Caroline Castrillon climbed the corporate ladder for 25 years before realizing her true passion lay in life coaching. Caroline started Corporate Escape Artist to help women find the same freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment she experienced by hiring a coach herself and later becoming one. Having been in both the employee’s and entrepreneur’s shoes, Caroline has created a personalized, emphatic, and memorable business for any women looking to make a change in her life.
Where were you in your career and/or life before starting your company?
For years, I dreamed of being my own boss but had no idea how to get there. I made the typical excuses: it’s not the right time; I don’t have the money; I don’t know what business I want to start; it’s too risky, etc. Finally, after 25 years in the corporate world, the thought of the status quo was worse than the thought of change and I said, “Let’s go for it!” Now, I’m a coach helping female professionals start their own businesses and I love what I do!
How did you come up with the idea for your business? Were there any personal experiences, passions, skills, hobbies, etc. that influenced you?
I spent so many years wanting to be my own boss but feeling like it was out of my grasp. I just didn’t think it was possible. Finally, I realized that what you’re meant to do lies at the intersection of what you enjoy and what you’re good at.
When I did take the plunge, I wished I had done it sooner.
I enjoy being a coach and mentor because I can help other women take the leap and achieve their goals faster than they could on their own. My personal experience transitioning from employee to entrepreneur is invaluable because it allows me to understand my client’s perspective: I’ve been in their shoes and know how to help.
What was the catalyst for actually starting the process to create your own business?
After many years of climbing the corporate ladder, I finally reached VP status, making more money than ever, and thought, “Wow, I’ve made it.” I knew something was wrong when everyone around me was so excited for my success and I was miserable. I didn’t have the freedom, flexibility, or creativity that I craved and felt suffocated. It got to the point where I stared at the four walls of my office and thought, “Is this all there is?” I decided to hire a coach myself and that’s when I had my breakthrough. I redefined what success meant to me and started the process of creating my own business.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to build a company like yours?
Believe in yourself and don’t give up! If you’re interested in building a coaching practice, make sure you identify a niche that you’re passionate about. Also, if you don’t know who your target audience is and what their needs and pain points are, you won’t know where to find them. It will be difficult to create content that will resonate with them. Creating a coaching business like mine is all about building a personal brand. Your honesty, transparency, and authenticity are what will differentiate you in the long-run, so keep it real! Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work, consistency, and long-term focus.