When you think of “The American Dream,” you may think of legendary stars who have climbed up the corporate ladder. You may even think of those rare individuals who have made their mark on this world without a college degree. Big names like Walt Disney, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg give millennials today a (somewhat false) sense of hope to skip over college and go straight for their goals. While passion and vision certainly played a part in these entrepreneurs’ success stories, they also may have had some luck on their side.
The idea of skipping college is tempting for aspiring entrepreneurs today. Many read about the success of Zuckerberg and other iconic businessmen and women, and think, ‘If they can do it, so can I!’ Student debt is climbing and many young professionals want to hit the ground running with their ideas and career goals. But it’s important to remember that these rare cases of success without a degree are just that – rare cases. If you were to ask a big business owner today how to become a successful entrepreneur, they may list some important goals to meet first, such as:
- Hard work
- Goal setting
- Pushing boundaries
These are just a few of the important steps to take and goals to make when planning for your entrepreneurial future. Still wondering exactly how to become a successful entrepreneur in today’s competitive and saturated work force? Luck may be on your side after all. Read on as we explore this path to professional stardom.
1. Education First
Before you begin your professional journey, you will want to start with a good foundation – postsecondary education. And before jumping into a program, you should explore your options. Seek a school that offers a variety of degree programs, at a variety of levels, related to leadership. Goodwin University, for example, offers several programs that can help you achieve your goals, such as:
- Business Administration – offered at Bachelor’s Degree, Associate Degree, and certificate level, with an entrepreneurial focus
- Management & Leadership – Bachelor’s Degree
- Organizational Leadership – Master’s Degree
- Professional Studies – Bachelor’s Degree
Another component of a great entrepreneurial program? Flexibility. Choose business classes that can accommodate your busy mind and schedule. Business administration classes at Goodwin are offered days, nights, and weekends, too. Students may choose to take these classes online, on-campus, or a hybrid of the two. The program is offered in an accelerated 7 1/2 week format, or a standard 15-week format. Our leadership courses, in part with our bachelor’s degree program, are offered fully online for added flexibility for aspiring entrepreneurs. There are 6 annual class starts per year, so you can apply and get started fairly quickly without having to wait until January or September.
What will a college education do for your entrepreneurial aspirations? For starters, it will help you develop professional competencies that are essential for the business world. These programs are built on the fundamentals of planning, leadership, and development. You will hone valuable skills such as:
- Basic accounting
- Business planning & development
- And more
Whether you want to open your own food truck or start a non-profit for underprivileged kids, postsecondary business classes will give you the base and foundation you need to reach success. Going to college will also put you in touch with other aspiring entrepreneurs and like-minded individuals who will inspire you forward. According to a recent Forbes article, written by Sharndre Kushor (cofounder and COO of Crimson Education):
“Whilst it’s true that hustle, grit, and intelligence can steward you through the windy, bumpy road that awaits budding entrepreneurs, there’s no substitute to education. Understanding the way things work, whether it be accounting, finance, computer science, technology or engineering, is critical. It’s not the piece of paper and pat on the back you receive at the end of a degree that matters, it’s this knowledge, skills and contacts you accumulate that can be transferred directly or indirectly to your work as an entrepreneur, that may turn out to be make or break.”
2. Early Networking
As noted above, the contacts you make in college will be some of your greatest assets in your journey towards becoming an entrepreneur. While you are pursuing your entrepreneurship program, you can – and should – use your resources to network with other professionals in your desired industry. Build good relationships with your professors – they are business professionals, after all. In addition, don’t be afraid to connect with others in your classes. They could be the extra brain or set of eyes you need on your business venture. And of course, use the tools and services that your university extends to you.
For example, the Career Services team at Goodwin University helps students and graduates on a variety of professional goals – including making connections with employers and professionals across the state. They can also help you find some early experience to get you inspired and experienced in today’s business arena.
College internships can help you prepare for your future in the real world, as well, giving you hands-on experience as you study. You may learn what to do to become successful, but you may also learn what not to do, which can be equally as valuable.
Earning a degree does not mean you can’t continue to go after your entrepreneurial dreams. When you are a student at a college or university (especially a flexible one!), you can still make plans and work toward your professional goals. Small business ventures that can be pursued part-time are very popular among millennials today. This is often called the Side Hustle. It can give you real-world experience and practice before making your business ideas your full-time, fully-invested career.
As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon that can change the world.” You have the power change the world with your ideas and innovation. And higher education can propel you forward.
When you are ready to give your dreams the fighting chance they deserve, contact Goodwin University to learn more about these valuable business classes in Connecticut. Call 800-889-3282, or visit us online to request more information.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.