For Nixon Peabody's latest "Let's Talk!" virtual event, I had the opportunity to interview Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint, Inc.
Kara's story of entrepreneurship is inspiring. She sat down with me to discuss her journey — from her initial concept for a flavored water company to Hint's growth into a multi-million-dollar health lifestyle brand — and what she learned along the way.
Here are some themes that resonated with me.
- Keep learning: You may not have it all figured out, but you need the openness to learn. While Kara discussed this in the context of her career change from AOL to Hint, I believe this can be applied in all aspects of life. Women often feel self-doubt, especially when moving into executive positions. Learning not to let those doubts hold you back will make a drastic change in your approach to your career.
- Forget failure: What would we do if we didn't know the word "failure"? Everyone has doubts and fears. Don't let those fears stop you from trying. Many founders focus on the barriers that could stop them and never actually try. You learn and uncover pieces about your business or your product just by trying. Most great founders start with one specific idea, but after trying, learning, and growing, their company becomes very different down the road.
- Grow from "no": Hearing no is part of being a founder. It's how we handle the "no," and what we learn from those rejections, that help us grow. Understand that in life and in business, people often say no because they don't understand. The people saying no may not be the right people for you to do business with. Search for the right people — those who understand your product or company and can add value to it.
- Be curious: You don't always have to be the expert. Saying "I don't know" or "let's learn this together" can lead to growth. It can also build strong relationships if you learn and grow together with your partners. I loved this idea! Saying "I don't know" isn't a weakness; it's showing you're willing to work with and learn from others.
- Every experience matters: Don't get down on yourself if you're in a role that isn't perfect. You never know when past experience or knowledge will be useful for roles in the future. You may veer off a path you envisioned, but as long as you're enjoying yourself and doing something with purpose, that's all that matters. You'll be surprised by the skills you may use in the future. I agreed with Kara's approach here: So many skills can be transferable, even when navigating a new role or industry.
Kara is a force to be reckoned with! She has built a successful company, served as CEO since inception, and loved every second of it. It was a pleasure to hear her story and learn some valuable lessons.
Kara's new book, Undaunted, is available for pre-order at undauntedthebook.com.
Our next "Let's Talk!" virtual event will take place on October 20, featuring Hannah Gordon, chief administrative officer and general counsel of the San Francisco 49ers. Keep an eye out for that invitation in the coming days.