R ony Delgarde is a man with an enormous heart that leads and equally large organization. He is the founder of Global Paint for Charity, a non-profit organization that takes unwanted paint from businesses and individuals, and provides it to those in need. After coming to the United States from Haiti, Rony founded the organization in 2010 and built it into an entity with a truly global impact. Since 2010 Global Paint for Charity has shipped more than 120,000 gallons of paint to 18 different countries.
We first met Rony at Emory University where he was mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs on how to build successful businesses that make a positive impact. After listening to the words of wisdom he had to share, we knew we had to learn more about his story. Regardless of what your ambitions are – nonprofit, technology, finance, and so on – Rony’s passion and heart for helping others is an example you should take to heart. We’re sharing some of the highlights from our interview with Rony to help inspire others the way he has inspired us.
“I could have done this for profit and made so much money, but I thought about the way I grew up and all the people who couldn’t even afford paint. I knew that there were people making less than $10 a day. With color, these people are able to enjoy the beauty of their homes and their communities in new ways.”
Rony founded Global Paint for Charity because he knew there was a tremendous supply of unused paint and an even larger demand for that paint. For a typical entrepreneur, identifying large supply and large demand means dollar signs. But Rony isn’t a typical entrepreneur. He realized that the good he could do vastly outweighed any amount of money he could make. By every metric, Global Paint for Charity has been an incredible success. Because Rony’s success isn’t measured by his personal accomplishments, he will never run out of steam. As long as there are people who need color in their lives, Rony will always have a reason to stay inspired and motivated. Rony’s selflessness made us think of our own motivations for founding Pinnacle View. He reminded us that in order to grow a business that continually thrives, our mission has to be bigger than money. Not everyone is meant to found a non-profit, but every entrepreneur should ground their business in meeting the needs of others. If your company truly cares about helping the people that need you, then there will always be a reason to move forward with your best effort.
“My passion was color. Ever time I would see the effect of color, I think of being a kid and how we couldn’t afford paint and we couldn’t have color.”
We never know how our passions will manifest themselves in our career. Rony always had a passion for color but never became an artist. Instead, he found a different way to channel that passion into his affinity for entrepreneurship. That’s the true spirit of an entrepreneur. Think outside the box. Follow your passions. Chase your goals with a childlike fervor. Then hold on tight and see where that takes you. If you’re going to fully dedicate yourself to a business, you might as well make sure it involves something you truly love. Even if in an unconventional way. If you’ve already started your business and missed this crucial step, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to incorporate your passions. Find a way to do more of what you love in your business. We’re confident that will be for the best in the long run.
“I had no money or resources. No network! People don’t trust you. The people who make decisions don’t know you and don’t trust you. Just because they have the paint, they doesn’t mean they will give it to you.”
The importance of having credibility and a reputation was something Rony hadn’t fully taken into account when he started Global Paint for Charity. He quickly realized that getting the donations he needed wasn’t as simple as finding someone who didn’t want their paint. Every entrepreneur faces some form of this in their business. You may have exactly what the market needs, but your target may decide to focus on the reasons not to buy (or in this case donate). So what was Rony’s solution? Persistence, learning, and charm. The traits of every good salesman. If you have something you believe will truly benefit others, don’t give up just because you keep hearing no. Learn from every opportunity. Learn about yourself and learn about others. Continue to track down good opportunities. And when those opportunities arise, make sure you’re charming. A little charm can go a long way!
“One thing about being your own boss is that you have to have discipline. I admit at first that was a struggle for me.”
One common misconception about being your own boss is that it means you have more freedom. In fact, becoming your own boss often means placing even more rules on yourself. Being a successful entrepreneur takes a ton of discipline. Time management, focusing, prioritization, and maintaining energy can all be more difficult when there’s no one looking over your shoulder. If you want to grow and sustain your business, you have to learn to work harder for yourself than you ever would for someone else. That’s no small task. It takes time and discipline to grow into that mindset. You’ll see that once you approach your business with the discipline it requires, achieving even the most ambitious goals can move well within reach.
“When you’re passionate about something you have to get out of your comfort zone.”
Having a passion for something like a business means being willing to push yourself to new heights. If you want to see what you and your company are capable of achieving, you can’t remain content with approaching things the same way. Rony’s passion for Global Paint for Charity has taken him to new countries, put him in rooms with powerful leaders, cost him countless hours of sleep, and many other things he didn’t mention. His desire to make Global Paint for Charity as great as possible is what inspires him to work so hard and take chances.
“It’s looking at all the little pieces of everything, seeing how they come together that allows me to stay happy no matter what I’m doing. I’m happy everyday. If I told you I’d been up since 2am you wouldn’t believe me!”
One of the most striking things about Rony is how much joy he exudes at every moment. Most of the time running a business isn’t fun. It’s a stressful and challenging journey. Still, Rony never loses sight of how fortunate he is to have the opportunity to help others. That type of perspective is rare for such a busy person.
It was truly inspirational to have a conversation with Rony. We were proud to interview him for “Celebrating Success”, and look forward to working with him in the future.