Written by Brittany Shanwté
Glad to be able to feature another great person out here helping to impact others! If you or someone you know is actively working towards bringing awareness to a cause, promoting self- esteem, or working to make a difference in this world, visit my Features/Submissions page to see how to be featured!
Today, the spotlight is on Chay Rodriguez, entrepreneur and creator of #GOALS, a podcast “that caters to to the dream chaser, risk taker, and goal getter” in each of us. Chay uses the show to highlight the motivating lessons from entrepreneurs, which, in turn, pushes others to be greater and walk purposefully in their dreams and goals as well! When Chay reached out to me about the podcast and her story, I had to know more and then share her inspiring story with y’all.
Surprisingly enough, Chay didn’t growing up wanting to be an entrepreneur. She actually wanted to be a lawyer, and worked hard to graduate both high school and college a year early. But, as she studied for the LSATS to work towards law school, there was hesitation amongst the crazy pressure to get the grades. “I didn’t want to live my life like that anymore, you know?” Chay revealed. “Just being so hell-bent on getting these great test results. And I knew that was going to carry over into law school, and it’s a stressor and kind of killer.” So, she moved to beautiful Los Angeles, and got a job at a law firm to see if working in law was really for her. Yeahhh…issa no.
However, being in LA was a blessing in disguise as Chay ultimately got bit by the big “entrepreneurial bug.” So around the age of 20 or 21, she decided to make the move back East to open up a swimwear pop up shop in Philadelphia. The creative found a pretty good space, sourced the merchandise, and tried to set up parties to help sell the product…but really didn’t put the work in, which, unfortunately, resulted in the failure of the shop. “I did everything to get up to that point. but I just didn’t have that drive to get all the way through the summer going 100,” Chay admitted. So she had to be honest with herself, and ask “What’s up with all of the self-sabotage?” She worked to get to a certain point, but then didn’t end up following through to get even further. Do y’all ever do that? I know I have SMH. Chay confessed that she didn’t promote herself enough on social media, and even tried to lean on other popping brands in Philly to get attention from their audiences. “I had to realize that you have to do this for yourself. You have to build this for yourself,” she said.
Afterwards, Chay decided go to grad school for fashion, as she was interested in the buying side of the industry. She got a job as an assistant buyer, while still selling her swimwear inventory on the side to get rid of it all. Chay also did a little bit of styling, helping to create fab looks for Vanity Fair, Russell Westbrook‘s True Religion campaign, among other ventures. However, she didn’t want to move to New York full time to pursue it.
So, the podcaster ended up heading down to Atlanta, dabbling in different things, but quickly got to thinking about next steps for her life. That led her to coming up with the idea for #GOALS! “What we go through as entrepreneurs is so tumultuous. A lot of us really have these ideas, like ‘I really want to create a business,’” she shared. “I wanted to talk to other people that were going through the ups and downs of figuring out what they wanted to do.” Which was a PERFECT idea because there are a lot of budding entrepreneurs and creatives that needed to hear some of these great stories and life to help motivate and encourage them. We all need to hear not only stories of success, but stories of failure and, ultimately, a lot of perseverance, dedication, and hard work that not too many people see.
Thus, #GOALS the podcast was born! In 2016, Chay began meeting and interviewing other entrepreneurs doing big things, sharing their stories of loss and triumph, and all of the lessons learned in between. Since the inception of the podcast, she’s interviewed some amazing folks like Brian Jones (video director of Hip Hop Since 1987), Jon Moody (artist and creator of Splash Paint), and Courtland Bragg (Emmy award-winning producer of NFL Films). In fact, it was Brian’s interview (the first for her) that ended up inspiring her to take her own #GOALS to the next level!
After taking a listen to a few episodes, there are serious gems that everyone can apply to an area of their lives, to be honest. Lessons of consistency, discipline, and PATIENCE (which is not my best virtue, y’all). Tales of pushing through fear, and leaving behind a steady footing at a 9-5 for passion and purpose. “I just wanted people to have these stories, because you don’t really hear it,” Chay stated.
Though Chay uses #GOALS to share entrepreneurs’ stories, she also has used the podcast to speak out on important issues in this country and the world. The episode she calls the most impactful and important, was “Starting the Conversation,” an episode discussing racial injustice and police reform. “The mainstream media was not putting together the right voices to talk about this issue,” the entrepreneur stated, also admitting that it felt like a helpless issue. And watching people at work just pour their coffee, cracking jokes and go on throughout their day like nothing was going on REALLY bothered her. That pushed Chay to bring together an assistant sociology professor, a Black Lives Matter chapter president, and a NYC detective to have a balanced but raw talk about it all. I definitely encourage you guys to take a listen here!
Currently, Chay is working on a special episode of #GOALS to address the “take a knee” movement that athletes are taking part in to protest against racial injustice. She has some great headwear and pendants coming out for listeners and supporters of the podcast, as well as videotaping the interviews as well. She is even working with a small team to create some #GOALS events to just give people opportunities to showcase their work and opportunities to better themselves. “I want #GOALS to be a lifestyle brand,” Chay said of her future with the podcast. “When you hear #GOALS, [you think] body goals, relationship goals, so we’re kind of dipping into different realms as far as events.” The #GOALS movement is definitely continuing to grow and have positive impact on other people, which is great to see!
Even though Chay is doing well as a podcaster and entrepreneur now, she admits the journey hasn’t come without its ups and downs. She’s had her share of breakdowns and doubts. She’s had times where people that she supported in their endeavors (and done favors for!) didn’t give the same support back to her. She’s also had times of comparing herself to other podcasters, which only ends up hurting you in the long run, and also getting caught up in statistics and views. “I had to tell myself, ‘Chay, stop looking at the numbers,” the host admitted. “When you get those texts from people like, ‘Oh my gosh, girl, this episode was SO good! I loved it!’, when you get those text messages, just take that as validation that at least one person is listening.”
Of course, as any of us who have embarked on a new venture, Chay had to figure out the best process for develop #GOALS, switching up things to better the show and her productivity. She also learned and stressed to others the importance of finding people for your team that are aligned with your values and vision for your business or brand. The podcaster also encouraged us all to not compare yourself and your work to others. “Nobody can do what you do,” Chay shared. “So, if you’re comparing yourself to somebody else, you’re kind of taking away the fact that you have an individuality throughout yourself.” Definitely some powerful words of advice!
I personally have loved listening more to #GOALS over the past few weeks, which offers so much encouragement and inspiration from other people doing what they love, in spite of the hardships that come their way. Chay is one of those people, who has figured out her purpose and is using it to help others. Like I’ve said in past posts, when you know your gift, you should find a way to share it with as many people as possible and use it for good. That’s exactly what Chay is doing, and I wish her the very best!