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Knowledge, Leadership, Sister's Success

Kara Goldin’s Top Business Tips


Kara Goldin, CEO and founder of Hint Inc., shares her advice when it comes to starting a business, championing obstacles along the way and becoming a leader to look up to.

When Kara Goldin, Arizona, started her business — Hint Inc. — she was new to the industry and a first-time business owner. After nearly 17 years of experience under her belt, she’s sharing her entrepreneurial advice with you.

Tell us about a habit you practice now that you wish you started earlier in life.

Learning something new every day. I love to read. I love talking to people from other walks of life who have their own lessons to impart. I love picking up a new skill or gaining insight and knowledge about a subject. It’s what gets me out of bed each morning with a bounce in my step.

If you could tape one piece of advice to the desks of every high school senior, what would it say?

Define your own path. Don’t let the expectations and limitations of others dictate what you can do (and can’t do). The world wants to put you in a category, in a lane, in a box. Don’t let it happen. Keep ’em guessing.

What's the best advice you’ve ever received?

My favorite piece of advice is from Steve Jobs. He gave a famous commencement address at Stanford where he talked about a series of random — but meaningful — experiences in his life that all came together when he was designing the first Macintosh.

He cited a calligraphy class that he stumbled into in college as an example and said: “You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

Pursue the things you love. Follow your curiosity. Keep learning. And know that at some point down the road, it will all converge.

What advice do you have for people who want to start a business?

Starting a business is really hard no matter your situation.

Expect that many people — your closest friends and family even — will trash your idea and cite any number of reasons that you’ll fail. You’re going to need to develop some tough skin and strongly believe in your idea.

There’s a saying about mindfulness that goes: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.” When you’re running a company, there will be difficult times when those waves will get real choppy. Criticism and bad news will crash down on you hard. So my advice is: Learn to surf.

What advice would you give when it comes to leadership?

No one leads on their own. Make sure you have a reliable and honest group of people around you — employees, advisers, investors, family — who can help guide you through difficult decisions. Ultimately, the buck stops with you and you need to make those tough calls, but it’s so important to have people around you who you can trust.

As a businesswoman and entrepreneur, tell us about the key challenges you initially faced.

I had no background in beverages, which is one of the most ruthlessly competitive industries out there. And I was well into my 30s when I decided to start a company — something I never pictured myself doing. So you can imagine the long list of internal anxieties I had compounded by the endless chorus of naysayers who couldn’t believe that I was embarking on launching an unsweetened fruit-flavored water. But I confronted those doubts one by one.

Over time, I learned that the process is similar to a muscle you build. The more you address those fears head on, the easier it is to knock down the next one and the next one. I found that, in many cases, the obstacles I was worried about were not nearly as insurmountable as I originally thought. Each experience gave me the confidence to blast through the next set of roadblocks, real or imagined.

What are the qualities you see in the strongest leaders and how do they translate to success when it comes to creating dynamic and diverse teams?

Two qualities I see over and over again: curiosity and passion.

When I came into the beverage industry, I had so many questions. I loved being in that position where I could ask why or how and let my curiosity guide me. I embraced the humility of not knowing the answers to all the questions and not being the smartest person in the room. I needed a lot of different people in a lot of different rooms to offer up a diversity of opinions and perspectives.

This sets an example and trickles down to the entire workforce. I’ve said it dozens of times: I’ll take passion and curiosity over experience every day of the week.

I always look to hire people who love challenging themselves and love learning. Those employees who don’t necessarily fit a template or present the perfect CV, but they’re problem-solvers. If you hire those people, you’ll end up with teams that will never let the unavoidable setbacks stand in the way of ultimately succeeding.

Looking for more?

Want to hear more from Kara? Check out her episode of the “Keynotes” podcast here.

Want more career advice plus tips and tricks? Dive into these additional Career Academy resources.


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