Attending college and running a small business is a tedious balancing act that requires extreme discipline and above-average time management skills.
While most entrepreneurs know that a college degree will be of great value to them throughout their career, the lifestyle change that is required to earn even a basic bachelor’s degree can seem daunting to anyone on the front lines of a new, fast-growing business.
Commuting to campus (or living there), attending multiple lectures each week, making time to study, taking tests, and completing projects all seem to get in the way of the needs of the business.
This makes traditional college a very difficult, if not impractical, goal for many entrepreneurs to pursue. That is, until the recent advent of online degree programs.
Online degree programs are perfectly suited for the busy lifestyle most entrepreneurs live, making them the best option for those who want to succeed in both business and academics.
If you are the sort of entrepreneur who has always wished that you had the time to earn your college degree, consider that online programs offer numerous benefits and can be easily managed alongside your daily workload.
1. No Need to Attend Classes
Perhaps the biggest inconvenience college poses to entrepreneurs is the need to attend classes. Traditional college programs require that students attend up to five classes, (some of which meet twice a week) on the university campus.
This poses a huge problem for business owners who need to work long hours during the week and cannot devote such a substantial amount of time to being away from the office. In contrast, online education programs do not require the student to be in such classes.
Because the entire program is managed online, students can complete their coursework from their computers. This is ideal for business owners because they can now work on their education from the comfort of their office or home without the time consuming class hours spent on campus.
2. Manage Your Own Assignments
Attending college used to mean doing course work on your professor’s time. If the day’s lecture was on cell biology, you either attended the lecture at the set day and time and took the test on the material exactly when it was scheduled, or else you didn’t pass.
As you can imagine, this structure presents a serious problem to entrepreneurs who cannot always predict the way their day is going to go. A sudden meeting with an important client or a catastrophe in the development department could necessitate your presence in the office during a scheduled exam or important lecture.
With online courses however, such time constraints do not exist. Instead of being confined to a specific time and date that the test will be held on, the student is given a deadline for assignments, allowing for flexibility in their completion.
As long as the assignment is turned in by its due-date, it doesn’t matter when it is completed. Company surprises need not derail academic achievement any longer.
3. Work from Anywhere
Travel is a common staple of the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Whether it’s to meet partners in another town or clients in another state, the young business owner often finds him or herself on the road.
Entrepreneurs need to maintain a fairly clear travel schedule, as these arrangements sometimes come together at the last minute. Thankfully, online coursework can be completed from any Internet connected machine in the world.
Never before was it possible to simultaneously travel on business and work on completing your degree. This is what makes the online education system such a powerful resource for ambitious business owners.
4. Impress Investors and Lenders
A common misconception about college degrees is that you only need them if you plan on applying for competitive jobs. This is actually not true, as even entrepreneurs who employ themselves can benefit from having a degree on their resume.
Perhaps the most helpful time that a business owner can have a degree is when applying for investment. Venture capitalists and angel investors alike will want to know your credentials for running a business before forking over substantial capital.
Being able to point to an MBA or similar degree as a token of your dedication to the field and a sign of personal ambition goes a long way to overcoming their concern. The same holds true for bank loan officers who are trying to decide whether to approve your application for a small business loan.
5. Meet New Business Partners
Completing your degree online does not mean total isolation from the other students at your university. In fact, most online courses include a kind of chat feature of message board that allows students to connect, ask questions, discuss concerns, or make plans to meet up.
Since at least some of the people who choose to complete their degree online are busy professionals like yourself, being involved in such a program allows you to make new contacts and network with like-minded individuals.
Some of the most successful business partners in history met while attending college together, including Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google. Keep an open line of communication with your classmates, and you never know who you might meet over the course of your four year program.