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Episode 90 — Kara Goldin — Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts & Building an Empire

“Dark days don't last forever. You have to be open to what's coming next. In so many situations I could say that I didn't see it coming and felt blindsided. But oftentimes, I don't see the light coming. And I know that the light is even brighter because I had a dark moment.” - Kara Goldin

  • How did Kara go from tech executive to unsweetened-water tycoon?
  • What skills empowered Kara to turn her beverage idea into an entire healthy lifestyle brand?
  • How can fledgling startups stand up to industry titans?
  • What is the key to creating a successful brand from the ground up?
  • How can brands differentiate themselves in an already crowded market space?

A Keen Eye and a Strong Will

Entrepreneurs don’t just come up with one idea and call it quits. Their minds are always working, looking for unsolved problems and keeping an eye on the competition’s blind spots. But a sixth sense for a great opportunity isn’t enough if you want to be the next big thing. You need to have the conviction to see that idea through to the first product, customer, or big deal and beyond, because your competition won’t sit idly by while you carve out a market of your own — they’ll be ready to fight back.

Kara Goldin is the Founder of Hint and the author of “Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters.”

When Kara realized that the diet beverages she was drinking were doing more harm than good, her mind turned to finding a healthier, unsweetened alternative. But even the “healthy” choices on the market still contained ingredients that Kara didn’t want to put in her body (or anyone else’s). From this unsuccessful search, Hint was born. But Kara didn’t just limit Hint’s healthy ethos solely to beverages. Soon the company evolved into the premier “better-for-you” brand, producing deodorants, sunscreen, and a host of other personal care products.

The Importance of the Outsider’s Perspective

Sometimes the greatest innovations in an industry come not from the big players already in the market, but from the outsiders — because while having solid traditions or ways of doing things might be useful when it comes to selling an existing product, those same traditions can also act as a blindfold when trying to see things from a new perspective.

Kara explains how a meeting with an executive from one of the world’s leading drinks manufacturers revealed how these companies had become blinded by and bound to the established ways of doing things. We discuss how breaking into markets with no experience can actually be a blessing as long as you have the drive to push past the naysayers and believe in your product.

Always Keep Your Options Open

As is so often the case, one key to success is to never put all your eggs in one basket. Whether that’s running marketing campaigns across various channels or not spending too much time on one client, ensuring you spread your efforts can mean the difference between sinking or swimming when the rug is pulled out from under you.

We discuss how Hint persevered after an exclusive deal with the world’s largest coffee chain fell through, severing one of Kara’s key distribution channels. She explains how sometimes the sweetest deal may hold you on the tightest leash, and how you can avoid being caught out simply by keeping your options open and putting those eggs in multiple baskets.

Key takeaways:

  • Dark days don’t last forever — and they make the good days seem that much brighter.
  • Break the mold. If you have a great idea that hasn’t been put into action by others, it may not be a bad idea — they’re just afraid to try it.
  • If your competition is hitting back, you’re doing something right. Keep on differentiating yourself and innovating your product or service.

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