What I’ve learned from the Founder Journey

Saranga Pagadala
4 min readSep 15, 2023


It’s been a while since I last posted, so I figured it would be good to update you on how it’s going. It’s been exactly a year since I decided to start working on RealMe In full-time. It’s crazy how, about a year ago, this was just an idea, and within 365 days, I surprised myself with how much I’ve learned. This is what fuels me to keep going!

I wanted to share some of my takeaways over the past year because no amount of money or job security would make me take back what I was able to learn through this journey. To keep it simple, I divided my learning into Life and Business.

Life lessons through startups

  • Self-Care is Non-Negotiable: Stepping into the startup world, I figured out pretty quickly that taking care of myself wasn’t just good for me and everyone around me. It was like realizing that filling my cup first wasn’t selfish but necessary, and it’s made a world of difference in how I approach things now. Managing my friends, team members, and family is a lot of work, and I struggled to do all this without taking care of myself first.
  • Rethinking Hard Work: We’ve always heard that hard work is the key to success. But this year taught me it’s not just about sweating it out; it’s about being smart, planning well, and finding a rhythm that doesn’t wear me down — kind of like choosing to take the scenic route instead of running a race. As a collegiate athlete, I tend to relate physical fatigue with hard work, but in the startup world, to get ahead quickly, you must always be in tip-top shape. This is when I realized that working hard didn’t mean working until I couldn’t anymore.
  • Internal Motivation: Starting a business is like setting off on a long hike — you’ve got to keep yourself motivated. I realized how important it was to stay disciplined in work and every aspect of life. It’s become my secret sauce to keeping the spirit alive even on tough days. Waking up early, eating 3 meals a day, reading self-help books, going to the gym regularly, and spending a good chunk of my time with my friends are all things that keep me motivated!

Practical Business Insights

  • Dream Team: One significant revelation this year has been understanding the actual muscle behind RealMe In– our team. Everyone has a unique skill set to play a pivotal role, like a group of superheroes lmao! Each has an extraordinary power, navigating us through different challenges and turning a thought into a function into an application. I can’t even count the number of times we have hit roadblocks but overcame them with sheer persistence.
  • Health vs. Hustle: I’ve realized that fostering a space where well-being isn’t sidelined but is integral to work tends to unlock a level of productivity that’s sustainable, kind of like a potluck where everyone brings something to the table, creating a feast that’s both wholesome and delightful.
  • Routine as a Compass: In the chaos of startup life, holding on to a personal routine became my grounding force. It felt like having a trusted friend guiding me when things hit the ceiling, ensuring I stayed aligned with our core goals and values. Even when I think about all the pivots we made during this process, staying focused on our mission is probably the only reason we haven’t given up yet.
  • Creating a Challenge Squad: Having a circle of mentors and friends who cheer us on and challenge us with critical feedback has been nothing short of a blessing. I’m so thankful that industry veterans are willing to give us the time of day to share their experiences and help us fail quickly. They have given us a space to grow as new perspectives help reorient where we are going and encourage us to venture beyond our comfort zones.

Lastly, a reminder to all the Gen Z entrepreneurs out there: we grew up with the concept of instant gratification. We want things now and need more patience to find what we seek. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am nowhere close to where I want to be, and that’s totally okay! All I can do is focus on building, learning, and applying what I know to move towards where I want to be.