Joshua Sakhai is an undergraduate student at NYU Stern and a co-founder of Ephemeral—the award winning startup that is finally making tattoos easily removable.
Society has a really interesting way of glamorizing startups. Articles in TechCrunch seem to forget about mentioning the years of grueling work, sleepless nights, and near pitfalls that go into every multi-billion dollar valuation, and as a result I did too before getting involved in a startup of my own.
Like most, I thought it was going to be full of launch parties, demo days, and exits. I was wrong. Really wrong. Luckily, I figured this out well before the forty-second iteration of our pitch deck weeks before the finals of the NYU Stern 200K Entrepreneur’s Challenge. My team and I ditched other obligations, said goodbye to school work, and may or may not have under-performed on our finals in order to put our full efforts into the competition. We won. But it wasn’t easy, not by a long shot.
When starting a company, you’re going to be responsible for tasks and roles that you probably didn’t even know existed (assuming you’re an inexperienced first time entrepreneur). More importantly, you’re going to struggle. A lot. You’ll struggle with yourself, your teammates, your mentors, and your investors. Part of building a wildly successful company is doing something no one has ever done before in an innovative and novel way (among other things). Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as it sounds and almost everyone has a different vision, so naturally you’ll spend hours upon hours of brainstorming with your team.
You’ll scream. You’ll fight. You’ll argue. But you need to trust that the struggle will lead to something better than your team could have done individually. When we were putting together our pitch deck, I can easily recall the quarrels over topics from fonts to market size to how to phrase even the simplest sentences. But we’ve learned that the sum of the battles produce the best result over and over again.
So instead of shying away from struggles, battles, and arguments, we invite them because we know we’re going to make something stronger and more resilient than we could do alone. Get comfortable with the struggle, because if you want to succeed it isn’t going anywhere.
Meet some of NYU's top startups and founders, including Josh, at the Summer Launchpad Venture Showcase. RSVP here!