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These Three Janitors Became Self-Made Millionaires

When you hear someone try to make a point about economic success, it is not unusual for them to reference the profession of “janitor” as the quintessential example of the professional totem pole’s lowest rung.

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Well, CNBC.com has a pretty cool article at its site that tells of three guys who serve as amazing illustrations of the classic American success story by having risen from the ranks of that very profession to become self-made millionaires.

So how in the world did they do it? After all, we hear interesting stories of things like this happening…but are the truly real?

Well, they are in the case of the subjects at hand: Sean Conlon, Ronald Read, and Steve Hightower.

Conlon, an Irish immigrant, landed in Chicago with just 500 bucks to his name. He didn’t even have the luxury of starting out as a full-fledged janitor; he had to begin as an assistant janitor.

But he was motivated to do well for himself, and he did just that. He saved enough to buy himself an apartment, and, after he was settled in the United States, began selling real estate at night. That was his ticket to the big time. From there, he worked his tail off, and eventually became one of the nation’s top brokers.

In Read’s case, while he moved on from being a janitor, he never rose much past that professional station in life. In his case, he went about becoming a millionaire in a different way. He chose to live a parsimonious life…but became an active, life-long investor in the stock market. When he died at age 92 in 2014, his portfolio was worth about $8 million.

As for Steve Hightower, while he began his professional life working as a custodian, he now owns an oil and transport business. He is a bona fide mogul, with the company’s anticipated 2017 earnings expected to reach the $500 million mark.

In describing how he did it, and just how his own motivational system works, Hightower speaks not only for himself, but for basically all of the self-made successes out there.

“I started as a janitor. I started cleaning floors and toilets and doing those things that most people would never even dream of doing,” says Hightower. “I wanted more.”

“When people ask me would I ever have imagined I would be where I am today? Absolutely. Because if you don’t think that you can be great, you'll never be great. And I knew that I was gonna be great a long, long time ago.”

By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large

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