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What an ex-AOL executive learned from starting her own business

MPW Insider is one of several online communities where the biggest names in business answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? is written by Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint Water.

Almost 10 years ago, I launched a beverage company with an initiative to help people get healthier by providing better tasting, all-natural water. As a former AOL executive, the beverage industry was completely outside of my domain. But as the mother of four kids and someone who is extremely passionate about health and decreasing sugar addiction in people of all ages, I took a leap of faith and founded Hint Water. Here are some of the most important lessons I’ve learned along the way:

Believe in yourself
If you want to be a successful leader it’s important to spearhead something you truly believe in. Whether it’s a mission or product, as long as you show passion, others will follow. Without passion, there is no energy and you need energy to fuel any company.

Have a backup plan
Failure is inevitable – especially in the business world. That’s why a successful leader doesn’t put all their eggs in one basket and hope they will come out on top. Instead, they make sure there are multiple opportunities to succeed in different areas. This way, the likelihood of succeeding will far outweigh any potential failures.

Always network
I put a lot of emphasis on building my professional network. Anytime I have a question or need an additional perspective, I always reach out to my most trusted colleagues. Reaching out to these people – particularly those in other industries – has helped me establish a unique business model at Hint. Additionally, networking has led me to some fantastic partnerships and freelancers who have helped Hint grow.

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