‘Shark Tank’s’ Barbara Corcoran Says This is Why She Became an Entrepreneur

Barbara Corcoran of ABC’s Shark Tank has earned her riches from hard work and resilience. Coming from a large family with very little monetary means, the real estate guru built her empire despite many challenges she had to overcome.

Corcoran’s upbringing motivated her toward success, where the struggles of her family inspired her to become her own boss.

“Shark Tank’s” Barbara Corcoran | Mike Coppola/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Praises her mom

According to Inc., Corcoran comes from a family of 10 kids. As the second oldest of her siblings, the Shark Tank star grew up in a tiny two-bedroom apartment with her four brothers and five sisters. Corcoran credits her mother Florence for much of her success.

“She had 10 kids. I never saw her sleep, I never saw her lay down. I didn’t even know when she slept,” Corcoran said. She raved about her mom’s problem-solving skills, such as driving 10 kids around in a Blue Chevy station wagon by “putting all the seats down and using it like a flatbed truck.”

The real estate mogul revealed that her mom always saw the good in people, which gave Corcoran the gift of being able to quickly spot talent. “You give someone a sincere compliment about what their great gift is and they will always measure up,” she said.

Sharp instincts

Corcoran’s late father Edwin was considered the ‘fun dad’ of the neighborhood when she was growing up, yet he tended to drink too much at times, keeping the family on edge on what to expect when he would come home. “When he was socially drinking, you didn’t know which dad you were going to have,” she shared. “You never knew what was going to happen. It does make you nervous your whole life in a way, doesn’t it?”

The Shark Tank star was able to turn those situations into a life lesson, where she considers herself as having an instinct to see trouble ahead. “You see the enemies coming long before they arrive, and you start to get pretty street smart on how you duck and weave, so that you can survive and do what you have to do,” she said.

Motivated by her dad’s actions

Corcoran also shared that her father was seldom able to hold down a steady job. Due to her dad’s constant struggle with employment and revolving door of bosses, Corcoran came to the realization that she never wanted to work for anyone, thus igniting her drive to be an entrepreneur.

Dealing with real estate execs as well as fellow sharks in the tank, Corcoran has become a tough business woman who will not be intimidated by anyone. She said she owes her refusal to not get pushed around – especially by men – to her dad. Edwin would often speak to his wife harshly when he had too much alcohol. “When he drank, he would show my mother disrespect verbally,” Corcoran revealed. “My mother accepted it. And even as a little kid, I said to myself I would never, ever, let a man speak to me like that. It lit a fuse inside of me.” 

Despite those tumultuous moments with her father, Corcoran recognizes the positive outcome those episodes created in her, especially in business. “The minute a man talked down to me, I was my best self. I was going to get from that person what I wanted, come hell or high water,” she said. “Even by the time I got it, sometimes I didn’t want it anymore, but I grabbed it because I had to show him that he was not smarter than me. He was not going to dismiss me. I would not tolerate it.”

Corcoran has also learned how to manage her money wisely since she grew up with so little. “You spend your money smartly, because you don’t have enough. Every dime I had, I had to think about best use,” she said. “It’s real money. It’s hard-earned money. It is born out of enormous hard work. That’s the kind of money you don’t lose so fast.”

No wonder why the business icon and reality star is now worth $80 million!