Solving problems with a service mentality is key to succeed in business.
Today we have the pleasure to have a conversation With Kara Goldin, she is the founder and CEO of flavored-water company Hint Water. She's been able to take matters into her own hands, she has an ownership mentality, She had her own problems that she started to come across and created her own solution And not just a solution that helps her, but a solution that is really impacting the world and impacting it at a massive scale.
Join us today as Kara takes through her story from finding a solution for herself and then creating a business to help millions of people live a better and healthier life by drinking more water in a fun way. Get ready to feel inspired by Kara’s journey and how she created a successful business by solving a problem with a service mentality.
Follow Kara Golding on Instagram: @Karagoldin
Learn more about Hint: https://www.drinkhint.com/
Instagram Hyperlink https://www.instagram.com/justinroeth/
LinkedIn Hyperlink https://www.linkedin.com/in/justin-roethlingshoefer-ms-7252a766/
Instagram Hyperlink https://www.instagram.com/alysegaulin
LinkedIn Hyperlink https://www.linkedin.com/in/alyse-gaulin-cpc-eli-mp-a7128211/
Success is different so own your different!
This is the a show where we tell stories of how everyday people made ownership theirs to create extra ordinary success. Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the Own It Show. I'm your host, Justin Rocking Chauffeur. And I'm Ali, Scotland. Welcome to the show. And guys, I love our guest today. Not only because she's been able to take matters into her own hands and really when I say own hands, I mean really ownership mentality here where she had her own problems that she started to come across and created her own solution. And not just a solution that helps her, but is really impacting the world and impacting it at a massive scale. And it's really unique is when you figure out how you're able to serve people and when you're able to step up and create a disruption in this world, you ultimately get paid for it as well. And so she has been fan tastic in creating ripples throughout the entire ecosystem of this world. And so I cannot thank you enough for spending time with us today. Well, thanks for having me. Excited to be here. Carol, I'd love you to kind of tell our audience a little bit about your journey to creating hint, hint, obviously being a sugar free flavored water that has really just changed the landscape of the world. And it's not just water. I think that's what I love about it the most, is it's really a movement, it's a mission. And I'd love to learn a little bit about your story and tell our audience about how that came to be, something that was not just your not just a passion of yours, but literally your God given purpose for being here and creating change. Sure. Well, I call myself an accidental entrepreneur, primarily because I did not know that I was going to be an entrepreneur. I had worked in media and tech for entrepreneurs, and I love the energy, I love the build. I loved everything about working in sort of startups. I worked in a very early stage in the tech industry and a little bit later stage and media industry starting kind of starting my career in startups, at least at CNN. So when I was looking at what I wanted to do next, it didn't come until I took a couple of years off. I have kids, I had very young kids, so at the time I had three kids under the age of four and I was focusing on trying to figure out how do I feed them all the things that I was supposed to be doing as a parent and it was at a point where I was feeding them after a while that I thought, Here I am trying to cut out sugar and extra stuff out of their diet. And I'm not really looking at myself. And I wasn't eating or drinking tons of sugar, but what I was having was a lot of diet sweeteners and frankly, I had never connected my own health issues that I was trying to change with the diet sweeteners. But when I followed my rules that I had for my kids, which was, you know, clean eating, limited ingredients, no diet, sweeteners for sure, and sugar and very, you know, in moderation as a special treat. That's when I decided I'm going to do away with my diet soda, Diet Coke in particular. And when I started drinking plain water, that's when I realized that the biggest problem for me with plain water was that it was super, super boring. And I had been trying to drink plain water for years. I grew up in Arizona, where I should have been drinking a lot more water than I was by. Hydrated capital of the United States. Exactly. Exactly. And so just to get me to drink water after I had moved off of the Diet Coke, that's when I started putting a little bit of lemon in my water, putting in a little bit of lime. Then I started just throwing anything that was on my counter. I mean, I tried raspberries and watermelon and pomegranates and anything just to give the water flavor. And I thought, okay, well, this is doable for now. But when I really saw that just by making the shift, I was able to clean up the health issues that I was struggling with over the years, which was primarily weight and also skin issues, adult acne that I never connected. I always assumed that it was what I was putting on my skin versus actually what I was drinking. And so two and a half weeks after shifting this habit of mine, I hopped on the scales. I knew I had lost some weight and I couldn't believe that I have lost over £24. I cleared up my skin issues and I thought, Holy smokes, like what? Why isn't anyone talking about this? Right? This was 17 years ago. I mean, this was a long time ago. And that's when I really started to do my own research. I had always been a really curious person, but again, I wasn't working right now. I was spending time with my young kids and I thought, there are so many people like me that are just trying to do the right thing, that pick up diet soda, pick up low fat foods, and they think they're actually doing better when actually what the biggest problem could be, what they're actually putting into their body with the diet and low fat. And so that's when I started thinking more and more about where can I find this product that I'm making at home? Because it was a hassle. I had to buy all this fruit all the time. I was constantly going to the grocery store and so I started looking around in the beverage aisle. Frankly, I don't know about you guys, but there are certain aisles in the store that I just stopped going down right? I just wouldn't even enter into those aisles anymore because I knew that I would grab Diet Coke, but I would get a bunch of it at Costco. And then when I went to the regular grocery store, I wouldn't even go and go down those aisles. But it was now time for me to look for this product that I had created at home. I never thought that I was going to create a beverage, and frankly, if I knew how hard it was, I probably wouldn't have done it. But I really I really saw this hole in the market. And I think, like the one thing that I really enjoy a lot is thinking about consumers and really understanding what makes consumers want to purchase something, what makes them want to continue purchasing something. And when I added on to that, the fact that people really wanted to get healthy 17 years ago, if you remember, no one was talking about mission based company. I mean, it just wasn't even a term at all. And what I saw was that there was this need for people to really have a great tasting product that help them drink water, but also help them get off of diet sweeteners. And, you know, so many people have said, how did you know that? And I didn't know. All I knew was that I was going to try. And it was when I first entered into Whole Foods that I realized that there was this kind of opening with local programs, that they allowed the entrepreneurs like me to come and share their products and hopefully get it on the store shelves. And that's as far as I got. So I'll I'll leave it at that. I often tell entrepreneurs that if you think too much about the end, you'll never get past the beginning. And that was always what I had seen in helping to build incredible companies but never had I set out to do one myself. Well, that's certainly amazing advice for all of our listeners. Are most of them entrepreneurs as well? And I know something we have to remind ourselves of is entrepreneurs every day is. Stay exactly where your feet are. Right. It's good to have vision. It's good to have clarity for the future. But if that's all you're thinking about, get really caught up in that. I want to shift gears for a second, though, with you, Cara, because you talked about how if you knew how hard it was going to be, you may have made a different choice. So talk to us about your personal journey. Talk to us about some of those hardships that you came across, because the reality is there's likely a lot of other people out there who are going through the same exact things. Well, I think, first of all, there's never a good time. Right. People would say to me, you know, at the time when I launched Tent, I had four kids under the age of six. And so most people would say, you're crazy. What do you know, launching a beverage? But what I realized is that I could determine how much I was going to do every day on the product and how far I was. Even if I got to know one day, maybe I would get it. Yes, the next day. And so I just kept trying to move forward in some way. But I you know, it's interesting in terms of hardships, I don't know if I would necessarily position it as a hardship as much as I felt like I was constantly on overdrive because I was learning an entirely new industry. So there were things as simple as distribution that I had no idea how to get distribution. I was able to get into Whole Foods initially with the product, but then pretty quickly I felt like Whole Foods was constantly telling me, like they kept upping the bar. So they kept saying, Okay, well, who's your distributor? And like me? And they say, No, wrong answer. You have to have a distributor that actually comes in. If we had lots of entrepreneurs trying to stock the shelves, then we would have too many people in the store and there wouldn't be room for consumers. So I'd say, okay, well give me the name of a distributor. And they say, No, you have to figure it out. And it was just this constant battle like that, that I felt like I almost didn't want to go into the store because I felt like, okay, he's going to put another thing on my to do list. If I go in one more time and I think, like, that's the thing that most entrepreneurs don't realize is that, you know, it's a it's a battle, right? It's a it's a constant. You're constantly trying to get space. You're constantly trying to learn. You're constantly trying to figure out the answers, especially since I was not only launching a new product, but also an entirely new category. And so trying to figure out how to do all of these pieces, plus go home and be a parent was not easy, right. But I think that more than anything, one of the things that I talk about a lot is that, you know, you always have your own doubts in your head whether or not you can actually do something and accomplish something. But there's plenty of people are surrounding you. Some of them, you know, some of them you don't really know. Maybe they're the decision makers, but they doubt you can actually do it. One of the big things was that I was a mom of four young kids, and people would I wouldn't necessarily go out on a limb and tell everybody about it. But people who knew that about me started to share with me that I probably wasn't going to be able to do this full time. And I thought, well, okay, maybe I maybe I won't be able to do it full time. But again, the more that you allow these conversations to go on, it sort of feeds into your own questions about whether you can to raise. I want to ask you a couple questions because listeners, I don't want this to go on deaf ears because this area of the industry, you really opened it up. It didn't exist. This isn't like today. This isn't 2022. You walk down the the water there's a water aisle now. Like, it's not just it's not just a soda aisle, but it is entire water area. And I eat like you're a creator, you're a visionary, you're an innovator at its core. And so when when we talk to those types of people that that literally are leading from the front, that changed an industry disrupted an industry that existed in this way. There's something that was stirring inside of you. There is there must have been something that was like, you know what, Kara? You are on the right track. Keep going, keep pushing, keep driving. This is what you were meant to do. There is there is a reason that you went through this. There's a reason that you experienced this. Can you speak a little bit to that side of it? Because when visionaries and innovators, they see something that doesn't exist yet. And that's a very special gift. And I want to honor you for that. And I really love to listen or understand what you felt internally to be able to bring something like that to reality. Well, I think, first of all, the closer you can get to the consumer, the more you know that you're on the right path or not. And so I think that that doesn't matter what industry you're in. And I was just sharing the story this morning that I felt like by the second day I was on the shelf that Whole Foods, I just I had just birthed my son Justin and came home from the hospital. And I got an email from a consumer who was so excited to see him on the shelf. And they had been looking for a product like him for a long time, and they had this thing called Type two diabetes. And I didn't know what type two diabetes was. I knew what type one diabetes was, but it was at that point when I asked the consumer if I could actually have a discussion with them. And he said, sure, that I started to realize that if I could actually get people to shift away from these diet drinks or know that my product exists, then I could actually help them get healthy. It's a different type of healthy than what I was looking to do, but I thought that that was an incredibly valuable thing for me to be able to know that I was doing and know that I was helping in some way. But I think more than anything, it it really is the consumer that it helps most entrepreneurs figure out whether or not they're on the right track. I mean, most entrepreneurs that I know, it's not a it's not a way it's like a gradual wave that goes on. It doesn't matter what industry you're in, there's like spikes, you know, that go. It's the ups and the downs. And so after a while, if you're meant to be an entrepreneur, I think you get used to the spikes, right? You get it. It's not that you don't have those down days, but you also know how to weather the storm and you don't carry too much with you when you end up having those down days because you know that soon, the days will get better. But I think it's it's something that unless you've actually been an entrepreneur, you don't really understand it. And I had seen it to some extent in the companies that I had worked under. But again, even when you're at sort of lower levels in the organization versus, you know, the top roles and or the founder in the company, you just don't see it. You just don't see it at sort of the same level. So I think that that was the thing that I really kind of had to get used to more than anything. But again, having that consumer feedback, if you do not have a product that has consumers yet, I think it would be incredibly hard to be able to weather those highs and lows because you are not hearing how much your product is needed or how much it's helping somebody in some way. I won't even go back to what you talked about with. There was there's a lot of like naysayers in your life at this time. There's a lot of people saying, hey, you can't go full time. You're not going to be able to do this. You haven't been in this industry before. This this area of this doesn't even exist yet. And often times the mentors that we had on this show before talked about, if you're wanting to replicate somebody's success, don't look at what they did, but rather look at the support system that they had built around them. And I'm curious to, as you were going through this with all those naysayers, I'm sure, Elise is going to talk to you about the mindset that you must have had to get through that. But what was your support system like? What were the people around you that were supporting you and helping you through that time? What what did they look like and who did you have around you specifically? Well, I think there's a few things that I'll say about that. One, I, I dragged my husband into this journey. Initially, he was just helping me deliver cases of hands into the store. But soon he became very, very interested in the operations side of the business. And he had been an attorney in Silicon Valley and in tech, totally different industry as well. But I think the thing that we both shared, although we had very different skill sets, was that we were ready to learn again. And we had both been working at this point for about ten years and really felt like we were sort of going up the ladder and that we were continuing to get to be the manager and the director and VP and all of these different roles, which was great. But then the responsibilities started to shift to being less about creating things and more about teaching and managing and which is great. Don't get me wrong, and very much needed. But I felt like by actually creating something new, which initially I thought was a new product, I didn't think that it was a new category until I started hearing from the people who were making decisions at the store shelves level that I was doing something totally new that didn't fit into their planning ground. That's when I started to figure out that this was an entirely new category. But I think, you know, SEO is my husband's name and our chief operating officer. So I would say that he was a huge support. It's great to go through the build and the creating and especially when you're surrounded by naysayers. You know, lots of people that I've talked to have co-founders. I think that's becoming more and more common to be able to have somebody who can really bounce ideas off of, but also who can support you and lift you when you have those incredible days that are not so fun. But also, I think that, you know, the consumer, too, and thinking about the consumer and how if I stopped, if I didn't go any further, then the consumer wouldn't have what I had. So I think at times for me, something as simple as like the letters that they would write to me was a support system that I knew that I had those that community out there that really wanted a product like I was doing. I also felt like this was a choice that I was making and that building out my own company, my, you know, my product, etc., and taking this journey was something that I didn't have to do. I think that the one of the things that I go back to a lot is that so many people around me felt like just taking a couple of years off and being out of the market in tech, which is what I was in, was really risky and dangerous. And I kept thinking, Oh, I don't know. I mean, I was 5 minutes ago, you thought I was great and I should go and work for so-and-so and go and do x, y, Z. And now you're telling me that just because I took a couple of years off, that I'm not marketable and, you know, I would pick who I was going to have that conversation with. But I think more than anything, if it didn't work out, I thought, I can always tell people that it didn't work out. I was always kind of okay with failing that. I didn't think that failing was a really big deal. I thought that failing, really failing is fine if you're learning something from the failure that was there, something my parents always taught me in sports and you know, and and just growing up, I felt like, you know, there's lots of lessons to be learned and failures are okay. And more than anything, I felt like, you know, the mission and how passionate I was about it. And again, if I could do something that helped a lot of people, I would feel very proud and hopefully my family would feel very proud of me as well. Well, kudos to you, because it sounds like you were and still are absolutely in it for the right reasons, that there's something one thing that I've taken away from today is that you you are in this to serve. You keep talking. You keep going back. Like in every single one of the answers. You keep going back to the consumer. Those people that you are serving. And at the end of the day, as entrepreneurs, that's why we go into this really sticky, unclear, difficult for some people, a navigable all career path is because you can impact so many people, such a larger community outside of just yourself or your your immediate family and friends. Right. And that's the ultimate gift that gives back to us. Totally. I'd love you to kind of lean in a little bit to what you were talking about, about working with your husband, because it's it's such a unique dynamic. And you both came from different areas. And obviously, at least in I work together as well, we've got a lot of couples that we serve that work together. As you guys started to navigate those roads, was it something that you found very naturally where you kind of both fell into your roles and responsibilities in a really powerful way? How did you guys navigate that within the business? But then how did you navigate your relationship outside the business as well of not only being now coworkers, but also separating work from your husband and wife relationship? Yeah, you know, it's interesting. I mean, I wouldn't say we we necessarily separated it because we loved what we were doing. And I think we even brought our kids in to our kids lives as a grown up depending on the summer they worked in enhance as well. And so I think like that's the again, that's the rule that I think is it just depends on what the company is, what your style is, what the relationship is, and whether or not you can work together. I certainly believe that it doesn't work for everybody, but I do believe that if you have different skill sets and it's probably more helpful if you're both doing something that you really believe in, that you believe in the mission, you believe that there's a purpose to you working on something together. I think that how we've divided it over the years has come really naturally, frankly. And I it was my idea and I was kickstarting it, but I was running into walls that were that were challenging and things around how to produce a product that didn't have preservatives in it. He had always been super interested in molecular biology prior to going to law school and had been really interested in the science behind a lot of the stuff. I just wanted it done. I wanted a product that didn't have sweeteners in it and didn't have preservative center. But when when you know, I wanted to develop this product, it wasn't out there, no one was doing that. So I was totally fine with stating the impossible. I just didn't know how to actually create it. I think that the other piece of it that we both really understood growing up in the tech industry was the tech industry is all about innovation and it's all about creating new things. And so when we had come from the tech industry, there was the word, it can't be done or it will never be done. It's just no one is bold enough to actually say that. Right. It's not it just is not part of the language. It's it it's not it hasn't been done yet. Yeah. Improbable. Can't be good. So growing up, both of us in the tech industry, we sort of believed like no one has figured this out yet. Oh, well, there's a problem for us, too, a puzzle for us to go solve. But again, when when you're facing something that people don't believe can be done, the other thing is, is your timeline is is terrific. Right. And nobody nobody is pressuring you to actually do it. I would care. We need this done. We need this done. Tomorrow because everybody thinks it's impossible. So you know that it's almost like there was less pressure on us to do it. The only pressure was ourselves trying to figure it out. And I think having somebody, as you know, a co-founder as a support system that really understood that mindset, I think was super, super helpful. And then, of course, when you actually figure something out, you know, you've hit the jackpot and it's just, you know, really exciting. And then, you know, most of the people around you who said it couldn't be done, they're like, oh, wow, congrats. I mean, you know, there's not any major celebration because they were never they were never valuing it and appreciating life later. And so and so I think that that's where the vision part comes into is that sometimes when you think about what can be done and what you want to see done, you may be ahead of where other people see. And that's hard. It's really hard. That doesn't mean it's not a good idea. It means that the consumer, your colleagues, however you want to look at it may be a little bit behind where you are in terms of understanding that the consumer is today or is in the future. It's it's amazing what you talk about because any time the pressures that we put on ourselves and the mission that we're on and why we're doing something is always what is going to proceed any type of success. If we put service ahead of everything, we're going to get the accolades. And quite frankly, I'm just going to read this because it's amazing what you do and what happens when all of a sudden you do put service at the front where a carrier has been named Instyle's Badass 50 fast companies, most creative people in business. Fortune's Most Powerful Women and entrepreneurs, Fortune's Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink and Entrepreneur of the Year. In Northern California, Huffington Post listed her as one of the six disruptors in business alongside Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, and then also being a Wall Street Journal and New York Times best like that is that is amazing to me to be able to have all of those accolades but they don't come from you didn't seek out and say I want to have all of these goals. I want to have all of these accolades. I want to have all of my name up in lights, but rather no, I want to come from a service entity. I want to come and impact the world. I want to come and change. I want to come and create unique, impactful change on people. And that's the outcome. And when you lead from service, when you lead from something that is service driven purpose driven, it's amazing the results you can get. So, again, honor to you on that. Thank you. Thanks so much. So one of the questions I want to ask you is one of our listeners favorite questions is in your own and in your own words, your own phrase or a short sentence, what would you say is your definition of ownership? My definition of ownership, I think I think solving problems that that you see that you see that that need to be solved in some way. So I think more than anything, you know, ownership ownership is really a right. I think there are multiple people that are going to typically contribute into any type of problem. But I think that when you're leading an ownership issue, I think it's also understanding that there's going to be challenges along the way. There's going to be failures along the way, too. And I think it's it's recognizing what you're going to learn from those experiences. Yeah. It's almost as if it's having this amazing foresight that you've had this little time, the foresight to not only solve a gaping hole in the industry, but also the foresight of everything that was going to come along with it. Right. Like you didn't you didn't sign on for this saying, oh, this is going to be easy. I can do this right. Like I, I figured out what the problem is. And now all I have to do is figure out the solution and everything will just click right. It's it's way different than that. Exactly. Exactly. And I think that that's the thing, too, that, you know, when we were starting hints, I mean, I wanted to create an unsweetened flavored water. Most people around me, most buyers that I was trying to get the attention of, said, you know, what's a sweetened with. Right. They they had no idea what I was talking about. And so I think that you have to understand that you owning something, you taking this journey is not necessarily going to be somebody else's journey. They may not understand it until they have a problem that they're trying to solve. Maybe they will never want a product like hand that helps them drink water. And so I think like that's the thing that you have to be able to continue on your path and own that, and particularly if you are managing a team where you're helping them to really stay motivated in the mission as well. Then I love it. So audience be sure to check out Kara's book. She came out again with this in 2020. Undaunted again how to overcome doubters and really kind of just own your own journey in this. It's amazing. A lot of great resources there. She's got her podcast. Kara, where else can people find you and lean into everything else that you're creating and putting into this world. Now all over social app Terrigal then and as you mentioned, I have a podcast that I do a few times a week where I try and pull other entrepreneurs very much focused on founders and their journeys and some of the hard stuff that they encounter. And I very, very much focused on and on the founder and the hard and the challenges and the failures along the way. Because I feel like if we can all learn from each other that, it's not a straight line and then we can all create and do lots of great things. Amazing, amazing. So, guys, as you go forward, I think something to really come back to is it all comes down to mission, purpose and vision. And if we lead from this sense of creating, we lead from this sense of innovating, we lead from this sense of being a visionary in our own journeys. We'll be able to serve at a extremely high level that will yield us more than we could ever imagine. Wherever you're at right now, it's okay if you're feeling a stir inside you. It's okay if you're feeling like there's something more here. I really encourage you to keep exploring that, keep looking at that and you're never too old. It's never too late to reinvent yourself. The journey that you're on is setting you up to create, to be that innovator, to be that visionary, to be that person of service, no matter what that looks like. And make sure that you step into that world and step into that movement undaunted as you go forward. Guys, we know success is different. So own your different and we'll see you next week.