Oprah: From Broke to Billionaire

She’s rich, she’s famous and she’s one of the most successful women in America. She’s Oprah Winfrey, and as of March 2018, her net worth is estimated to be about $2.7 billion dollars, according to Forbes.

Her empire is comprised of The Oprah Winfrey Show (the final episode aired in 2011), as well as a magazine, a cable network, and a hefty investment in Weight Watchers. However, Winfrey wasn’t always the rich and powerful woman that she is today. In fact, she had a humble upbringing and her life wasn’t always smooth sailing.

So what’s her secret to success? Read on to learn more.

Humble Beginnings

Winfrey was born on a farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954. She was initially raised by her grandmother, who taught her how to read at the age of two. A bright and gifted child, Winfrey loved to talk, and started public speaking a young age. She would give speeches at school and even her local church.

When Winfrey moved in with her mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, her life took a difficult turn, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Despite her circumstances, which included sexual abuse, she made the best of things and continued to excel in school. Eventually, she went to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. Her father was strict, but his discipline paid off. When Winfrey graduated high school, she received a full scholarship to attend Tennessee State University.

Getting Her Start

Winfrey was popular during college, and this helped her win Miss Black Tennessee during her freshman year. At 19 years old, Winfrey accepted a position as co-anchor of the WTVF-TV evening news. She was the first African American female to achieve this.

After graduation, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she spent seven years reporting the local news. From there, she went to work for A.M. Chicago, where she took the initiative to focus on controversial topics like politics, racism, and even child molestation. When Winfrey joined the news show, A.M. Chicago was last in the ratings, but within a few months, ratings soared and the program was renamed The Oprah Winfrey show. It went on to become the highest rated talk show in history.

Winfrey soon added acting to her resume when she debuted in The Color Purple in 1985. The movie was a huge hit and Winfrey was in high demand as both a television host and actress.

Making Strides

In 1986, Winfrey founded Harpo Productions, a production company that has produced television shows like the Dr. Phil Show and The Dr. Oz Show, as well as many movies, including the 2014 critically-acclaimed Selma. Starting with just five employees, Harpo now has more than 12,000 employees. Most importantly, at only 32 years old, Winfrey was the first black women to control a major entertainment studio.

During that same year, Winfrey became the first African American television host to be nationally syndicated. Her income jumped exponentially. Between 1987 and 1988, Winfrey earned $30 million. By 1995, her net worth was estimated to be about $340 million.

Winfrey continued to host her talk show until 2011. At the same time, she began investing in other companies as well. She also formed a charity, Oprah’s Angel Network, and became the CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network (or OWN).

Learn Key Money Moves From Oprah

Winfrey has proven time and time again that you don’t have to be born into money to make money. Not only is she a billionaire, but her money continues to grow. So how does Winfrey achieve financial success? Here are our thoughts on this:

1. She has multiple streams of income

Winfrey not only has her own TV network, but she has multiple other income streams as highlighted above. This allows her to make money in different ways – without putting all her eggs into one basket. And, regardless of how hectic things get, Winfrey doesn’t let being busy run her life. She also seems to have an excellent grasp at time management, which helps her earn more money.

2. She works hard

Winfrey has worked hard ever since she was a young child. She has faced hurdles along the way, including being fired from her first “real” job. But, she handles it all with grace and often creates a business opportunity from a disappointment.

3. She gives freely

Winfrey has often expressed that she likes to show gratitude by giving back, and giving back she does! In fact, her non-profit Oprah’s Angel Network is now worth over $200 million dollars. But that’s not all. Oprah also works with many other charities, including Free The Children, Peace Over Violence, and Women For Women International.

4.She doesn’t let anything hold her back

Winfrey’s first job was working at the grocery store next to her father’s barber shop, a far cry from the work she does now. However, this did not hold her back from pushing forward with her dreams.

She has dabbled in multiple areas of business and entrepreneurship, and this has helped her earn millions during her 30+ year career. She has also made wise investments to grow her money beyond what most people will make in a lifetime.

We can all learn a thing or two from Winfrey. At the very least, her financial prowess can help you realize that with hard work, determination and smart money moves, you too can achieve success.

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