After graduating from college, Molly Branson found herself at a crossroads. She wanted to work with people, but she didn’t want a 9-to-5 job. Childhood memories of scootering to open houses and reading the Sunday paper’s real estate section came back to her, and her path became clear: real estate sales. “I got a job at a local Irish pub and saved up money before diving into this profession,” says Branson, 28. “I knew it was a commission-only world and that the first year would be tough.” Taking the plunge has paid off. In 2020, she closed $24.7 million in sales volume. Branson, who swam competitively in college, credits the sport with giving her the discipline to persevere in the business. She now volunteers with The Capitol Sea Devils nonprofit in Washington, D.C., teaching kids how to swim. “Without swimming, I don’t know who I’d be today,” says Branson.