Before Sean Conlon built his multimillion dollar fortune selling real estate, he'd been "knocked down about a hundred times," he tells CNBC.
Conlon, an Irish immigrant who came to the states with $500 in his pocket, started as a janitor before getting into real estate in 1993. "I'm brand new in the business," he recalls, "and I had a couple call and they want to see properties."
They were "your classic buyer," says Conlon. "They like nothing. … But then I saw a 'for sale by owner,' and I showed it to them naively." The guy selling the property was a broker and told Conlon he'd get paid a commission if the couple ended up buying it.