Barbara Corcoran is the American businesswoman behind the Corcoran Group, a New York City-based real estate brokerage she sold in 2001 for $66 million. Today, she stars as one of the main investors on the TV series “Shark Tank” and is considered to be an inspiration to many entrepreneurs, especially those who are women.
While a number of factors have contributed to Corcoran’s success, she admits a tense exchange with an ex-boyfriend and business partner was a driving force in encouraging her to not only succeed but excel.
Corcoran recalled the story during a guest appearance on entrepreneur Steven Bartlett’s “The Diary of a CEO” podcast in December 2022. She says Ramone Simone owned 51% of a company they co-founded in 1973 after he loaned her $1,000. But after seven years in business together he took off with her secretary. He told Corcoran in parting: “You’ll never succeed without me.”
She described the comment as “vicious” and says at the time she hated him. But looking back, she recognizes that if it hadn’t happened, she wouldn’t have been motivated to start Corcoran Group to be where she is today.
Woman in a male-dominated industry
Corcoran shares that being a woman in a male-dominated industry early in her career was incredibly difficult and she was often ignored. So, she played what “cards” she had to her advantage, which meant wearing shorter skirts, tight suits and high heels to go along with plenty of flattery. Corcoran admits she manipulated men so she could get ahead, and while she jokes that she might not get into heaven for it, clearly it worked.
In 2001, after decades of building up one of the largest real estate firms in New York, she sold Corcoran Group for $66 million.
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“My goal was to be the Queen of New York Real Estate, and one day I woke up and was,” Corcoran said on personal finance expert Erika Kullberg’s podcast “Erika Taught Me” in April 2023.
With her dream accomplished, Corcoran decided to start the next chapter of her life.
A ‘Shark’ is born
Carving her own path and going for what she wants is a theme in Corcoran’s life.
On Kullberg’s podcast, Corcoran shares the story behind her placement on “Shark Tank.” While it may seem to those of us at home that she’s a natural fit for the show, it turns out the creators tried to revoke her casting even after she signed the contract. However, Corcoran says she wrote an email detailing the obstacles she’d overcome in her life and secured an audition against her would-be replacement. She won her spot back.
“I got my job on Shark Tank playing Fairy Godmother and making dreams come true,” she said.
Corcoran’s journey certainly hasn’t been an easy one. Her life of dedication and hard work is why she’s become an inspiration to so many.
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