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Making Degree Program Decisions for Self-Employment

Making Degree Program Decisions for Self-Employment


By Kimberly Smith
Career Exploration Specialist, APUS

If you dream of self-employment, then you are likely motivated by the challenges and excitement of starting your own business and being your own boss. When it comes down to making degree program decisions for self-employment, it can be difficult to establish academic plans when your main goal is to pave your own path. Here are some steps you can take to make degree program decisions as you forge ahead with your intention of becoming self-employed.

Start a management degree at American Public University.

Clarify Your Business Goals for Self-Employment

Since the industry demands for successfully operating a boutique hotel will be vastly different from the realities of running your own personal training venture, it’s important to clarify your business goals. Understanding where you want to channel your entrepreneurial spirit is key to figuring out where to begin your educational journey.

Reflection can help you to zero in on the target. How do you want to serve your community? What types of organizations do you admire? Once you have a firm idea of the type of business you wish to run, you can begin to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together.

Review Industry Thought Leaders

There is no need to rework the wheel when you are jump-starting a business. Even if the timeline is still years away, it is never too early to start learning from experts by reviewing industry thought leaders. Their experience can be constructive for determining how you will differentiate your organization one day.

Pay attention to these leaders and their rise to the top. How did they start their business careers? What educational background do they possess?

Identify Dedicated Mentors

While it is great to follow professionals from afar, you will need a team of accessible individuals with whom you can check in often at the end of the day. Identify dedicated mentors you can connect with to brainstorm possible options and remain accountable for your educational goals.

The ideal mentor does not necessarily have to be functioning in the same industry. There are plenty of valuable lessons to be learned from subject matter experts in the field and business owners in different environments.

Start a management degree at American Public University.

Analyze Your Knowledge Gaps and Fill Them before Starting Self-Employment

Choosing a degree program that is aligned with your self-employment goals is an important part of your progress. Analyzing knowledge gaps you may have will help ensure that the degree you chose is aligned with those goals.

For some industries, like information technology or accounting, a degree that covers industry topics may be necessary for building credibility and obtaining critical certifications or licensure. For other industries, you may have enough relevant industry knowledge, but feel you are lacking insight into how to operate a business from the ground up.

In these scenarios, you may wish to study business, entrepreneurship or related programs to dive into these concepts. The most important question to ponder is: what does achieving a degree mean to you?

Ultimately, the right degree program will be based on personal preferences combined with the power of thorough industry research. Thinking about how you will connect your courses in the classroom to the real world can help you to make confident choices before you start self-employment.

Researching successful individuals in your industry and forming bonds with mentors may also assist in the overall degree selection experience. Finally, consider engaging with our Industry Career Coaches and Career Exploration Specialists for resources and guidance to support you in your decisions along the way.