Founder Caralyn Rodriguez Reflects on Self-Started, Woman-Owned Business
Hello! My name is Caralyn, I am the founder and President of Exigent Creative Solutions. My entrepreneurial journey began by attending a business school where I majored in leadership with a minor in communications and graphic design. JUST KIDDING! That would have been a typical, expected path to running a small business, but I (like most entrepreneurs) tend not to take the obvious path.
I started my undergrad studying secondary history education - that didn’t last long. I changed my major and ended up with a degree in history and biblical studies. During the summer after I graduated college I got a summer job working at a mid-size automotive supplier. As I said, this was supposed to be a summer job. My goals were to stay busy and make some money before I started a Masters's in theology. While I was working, I fell in love with the business. The complexity and diversity of the organization intrigued me. Being a part of a team that was producing a major consumer product was incredibly exciting and rewarding. The only problem was, I didn’t see where I could fit in or contribute because I felt I didn’t have the right education.
The Journey of Starting My Own Business
What I did have, was a lot of life experiences that turned out to be invaluable in forming my career. For starters, I am severely dyslexic. Learning how to learn is not something that most people have to do. It turns out that in ‘overcoming dyslexia’ I developed essential skills like problem-solving, perseverance, determination, and creative communication. Not to mention, I was raised by a family of entrepreneurs that helped build these skills into my personality.
I started doing some art projects for the company, literally making paintings for the office. Then people started asking me to help with presentations, making them look cleaner and more professional - that is when I started venturing into graphic design. With several little baby steps, A LOT of online classes, hours spent reading articles and watching tutorials, I was put in charge of a rebranding project for the company.
I found my niche. After 4 years with that company, I decided to branch out. I wanted to continue to do the work I was doing but with a bigger team that could help more companies in a variety of industries. The most exciting part of my job at Exigent has been working with people who are better than me - people who are more talented than I am and who have different skillsets and backgrounds. Watching them become a team and successfully meet our goals and our customer's goals is extremely rewarding. I can’t wait to see where Exigent’s journey goes from here, and I am excited to see our team grow.
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