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10 Success lessons from Oprah Winfrey – “@Oprah” for entrepreneurs

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Oprah Winfrey is a self-made CEO worth about $3.1 billion. By most accounts, she’s the greatest black philanthropist in American history and one of the most influential woman in the world.

She is American talk show host, actress and producer. Best known for her award-winning talk show ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’, the highest-rated program of its kind in history. Oprah has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century.

Here are the 10 success lessons from Oprah Winfrey for entrepreneurs,

1. Go with your gut instinct

Oprah Winfrey has said that she always trusted her gut instinct with any of the major changes in her life, including her T.V show. It’s when you doubt your gut and being to start questioning it with others, that you often end up going against your gut and making the wrong choice.

In business it’s very important that you make the right decisions, and having a little faith in yourself and your gut might make the differences you need.

2. Respond to prejudice with excellence

In the early 1970’s, Oprah landed a job as the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. In 1976 Winfrey got an offer to anchor the six o’clock news in Baltimore. Ten years later, she was the host of The Oprah Winfrey Show – the number-one daytime talk show in America.

Oprah knew all along that she wasn’t what TV producers wanted in front of the camera. Knowing this, she could have given up. But Winfrey believed that she could overcome prejudice in her industry by being the best in her industry:

“Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism.”

3. If you haven’t fallen, you haven’t walked

Oprah, like mostly insanely successful people, doesn’t believe in failure.

What most people think of as failure, Winfrey considers to be a new perspective, a new lesson, another stepping stone to her destination. This is the advice she has for those afraid to fail: “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better.”

4. Learn how to turn negatives to positives

When Winfrey was co-anchoring the evening news in Baltimore, a botched hair treatment destroyed her hair and left her totally bald. Winfrey was devastated, knowing how important a good head of hair is for a news anchor.

But she was also able to look on the bright side. Years later, Oprah told Ms. magazine, “You learn a lot about yourself when you’re bald.”

5. Make your own luck

Every entrepreneur hopes to land a huge client or get a sudden spike in traffic, but if they’ve spent all their time hoping (and not preparing) then when that huge opportunity finally does come along, their business won’t be fully equipped to make the most of it.

Instead wishing for luck, think about what opportunity you would most like to receive in your life. Are you completely prepared to make the most of it?

6. Do not let others judge you

Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgments of others. The moment you stop paying attention to what people think of you, things start looking up. You will feel better about yourself, and you will strive to achieve more in your life without worrying about how others will judge you.

7. Say “Thank You” more

To celebrate two decades on national television, Winfrey thanked her hard-working staff by taking them and their families on vacation to Hawaii (1065 people in total). That’s a pretty big thank you.

Oprah’s such a fan of saying thanks, that she’s created an app called the “Thank You Game” which aspires to thank a half a billion people.

8. Choose your friends wisely

Peer pressure is a powerful thing. We take on the habits, attitudes, and tastes of the people we spend our time with. I’ve read several places that your income will be the average of your five closest friends.

But the more rich and successful you are, the more important it is for you to have true friends. Oprah knows this well: “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

9. Own everything you do

Winfrey chose to take ownership of her show when she founded Harpo Productions. Being CEO of Harpo empowered her to have control over every aspect of her show. It also opened the door for Winfrey to produce films, broadcast radio programs, and publish a magazine.

Oprah’s refused countless offers to endorse other company’s products. Everything that Oprah says, creates, or lends her name to, she owns. And she’s done it with virtually no outside investment: Winfrey owns 90% of stock in Harpo. Not satisfied with just her own show, as of 2011 Winfrey has her own network. Naturally, its name is ‘OWN’ (Oprah Winfrey Network).

10. Help yourself by helping others

Not only has Winfrey started her own charity (Oprah’s Angel Network), she’s also given more of her own money to philanthropic causes than any other performer in America (estimated at $303 million in 2007).

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