How Motherhood Motivated ‘Shark Tank’s’ Barbara Corcoran to Sell Her Real Estate Empire

Barbara Corcoran of ABC’s Shark Tank is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to business. As a sought-after investor on the hit reality show, Corcoran knows exactly what she looks for in a company and in those who are in charge of running it.

When it comes to decisions, Corcoran doesn’t shy away from tough ones. As the founder and CEO of her real estate empire The Corcoran Group, the Shark Tank star knew when it was time to sell her business, and shared the reason why.

“Shark Tank’s” Barbara Corcoran | Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Building an empire

According to Forbes, Corcoran came from humble beginnings. Raised in a two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey with her nine brothers and sisters, Corcoran struggled in school at an early age, later being diagnosed with dyslexia. “I’ve wrestled with letters and numbers my whole life… My biggest fear all day long was that I would be called on to read out loud,” Corcoran said in her recent podcast series “Business Unusual.”

The reality star was never a stranger to hard work. “I had my first job when I was 11,” she told The New York Times in 2017. “I had 22 jobs before I started a real estate brokerage business when I was 23.”

When starting to build her own real estate company, Corcoran found that being in charge suited her. “I took to management like a duck to water,” she said. “It was in my blood.”

That’s actually an understatement. After creating her real estate empire from the ground up with a $1,000 loan, she later sold it for $66 million in 2001, according to CNBC.

Motivation of a mom

The real estate mogul also strives to be a successful parent. As the mom of two kids – Tom, 25, and Katie, 14 – Corcoran revealed that the birth of her son is what pushed her to consider selling The Corcoran Group.

“All my top salespeople [at the Corcoran Group] were nut jobs and I was their mother and their shrink. They needed me constantly. The moment I had my son, I realized I couldn’t be the best at both,” she told The Cut in 2018. “I had an infant, and I was breastfeeding, and I was 46, so I was an old mom. I started thinking, how do I exit?”

Corcoran noted that having children later in life gave her the opportunity to launch her empire. “You know in hindsight, if I were to have had children earlier, I could have never built the Corcoran Group. You’re too divided,” she said. “I put 500 percent into my salespeople; they were the queens and kings of the universe… I adored them, and they adored me back, and that’s why we did so well in the end. But once my son entered the equation, I knew I couldn’t do both.”

Being a working mom today

Now with a teenage daughter in tow, Corcoran acknowledged the challenges of being a working mom in today’s fast-paced professional world, which often comes with self-doubt. “It’s much harder. Here I am again, in business for myself and even worse, being the talent — so I’m the salesman and the manager, and I have a young daughter,” she said. “I never feel like I’m doing enough for her. I second-guess myself every day of the week.”

With her daughter requiring extra attention, the Shark Tank star recognizes the need for balance between work and family. “She has special needs, and I’m always trying to reinvent new ways to teach her,” Corcoran shared. “I’m always on it, and yet I feel like if I didn’t work, I could do a better job. But I also think I’d be miserable making one child my entire focus because I get bored easy. So, I don’t know. It’s difficult. I have to say, it was easier to get rid of my phone.”

Corcoran is clearly a success both professionally and personally!