What the Self-Employed Can Do With an MBA

Entrepreneurs find power within themselves. They generate the ideas; they form the strategies; and they build their businesses from the ground up. They rely on their existing wits and experience, with no one above them telling them what’s right or wrong. Entrepreneurs put the self in self-employed ― but that doesn’t mean they don’t need MBAs.

Most potential MBA students see the degree program as an opportunity to bolster their resumes and earn higher positions at existing companies, but even those with an entrepreneurial mindset who expect to become self-employed can benefit by returning for advanced business education. In fact, plenty of MBAs discover that they are fully capable of achieving success through self-employment thanks to their completed degree.

Not all self-employed workers need MBAs, and not all MBA degree-holders become entrepreneurs, but in the overlap, magic happens. Here are three distinct benefits the self-employed can gain by obtaining an MBA degree.

Thorough Understanding of Business Strategies

Business school is where people learn how to succeed in business. The reason MBAs are so valuable to companies isn’t due to some recognition of meaningless academic achievement; rather, business leaders understand that business education is invaluable to business success, and they reward those who demonstrate a commitment to learning the strategies that will help businesses grow.

Similarly, entrepreneurs absolutely need the business background that business school provides. Anyone can think up brilliant ideas for a new business: baby tuxedos, escargot delivery, smartphone cologne, etc. The difference between a regular person and an entrepreneur is the willingness to pursue those business ideas and generate personal success. Yet, without a rigorous business plan, it is nearly impossible for an entrepreneur to find anything but failure. By completing an MBA program, the self-employed can develop a foundation in knowledge that will allow them to become entrepreneurs who can effectively transform an idea into a thriving business.

Enhanced Direction Thanks to Academic Practice

Only a handful of entrepreneurs have experience starting and running their own businesses ― and usually that is because a previous venture was unsuccessful. Though business failures can teach entrepreneurs much about strategies for success, it is much less expensive and much more instructive to try and fail in a controlled, academic environment.

MBA programs provide students space to learn about business strategies and try them out without risking money or reputation. In addition to learning from mistakes of previous professionals and bouncing ideas off professors and classmates, students can experiment with business ideas and strategies by using high-tech models that recreate economic conditions and customer behavior.

Because this safe academic space does not require actual investment ― besides tuition, of course ― entrepreneurs can better predict how different business plans will function before unleashing their ideas into the real world. Therefore, backed by the experience provided by their degree, the educated have a better chance at avoiding failure during their first entrepreneurial venture.

Personal and Professional Network-Building

Though the knowledge and skill gained in MBA programs is undoubtedly invaluable, perhaps the biggest boon business school can provide the self-employed is the opportunity to network with business professionals and peers. Self-employed workers must work hard to ingratiate themselves in business circles because the absence of a common office generally precludes occasions to interact with fellow professionals. However, much of business school, and particularly MBA online programs, is devoted to communication and collaboration with those interested in business, so the self-employed gain a relatively gigantic pool of networking potential.

With large and diverse networks, entrepreneurs have the chance to accomplish much more than they can alone. Peers can help entrepreneurs connect with investors, partners, and contractors who could add to a business idea to make it stronger and more profitable. Through their networks, entrepreneurs can ally with mentors, who will further guide business ideas toward success. Though the self-employed tend to imagine themselves as islands, entrepreneurs have much to gain by befriending others within the business community.

Though the knowledge and skill gained in MBA programs is undoubtedly invaluable, perhaps the biggest boon business school can provide the self-employed is the opportunity to network with business professionals and peers. Self-employed workers must work hard to ingratiate themselves in business circles because the absence of a common office generally precludes occasions to interact with fellow professionals. However, much of business school, and particularly MBA online programs, is devoting to communication and collaboration with those interested in business, so the self-employed gain a relatively gigantic pool of networking potential.