There is little doubt that the prospect of spending real money on a startup enterprise would give any investor pause. That’s no less true for the seasoned panelists on Shark Tank. As Barbara Corcoran told The Cut last month, she values the money she’s earned and won’t give it away on a tenuous or frivolous endeavor.
“When you say to an entrepreneur, ‘I’ll give you $200,000,’ it’s not just a line. Two-hundred thousand dollars would put a kid through Ivy League school for four years.
“Would I rather put a kid through an Ivy League school, which is a kind of charity I do for myself, or would I rather give it to this entrepreneur?
“Are they worthy? So, I think long and hard about that.”
Knowing that Corcoran values money should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows her personal story. She grew up one of 10 children who lived with their parents in a 2-bedroom apartment in Edgewater, New Jersey.
But any indication of disadvantage wasn’t felt by Corcoran at the time. She speaks highly of her parents, who “loved us to death,” as she told Forbes.
Corcoran looks for something special when she evaluates pitches on Shark Tank, a show she’d been part of since Season 1.
Discovering that Corcoran thinks you “worthy” of investment may be a badge of pride for many Shark Tank entrepreneurs who walked away with the real estate mogul as a partner. Back in 2016, Inc. offered a round up of some of the best advice she’d given in private to her entrepreneurs.
They ranged from advising the hands-on owner of Grace & Lace to hire people smarter than herself to offering a reassuring pep talk to a Pipcorn co-founder before she was about to make a speech.
One of the lesser-known facts about Corcoran is her personal motivation to sell her multi-million dollar enterprise, The Corcoran Group, in 2001. She had built the business from the ground up, famously on the basis of a modest loan she received from a love interest.
She told The Cut that becoming a mother at age 46 made her realize she could not give equal attention to both her business and her growing family. In retrospect, she said her business would not have growth in the manner it had if she had chosen to have children at a younger age.
“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.”
Now, Corcoran has two children, aged 24 and 11. She has traded her role as real estate mogul for television investor, balancing both a media persona as well as business activities conducted off-screen. She revealed to The Cut that she never feels like she’s doing enough for her young daughter.
Part of Corcoran’s morning routine is to get her young daughter off to school, before spending a few moments with a cup of coffee on a rope swing she has in her kitchen.
When Shark Tank films, she gets picked up at 5:30 a.m., an hour earlier than the male members of the panel. She joked she’s expressed some exasperation at the different schedules to the show bosses.
“Come on, my hair is easier than Robert Herjavec’s! Robert’s so fussy with his hair. I can get up at 6:30!”
Corcoran’s go-to music to get in the mood for the 12 to 14 Shark Tank pitches she’ll hear in a day? Nicki Minaj. Filming starts promptly at 9:00 a.m.
Shark Tank will return in the fall.