How to Use Your GI Bill and Tuition Assistance to Transition to Entrepreneurship

A few years ago, I was in my last couple of years in the military and had a job at the school house so low op tempo, no deployments, no duty and weekends off. I had always wanted to get a graduate degree but never had the time or patience. Now was the time, or I would never do it. I also wanted to take advantage of Tuition Assistance (TA) and save my GI Bill for the kids, so I had to do this before I got out. I did not want to get a degree to impress someone in the HR department or pad my resume. If I was going to do this I wanted to get a degree in something I liked. As I looked around online there was always the MBA but I’d rather get a computer or programming related degree because I liked that stuff. Then I discovered that I could get a degree in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship had always been my true passion and back when I went to school the first time, degrees in entrepreneurship did not exist. I also wanted to get a degree from a “real” college. Not a degree factory. You know the type. I wanted a real brick and mortar traditional University degree. My final criteria was I really needed it to be 100% online. I was still busy at home with 4 kids, full time work etc and did not really want to be sitting in class on the weekends or evenings. I never got much out of sitting in class anyway. So one school quickly rose to the top because it met all my criteria and it was also in my current AO which was the midwest. I quickly pulled all my transcripts, submitted all the required info and the retired Air Force guy who was the veteran liaison at the school informed me that I had been accepted to the program and set the record for the fastest person to submit all the required information and get accepted into the program. Hmmm, maybe 20+ years in the military had taught me something.

Long story short, I loved it, I worked hard, learned a lot and graduated with a Masters in Entrepreneurship. They also have undergraduate and Doctorate programs.

Here are the highlights of how a degree in entrepreneurship help me transition?:

- I founded a non-profit while going through the program as a class project

- I placed 3rd out of 90 teams in a business plan competition and won $5000

- After I graduated I started a podcast where I lead veterans to the people, programs and resources to help them transition to entrepreneurship.

- My wife and I began flipping houses and we are about to finish our 4th flip.

- We also started a school fundraising business which has been quite successful in its first year.

- I was given the Opportunity to be on the board of directors of a non-profit, The Center for Transitional Leadership

- I’m currently building a private label business on Amazon.

Getting a degree in entrepreneurship was a great transition into entrepreneurship. It gave me some hard skills and exposed me to the entrepreneurial process. It gave me the confidence and credibility to start a few of my own businesses . It opened doors, possibilities and changed my way of thinking about opportunity.

So if you think you want to do this entrepreneurship thing but you are not sure how to start or what to do and you are in a position to commit to getting a degree, I highly recommend spending your time in a structured entrepreneurial degree program because you will learn vital skills, it will expose you to other entrepreneurial minded people and you will learn the important elements of the entrepreneurial process. Oh, and don’t forget, you will have an actual degree when it’s over.

If you would like more information on some of the great entrepreneurship programs for veterans check out my free guide.

Get the free Guide: The Top 3 Entrepreneurship Degree Programs for Veterans

Joe Crane

For more info on veterans transitioning to entrepreneurship check out www.VeteranOntheMove.com