The entrepreneurial life is not an easy one. But Barbara Corcoran is the first to say the sacrifice is worth the benefit. Before she was a successful business woman, an investor on ABC's Shark Tank and mother of two, Corcoran had held 20 different jobs and started The Corcoran Group with just $1,000. it seems she's done it all. That's why we asked Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It and the What the Most Successful People Do series to interview Corcoran and discover the secret to her success.

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00:00:03wisdom says that working women especially the high powered ones can't have it all today we're talking with a woman who's got a different story to tell hi successful I'm Laura Vander camp and I'm the author how successful women make the most of their time and what the most
00:00:22for breath I'm excited to have with me real estate and business mogul Barbara corporate Barbara founded and built the million dollar empire the court and she is one of the shop on ABC's hit TV shows Barbara thanks for taking the time to chat with me pleasure to be
00:00:38here Laura so far but let's start with something I know a lot of our listeners are curious about what set you down the entrepreneurial path pretty simply I want to be my own boss and had twenty two jobs before I started my own business and I liked everyone
00:00:52of them and probably could have made a happy career out of any of them but I never liked my boss and it's not that I had twenty two bad bosses it's just I don't like being bossed around to what to do what hours I should work and so
00:01:04I always looked at my bosses with a smile but in my heart I had resentment I think I also got a chip off the old block of my dad who was a printing press form in his entire life and was fired from his job up probably every year
00:01:19year and a half for insubordination so use a walking talking example of a guy who didn't want to have a boss he would generally just tell the bosses son where to shove it he would say he come home and we'll sit around we couldn't wait to hear his
00:01:33story about how he got fired he was like he was like a big cowboy hero when he walked into the house at four o'clock and six o'clock when he was too long and so %HESITATION I think the reason why it nine out of ten of his children are
00:01:47all in business for themselves as I think we watched him %HESITATION try to feed us and called us his whole life and a with great struggle and he really was a guy who should have been in business with himself he had an authority issue and he was very
00:02:02capable man but he didn't have the option to do that with the the family that he had and so I think we made up for that what do you think about that probably need a good shrink to confirm all this stuff exactly well it does sound like you
00:02:14got it from him at but knowing what you know now you and all your siblings who have sat down this entrepreneurial path that would you have done anything differently when you first started out I probably would have started out earlier I started my business when I was twenty
00:02:27three because I quit my job as a waitress because that boy for walked in and said give me great real estate sales and you away when I tried everything else but I would think Nord my mother's advice two years earlier when I wanted to start my own business
00:02:40because she gave me the very good a sage advice I guess where she said %HESITATION I'm paraphrasing her now but something the effect you know you better build your resume or something like that hold a job for a while you really need a good resume if you're gonna
00:02:55get yourself ahead but she was wrong she said you know what you quit every job you ever had from the time you were twelve probably belong in business for yourself but she was giving me logical advice I think I would have just jumped out of that situation maybe
00:03:10two years earlier that's my only regret I love that not even a regret I'm just saying that because he asked me I'm not regretful but I had to come up with something exactly well not everyone wants to build a good solid looking resume that shows are stable at
00:03:23a job for ever as soon as we started today business and personal sides of thing even if the past that you see your business and your investments is kind of an extension of your family and I know many people think of the two sides of their lives is
00:03:36totally separate you know the whole idea of work life balance is that the two are on opposite sides of the scale and when one goes up the others got to go down so so what's your perspective on that well I don't believe at all and work life balance
00:03:48because I pursued it when I started my own family and I was at already forty six when I had my first baby and so I had lived a very Footloose and fancy free life just focusing on my real baby for all those years which was the Corcoran group
00:04:02%HESITATION but I tried this work life balance thing of for a couple of years because I had heard about it it didn't work for me so what I did instead is I decided that my kids just had to be wrapped into my business I had a thousand kids
00:04:17at work that I felt the mother to and I suddenly had one son and then of course I had my daughter later but I find that kids can learn a heck of a lot of by watching their mom or dad lead other people or do their job so
00:04:32I just decided I wasn't doing anything at work that I wasn't proud of and I bring my kids in a not so long when we had a big February parties or a picnics in the summer times for everybody which we had a blast at I always tried in
00:04:46every way I could have at my home to bring my kids in and even now I do a lot of public speaking around the country and my daughter and Kate is ten and she has no problem at all getting up on the stage and handing out business cards
00:05:00I think that's a great asset for her she's great coffin into the crowd and so I just try to blend the two I also found that once I had children the report I got back from my many employees was that they said that having kids really softened me
00:05:15no I don't think I was a hard **** to begin with but they claim that it made them relate to me more than I was a different person so I think you get some benefit there but so this work life balance which is such a cool phrases in
00:05:27it %HESITATION is like go chasing the holy grail I've just never been able to do it the only piece that I do honestly make a huge effort to divide is my cell phone so when I go into my home at night here in the city and I work
00:05:40right below my home I have a lovely space on the street below where I live I'm I'd leave my cell phone in the elevator landing a plug in right there because I really don't want to take my eyes off my family life once I walk through that door
00:05:55at six o'clock and I don't look at it again to a walk out at eight once my kids once Kate will Tommy's already graduated from college but once my younger child is off to school I look at myself on because I find it's like a rabbit hole for
00:06:08me I'm very driven and very neat I like to leave things in order and it used to be that I could not not answer emails and text before I went to sleep at night I don't do that anymore I realize I work my buns off until six o'clock
00:06:22and it clicks off and I don't see again to the next morning and that saves my family life so I guess could be work life balance or at least declaring war on your cell phone right well I'm sure our listeners are going to be excited to learn that
00:06:34tip from you just turn the cellphone off so I'm guessing that it sounds from what you're talking about that you do work probably more than forty hours a week and yet you sounds like you are making a lot of time for family we talked about earlier and and
00:06:48friends and community and one of the things that I've noticed in my writing is that a lot of women are worried about looking at careers that seem to require long hours because they think they won't have time for the rest of the life so what would you say
00:07:03to someone who is weighing that decision I think it's a valid concern enormous concern if you're planning on having children I can tell you that if I had had my children earlier I would have clearly not been able to build my business absolutely not I would have had
00:07:20a successful business but would have been small I need the hyper focus the eighty hour weeks the total dedication to pull that out and so ifor strolled having a baby and if not for the miracle of science in in vitro and seven attempts at having a baby I
00:07:37would have never been a mother boil boy when I think about having missed that chapter of my life for her near I came to missing it I would have known form for my own personal desire has said that would have been you know to miss out on that
00:07:51phenomenal show of being a parent but I think you have to really weigh that but I think it can also with some women be used as an excuse not to get started I also have friends who plan on having a family a went into business and kind of
00:08:05left room for it their whole life and never had a family never want to do it on their own and have met the right person to have a family with and so I think you have to like charge at life as though you're never going to run out
00:08:18of time and you put all the energy and focus on what you're about to do and then worry about that bridge when you come to it but I think planning way in advance I mean I know that sounds good and stuff but let me tell you something life
00:08:30doesn't work out that way I think you just have to go totally for what you're going for in the moment you go for it well how wonderful that you have been able to experience both in your life now how lucky come line I almost missed the show how
00:08:42lucky how wonderful so as many of our listeners know you are a shark on the show shark tank I pretend to be a and you've invested in the more than thirty companies they told me from the show so how do you judge which ones you want to invest
00:08:58in what are your favorite kinds of companies to invest and you know I don't have a favorite kind at all I have a more food businesses than anything else of those one leading category but that's not by design it just happens that way usually I'm just sitting on
00:09:14the set ten hours a day trying to figure out what I don't like about the entrepreneur now that might sound like a negative thing but I'm sitting there squinting my eyes and then trying to break that habit more recently because it doesn't look good on camera but I'm
00:09:29sizing up the entrepreneur to try to figure out how smart they are smart I don't mean IQ wise I'm talking about smart on their feet street smart savvy you know good on the feet fast thinking of because those are the kind of smarts the bill businesses not the
00:09:45Harvard MBA kind of intellectual observation kind of smart I'm not knocking that I'm just saying these are the traits I'm looking for I'm looking up always for some with enormous energy because I've never met anyone who's built a business that didn't have a hundred fifty percent energy and
00:10:01some people are born with more energy than others and if I see that the words are right you know and the plan is right but the guy or the gals delivering it was just average energy they're not going to succeed in my book I hope I'm wrong for
00:10:13their sake but I'm already out I'm just trying this Fisher but a plausible reason why I'm calling out read verses saying you know I don't like your energy which would look ridiculous okay but that's the real reason going out I'm watching their eye contact I'm watching Bob and
00:10:27weave when they do have the answer don't have the answer I'm really virtually not paying any attention to the business plan I'm hyper focused on the individual it's all about the person it really is because and I'll tell you why I have been attracting seven years already and
00:10:41hopefully will go on forever but in those seven years every single person who succeeded had a Norma synergy of and and %HESITATION those who hadn't didn't have it they had the same traits which is a street smarts common sense high energy and they also had the ability to
00:11:02come back at a failure which everybody knows is true of anyone wants to succeed anything in life but I'm watching how these entrepreneurs are taking the hit bouncing back up how fast the bouncing back up because all of my successful companies had those three traits and all the
00:11:16other ones didn't once it failed okay and so I really learned to just look for the same and all because it repeats itself again and again and if you are in any doubt as to whether you're a natural born or capable large bluish glow my website I'm not
00:11:31trying to promote it but I did this to save people aggravation I have created a phenomenal IQ test entrepreneur IQ tests ten multiple choice questions and it is accurate of tests again sharks people succeed in business people pretend they succeed I know personally they failed I've had them
00:11:49fill it out and I and hammered out a sure fire way to let you know you're not an entrepreneur by the way save yourself the time and keep a day job well that's good to know that so what is the smartest question that any of these entrepreneurs who
00:12:03are telling about their their businesses and introducing themselves to you on chart take what are some of the smartest questions they've asked you I'll tell you there are really two that I'm that I'm paranoid on at this point because there red flags or green flags as to whether
00:12:20the person is going to be successful if they gonna hit that finish line or whether they're not as you might not even hear the difference in the questions but I listen hard for it okay by the great majority of like two thirds of the people I've invested in
00:12:34who have failed okay just they tried they just didn't make it okay they might still think many of them are still in business and they think their business but I know they're never going to succeed in a P. I've lived with the many years again but %HESITATION when
00:12:48someone says to me what should I do what should I do here's a situation what should I do it's the kiss of death because what that question implies or implies explicitly says to my ear is there asking me what they should do with their business I'm an investor
00:13:09and I'm there to help them like the grandparents that supports them in any way I can but they ask me what should I do none Anna the words I love to here's what would you do barb if you had this the difference here is what would you do
00:13:23is someone taking responsibility for their business they know they're in charge they know they're going to win or fail die on their own sore but they just asking me for my life Sir what would you do in this situation could you give me some advice versus what should
00:13:36I do Barbara oh my god it's such a cool gun I've got myself a child children don't build businesses grownups do that is it good insight to I'm glad we got that they're so don't come to Barbara and say what should I do if you want to be
00:13:51saying what what do you do that's all right a lot of people do but a lot of people do but you can see the responsibility a lack of responsibility in that question right in those questions it does it focuses more on what other people think as opposed to
00:14:05them knowing they are in charge so just yet just yeah exactly so we're just going to end up with some rapid fire questions that success always does that these interviews %HESITATION so quick whatever first comes to mind %HESITATION if you could be one of the Disney princesses I
00:14:21have a four year old daughter and we are big into Disney princesses right now in my house which would you choose I would choose Prince Charming I certainly wouldn't want to be a princess because they never in charge the princesses are never in charge know I'd much rather
00:14:34be Prince Charming and be in charge I'd rather find somebody fit my slipper than wait around and hope that my full goes in somebody else's you know nine and then and now not Prince Charming for sure Prince Charming all the way so what is one of the best
00:14:48gift you've ever received I'm sure I've gotten many wonderful guests but the only because this is recently it just popped in my head of my one of my two closest friends ET Salton came to thanksgiving I had thirty two people more than I wanted just the same people
00:15:03I was in my olds said yes we're usually have say yes and anyway she volunteered to bring a giant Turkey and stuffing everybody brought peace the meal I set the table I had the easiest job I said a beautiful table very creatively anyway ET shows up not only
00:15:19with the Turkey in the stuffing but she had two women with her with work aprons on she brought the hell while I always Sir one little more wine which like some cranberry gets more gravy let me help you there but for the first time in my entire life
00:15:35on thanksgiving I actually sat down and enjoyed my company and that's the best gift I thought my god I don't think I'll ever see a gift better than this that is a great gift but that's still recently thoughts in my head I'm sure maybe have had others but
00:15:47that my mind right now is the best gift I ever got and finally Barbara how do you define success you know I don't really know I do know how I feel success alone if I wake up in the morning everywhere in my life war let's say I woke
00:16:02up this morning I should been tired from design in my closet last night and I was but I woke up and I was like filled with enthusiasm as to what the day held and I had looked at my books I really don't know what it held until I
00:16:15got to work but I was filled with enthusiasm and excitement about facing the day and I think that's your most honest emotional report card in business or what you do for a living if you waking up like when I was working for the people all those jobs I
00:16:29had I mean I brought great enthusiasm and did the best I could every job but I always had this feeling in my stomach of god I gotta go to work apply what was I I was like sixteen and I had this feeling already it wasn't really about that
00:16:43it was really about I didn't want to really work and have somebody tell me what to do to me awhile to realize that right but now it's that feeling of waking up in the morning we can't wait to get to work and the stock that you don't have
00:16:55your bad days where you like have cash flow problems your your key top star sales person just when to competitive firm and that's the biggest F. in a report card in the entrepreneur could have when they lose that keep people aware your we like you just on my
00:17:10god oh my god how much can get through it so you have your exceptional mornings we feel that way when everything has gone awry but for the most part I would say ninety nine percent of the time it's a much more is happy with the doing like I
00:17:24am and always have been you wake up really excited that you want to go to work and that's the most honest report card of all to listen to I believe will hopefully our listeners if they're listening to this in their car on the way to work they can't
00:17:37wait to get to work either that would be a great thing barber thanks so much for taking the time to talk and my wow Barbara is a Spitfire full of great ideas to help us be more accessible in both business and I know the first thing I'm going
00:17:55to do today after hearing this interview I'm going to schedule for myself a little cell phone three Barbara has declared war on her phone out of reach immediately at the end of her work day and not touching it again until the start of work the next day she
00:18:11uses the free time to focus on her family I think I will use to focus on my friends I can't remember the last time I sat down to a good meal even just a casual conversation with a friend when neither of us pulled out our when will your
00:18:26cell phone free time and what will you use it now for all those entrepreneurs listening Barbara has some great advice to share starting with what she looks for in on your who appears on shark tank her list included street smarts enormous energy and the ability to take a
00:18:43hit and bounce back do you think you possess those qualities there's an easy way to find out jump over to Corcoran dot com and take her entrepreneurial IQ test and be sure to share with us how you do by posting to our social channels for emailing us past
00:18:59you at access dot com that's why I owe you at success dot com we want to know if you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur alright one final costed barber shared custody with asking the right questions we hear its success preach the power of a
00:19:15good mentor and asking for help when you need it but are you asking for help in the right way barber said that when entrepreneurs ask her advice they too often say what should I do when really they need to be asking what would you do Farber asking for
00:19:30someone to tell you exactly what you should do demonstrates a weakness that probably isn't true to character comes across that way none the less and it's wrong to ask someone what they think you should do only you'll know that but you can learn from their perspective held today
00:19:48might handle the situation and let that inform your so next time you seek out advice remember to ask for the right way so that you get the help you need success magazine audio copyright success media all rights reserved

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