law before she was accepted into Stony Brook University. As many students can attest, entering college can be a confusing time, and this was the case with Breanna.

Brady was a high school athlete, primarily concerned with the world of sports. During her initial months of college, she recalls being scared, unsure what to do and overwhelmed with a course-load of pre-med classes. She realized she actually hated her choice of majors but was determined to keep up the appearance that she was on the right path and that she had a plan.

She explains that in an attempt to find her path and her “tribe” she stumbled upon the College Works Painting Internship and decided — since she wasn’t fond of her current trajectory — to go ahead and give it a shot.

Follow Your Instincts

Brady learned early on about the challenges that lay ahead of her. In another recent Edge of Excellence podcast hosted by College Works CEO Matt Stewart, she explains, “I had [found] my internship program. I remember telling my mom that I had found such a cool opportunity. She told me it wasn’t going to work out. I was confused and hurt, but I ended up being one of the top interns in the state. She eventually said ‘Breanna, I am so proud of you that you didn’t take my advice.’”

As a high-achieving athlete in high school, Brady was pre-wired to excel in a competitive environment. When she joined the College Works team, she realized she had found the right people to associate with. “The people you surround yourself with are going to have a huge impact on where you’re going to go and what you’re gonna do,” she explains. “I was surrounded by competitive, driven people. People who wanted to be on a winning team,” she says.

After a few months of learning the ropes, a few hard knocks and a fair amount of trial and error, something clicked with Breanna. She soon became a top producer among her College Works peers, running a six-figure business with increasing earnings every year.

Find Right Path

Podcast host and CEO Matt Stewart provides a succinct summary of Brady’s experience, stating, “You found a way to unleash your potential by continuously surrounding yourself with people who are [also] looking for a way to unleash their potential” he explains.


“Fast forward a few years later — I finished the internship program, and I have my job now all laid out,” Brady explains. “I didn’t finish the Pre-med track. I switched my major, I switched what I thought it was I wanted and here I am. There have been a lot of changes in the last few years to say the least.”

Brady explains how the skills she learned during her time with College Works have served her well in her professional career, citing her flexibility to smoothly transition from one field to another. “I did my internship, and it was sales based and I loved it. But it doesn’t mean that just because you found something you are good at, there isn’t more out there you might be good at as well, she says. “I think the internship gave me a really good understanding of what it is I am good at and what I am not good at — but that didn’t stop me from trying to find things I might like even more.” She explains further, “There are a ton of things I learned during my internship that I didn’t know I would need. But now I’m in a new position and I’m Like, ‘wow, this is all coming together.’”

Currently, Breanna Brady is a Staffing Consultant at Cornerstone Staffing Solutions, Inc. in Pleasanton, CA.

Take the Next Step

If you are looking for a way to earn money for tuition while avoiding high-interest loans, internships with College Works Painting offer an ideal solution. Contact us to learn more about how you can avoid high-interest loans while learning valuable skills for future success in business and leadership.

Career Development Tips To Help You Get Career Ready

According to the 2018 McGraw-Hill Education Survey only 4 in 10 U.S. college students feel well prepared for their careers.  Largely, students don’t feel they’ve gained critical career skills they need to transition into the workforce.  There is a big gap between student and employer perceptions.

With only 40% of college students feeling career ready one thing seems for sure preparing for post-graduation life early is essential.  So, here are a few tips from our Management Team to help you reach career success.

  • Develop your work ethic, your communication skills, your determination, your problem solving skills, and your ability to lead yourself and others.  Those will be the difference makers at the end of the day. Do NOT stress so much about college choice, major choice, GPA.  Those are the things drilled into you as you grow up.  Although each of those will be a part of your career path when you look back, those will not be deciding factors in your level of success.  You and only you will be the deciding factor.  Those will be the difference makers at the end of the day. – Taylor Duncan
  • Utilize this unique period of your life when you shadow and interview prominent people in your field of interest. You don’t need to intern for three months at that investment banking firm, pouring coffee and filing papers to get “exposed” to the industry. Write a letter to senior management asking to interview them. You’ll be surprised at the response and the access you get. The most jealous person? That hard-working intern who rarely gets any fact-time with management. -Jeff Gunhus
  • Get involved. Utilize your summers to volunteer at your dream company or take that internship even if it’s unpaid as opposed to working at taco bell. The money lost by not working that hourly job will be returned 10 fold in your career. It’s never great to go in debt, but it may even be worth having to take that extra student loan. – Tyler Morelan
  • Do challenging things. So much of our lives people try to shelter us from failing, feeling vulnerable or putting ourselves out there. When in reality having those experiences is what makes us stronger, teaches us to deal with adversity and gives us the confidence to go after what we want in life.  To quote Thomas Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”  -Nick Shroer
  • Understand the role of your feelings when it comes to long-term development. Feelings like fear, anxiety, and doubt often accompany any task you have not completed yet and thus are reasons TO DO things, NOT reasons to shy away. Your short term anxieties are like lactic acid for the brain; temporary pain in the short term, development outside of your comfort zone and newly learned skills for the long term. Your brain is currently hard wired to acquire pleasure TODAY and avoid pain TODAY the best thing you can do while young is to rewire your brain – find comfort in discomfort. This will keep you in a state of constant growth and will acclimate you to stress. Much like climbers on Everest must camp up high to grow their tolerance to breathing in high altitude, so you must train yourself to handle stress while the body and brain is young and the pain tolerance is high. Do this, and success in any field will be the natural by product. -Chris Heerdegen
  • Do more than the job description.  Once you are in a job or career the best way to move up or redefine your position is to take on more than the minimum expectations of the job.  Early in your career volunteer for new projects, committees, training others, etc.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  By taking on additional responsibilities think of it as a free pass to try a promotion.  If you succeed you’ll likely get promoted or earn additional compensation, if you fail you usually will keep your job because the extra work wasn’t in your job description. – Sean Phelps

Have you had success attaining a great job after graduating college or have any advice for others? Leave your comments below.

Tiffany Phelps

Marketing Manager

College Works Painting

5 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Do

By: Ryan Coon, CEO of Avail

When I was a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying accounting and finance, I was hired as a summer intern at College Works. My internship taught me the foundation of how to be a good entrepreneur.

Since graduating, I’ve worked for a large investment bank and, more recently, co-founded a company with a fellow U of I graduate, Laurence Jankelow.

Our company, Avail, helps DIY landlords manage their rental properties with the tools, support, and education they need. We launched in 2012 and now have more than 250,000 landlords and tenants using our platform. In this article, I’m going to share my top 5 tips for running a successful business:  

Stay focused

Many companies fail because they lose sight of their goal.

Your company’s objective should be clear and each decision you make for the business should come from a place of furthering your mission. You’ll accomplish more if you stay focused on your goal, rather than distracted by other opportunities along the way.

Staying focused also applies to your personal mindset. Each day is an opportunity to bring your best self to your office: rested and eager to get work done. One key way that I stay focused is using Evernote to organize my to-do list. I cut out “fluff” tasks that are not high priority and make sure I’m completing tasks that will have the largest impact first.

Focus on the customer

At Avail, one of our core values is customer-centricity. We believe improving our customers’ lives is not only the right thing to do, but also helps our business thrive.

Here’s how to stay focused on your customer:

  • Build a product that solves a core problem for your target audience
  • Provide support channels (phone, email, live chat) so they can reach out with questions and concerns
  • Personally reach out to customers when they join your platform to welcome them and answer questions
  • Provide education that helps them learn and grow
  • Send them emails about company updates and new content  
  • Hire an account manager so you’re proactively reaching out to existing customers in a helpful way
  • Continue to iterate on your product to improve what you offer
  • Find ways to innovate so you’re offering even more value to your customers

When you focus on the customer, they’ll stay with you long-term, refer their family and friends, and show other potential customers that they shouldn’t miss out on the amazing benefit you offer.  

Surround yourself with great people

Building a business is a team sport — you need the right players in the game in order to win. As you’re building your team, be sure to hire people who are excited about your mission, bring unique and diverse skills to the table, and are ready to get work done.

More than that, surround yourself with people who do the right thing, bring a great attitude to work, and are people you enjoy being around. You’ll be celebrating the wins together and working hard together when you need to get more done and faster.

At Avail, we recruit top talent and make sure our job postings are posted on top sites, like AngelList. Our hiring process usually goes like this:

  1. We’ll schedule an initial phone call to learn more about a potential hire and discuss the opportunity.
  2. We’ll then schedule an in-person interview where the potential hire will meet with different groups of people in our company.
  3. And last, we’ll provide a task or test so we can gauge performance and skills.

This process is efficient and effective at helping us hire people who are talented and excited to join us.

Do more with less

We’re a midwestern startup with scrappy roots. ‘Doing more with less’ is the mindset that’s gotten us where we are today. We push for more work to get done (and better results) with less capital.

Outwork everyone

To run a successful business, you have to outperform other companies, set the right goals, tackle your to-do list, and hustle.

Beyond the hard work, it also pays off to take feedback from people around you and improve your skills. Even top achievers should be in a constant state of growth, so that work quality, quantity, and speed is always improving.

If you have any questions about running a business, or what we do at Avail, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at  

About Avail

Today, 80,000 landlords and 170,000 tenants use Avail because it’s the only end-to-end platform that helps them manage the rental process all in one place. We provide rental listings, rental applications, leases, rent payments, and maintenance tracking — all online. Even better, tenants who use Avail can boost their credit score by paying rent on time with our online rent payments.

College Works Painting Ranked #1 Internship for Career Development

The results are in and has ranked College Works as the #1 Internship for Career Development and #6 Internship Overall!

Vaults main mission is to provide the intelligence that students and professionals need to build the careers they want, and to partner with companies seeking to engage with people pursuing high-potential careers.

We are ranked among internships at Infosys Instep, Schwab, Capitol One, Nickelodeon, Northwestern Mutual. Read the full list HERE.

Check out our full Vault Profile Page HERE.

The Career Development Category is based on: training and mentoring, quality of assignments, real-life experience and networking opportunities.

Our interns don’t just make copies and poor coffee, that’s why our interns consistently get great jobs when they graduate, and our alumni network opens doors for them at hundreds of companies.

What interns are saying:

  • “With hard work comes progress and personal fulfillment.”
  • “Built confidence in myself and realized how much I am truly capable of. I learned how to create relationships with clients, gained the skills to basically do anything in the business field.”
  • “The culture, friendships, competitive atmosphere, encouraging mentors, incredible excursions, challenging obstacles, and the personal control over one’s success were the best aspects of this program.”
  • “Best opportunity to learn how to run a business with no financial investment.”
  • “Be ready to work your tail off, but learn the most you ever have in your life.”
  • “Entrepreneur development unlike any other.”
  • “The most challenging, yet rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
  • “The best part is being able to run your own business while in college and apply the things you learn in school to real world situations. There are only a handful of college students who have the experience I have. I will stand out in the application process no matter where I apply.”
  • “Best learning experience a college student can have.”
  • “Gain experience in running your own business in a risk-free and supportive culture.”
  • “I learned how to be successful in the real world, not just the classroom.”
  • “The most difficult internship with the most exciting opportunities and culture.”

We are beyond excited for this ranking! A big THANK YOU to our interns and alumni. Our program wouldn’t be what it is without the path that our super successful alumni have carved for current students to follow in their footsteps.

Tiffany Phelps
College Works Painting

What Did You Do This Last Summer?

The Catch-22 all college students face:

Employers are looking to hire college graduates with experience in their field, but few employers are willing to give students opportunities to get that experience while in college.

This is a dilemma that many students face, so many decide to do…well, nothing. They work normal summer jobs at coffee shops, random side jobs or take the summer off. You have to do what you need to do to make money (I worked at a mill doing manual labor work for 60 hours a week the summer before my first year of college), but you do have a choice.

Rachel Zupek, from Career Builder, recently submitted an article to CNN stating that one of the top 10 things an employer looks for in a college graduate is relevant work experience. Experience was much more important to them than what school they went to or what kind of degree they had.

A Bachelor’s degree by itself doesn’t mean much to an employer these days. The Associated Press released a report in April stating that “53.6% of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or unemployed.”

That’s a pretty scary number.

So here are a few tips on how you can begin to get relevant work experience, while still attending school, that will help you attain a good job when you graduate.

  1. Internships. There are tons of internships out there that will help you get relevant work experience. Many of them will not be paid internships, so make sure they are the best fit for you from an experience standpoint. The best internship you can get is with the company you want to work for. Many employers use their internship as a “tryout” to see if they’d like to hire you in the future. is a great place to find internships in your area.
  2. Clubs. It’s tough finding good clubs on campus. The best thing you can do is look for any and all clubs relevant to your major and attend the meetings to see if they’re interesting to you. When you find one that is interesting, try to get a leadership position where you can teach and coach others on that particular field – that’s the part that looks good on a resume.
  3. Organizations. Find organizations offered outside of your college that are relevant to your field. For example, Toastmasters is a great organization that helps people with their speaking and presentation skills, which are a must for most jobs these days.

Have you had success attaining a great job after graduating college or have any advice for others? Leave your comments below.

Jason D. Bay
Marketing Director
College Works Painting

Where Do You Find Motivation?

Ever notice a common brand amongst the sea of treadmills and bikes at your gym?


One of the more common brands out there, Life Fitness, can be found in many gyms across America.

Last week, we handed the co-Founder of Life Fitness, Augie Nieto, a check (video coming soon!) to help aid in his search for finding a cure for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Augie’s story is quite a remarkable one, especially for any aspiring entrepreneurs. He helped grow Life Fitness to several hundred million dollars and sold it – more than once. In September of 2005, he was diagnosed with ALS, a disease which inhibits the brain and spinal cord from having control over voluntary movements.

I was really excited to actually get to meet the guy in person.

Considering his condition, what Augie is able to do is quite astounding. He has hardly any movement in his body right now except for his legs. He can hear, but cannot verbally communicate. He uses a pretty elaborate set up called the DynaVox EyeMax System that allows him to communicate via eye movements.

The entire time we were there I was asking myself, “Where the heck does this guy get his motivation?” Since 2005, he’s spent nearly all of his time raising over $30 million for a cure he might not even get to see the benefit of.

It really made me think about all the times I’ve ever been too tired to get something done or was too burnt out from school or work.

So the next time you just don’t feel “motivated enough” to work hard towards your career or educational goals, think about Augie and where his motivation comes from. He’s not letting anything get in his way.

For more information on Augie and his mission to find a cure for ALS, visit Leave questions and comments below!

Jason D. Bay
Marketing Director
College Works Painting

Note-taking and Efficiency Tools For Little To No Cost

As a student, you’re always looking for the most efficient way to keep your school work organized. But the part that is often overlooked is having a way to search through them and find important things quickly.

Taking notes by hand is great, but it’s extremely time consuming to have to scour through pages and pages of notepads to find the one sentence you were looking for.

There are a ton of solutions out there now that are little to no cost. I’ve taken the time to review three of them here for you so you know where to start.

  1. Evernote – The best thing about Evernote is it’s searching and tagging features. You can organize everything into notebooks and have sub categories. For example, you might have a folder called “school” and then sub folders for every class. You can tag each note with the class name, what you studied that day, etc. so you can quickly use the search box to find anything. You can also take web clippings from articles you find on the web that you like and tag those as well for later. This eliminates the need to bookmark sites just because you liked a single blog article. There is a free and premium version that can be used on your computer, tablet and cell phone at or the app store your phone supports. 5/5 stars – there isn’t anything out there as robust as Evernote
  2. Dropbox, Google Drive – With both services, you have up to 2GB of storage for free. I personally like Google Drive because I use GMail as well so everything is in one place. The cool thing about these programs is that they sync files wirelessly to your computer, tablet and cell phone…and the files will always be on the Internet to download. It syncs real time and is a great way to eliminate the use of thumb drives and having to email yourself files all the time. The sites can be found at and 4/5 stars – these services are great, but files can be hard to pull up on tablets and cell phones
  3. Notepad+ – This is a great tool created by current College Works Vice Presidents in California. The cool thing about this app is that you can take notes on your iPhone and then sync them with a Google Doc or Evernote. The notes application on the iPhone that comes stock isn’t very robust when it comes to syncing or adding titles. It’s very unorganized. This app is the best of all worlds when it comes to note taking and list making. You can find it on the iTunes app store here. 4/5 stars – this app does exactly what it’s supposed to do: sync your notes…and for only $.99 what do you have to lose?

Any other tools you guys have found to be effective for note-taking or that help in overall efficiency as a student?


Jason D. Bay
Marketing Director
College Works Painting