Barbara Corcoran Fought For Her Job On ‘Shark Tank’ And Won

Barbara Corcoran of 'Shark Tank'

Barbara Corcoran is a staple on the Shark Tank panel. A tough-talking but warm-hearted entrepreneur — at least on screen — Corcoran famously built a real estate empire from an initial loan of $1,000. As she told Inc. in a new profile, she was the master of her own marketing. That turned her into a multi-million dollar entrepreneur. It also got her the job on Shark Tank.

Producers at first said no to Corcoran when they were casting the show, now in its sixth season on ABC. After a heavy vetting process, an assistant for executive producer Mark Burnett told her she did not make the final six. It was a conclusion that shocked Corcoran. She refused to accept it.

“I was pissed. I wrote an email to Burnett asking for an audition, and then I made his assistant promise that she would print out the email and make him read it. Entrepreneurs succeed by being pushy, right? I stood up for myself–and got rewarded.”

If Burnett was surprised at Corcoran’s persistence, he need not have been. Corcoran has often discussed how people who have been to the school of hard knocks frequently become successful. As she told Entrepreneur in a piece published last month, it’s an attribute she also looks for in those she invests.

“I would say almost two-thirds of all of my best entrepreneurs had some injury coming out of their earlier life that they’re getting over, and I love it. Because if they have something to prove, I feel like I’ve got an insurance policy on my investment in my back pocket.”

Corcoran sold her real estate business, The Corcoran Group, for $66 million in 2001. She then transformed herself into a business expert sought after by media. She and her husband, former FBI agent William Higgins, made news this week by purchasing a $10 million duplex penthouse in New York for $7 million cheaper than the $17 million asking price. A New York Observer article on the sale did imply the property was overpriced to begin with.

Shark Tank continues to draw audiences to ABC on Friday night, so much so that a limited spin-off series, Beyond the Tank, is set to debut on May 1. The show will follow entrepreneurs after the initial on-air deal to see how the hard work of running and growing a business plays out. Fellow shark Robert Herjavec recently revealed that the show will explore both the highs and lows of the entrepreneur experience.

Shark Tank airs Friday nights at 9 p.m. on ABC.

[Barbara Corcoran image courtesy of Getty]