For business owner Miguel Castillo, the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta were more than just a celebration of athletic achievement and global unity, they represented a key turning point in Georgia’s history.
“After the Olympics, Georgia’s population and economic development exploded, because people from other states began moving here. In 2000 I had four jobs at the same time,” explained Castillo.
Today, the Venezuelan native is one of the most successful Hispanic entrepreneurs in Georgia. He is the owner of Castle Painting, a residential and commercial painting company that serves more than 9,000 clients in the metro Atlanta area.
The idea of opening his own business came to Castillo in 2000, during a period of self-reflection and meditation regarding his career path.
“In that moment I saw that there were a lot of houses, and I decided to open a company with our last name, which, translated to English, means Castle,” said Castillo.
The name has special significance for the proprietor, who shared one of his favorite pieces of advice for fellow Latino business owners.
“The way should not have to adapt to you, but rather you must adapt to the way, and that has been a triumph on both a business and social level, on all levels. It’s my main concept: that the way should not adapt to the person,” said Castillo.
This adaptation process consists of “flipping the switch,” in terms of the importance of changing one’s attitude. “We are very strict about the schedule, because in the United States schedules are respected, and if you are late then that person has other appointments to get to. Americans are winners because they are organized with time,” he said.
As well, Castillo believes that it is key to apply other values such as the integrity of “seriousness and professionalism because – it hurts to say it – this doesn’t happen in our Latin American countries.”
In terms of tips for new and small business owners, Castillo sums them up in in three basic points: punctuality, seriousness and professionalism, although he believes that adding a touch of Latin friendliness also pays dividends.
Another of his recommendations is “to be motivated and enthusiastic. And save, because in this country it’s very important to not spend all your money.”
For Castillo, though, money is not the sole contributing factor to success. Community support and philanthropic efforts also play an important role.
The company has a philanthropic arm called Castle Painting Care.
Castillo was recognized in 2014 as a ‘Pioneer Entrepreneur’ by the organization Emprendedores Latinos.
Keren Granados-Restrepo, co-founder and vice president of Emprendedores Latinos, pointed out that Castillo has remained loyal to his roots, despite his success.
“Regardless of the position he has now and the success he has, he continues to be a humble and pleasant person. He doesn’t forget where he came from, he doesn’t forgot his past, his culture,” said Granados-Restrepo, who also recognized Castillo’s efforts to help and support his fellow entrepreneurs.
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