3 Challenges I’ve Overcome in Picha as an 18-year-old

Hello! My name is Aaron, and I’ve been with PichaEats for two and half months as an intern. Throughout my time here at Picha, I’ve been told that I am more than “just an intern”, and also faced many challenges that are out of my comfort zone.

Despite having just completed my SPM last year and having relatively little experience, I decided to apply for an internship at Picha to gain exposure and learn what it’s like working at a social enterprise.

It’s been quite a transformative journey for me here, peppered with experiences, good and bad (mainly good!). In this blog, I’d like to share the top three challenges that I have faced and subsequently overcome during my time here at Picha!

#1 - Getting leads through cold calls

I remember on the first day of my internship, I was thrown straight into doing something I thought was relatively mundane and pointless – cold calls.

I absolutely hated cold calls at the beginning. After all, what was there to like about it? You’re calling random people, some of whom will be rude or hang up on you as you try to explain about Picha to them. I was just following a script, repetitively calling over and over again - and I wasn’t getting any results at all.

After a while, something changed. We decided to shift the focus and improve our strategy. I’ve also started becoming more natural in making conversations over the phone, and dealing with rejections positively.

Almost immediately, I started getting results. Using this new technique, I managed to get four meet-ups on the first week! Finally, there was something concrete to validate my efforts of my constant cold calls.

Once I saw that I was actively generating sales leads every day, it motivated me to enhance the quality and the tone of my calls.

Gradually I came to see that my calls were making a difference. Every lead that I generated meant a potential sale, and a potential sale meant an opportunity to increase the income of the Picha families.

It meant more peace of mind for the chefs who toiled so hard to prepare the Picha food. It meant better financial security so that their children would be able to receive education.

#2 - Organising “Cha”

Before this internship, I had never organised a large event before in my life. When Swee Lin mentioned that me and Trinity (who is also an intern in Picha) would be responsible for a dining event in collaboration with Chocha Foodstore, I was surprised at first. The initial onrush of excitement was quickly eclipsed by the realisation of my responsibility.

At first, there some hiccups and miscommunications. Taking into account our relative inexperience, we had to constantly ask for feedback and suggestions from the Picha Team. Thankfully, they were extremely supportive, while at the same time letting us express and implement our ideas to make the event a success.

On the day of the event, we had a full house! Not only was the Picha team there, we had some volunteers who gave their free time to help out (Thanks Azraa, Kai Ying and Sha!). Our fantastic partners at Chocha were easy to work with as well.

We worked together throughout the night to ensure a sublime guest experience. The atmosphere at the event was amazing, and the smiles on the faces of the delighted customers put smiles on ours.

#3 - Getting Up Early for 7am Meetings

Let’s face it: Most of us despise having to drag ourselves out of bed in the wee hours of morning, before the sun has even risen beyond the horizon.

Well, at PichaEats, we have meetings on Mondays at 7 a.m. That doesn’t sound too bad though, right?

Unfortunately, I live in Puchong, and a 7 a.m. meeting means that I have to wake up at 5 in the morning on Mondays.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had to haul my half-asleep body out of bed so that I am not late for the rendezvous with my colleague (we carpool to save cost).

I do understand the rationale behind early morning meetings though. Not only will we be undistracted by calls or other external sources (I mean, who calls at 7am?), having the meeting before work rather than in the middle of the workday (which we used to do) helps give us more clarity and insight into what needs to be accomplished for the week.

We also emphasise upon the importance of our work towards the livelihoods of our Picha families. After the meeting, I often feel invigorated to begin my workweek.

Knowing that our work is helping the Picha families is what gets me out of bed at 5 in the morning.

My internship at PichaEats has truly been an eye-opening experience for me.

You are never just an intern at Picha, you are treated as an integral part of the Picha Team.

You will be pushed out of your comfort zone, challenged beyond your limits and develop new skills, be it cold calling, video editing, engaging with customers or handling large events.

You will see yourself grow into someone you’d never thought you could be!