Guest Post by Maria Rainier - There is a strong link to be explored between the skills that a student learns from taking classes online and those that a person needs in order to cultivate a successful career as an entrepreneur. The skills that a student learns when they’re left to their own devices in online coursework will prove invaluable if they want to work for themselves. Online learning engenders a sort of innovation and resilience not typically found in traditional schooling. It’s a way of learning prone to independent, outside the box thinking. Both online learning and entrepreneurship require a high demand on a person’s time, richly rewarding those who put the effort into their work.
The link between the two ideas might not seem totally intuitive to you at first, so let me unpack the concept a bit more to give you a better idea of what I’m getting at.
Self-reliance of the highest order
Most students of online degree programs are alone for the vast majority of their schooling. They do their work remotely (usually from home) on their computer and report to their professors and collaborate with classmates whenever necessary, creating a scholastic environment catered to their specific lifestyle. Accordingly, many students of online colleges develop an intense sense of self-reliance: they learn to depend on their own wits and resourcefulness whenever they encounter a problem in their classes or with a particular subject. Online learning encourages students to think and act for themselves, precisely because they have chosen to earn their degree alone.
Of course such skills would be beneficial to an entrepreneur. If you’re trying to start up your own online business, don’t you think you’d need a powerful sense of self-reliance and confidence in your abilities in order to succeed? Online education isn’t the only experience that could prepare you for such leadership abilities, but it will definitely make you a more independent and capable person.
Honing your communication skills
When you’re taking online classes, it’s critical that you compensate for your solitary setting by maintaining a clear line of communication with your professors and your peers. That means checking in regularly to make sure that you’re on top of assignments and corroborating data, answers, and insights to stay on the right track in your studies. For such a solitary form of education, online learning certainly teaches students a great deal about the importance of communication and interacting with others. After all, if a student enrolled in an online degree program rarely spoke up to their professors—if they didn’t take the time to clarify any lingering questions or uncertainties—they might never fully understand key aspects of the course.
Entrepreneurs will similarly need strong communication skills in order to survive the cutthroat nature of most businesses. It’s critically important that entrepreneurs communicate with coworkers and continually cultivate a network of colleagues in order to stay ahead of the game. In business, if you’re too afraid to speak up, you risk being left behind.
Believing in yourself
In many ways, online learning is a risk. It takes real courage to forgo the traditional college education system in lieu of a relatively new system of learning, especially one that requires such a personal demand on your time. Online degree programs demand complete attention from the student, much more so than in traditional degree programs at state and private colleges. The successes and failures of your education wholly depend on how you budget your time and resources for your coursework, and that’s a huge challenge for most people. It calls for you to believe in yourself more than you ever have before.
Obviously successful entrepreneurs must believe in themselves and their ideas. Particularly in the blogosphere, where dozens of online entrepreneurs might be angling to sell the same service, it takes true self confidence to emerge as the victorious one. There isn’t any room for self-doubt or hesitation in the fast paced world of entrepreneurship, and that’s why an online education can be so beneficial to those just starting out.