Passion for Architecture: Even before Jared Lofton entered the real estate business, he’d spend weekends driving around upscale neighborhoods and attending open houses in his native New Orleans. "I’ve always been interested in architecture and design," he says. "My passion is looking at beautiful homes."
Family trailblazer: In 2002 he became the first in his family to graduate from college—he earned a finance degree from Southern University—and soon after he moved to Houston, where he became a Keller Williams sales associate. Within two years, he had annual sales of more than $5 million and he started thinking seriously about branching off on his own. He reached that goal in 2008—just in time for a market slowdown.
Diversify to succeed: "Real estate is cyclical," he says, "and I realized I needed to do something in addition to selling to achieve a more consistent cash flow." As a result, Lofton created a new division, Love Moving Co., that has helped his business remain profitable.