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The Full-Time Non-Employee

As the job market dwindles, unpaid interns are flooding the work force. Here's what you need to know before you bring them on board.

This story appears in the April 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
The Full-Time Non-Employee

Ari Goldberg is not a stylish person. The 27-year-old New Yorker says he had "almost zero fashion knowledge" when he launched StyleCaster.comlast June. Wearing a T-shirt and shorts, he explains what he did know when he created the website in 2008: There was no equivalent of a MySpace for fashion, a site that mixed style news, social networking and personalized clothing recommendations with e-commerce. Revolutionary web platforms don't come cheaply, but he believed that he and his partners could build one without exorbitant staffing costs.

"We told the investors, 'We have this amazing idea, and everyone will want to take part and we're not going to pay them,'" Goldberg recalls. Besides having contributors who would style photo shoots or write articles in exchange for promoting their name or product, "we were going to have an army of interns."

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