Barbara Corcoran's Reinvention Tips

by Jancee Dunn
Photograph: Photo: Gillian Laub

She parlayed $1000 into a $66 million real estate empire, then went on to a second act as a TV entertainer and commentator. Here—some advice from the trenches:

You Can’t Do It Part Time “If I was going to succeed, I knew I had to work 40 to 60 hours a week with that fire in the belly.”

Zero In on the Young “On my TV shows, I schmooze the line producers, because in 10 years they will be executive producers,” she says. “I always hit on the young people, because they represent what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Insecurity Can Be a Great Motivator Corcoran says her early years as a D student made her “try hard later on and over­prepare and push hard every inch of the way.”

Celebrate the Good Tries Rather Than the Wins Talk about your failures, Corcoran says. “Stretch and try things and feel free to not succeed. That’s how you build an innovative business.” Don’t “moan and groan and bitch—I’ve never tolerated that, because it’s contagious.”

Don’t Try to Reinvent Yourself All at Once “You have to reinvent yourself in stages,” she says. It’s more realistic and attainable.

Contacts from Your Former Job Are Useless “Once you leave your business, you’re old news.” Start from scratch and build new relationships.

Embrace Online Social Networks “Tweeting gives you a quick sense of belonging—an opportunity to build a community,” she says. “It’s not a substitute, but it’s nice.” She generally tweets once a day, usually about careers and business.

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