As someone who has made a career in small creative business I think it’s so important to look to the success stories of those who have come before, and see what advice and inspiration you can take from them to apply to your own journey as an entrepreneur. I’m sure you’re all familiar with Oprah’s story, but I for one never tire in hearing this remarkable tale of an independent female entrepreneur who never gave up until she succeeded.
Oprah’s a shining example of a woman who has managed to be successful in business without abandoning what makes her great as a woman, and someone who has now dedicated her life to sharing her knowledge with others. With many years already lived, the lessons she’s learnt, her wisdom gained, were born first hand out of her fascinating journey. She’s lived history by being a black woman in America, brought up in hard times in rural Mississippi and so how this woman turned out to become the formidable entrepreneur she is, is nothing short than a miracle. I love how she’s a true example of how you can’t connect the dots looking forward, only backwards. This woman knew that she amounted to ‘more’ than others wrote her off as being; and that meant she needed to fight hard and zig while others zagged, in order to reach her destiny.
There are countless stories you can take away from Oprah’s life, but certainly the story of when she gained the part of Sofia in the movie adaptation of The Colour Purple, is one of my favourites.
Oprah was an avid reader and so when she read the review of Alice Walker’s book, The Color Purple, she raced to the book shop, still in her pyjamas, and read it in a single day. The next day she went back and bought every copy they had in stock. Later, when she moved to Chicago, she would walk around with a backpack filled with copies of the book, starting conversations with people and giving them a copy. She heard a film was going to be made out of the book and knew she had to be in it, but she’d never worked in films and so started praying. As luck would have it, Quincy Jones came to Chicago whilst working on a little known album called Thriller, for someone called Michael Jackson. One day he turned on the TV in his hotel room, to see Oprah, who was working AM Chicago at the time. He immediately knew that she was Sofia, and called his casting agent to offer her an audition.
There is so much more to her story, and I would encourage you to YouTube ‘Oprah Winfrey and how she got a part in The Colour Purple’. It might just be one of those stories that changes your life.