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Cafecito con Pablo Calvo

Thursday, October 19, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Pablo Calvo, CEO at Plugin Group


Pablo Calvo is a driven, multilingual professional with more than 15 years of experience in managing website development, translation / transcreation, and interactive marketing services. His versatile skills have effectively served the needs of small and large companies in a variety of industries, from start-up businesses to Fortune 500 corporations.

What is the focus of Plugin Group?

Plugin Group is a digital marketing agency, offering "behind-the-scenes" support to growth-focused businesses worldwide in the public and private sector. We are also certified as a minority business enterprise (MBE) with the Maryland Department of Transportation. We partner with ad agencies, web developers, small and medium business (SMB) and other client-facing organizations – as a source of readily available expertise for all aspects of digital marketing and branding. Plugin Group has been offering its services nationally since 2011.

Why did you decide to start Plugin Group?

I started Plugin Group after having lead international web marketing and development projects for nearly 15 years in the private sector. I realized that with limited minority participation in the digital space, it was up to me to develop further opportunities for others like myself to further close the digital divide. A future goal is to establish a non-profit to promote digital careers education to underserved communities in Maryland.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from being a business owner or in your current position?

Owning a business and surviving is a daily process. When you believe that you’ve ‘made it,’ is when the wake-up call happens. Business is volatile and the only way to counter market conditions is continuously sell your value to new clients, and do everything that you can to retain those clients. Failing to do that, your business will not survive.

What has this year been like?

This is an exciting year as we’ve recently been certified as minority business enterprise (MBE) by the State of Maryland. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to expand our service offerings to the public sector. We’re making great strides in performing business network outreach to meet new people, and be present when new opportunities present themselves. There has been a significant amount of new learning, as this is a new market for us, but we’re doing everything we can to effectively grow our operations.

What is the hardest decision you have had to make in your business?

The hardest decision that I’ve ever made was to start my business in the first place. Leaving a comfortable, regular-paying position at a Fortune 100 company to launch Plugin Group was terrifying. However, with a wonderful network of supporters of family and friends, I’ve been able to grow in a very competitive market.

If you had to go back and do it again…would you? What would you change?

I would absolutely go back and do it again. If I could change anything at all, it would have been to save a little money before starting the business. My wife and I had no savings, and two children under 2 when I launched Plugin Group. My wife was a stay-at-home mother, so while she did the hard work, I feverishly hunted for clients. Taking a 50% pay cut overnight was a feeling that I would not wish on anyone. However, I’m glad that we took the plunge and I have no regrets!

What business and leadership advice can you give our members?

Don’t focus on selling services, focus on educating your clients and prospects. Your value can only be established when your market targets understand what you’re offering and why you’re the superior choice in a larger industry. As a follow-up to that, also aggressively focus on customer service if you’re hoping to grow. If the clients that you work so hard to attain leave within a short period of time, you will never develop the foundation with which to expand your business.

Bachata, Merengue or Salsa?

Merengue because it’s all I can reasonably do. My Latin dancing skills are borderline terrible. I kill it on the Hip Hop dance floor though.

What is your favorite Spanish Word?

I can’t print my favorite Spanish word. I’ll just say that it’s the word that I use when I stub my toe or other immediate pain situations.

What is your favorite Spanish author and why?

Julia Alvarez. She’s an alumni and professor at my alma mater, Middlebury College. For an internationally known author, she is down to earth and very involved in social projects in her native Dominican Republic. She’s a role model. Her books are good too. 😊

Café…con leche y azúcar or black?

Leche y azúcar!

Is there any other fun fact about you that you’d like to share?

I’ve been studying and teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for 20 years.

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