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Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran
F T L
2 minute read

If you are thinking about entering the business world but you aren’t sure how to do it, take Barbara Corcoran as an example. She went from being one of 10 kids in a working-class family to being the owner of a real estate empire. After this she even became a “Shark” investor on ABC’s Shark Tank.

She was the second oldest child in the family of 12 that lived in a two-bedroom house with one bathroom. Her father could not hold a job, but her mother was an inspiration for her. According to Corcoran, her mother was very organised and ran the house like a “drill sergeant”. She took over her mother’s approach to run her businesses: no complainers are allowed. By the time she was only 23, she already had 20 jobs including playground supervisor, assistant lifeguard at a kiddie pool and waitressing.

When her boyfriend at that time told her she would be good at real estate, she immediately quit her waitress job and started working as a receptionist for a New York-based real estate company. A year later, she started her real-estate brokerage firm from $1,000 her boyfriend loaned to her. When her boyfriend broke up with her 7 years later, she shut down that company and started her own, the Corcoran Group. From that moment she was unstoppable. There were times when she was close to bankruptcy but she always figured out a way to overcome these situations. In 2001 the Corcoran Group was sold for $66 million.

Her next move was to spend some time taking care of her son but soon she realized that she wanted more. She started to pitch herself to TV networks as a real-estate expert and landed some gigs. Her breakthrough was when she was asked to be a shark investor on Shark Tank. She took the job immediately, only to receive a call a while later saying that another woman was chosen for the female seat. Most people would have started to feel sorry for themselves but not Corcoran. She did not give up but wrote an email to the studio’s owner and asked him for a chance to compete for the seat. Eventually she got it and invested over $5.4 million in 52 companies in her role on the show.

Her ‘no complainers are allowed’ rule was extended to the entrepreneurs she funded on Shark Tank, too. She has beautifully framed pictures of all of them on her wall, but if any of them comes up with excuses and starts to feel sorry for themselves, she goes to the wall and hangs their picture upside down. She does this to remind herself not to spend time with those people because they are never going to be successful entrepreneurs.

Barbara Corcoran’s story is a reminder that there is nothing stopping you from taking a chance and pursuing a new career in the business world. She is a particularly great example to women who may worry about their ability to fit in the business world. Ladies, take a cue from Barbara and believe in yourselves and your potential.

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