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Gary Holmes: CSM Corporation

Gary Holmes started a business selling light bulbs with a lifetime warranty at the age of 11.

By the time he was 16, the business was grossing over $200,000 per year and his mother suggested that he sell it to have a “normal” childhood. However, he had already started buying apartment buildings and sold his light bulb business.

After finishing college at the University of Minnesota Business School (later renamed Carlson School of Management) Holmes became a mortgage banker to learn how the “big boys” played the game and to build a network.

In about three years, he became the highest-producing mortgage banker in his company.

That’s when he decided that he had built a foundation and went into his real estate company full-time. Since then, Holmes has developed a real estate and business empire that includes over 111 commercial properties, 22 apartment communities and 37 hotels with annual revenues over $500 million. He also owns manufacturing space and many other businesses.

This is how he did it.

This introduction is excerpted from Bootstrap to Billions: Proven Rules from Entrepreneurs who Built Great Companies from Scratch by Dr. Dileep Rao. Copying or reproduction in any format or medium without the prior express, written consent of the author is strictly prohibited.

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