Interning with Helium Books: What Happened and Where it Will Take Me

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👋 Hello, all!


The Helium Blog’s resident narrators will be taking a brief break, and I, the lowly intern (don’t worry everyone, they treat me well), will be stepping in.


I would first like to introduce myself for those that don’t know me...


Hello! My name is Amira Elsafy and I have had the privilege to be Helium Books’s Digital Media Marketing intern for the past six months. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and am currently a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on a marketing path.


I am going to use this post to revisit and reflect on my time at Helium Books.


Last spring, the pressure was on. Every college student was talking about their internships for the summer and how they are progressing towards their career goals. I felt so far behind. I recently applied to the highly competitive Wisconsin School of Business and was awaiting a response. I knew that my chances of getting in were below thirty percent, but I still had hope for acceptance. 🙏


At that time, I didn’t have a major or a physical path to carry out my goals…and that scared my hyper-structured and organized self.


By May of 2021 I was frantically checking everywhere for a part-time internship that would work with my existing job of teaching music at a theatre camp. I was about to give up when I found Helium Books on LinkedIn.


It was the dream job. Immediately, I applied…and double emailed…to make sure the "Helium Books dudes” received my application (and enthusiasm). Before my first interview, I watched YouTube videos on creating Google ads, listened to episodes of the Journeymen podcast, and learned as much about Helium Books as possible. The "Helium Books dudes” better be blown away...


I had my first interview with Jacob and knew right away that Helium Books—specifically Ian and Jacob—were irreplicable. Immediately, the spark was there. Fast forward a month later and I got the internship (woo hoo)!


🤓 The first two weeks were a definite learning curve. Let me tell you, every post you see on any Helium Books social media page requires significant work from Ian. I was overwhelmed creating posts for a single day of the week, and Ian does it 365 days a year. He wouldn’t like me saying this, but a “like” goes a long way.


It did not take long for me to become invested in Helium Books and their mission. I was instantly drawn to their startup status and the opportunity to have a voice. Ian and Jacob were incredibly receptive to my ideas and dually provided constructive feedback.


One of these ideas was the gift card program that recently launched on the Helium Books website; Jacob and Ian moved mountains to make this a reality. Another favorite memory was talking with Ian for an hour about 20+ different ideas for the company's future (sorry...they’re a secret 🤫). The synergy and creative stimulation we got from bouncing ideas off one another was beyond empowering.


While my internship taught me a lot about digital media, it ultimately taught me more about the dedication and drive it takes to be an entrepreneur and run a business; the necessity to constantly be creative and think of unique opportunities; to bring a smile to your face, even after a long day of work; to show your intern how to better word a Twitter post.


My time at Helium Books taught me to seize any opportunity available and to squeeze every piece of knowledge and insight you can from that experience. I also observed what unwavering dedication looks like, and how passion makes almost any challenge conquerable. Most importantly, I saw that working with people you care about, that share your drive, can have an immeasurable impact not only on the work you do, but your happiness.


I learned later in the summer that I was not accepted to the Wisconsin School of Business to pursue a major. While I was slightly saddened, I am a very realistic and positive individual that doesn’t prefer dwelling on losses and instead learns from them. I am someone that knows that (despite all my efforts) life never goes as planned, and that if I work hard enough, I can still end up where I want to be. 💪


Six months later, I am on my desired path. Specifically, because of my internship at Helium Books, I was able to demonstrate my skills and growth and received two summer internship offers. I am very excited to be spending this summer and the following school year with Subzero Inc. in their Brand and Marketing department. Additionally, I have a major in Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies, and a minor within the Wisconsin School of Business.


Ian and Jacob, I cannot thank you enough for the dream opportunity you have provided me. You are two of the kindest, most humble, dedicated, and determined people I have ever met. Thank you for taking me under your wing, making my ideas for Helium Books a reality, and genuinely caring. As I mentioned earlier about myself, I know you are also individuals that will work so hard that your dream must become non-fiction (book jokes, lol). It was an honor to work for both of you.


To anyone reading this post, thank you for supporting Helium Books. Things will only go up from here!


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