The 10 Traits That Every Entrepreneur Can Take From Oprah

by Gurbaksh Chahal

There aren’t many people in the world who are instantly recognizable by their first names — Oprah is one of the few. She recently celebrated her 60th birthday, and in the course of her remarkable life journey, has scored success after success in varying endeavors.

I know this from my personal experience when she had me as a guest on her show on October 23, 2008. It was one of the most amazing and humbling moments of my life.

Writers have run out of superlatives to describe her attributes and her accomplishments. She rose to worldwide fame with her award-winning talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which became one of the highest rated programs in broadcast history.

Aspiring entrepreneurs can learn so much from Oprah.


She’s the real deal. When she invited me to appear on her show, I discovered that she was just as gracious and charming behind the scenes as she was on camera. She welcomed my family members, who were in the audience. Just imagine how special that was for them — hard-working Indian immigrants being respected by one of the biggest celebrities in the world.


Oprah has always stayed relevant. She might have hit the ripe age of 60, but she is a social media star who posts photographs and comments on her daily activities.


She is one of the most inspirational and motivational people of our time. Regarding her Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Obama called Oprah’s greatest strength her ability to see the best in ourselves.


Oprah’s passion is displayed in all of her accomplishments. As Lucy Kaylin, editor of O magazine said, “She is the least complacent person I know. She is a searcher and a seeker and is as excited about life as she was years ago.”

Not a quitter.

Believe it or not, Oprah endured her fair share of failure. She was once — in her early 20s – fired from her position as co-anchor of the evening news at a major Baltimore television station. And even though she went through humiliating experiences doing lesser jobs, she persevered until she found her true niche. She once said, “Go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.”

Follow Your Gut.

Another Oprah philosophy that I love and have embraced is: “Your gut is your inner compass. Whenever you have to consult with other people for an answer, you’re headed in the wrong direction.”

Take risks.

Oprah has always pushed the envelope. She’s not been afraid to take on big controversial issues, but ultimately, they catapulted her further up the ladder of success.

Love what you do.

If you feel like you’re a square peg in a round hole — you’re in trouble. Oprah says that you are much more likely to be successful if you would happily do your job and not be paid for it.

Take responsibility.

You have to be in charge of your own life. You can’t expect others to do it for you. You own your life. It’s your life to live and you must give a minimum of 100 percent.

Choose friends wisely.

Oprah is known for her tight circle of really close friends — many of whom were friends before she hit the big time. Her advice is to surround yourself only with people who will be supportive and uplifting. People who want your dreams to come true as badly as you do. Keep negative people at bay. They’re not your friends.

Her success is no accident. These attributes have shaped her, propelled her to the forefront of modern culture and made her one of the richest, most influential women in the world. These are attributes that any would-be entrepreneur should take to heart and seek to emulate.

Happy Birthday, Oprah, and thank you for having me (and my family) on your show.

For those that would like to see that interview, you can see it on YouTube here.