Armando Montelongo, who launched a San Antonio real estate company in 2002, has always been a bit of a ham. But both his business and his showbiz careers really took off in 2006, when the brash Montelongo landed a featured spot on the A&E reality show Flip This House. Soon after, he founded a real estate education business that today brings in almost $50 million a year selling seminars and books on renovating and selling distressed properties at a profit. The seminars, which Montelongo takes on the road, feature local bus tours in which students compete to gauge property renovation costs. The tours culminate in a celebration that features costumes, dances, motorcycles, and the occasional caged black panther. "I am the most immature person you will ever meet," says Montelongo, who left the cast of Flip This House in 2009. "Every entrepreneur has a child deep within them. It's my job to bring that out."
J.J. MCCORVEY is a reporter at Inc. magazine, where he covers a wide range of topics, including technology and business research. He has covered metro news for The Detroit News, and his work has been featured in Men's Fitness. @jmccorvey