ORLANDO RUFFIN IS BUILDING AN EMPIRE RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES

By Demetrius Carrington

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Five years ago, Orlando Ruffin was a casino worker dreaming about the day when he would be his own boss.

Day after day he would see the same faces seemingly throwing money out the window gambling what seemed like all the money in the world.

Feeling stuck, depression started to set in. But instead of giving up he fought harder and made his exit plan.

Like most startups, the beginning was rough, but Orlando was happy. He knew he was where he was supposed to be.

He was building relationships that he knew would pay off big time in the future. The first three years Orlando built a rock-solid foundation.

Now in year five, he has one of the fastest growing auto brokerage firms in the country.

He lives by four simple principles: First, treat people how you want to be treated. Second, everyone is important. Third, people buy from people they like. And fourth, always keep your word.

I recently got a chance to speak with Orlando and this is a portion of our conversation.

DC: You’re celebrating five years with your company, tell me what was your life like before you started your company?

OR: I was miserable. I worked at the casino, and I hated it; in fact, I got fired three times.

DC: How does someone get fired from the same job three times?

OR: I always believed in building strong relationships so every time I got fired someone would bring me back until I said this is finally enough.

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DC: Why did you choose becoming an auto broker?

OR: I’ve always enjoyed dealing with the public and I love cars, so I get to do two things I enjoy all in one.

DC: Tell me about your early years; what was childhood like for you?

OR: I had a great childhood. I was an only child; we lived a middle-class life and my parents stayed together until my dad’s passing.

DC: Tell me about your parents?

OR: My mother is the kindest person you’ll ever meet. I learn a lot to this day from my mom.

DC: And your dad?

OR: My dad was my hero; he was murdered seven years ago when someone robbed him. My dad would tell me I was his good luck charm.

DC: His good luck charm?

OR: Yes, before I was born my dad was a drug addict, and when my mom got pregnant with me, she gave him an ultimatum to get clean or he couldn’t be around me. That gave him all the incentive he needed to get clean. In fact, I never even saw that side of his life. He told me that I changed his life for the better and always brought him good luck.

DC: How did his passing affect you?

OR: It crushed me. I was depressed I gained a 100lbs within a year and couldn’t see my way out of it.

DC: How did you come out of the depression?

OR: I went to counseling, but mostly it was the love and support of my mother. After I got fired from the casino for the third time, I didn’t have any money. I got evicted from my apartment and had to go live in my mom’s basement. I couldn’t even afford to pay my phone bill. I remember my mom saying, "I’m not paying your phone bill again Orlando it’s on you." I was in such a dark place I don’t know what I’ve would’ve have done without her. My mom saved me, and I love her more than my words can ever express.

I remember this like it was yesterday. I once had a conversation with my dad where he told me that I would be the blueprint for generational wealth for the third generation. One day I was in bed and that conversation replayed in my head. I also thought about all the love my mom was pouring into me. I cried that night, and promised myself that I wouldn’t let my parents down. I started my company a few days later.

DC: And now five years later your company is thriving; so, what’s next for O Auto Brokers?

OR: Yes, we’ve been very blessed. Besides selling and leasing, we have our car rental platform that growing rapidly.

I’ve also diversified my portfolio and I partner in a commercial cleaning company, so the future is very bright for the companies.

DC: You just celebrated your 32nd birthday. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your first 32 years?

OR: I’ve learned to treasure every moment of life. Last year I had a heart attack. After the shock of having a heart attack at such a young age I realized money isn’t everything and to appreciate life.

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DC: Are you in a relationship?

OR: Not currently.

DC: Is that something you want?

OR: I would like to be in a very serious relationship. Actually, I want to get married. When I find the right woman, I’m never letting her go.

DC: Any last words you want the people to know?

OR: Yes never stop believing in your dreams and If you can dream it, you can drive it.

Thank you for your time.

As you can see Orlando is a man on a mission. He’s thoughtful, kind and caring, and well on his way to keeping his promise to his dad.

It’s going to be fun watching this young man come into his own. He’s a wonderful businessman and an even greater person. He’ll someday be a great husband and wonderful dad also.

It’s been a pleasure meeting him and I’m glad I have a ringside seat watching him build his empire.

All the best young man!