Barbara Corcoran in the Shark Tank
Barbara Corcoran is an American business icon, speaker, consultant, author, investor, and star of the hit show Shark Tank. Her tenacious business attitude and drive to assist other entrepreneurs down their paths to success makes her an audience favorite in the tank. However, her life wasn’t always so clearly defined.
Corcoran was born on March 10th 1949 in Edgewater, New Jersey. The second oldest of 10 children, she was immediately in competition from day one. Her mother was a homemaker and her father was a printing press foreman. She grew up learning the value of hard work and ethics, although Barbara struggled through school, barely managing to pull D’s in most of her classes. She eventually graduated from high school and enrolled at St. Thomas Aquinas College, graduating in 1971.
Once she completed her education she become a teacher, but only stuck with it for one year. Throughout her life, Corcoran has held twenty-two jobs. She credits her work as a waitress at a diner for helping her become the business mogul she is today. During one of her shifts she met a man made Ray Simone, a New Jersey based home builder. The duo started dating and shortly thereafter, she borrowed $1,000 from him to launch her own apartment rental company. However, it wasn’t long before their relationship dissolved.
Simone funded that initial investment of $1,000, but it was Corcoran who helped the company expand. After showing an apartment to a Union Carbide engineer who decided to purchase it rather than rent, Corcoran realized the potential within sales. She posted an ad for a sales agent the following day setting into motion her career in real estate. Within just two years, the Corcoran-Simone company was generating over a half million dollars in sales.
It took several years for the company to dissolve but according to Corcoran, Simone said she would never succeed without him, which further fueled her desire to make a name for herself. They divided the company in 1978 and she founded the Corcoran Group, the first female-run real estate company. The company earned over $350,000 in its first year.
Fast forward to 2001 when Corcoran decided it was time to sell the company. She had shifted her focus to family matters, after trying to get pregnant for over eight years and eventually giving birth to her son, Tommy. With negotiations on the table and an annual revenue of $100 million, and realizing she was the top broker in New York City, she told her attorney to find a buyer for $66 million—her lucky number. She sold the company to NRT Inc. within just a few short days.
After exiting the New York City real estate market, Corcoran wanted to get in front of the public in a fresh way. She decided to co-author a book, become a short-lived Fox consultant, and then went on to join the cast of Shark Tank. Her investments and speeches have helped her turn her millions into billions and given her a prominent place amongst business leaders.
You can learn from Barbara’s vast business experience in her books, Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business, and Use What You’ve Got, and Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom.