How to Become an Entrepreneur in Washington

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What is Entrepreneurship?


Washington State has a lot to offer. There are business opportunities in sectors ranging from wilderness tourism and whale watching charters all the way to the very peaks of the technology industry. This means that entrepreneurs have a lot of options available in terms of which industry they choose to enter. However, most already have personal proclivities that position them to pursue their dreams in the restaurant business, real estate, or manufacturing. And the state has many industries that rank in the top ten nationwide. Washington's information sector, for instance, ranks #3 in the United States, which also makes it a strong contender on the world stage.

An entrepreneur is a businessperson who takes their individual, creative ideas to the market in hopes of high profits and long-term success. Since these entrepreneurial businesspeople are so individualistic, they are hard to narrowly define. Some start firms that become global conglomerates that are household names, while others work as independent contractors who may diversify into real estate or equity investments.

Thus, an entrepreneur might be a seasoned or licensed professional such as a counselor, graphic designer, electrician, or computer programmer who is able to use their experience and credentials to attract clients. They may even be craftspeople who make interesting items that they sell in their local community or online.

What sets entrepreneurs apart from most, employed businesspeople is that they run the whole show. They are responsible for all aspects of their business including taxes, inventories, marketing, payroll, and more. This may sound overwhelming, but those who are able to gain success can soon outsource particularly nagging administrative tasks to professionals who specialize in those tasks, such as entrepreneurial bookkeepers.


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Online Entrepreneurship Education in Washington


Many entrepreneurs may find an easier entry into a field such as real estate. Washington ranks high nationwide for real estate, most likely due to the explosion in housing around the Seattle and Tacoma corridor. It's also a bit easier to gain a foothold in the retail trade.

Regardless of which industry a student is interested in, Washington's colleges and universities are there to prepare them with entrepreneurial degrees. From associate entrepreneurship degrees through an MBA in entrepreneurship, Washington students can find the training and knowledge they need to succeed in the state. The state government has stepped in to ensure that the state continues its tradition of innovation and excellence by offering excellent public options for higher education.

The legislature understands that, when the state supported colleges and universities have strong business and entrepreneurship degree programs, everyone in the economy benefits. They provide funds that enable department leaders to recruit and maintain a faculties that are some of the top in the nation. Meanwhile, those department leaders work hard to stay on the cutting edge of business.

Schools in the state recruit entrepreneurial experts who have both top academic credentials and business experience. Those who have done deep doctoral research into business and entrepreneurship often receive top billing and tenure in a business department. However, an MBA with years of experience launching successful business ventures is also a highly valued member of a faculty. Those with strong experience in the Washington economy are sought since they have hands-on experience working within the state's regulatory rubric, as well as navigating the business cycles that are unique to Washington state.

Online Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship (AS)

Two years in a community college's associate entrepreneurship degree program may be what is needed to launch a lifetime of entrepreneurial business success. A two-year degree certainly provides a solid academic foundation for future learning, while also imparting vital knowledge and skills that entrepreneurs can take to the bank. This degree option may be perfect for those who wish to start very small businesses such as a small restaurant or food cart, online retail operation, or even a service-based enterprise.

An associate entrepreneurship degree also makes great sense from a pure business standpoint. That is, community colleges charge far less per credit hour, so students who are interested in a bachelor’s degree can complete their first two years at a steep discount. So, not only can an associate entrepreneurship degree pave the way to business success, but it can also prepare students for their final two years in a four-year institution.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship (BS)

A four-year, bachelor’s entrepreneurship degree is a fantastic first step on the way to becoming a successful entrepreneur. One thing that helps a bachelor’s degree stand out from other degrees is the ability to create a more well-rounded educational experience. Entrepreneurship students can take all the entrepreneurial courses they need while also studying a topic that is more focused on their eventual industry. For instance, a budding video game developer can study business alongside courses in computer science that will make their games stand out in the market.

An online bachelor’s degree also offers students the ability to pursue experiential learning opportunities. For the most part, this will mean internships where students can gain experience in the industries that interest them the most. They may even decide that to join a firm as an employee prior to striking out on their own as full-fledged entrepreneurs. On the other hand, internships offer students the ability to meet others in their field who may prove to be valuable contacts in the future.

Online Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship (MS)

An MBA or other master’s degree is often the key to elevating one's status in an established firm. Since entrepreneurs create their own firms under their own rules, such advanced degrees may not seem terribly necessary. However, there is still great value in an MBA or other graduate degree.

One of the key advantages of an MBA is the networking opportunities it reveals. After all, one's classmates are on their way to greater and greater success in banking, finance, and other industries. They may be interested in becoming investors or even partners in an entrepreneurial venture once they get to know you and hear about your passion.

Other master’s degrees may be in business, or perhaps in a topic that is more related to producing the products or services in an entrepreneurial venture. For instance, mathematics PhD candidates have been known to leave their departments in favor of the business world. After all, their business lives open up more creative outlets as well as vastly higher earnings potential.

Online PhD Degree in Entrepreneurship (PhD)

A doctorate in entrepreneurship may not be entirely necessary for those who want to succeed in business. However, a doctorate in a specific field may provide the holder with the knowledge, skills, and credentials to start their own firm. For instance, a PhD who is an expert in cryptography might launch a consulting firm that provides cyber security services to its clients.

Alternatively, a student who earns a PhD that focuses on entrepreneurship might join the ranks of academia and then teach others to become entrepreneurs. While they could also teach with an MBA and five years of successful business experience, a PhD is more likely to pave the way to a tenure-track position. PhDs with tenure might decide to teach entrepreneurship to graduate and undergraduate students or they might choose to work as research faculty where their primary duty is to advance research into business and entrepreneurship.

Become an Entrepreneur in Washington


Washington is home to two of the world's most famous living entrepreneurs: Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. Both of these people had a vision for tech companies that would arise at a moment that was ripe to adopt what they had to offer. Gates had a vision as a Harvard undergrad, and he felt so strongly about it that he didn't complete his degree. Bezos left a secure, successful position on Wall Street to sell books from his Seattle garage. These days, we take both Microsoft and Amazon for granted whenever we need to use a computer or order consumer goods.

Still, ordinary Washingtonians are interested in striking out on their own path where they can realize their individual entrepreneurial vision. The state is full of creative, independent thinkers who have ideas that may rival even the largest companies today. Though that is unlikely, Washington residents still want to open their own consultancies, restaurants, software companies, and landscaping companies.

They say that entrepreneurs are born, not made, but Washington businesspeople learn that it's vital to develop their business knowledge and skills in order to achieve the maximum success in their field. To do this, budding entrepreneurs enroll in Washington colleges and universities to learn more about business so that they can have the most successful launch possible.

While the primary requirement for becoming an entrepreneur is the money to open a business, a degree is still vital to long-term success. The degree does a few things. One of the most important parts is that it teaches students how to do things like create a business plan that has the best chance of success. An entrepreneurship degree also helps students with fundamental business skills such as filing taxes, finding the best employees, and more. It also provides students with credentials that lenders like to see. A four-year degree in particular shows banks that the applicant has a track record of sticking to plans and seeing a project through to completion.

At the end of the day, Washington's budding entrepreneurs should focus on their passion projects, while also supporting those projects with the education they need to succeed. Along the way to an entrepreneurial degree, students will be well-served by pursuing leadership opportunities and the most well-rounded education possible. After all, successful entrepreneurs must be able to see the whole business landscape, not merely their small part of it.

Potential Careers for Entrepreneurship Graduates


  • Business Owner:
    To become a business owner, it's vital to have an idea, a workable business plan, and start-up capital. Successful entrepreneurs are able to attract investors and bank loans based on their experience, expertise, business plans, and degrees. An entrepreneurship degree will help students learn how to manage all of these tasks, and more.
  • Public Relations Manager:
    After several successful years in public relations, workers can rise into management. A PR manager will often work directly with the client and then convey their needs to the PR team, which can include media experts, writers, and others. In many cases, a PR manager needs to coach and manage the client so that they say the right things in media and create the right image for the public.
  • Appraiser:
    These business professionals often work as independent consultants in the real estate industry. They assess properties and offer a real estate broker an objective pricing structure and provide verified pricing data to banks and mortgage lenders. There are also appraisers that work with other assets such as vintage automobiles, art, and an array of collectibles. For instance, auction houses employ appraisers to assess the value of the items they receive.
  • Web Developer:
    These tech workers are often confused with web designers. Developers work on the back-end code of a website. Where designers are concerned with how web pages are lain out and displayed on computers and mobile devices, developers help to connect the site with a database. They may also write code for website cookies, search engines, and more. Developers need to be knowledgeable of several coding languages that may include JavaScript, Java, SQL, Python, and all the variants on those languages.
  • Social Media Manager:
    Nearly every person and business has a social media account. Some businesses even forgo an independent website and rely on their Facebook page and Instagram accounts to get their message out. Social media managers help their clients manage their social media accounts and the messages they convey. Some spend time responding to comments from the public and they also are savvy with crafting and timing the release of perfect posts that help generate sales or other positive attention.
  • Marketing Manager:
    These business professionals work with their marketing team to help their firm or client to reach new heights in business success. Marketing managers must have a working knowledge of both market analytics, demographic trends, and creative approaches to marketing campaigns.
  • Sales Manager:
    After several years, salespeople can move into management. This position often doesn't require any specific degree, but a bachelor’s business degree can be very helpful. What is most needed are strong leadership abilities and the ability to consistently produce strong sales figures.
  • Business Consultant:
    These business professionals often have a strong record of academic success. Most need an MBA to succeed over the long haul, but a bachelor’s business degree can help to land an entry-level consultant position. Business consultants often specialize in a focused area such as management, human resources, or information technology, to name three options.

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