Entrepreneurship, for many people, is the embodiment of the American dream. The term refers to anyone who has the drive and initiative to start a business. Every small business owner is an entrepreneur. Someone specializes in a skill, trade, or service, and then markets their specialization to become a small business so that they can be “self-employed,” and get paid to do what they love to do.
You don’t need an online entrepreneurship degree to start your own business, but studies show having one helps. With more than half a million new small business launched every year, competition is keen both in e-commerce and traditional retail. Many online entrepreneurship degree programs are at the graduate level and complement sales, retail and merchandising experience. However, anyone with ambition and vision will benefit from this business-focused program.
THE CAREER PATH
Entrepreneurship offers a whole world of possibility for developing professionals. Some entrepreneurs are ready to move forward with that business they’ve been dreaming about for years, others want to explore their options in the field of business before committing to an idea or plan. Some individuals want to use the skills that entrepreneurship has to offer in order to turn their passion into an income. Being self-employed means that entrepreneurs can take the shape of many different professionals in our society, probably more than most people realize. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many farmers are entrepreneurs, and cosmetologists, as well as real estate agents, management professionals, and even childcare workers. Professionals who choose to take a different route from self-employment will find that entrepreneurship skills can be applied to many positions in business, including:
- Sales Managers – Whether it’s in your own business or in a career with another organization, you will need to be prepared with a thorough understanding of the many facets of successful sales strategies. Sales managers are responsible for aspects of the business such as directing organizational sales teams, setting sales goals, analyzing data and trends, and developing training programs for sales representatives. Sales managers must have experience in the field in order to be a competitive applicant. Professionals can validate their skills and knowledge by earning a certification from either the Sales Management Association or the Sales and Marketing Executives International association (SMEI). Careers in management tend to be both more competitive and more rewarding than entry-level positions or other specializations. The same is true of sales managers, who are some of the highest paid e-commerce professionals; they make nearly $120,000 on average.
- Top Executives – These professionals that we typically think of when we hear the term “CEO” or “director.” For many entrepreneurs, the dream is to become the top executive of their own company or organization. Top executives are among the highest paid workers in the United States. The average salary for all top executives is just over $100,000; for CEOs in particular, it’s over $180,000. However, these types of positions are incredibly competitive, one of the only business careers that’s expected to decrease in demand in the coming years.
- Management Analysts – Like many other entrepreneurs, management analysts often work as consultants for their own brand or for a larger firm. They are often hired by organizations to use their entrepreneurship skills to offer solutions to improve efficiency and profit. As the economy continues to shift and change in the coming years, management analysts are expected to be in high demand, much higher than the national average, expected to grow by 14% in the upcoming years! Professionals in this field make an average of more than $80,000 each year. In order to be competitive, developing professionals may want to earn a certificate from either the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) or from the American Institute for Business Management and Communication (AIBMC).
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
Starting your own business isn’t an easy venture, and just like many other business careers, the most successful entrepreneurs enter the field with the right attitude, communication skills, and ability to think critically. Even if you don’t plan on starting your own organization, you might want to consider developing a career in entrepreneurship if you want to use your interpersonal and problem-solving skills to help others create and maintain successful, thriving businesses.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Expect an entrepreneurship degree online to include courses in business basics – accounting, economics, finance, marketing, management, human resources. However, this online business major goes beyond these blue chip skills to offer invaluable bootstrapping advice on writing a business plan, undertaking market research, building a brand and creative financing.
Through your entrepreneurship studies, explore the process of setting up a business, hiring employees and managing growth with a venture creation course. But, remember that business isn't just limited to the U.S. Learn the legal and financial requirements for worldwide trade with an international entrepreneurship class. Then put your knowledge into action. The final capstone course in this degree major often requires a complete business plan.
There are many types of online learning degrees and credentials available to small business owners. Online certificates focus on the skills needed to research and write a business plan or develop a market research paper. An online entrepreneruship bachelor degree is often chosen by seasoned, adult students who have broad hands-on management experience or who have operated homegrown small businesses for years or decades.
Online master’s are available in this major field as well as online MBA programs that offer entrepreneurship as a concentration. One popular new emphasis in this study area is social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs may operate non-profit businesses or they may be interested in building a for-profit company that has a clear social mission.
On average, a four-year degree in entrepreneurship will cost between $30,000 and $50,000. Many universities, however, offer flexible programs that developing professionals can customize to suit the pace of their lifestyle and finances. Before investing hundreds of thousands of dollars, developing professionals should look into programs thoroughly in order to get the most bang for their buck.