Money

If Barbara Corcoran lost her millions and had to start over, here's what she would do

"Shark Tank" star Barbara Corcoran made $66 million in one year when she sold her real estate empire for an astounding $66 million in 2001.

But the real estate queen never planned on getting rich, she tells journalist Farnoosh Torabi for CNBC Make It: "It just kind of happened, as a result of good work I think."

Today, the self-made millionaire is still "worried about all of a sudden losing everything," she says. If that ever happened though, Corcoran knows exactly what she would do: Get another job as a waitress.

Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and "Shark Tank" investor
Todd Wawrychuk | Getty Images
Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and "Shark Tank" investor

After all, it's the one job, out of the 22 she worked before age 23, that most prepared her to build a successful company.

"You learn more in waitressing than you can in any other job, and I had every kind of menial job you can imagine," Corcoran tells Torabi. "What's great about being a waitress is you have your own territory. It's your responsibility. It's your table. It's your counter. The sugar's got to be filled. The ketchup's got to be topped off."

Being a server is "the best way to learn about sales," she says. "It's your charm, it's the ability to have a conversation and get the coffee right away so they don't have to ask for it. It's knowing what they ordered last time." That kind of attention to detail "wins people over."

If she had to start from the bottom again, it wouldn't affect her happiness, she adds: "I was happy before I made any money and I guess I'll be happy again."

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Video by Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank," which airs weeknights starting at 7 p.m. ET.