Oprah has some advice for budding entrepreneurs, used to do her staff lunch run

I’m not the biggest Oprah fan, but I have to admit that she is a hugely successful woman. While the New York Times recently claimed Oprah was losing ratings and not selling many copies of her O Magazine, I don’t think her empire is close to collapsing yet. Sales might be down, but her show and magazine are syndicated all over the world.

Oprah is giving out some advice in one of her infrequent interviews for people looking at building their own empire – follow your gut, and be polite.

She claims none of her business ventures have come out of forethought: “I haven’t planned one thing — ever. I have just been led by a strong instinct, and I have made choices based on what was right for me at the time.” She also doesn’t judge a business venture by its profitability. “I don’t care about money,” said the woman who’s worth $2.5 billion. “It throws people off all the time in business meetings. They start shuffling papers.”

She also believes in treating her staff well. At Harpo Inc. in Chicago, employees are treated to Google-esque office amenities. “There is a cafe on premises as well as Club Harpo, a workout facility, and the Spa at Harpo.” And according to Winfrey, “I don’t yell at people, I don’t mistreat people. I don’t talk down to people, so no one else in this building, in this vicinity, has the right to do it.”


Oprah added that she has only ever missed three meetings in her life – she doesn’t like to disappoint.

Oprah isn’t kidding when she says it is good to work for her – last year she took her staff on a trip to Hawaii to thank them for their help. All of them. Of course, she occasionally ropes one of her staff to join her on a diet or exercise regime, which would not be fun, particularly since your failure would be up for scrutiny on international television. At least when I gain 5 pounds I do it in the privacy of my own home.

Oprah adds that at one point she made lunch runs for her staff because they were so busy – which is when she decided to turn the business into a large scale empire rather than keep it a small ‘family’ production.

Black Enterprise named Harpo Inc the 2008 BE100s Company of the Year. In 2009 Oprah will launch her own television network, OWN or Oprah Winfrey Network, in the United States.

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8 Responses to “Oprah has some advice for budding entrepreneurs, used to do her staff lunch run”

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  1. Mairead says:

    Just on a teeeny point of information Helen – there’s no need for you to admit that she has a successful empire, because that’s fairly easy to see from multiple sources, including the Forbes rich list.:wink:

    Possibly that you’re admitting (like me) that whilst you’re not an avid fan, you admire her ability to build up and maintain her empire. Which is no mean feat, so like you I’ll give her kudos for that.

    She seems to me to be an “Alexander” boss – she’ll drive her workers hard, but by giving them nice rewards and good perks, it’s making them feel it’s worth it.

    The women’s health and lifestyle magazine market feels very saturated at the moment and could be seen as an expendible luxury in a recession.:|

  2. Larissa says:

    OWN? thats a lil over the top
    is she trying to OWN the world or what?
    I think its time for her to retire, or at least stop to extend her “Empire”.How self-absorved can a person be?
    I seriously had enough of Oprah and her legacy!

  3. Alexis says:

    Oprah is the biggest most successful mess. She gets thousands of people to buy diet books and she is a compulsive eating, fatty. She gets thousands of people to buy books about spirituality, that are intended to free your spirit, and then she supports cruise and his cult. I mean c’mon! She promotes a new earth, a book all about seperating your true self from your ego, yet, she publishes a magazine and puts herself on the cover every month!!!!!!!
    She must have one righteous deal with the devil.

  4. geronimo says:

    Lol, alexis, well said, thanks for that! It really is true.

    And while I admire her rise to the top, I do think she is extraordinarily egotistical. And, even funnier, I think she thinks others can’t see this. That’s what happens when you move away from the ‘little people’. Reality packs its bags. The other odd thing about her is how insecure she comes across as – fad dieting, hocus pocus theorising, very questionable ass-kissing…very odd.

  5. kate says:

    see? oprah’s just like us. except with a skillion dollars.

  6. geronimo says:

    Haha, just like us! So much for money making you happy and content.

    Maybe we should write to her and tell her it’s the skillion dollars she needs to lose (I’d be willing to have some if it would help?) and all her insecurities and worries and fat would just float away. :lol:

  7. Lauren says:

    What a bunch of haters.

    Oprah is the most caring people in the world her generosity feeds millions of children, women and men in the world every year and so much more and all you can say is loose weight. HATERS HATERS HATERS…..

  8. Melissa says:

    I actually feel sorry for her. For all of her money, she seems so lost spiritually. She is misleading so many people with her New Age religious philosophies and promotion of Tolle Eckhardt’s New Earth. At the end of the day, I would not want to be in her shoes, even if they are Jimmy Choo’s.