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Millions of people around the world dream of striking out on their own and founding a business. Entrepreneurship is the wellspring of innovation, the professional ambition of those who don't fit the corporate mold, and the way many people earn their living. Owning one's own business is regarded as one of the most respectable pathways to prosperity and fulfillment.

Are You an Entrepreneur?

While some strike gold the first time around, most successful entrepreneurs overcome several busts before succeeding. The Monthly Labor Review published a study in 2005 that showed most new businesses fail: two-thirds of new small businesses survive two years, and after four years, less than half are still in operation. Surely, the determination to overcome failure is necessary for eventual success; as Thomas Edison once said, "Genius is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent perspiration." In addition to perseverance, personal characteristics often attributed to successful self-made entrepreneurs include independence, ingenuity, and confidence. The Monthly Labor Review study also cited the business owner's education level as an important determinant of success.

Small Business Success

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, entrepreneurs are major contributors to the economy. Small businesses are responsible for more than half of the private sector GDP in the United States excluding the farming industry. Entrepreneurs are also major employers, as small businesses generate 60-80 percent of all new jobs annually. Small businesses are extraordinarily innovative, and produce thirteen times more patents per employee than large patent-producing firms.

Start Your Own Business

Are you sitting on a great idea for a business because you don't know where to start? Do you want to go back to school to learn how to launch your own business, but feel constrained by a full-time job? An online degree program in business is the solution to these problems. Online universities offer degrees in entrepreneurship that can teach you how to get your business off the ground and out into the global market. You can work on courses from your home on your own schedule.

Entrepreneurship degree programs are typically interdisciplinary in nature, and often include coursework in accounting, economics, communications, business ethics, business etiquette, finance, strategy, human resources management, and sales. Many incorporate practical issues, such as raising capital, acquiring health insurance and other benefits, recruiting, staffing, and calculating payroll. A case-based approach to instruction is sometimes used.

Keep in mind that there is no guaranteed salary once your business is up and running. Even with a degree, the success of your business will be determined primarily by your own abilities and hard work. Although it is risky, the rewards can be great. Both Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple started their companies as small, independent ventures that they built from the ground up. Armed with your entrepreneurship degree, and some start-up capital, all you'll need to get your business going is some of that perspiration Edison mentioned.

Pursue your Entrepreneurship major today…