Entrepreneurs

Self-made millionaire: Find investment opportunities by looking in the cracks

Self-made millionaire Wayne "Butch" Gilliam knows that in business, it pays to be resourceful.

The star of CNBC's reality pitch show "West Texas Investors Club," who turned metal scraps into a million-dollar piping business, shared a story about how recognizing a rare opportunity helped him score a big win.

An undisclosed metal company from Japan wanted to import new steel technology into the U.S., but American companies resisted, leaving the Japanese company with few options to sell its product.

"They were going to manufacture a product in their foreign country, bring it in here and cut a whole lot of people out of the middle," said Gilliam, who is co-chairman of the investment group West Texas Ltd.

"But because of what their intent was, no one would help them. Everybody was blackballing them," Gilliam said. "Large [steel] companies on the U.S. stateside lobbied in Washington against Japan bringing in this metal."

"There are always cracks that will get you into an opportunity." -Wayne "Butch" Gilliam, West Texas Ltd. co-chairman

Gilliam saw an opportunity and approached the company.

"He nearly gave it to us," Gilliam said of the company executive. "A technology that they had spent millions and millions of dollars on, he wound up selling to us for $300,000."

The company that had been blacklisted had an offer when no one else would pick up the phone.

"There are always cracks that will get you into an opportunity," Gilliam said.

"If you're persistent and you stay at it day to day — that's the answer, that's the key," he added.

CNBC's "West Texas Investors Club" airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. EDT.

Video by Brandon Ancil.