As a high school dropout who grew up in a disadvantaged neighborhood, statistically Ralph Holguin wasn’t supposed to succeed, let alone own his own company and become a millionaire. However, he overcame the odds and now runs RMD Group, an event marketing company that has worked with big names like Ford, Xbox 360 and Callaway Golf.
RMD Group actually expanded to what it is now from a small car detailing business Holguin started in 1993 when he was 21. Called “Ralph’s Mobile Detailing,” he started it with $600 to his name and a dream to become someone in this world. Having learned the trade of detailing cars when he was 16, Holguin figured he’d start the business since it was the only thing he was good at. He was tired of working under someone else, dead-end jobs and living life paycheck to paycheck.
“I was going to have my first daughter and didn’t want to ever be fired again or have to depend on somebody,” he explains. “I said I’d be the person who would be in charge of my future. I had to give up what normal 21 year olds were doing and become a businessman. I grew up in a neighborhood that was tough to make it out of, not to mention try to be successful.”
With determination in mind and a heart full of passion, Holguin put all his energy into his detailing business. “Everywhere I went, I hustled,” he says. “I wouldn’t eat lunch because it would stop me from working. I was so hungry for success that it kept me focused and eventually helped develop the person I am today.”
After long days of detailing, hustling and flyering cars, Holguin’s life and business drastically changed after he got a call from a women who was vice president of a well known marketing agency to detail her car. “That day, I must have put flyers on more than 100 cars and got only one call; it was the call that would change everything,” he admits. She liked his detailing work and asked him to go back every Friday to work on her car. As their professional relationship grew, Holguin learned that she worked with name brands in the automotive industry and was asked to assist her on a marketing campaign for the launch of the 1994 Honda Accord.
“I went in to clean cars and remember setting everything up and hustling all day,” he says. “I helped with everything that day, and she was so impressed that she asked me to go on the road for their national campaign. I knew at that moment my life would change.” After the initial opportunity, Holguin started to collaborate with the company more and began to do grassroots marketing for them.