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From Rags to Riches: the Success Story of Barbara Corcoran

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Who would have thought that a daughter of a drunk father and suffering from Dyslexia, Barbara Corcoran, would become one of the richest and the most respected personalities in America today? Her story is a classic example that poverty is never a hindrance to success. It is all about doing your utmost best to reach your goals despite the mountain of challenges you have to face in order to get to it.

Who Is Barbara Corcoran?

Corcoran was born in Edgewater, New Jersey, on March 10, 1949. She is the second of 10 children of Florence and Edwin Corcoran. Her mother was a housewife while her father bounced from job to job throughout Corcoran’s childhood. They relied on free deliveries of food from a friendly local grocer in their neighborhood. Corcoran remembers her father as a man who occasionally drank too much and who treated her mother with disrespect particularly when he’d been drinking. She was suffering due to dyslexia and she was constantly bullied because of it. She attended a local Catholic elementary school and started high school at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood. Her credits include straight D’s in high school and college, According to Corcoran, the bullying “drove her to work harder and learn the skills she needed to succeed”, and as a result; she graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas College with a degree in education in 1971.

Now, she is happily married to her husband, Bill, and lives in Manhattan. Her husband is a retired Navy captain who participated in the Gulf War and is a former FBI agent. The couple married in 1988. Corcoran gave birth to their son, Tom, in 1994, via in vitro fertilization, with an egg donated by her sister. The couple later adopted a daughter, Kate.

How She Started Her Career

After graduating college, she taught school for a year but soon moved on. She had worked a total of 20 jobs by the time she was 23, including a side job of renting apartments in New York City. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country: She borrowed $1000 from her boyfriend at that time, quit her job as a waitress to start a tiny real estate company in New York City, which she called “The Corcoran Group”. By the mid-1970s Barbara Corcoran started publishing ‘The Corcoran Report’ that covers real estate data trends in New York City. Later on, her boyfriend ran away with her secretary but left Corcoran with a thriving business and no regrets. Today, the Corcoran Group is the largest and best-known brand in the brokerage business in America.

In 2001, the real estate giant sold her company to NRT LLC for $70 million. Corcoran has mentioned several times that she was not a straight-A student in high school or college but using her innate entrepreneurial skills, she made it to the top. After she sold her company, her worth as a real estate expert increased even more and she emerged in the New York real estate scene as a prominent personality.

Flourishing Career

Corcoran is also a well-known TV personality; she appears in the famous NBC show NBC TODAY as a real estate contributor. She hosts CNBC’s “The Millionaire Broker with Barbara Corcoran”. Corcoran is a columnist for “More”, “The Daily Review”, and “Redbook”, and writes a weekly column in the “New York Daily News”. Corcoran has also appeared in many other TV shows as a guest including “Larry King Live”. She is often invited to real estate events as a business speaker. Corcoran is also a business consultant; she provides consultancy through a television production business called “Barbara Corcoran Inc.” Corcoran has been an investor/Shark for the past eleven seasons on ABC’s four-time Emmy award-winning show, Shark Tank, in which she invests in the start-ups and businesses of new entrepreneurs and in exchange, she gets percentage equity of that company. In the first season of the show, the 8 businesses that she invested in turned out to be very successful.

Corcoran is the author of the best seller “Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business!” and written several more. She is also the host of the top business podcast “Business Unusual with Barbara Corcoran.”

From Rags to Riches

Corcoran’s story taught us that your poor upbringing does not affect your raging drive to become successful in whatever path you choose to take. Without all the trials and challenges that Corcoran faced throughout her life, she wouldn’t have the grit and wisdom to make it to where she is today. Further, her inspirational attitude towards life has a great influence on young businessmen and businesswomen.

3 Important Tips From Barbara Corcoran

“My best successes came on the heels of failure.”

“The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves.”

“When you’re building a business, you’re either all in, or you’re not.”

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