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Barbara Corcoran on Finding the Balance Between Work and Life

Photo: Courtesy of Leslie Rodriguez

Barbara Corcoran had more than 20 jobs by the time she turned 23. It was her next job, though, that would turn her into one of the most successful businesswomen of all time.

“I liked every one of [my jobs] but I never liked my boss,” she says. “I realized that by starting my own company, I could be the boss and that changed everything.”

The next job

In 1973, Barbara leveraged a $1,000 loan to start a real estate firm, The Corcoran Group.

“When I first started out in the New York City real estate brokerage business, there were a lot of women working as sales people, but not one firm was owned and led by a woman,” she recalls. “I built an amazing sales management team comprised entirely of capable women.”

More than a third of all small business owners in the United States are women, but women run only 26 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list — that’s barely more than 5 percent. Barbara is using her role as an investor on ABC’s hit series Shark Tank to improve these statistics.

“There’s no better role to aspire to then to own your own business, especially if you’re planning to start a family one day,” she urges. “You make your own hours, you decide how much money you make, and you control your destiny.”

Work vs. life

At best, a work-life balance is difficult to define. According to Corcoran, it’s simply a myth.

“I gave up a work-life balance the week after I had my first child at 46,” she laughs. “The best I’ve been able to manage is to divide my world into time for work, time for my kids and time for play.”

What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur in 2017? For Barbara, it’s simple.

“The minute I realize I’ve invested in an entrepreneur that takes rejection personally or casts blame on the next guy, I know I’ll be losing money,” she says. “It’s having a clear picture of what you’re after, overcoming the obstacles and not coming home ‘til you get it.”

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