Overcoming Doubts and Doubters with Kara GoldinNovember 30, 2020
Kara Goldin, the founder of Hint and author of Undaunted, is an accidental entrepreneur. Goldin put aside a career in media and tech to take an entrepreneurial leap of faith for a product she was passionate about. On Thursday, Goldin shared with GLO her product genesis process and roadmap to success.
Goldin, like many, incorporated soda into her diet for the majority of her life. Her own soda addiction made her consider the fact that in American culture we are often careful about what we eat, but not about the drinks that we put into our body. She was shocked to see how many ingredients were in her diet sodas and challenged herself to eliminate them from her diet.
When in search of a soda substitute, Goldin began to put fresh fruit in her water to make it more flavorful. She became hooked on her new concoction. Goldin lost 24 pounds in 2 weeks, her skin cleared, and her energy levels were higher than they ever had been. She knew she wanted to help others find a way to easily maintain a healthier lifestyle.
In Goldin’s product development stage, she went out to the grocery stores and supermarkets in her area to see if there was a product that had the requirements she was looking for. Most of the potential competitors were different versions of carbonated water with artificial fruit flavoring. All Goldin wanted was real fruit in still water.
Hint was born from a personal desire to become healthier and help others do so too. Goldin left her career to pursue this product whose mission she deeply and personally believed in.
Overcoming Doubts and Doubters
Goldin offered some concrete advice on how she climbed the ladder and created a successful enterprise. Goldin first challenged herself. She asked, “Can I actually get a product on a shelf at Whole Foods?” This goal drove her to see what she would be able to achieve.
Turning No into Yes
A key aspect of Goldin’s journey was sharing with others that she didn’t have all the answers. She was able to connect with so many customers and investors that recognized and appreciated her authenticity. The journey of being an entrepreneur is “about communication and connecting and finding the people who will say yes.”
“There’s No Roadmap For Entrepreneurs”
Goldin wasn’t afraid to ask questions. “You get the hang of it. I feel like rejection is part of the journey.” She trained her mind to remember all the difficult things that she had tackled before. If you got through those hurdles, you can get through anything.
“Write down the top 10 things that you’ve accomplished, and continue to remember those.” Goldin credits her lack of experience to her success. “There’s No Roadmap For Entrepreneurs” She just had to keep trying, and eventually, it worked.
Determining Your Value Proposition
Being new to the field of entrepreneurship, Goldin had to do her research in determining her value proposition. She started off by reading about other companies and founders. She saw things go wrong for other companies when they didn’t understand what was important to their business. They operated out of fear, not what was right.
Goldin’s solution is confidence. Don’t give up control, maintain your leadership position. If you know your company’s values, you can maneuver any situation.
This was put to the test early on in Hint’s journey. Over 40% of the company was in Starbuck’s hands when they decided to take Hint off their shelves. Luckily, Hint was able to come back from that experience, however, the knowledge that Hint could have been ended stuck with her.
Goldin learned from that experience that she wanted to maintain greater control in her future partnerships. Hint has only continued to grow, and 55% of the overall business is their own now.
Branding Your Company
A central aspect of Goldin’s business growth was how personal the mission was to her. While promoting Hint, Goldin had a heavy travel schedule. She spent her time in transit writing hundreds of pages of journal entries. These entries turned into her book, Undaunted. While she was promoting the brand, she began to hear back from customers about how much Hint had helped them in their journey to wellness, and she felt inspired to continue to spread her message.
Along the way, some recommended that Goldin shouldn’t share her story, because it made her business seem small. However, she continued to hold the belief that her openness made it easier for customers to understand her drive. At its core, Hint is a mission-driven company. “Get your ‘why’ out- people will remember it, especially in a crowded industry.”
Finding Success in Entrepreneurship
Though it was a trying process for Goldin, she persevered through a deep belief in her mission. Goldin recommends building a network of other entrepreneurs and businesses of similar sizes to motivate you to continue your journey. She points to GLO as a great resource for entrepreneurs who, just like her, don’t have prior experience in the field.
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Samantha Braffman is a Philadelphia based writer for Global Leaders Organization. She is also an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, working towards a bachelor's degree in Political Science and English.