A Sabbatical Is a Safe Path to Pragmatic Entrepreneurship

June 7, 2013

1:00 pm

This article is for all those “wannabe” entrepreneurs who have not yet been able to start their journey.

Most of the successful entrepreneurship stories you hear are always over-glorified. The story has an entrepreneur, or a couple of them, who start out in a garage, and there is barely food to eat. They work under the sun and towards the end emerge as true heros.

But entrepreneurship does not have to be as risky and painful as that; you could take a practical approach towards it. All it requires is a little thinking and commitment. Ideally, you should be able to test the entrepreneurial waters before you jump in.

A sabbatical is a great way to attempt pragmatic entrepreneurship. If you have a business idea and strongly believe in it, you could consider taking a sabbatical for 12-20 weeks based on your financial runway. This secures your job at the end of the sabbatical. But think on the brighter side: if your business idea sticks, you’re going to start living your dream in no time.

If you want to give this a shot, below are a few things to keep in mind:


There are a lot of things you could do before the start of your sabbatical. For instance, writing out the business plan, defining your business model, customer validation, and more. Give yourself a headstart before your sabbatical so that you can optimize your time, thus increasing your chances of success.


You want to make sure you define the success and failure points very clearly. These don’t need to be in terms of revenue. You could think of it from a business model standpoint and see if you are able to build a successful business model at the end of the sabbatical.


Even though you clearly set the definitions of success and failure, chances are that you will end up in a gray area. That means you have partly succeeded and partly failed. In such situations, you need to make a decision if you want to call it quits or pursue it further. If you are fairly confident that you can quickly get a job in no time, you could extend your plunge a bit more. Hence, it is wise to set the time of the sabbatical to be slightly shorter than your exact runway.


Whatever you do, you should – from day one – focus on delegating everything. If you are doing everything yourself, then at the end of the sabbatical, you will have no way out but t0 end the venture. If you have delegated everything away, you might be able to still continue with your job, while your business is building itself under your guidance.

A sabbatical is one way to go about pragmatic entrepreneurship. Another way to approach it is to continue your day job and start outsourcing every single thing and getting it done. If you are lucky enough to find the right people for each task, you might be able to pull it off by spending some of your income on building your business.

Lastly, it’s always good to partner up with someone who can complement your skills. The entrepreneurial journey is more rewarding and enjoyable when there are people with you on it.

Happy bootstrapping – pragmatically!

Jinesh Parekh is the founder of a Ruby on Rails Consulting shop, Idyllic Software. Idyllic Software operates as technology partners with businesses which allows them to solely focus on building their business. You can follow him @idyllicsoftware or email him directly at jparekh[at]idyllic-software[dot]com.

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