What’s it like to be an intern at LokaLocal? Nicole reflects on her two-month journey with us.
LokaLocal is an online marketplace that strives to connect people to unique local experiences. That’s what I tell everyone who asks about LokaLocal.
To me, LokaLocal meant a lot more. It is my first time stepping into the (sort of) corporate world. I didn’t know what to do, how to behave, what to expect. Yet I went with the uncertainty and decided to “wing it”! Like I always do.
This time, I am lucky and privileged to say that it worked out really well. So here are a few thoughts I’ve reflected upon throughout my internship journey with LokaLocal:
1. Initiate and initiate
Throughout my time in LokaLocal, I was told to be the content creator/entertainer. I have been researching on potential experiences to bring onboard in order to connect them to travelers. Then I would approach them via email or phone call and pitch to them about LokaLocal and how to get onboard. Besides that, some nice hosts would invite us over to try out the experience, and I would use this chance to create content in terms of getting information and photos for their listing, or gaining insights and write about them. Naturally I love to talk to people and try new experiences, so I’ve also recently worked on a promotional video.
Being a beginner in basically the whole discourse of internship and corporate work life, it is easy to fall into the space of “only doing exactly what you’re told”. Maybe it is needed especially on the first day. But after that, when I was not delegated any task, or I’ve finished what I was asked to do, I would do more research on more unique experiences out there, and study more of how the marketplace works etc etc etc. And I found that there are so many amazing individuals who are doing great stuff to bring people closer to local Malaysian culture, and preserving cultures and heritages that are on their way to extinction. In addition, I was able to get lost in the internet world and explore what I would like to do, and it turns out I am really interested to become a travel show host one day.
2. Adapting to change
As LokaLocal is still somewhat a start-up company, there are a lot of uncertainties. Sometimes you would never know what tour will we organise, and when will we organise a special feature tour. It all depends on who we get, what experience came onboard. And once a tour is planned, we never know if it would really happen as it depends on the number of sign ups. Then suddenly a major company joins for a collaboration, we have to tweak our plans a little to make sure the collaboration happens, while still staying on track with our vision. And suddenly our website goes down for 4 days and we have to work our way around it.
Compared to interning with an established corporate company, in which you may have a standard task list or there might be a set itinerary for your internship program, but that’s not the case in LokaLocal. Prior to entering the company, I once thought there would be a set agenda for the whole internship program, and I actually asked for it. But when I entered, I realise how everything is changing drastically, the direction may tweak a lil depending on certain external variable. All these uncertainties happen almost everyday; and no plans, however thoroughly prepared, can ever catch up with the changes the world throws at you. So adapting to change, adapting to uncertainty, is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt from this internship experience.
3. Plan ahead
I’ve seen how the LokaLocal team plan for the future of the company, the direction of the company, and how to work things around when there’s a change. When there’s a new collaboration happening, that would bring great changes to the company, the LokaLocal team had great vision on how to plan things around to make sure the collaboration works while also making sure the company moves forward according to their main vision. Even little things like public holidays or if one was going for a holiday, they would plan ahead for the days they are not available. “Plan ahead” has been the most basic rule in any stage of life for anyone, but this experience made me see a greater importance of doing so.
4. Dealing with rejection, direct and indirect rejection
I approached countless potential local providers, via email or phone call. I pitched to them about LokaLocal, what we envision to do and how we can benefit the local providers. To me, imagining myself as a local experience provider, all that LokaLocal provides seems really good, I would not know a reason to reject this offer. But of course, that’s only based on me and my imagination as a local provider.
Through countless number of emails, phone calls and Whatsapp messages, there are also numerous amount of rejection, direct and indirect rejection. What does that mean? Direct rejection is when someone speaks up to you saying “I am not interested, thank you very much”, or “Sorry I don’t think we are aligned in our core values/mission/vision of business”, or “I really like this offer but I have too much on my plate now, maybe I’ll consider it in the future”. Indirect rejection goes like this: ” “. No email replies, blue ticks on Whatsapp, unanswered phone calls. No matter what kind of rejection, I learnt to take it in, and move on, just find more experiences and approach more people.
5. Venture far and wide, but always stay rooted to your principle/vision/focus
LokaLocal focuses on bringing people to local experiences, like a bridge connecting travelers to local culture and uniqueness. Having said so, many would scroll through our website, and still think of us as “travel company”. Some have approached us asking for collaboration, while most of the time I approached people to get them onboard.
These local experience providers, whom we call “local experts” have so much to offer, so many crazy experience to provide. And the more I search, the more crazy/cool things I find, sometimes I get a little distracted and would love to bring everyone onboard. But the LokaLocal team helped me stay focus on what experience are suited for our audience and who to approach. And the main anchor for LokaLocal is the word “experience”, to provide an experience, instead of just any workshop/event. Having this anchor, it really helped me in judging who to take in, and what to focus on.
I am an explorer, and a curious kid who gets distracted very easily. Therefore through this experience, I realised how important it is to have an anchor, how it helped me in staying rooted and focus in walking towards my aspired future, minimalising the chances of me falling off track or being distracted while I venture far and wide in this world full of possibilities and potential.
I would say I had a really amazing and life-changing experience with LokaLocal. It would not be the same for anyone else, and I knew it really depends on myself to make it a great experience. I am very grateful for this experience and I thank LokaLocal for giving me this opportunity to expand my capabilities and for giving me so much realisations to reflect upon. I am not the same person as I have been before this internship, and I am now closer to who I want to be in the future.
Originally published on nicolecj.