From Humble Beginnings to Oprah’s All-Time Favorite Guest

by Louellen Coker on May 27, 2011

Last Friday, May 20, was an exciting day! If you’re an Oprah fan, you’ll know that Oprah recalled her favorite guests from over the 25 years of her show. Oprah announced during the show, that one of those guests, Tererai Trent, was her All-Time Favorite Guest, because, in Oprah’s own words, “She symbolizes everything I believe the Oprah Show stands for.”

Here at Content Solutions, we’re particularly excited by this show. Not only is Tererai an incredible and inspirational woman, we happen to have had the opportunity to get to know her and help her create a website that she will use to help bring her next dream to fruition.

Congratulations, Tererai! You truly are an inspiration!

Tererai Trent’s Dream

Oprah told her story in 2009 way better than I ever could, so I’m going to send you to the segment to learn more about Tererai! Go check it out and come right back! 🙂

Tererai Trent's story on Oprah
Tererai Trent’s Story on Oprah in 2009

During the May 20th show, Oprah and Tererai discussed the dreams Tererai wrote down and buried:

  • To get a high school diploma.
  • To get to the United States.
  • To get a college education, including a PhD.

All of which Tererai has done. During the May 20 show, Tererai shared that her next dream was to give back by helping to build a school in her home village in Zimbabwe so young children would have the opportunity to dream and achieve their goals. In the few minutes Tererai was on the show, Oprah provided a gift of $1.5 Million for Save the Children to make Tererai’s dream of rebuilding the Matau Primary School in Zimbabwe come true! Be sure to check out how Oprah revealed how she would help Tererai achieve one more dream.

Oprah surprises Tererai Trent

Tererai Trent on Oprah's All-Time Favorites show on May 20.


How We Met Tererai Trent

How we met Tererai is your classic, it’s a small world story, not to mention an example of the power of social media. Tererai met Lorin Beller Blake, the owner of Big Fish Nation after her 2009 appearance on Oprah. I originally met Lorin when she talked with the Women Business Owners of Denton County a few years back about the 7 principles of achieving wild success laid out in her book, From Entrepreneur to Big Fish.

As fate would have it, though we have both grown with Lorin (Lorin’s dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs be happy, healthy & wealthy) and been involved with Big Fish Nation simultaneously, we didn’t have an opportunity to meet until an innocuous-sounding Facebook post by Lorin Beller-Blake, showed up in my Facebook stream:

Facebook Conversation
Innocuous question asked to a group on Facebook.

Lorin and I talked, and once I learned of Tererai’s story and her dream of building a school, I was hooked. And that’s how we happened upon the opportunity of joining forces with a couple of other Big Fish (Jordan Todd, Graphic Artist and JoAnne Casey from CTCorporate Gifts) to get Tererai’s beautiful T-shirts and WordPress website ready for the Oprah show in record time. Tinogona—It IS Achievable!

Our Contribution

The task at hand for us here at Content Solutions was to create a “simple” WordPress website that would facilitate Tererai’s goal of selling T-shirts to raise money to rebuild a school in her village in Zimbabwe. Our marching orders were to create a three-page site that included:

  • Blog;
  • About page; and
  • An order page for a single T-shirt.

When the discussion included the possibility of Tererai returning to the Oprah show for a return visit, we knew there were a few more things to consider and that the site needed to be a bit more robust. We discussed things such as

  • educating users about the effort and building trust;
  • creating a site that provided an easy shopping experience;
  • creating a fast and lean site;
  • ensuring we had the bandwidth to support an indirect wave of traffic caused by a phenomenon called the Oprah effect (a massive wave of traffic a site receives during and immediately after an Oprah mention);
  • setting up the backend of the site to allow for easy fulfillment processes;
  • leveraging Tererai’s existing branding to create an attractive visual appearance;
  • creating a site that was findable without competing with Oprah’s link to Save the Children; and
  • creating a site that Tererai could grow with going forward.

That’s the short list of our goals. As you can imagine there were a few tasks that went along with those goals. The day the show aired, this is what people found when they visited

Tinogona website screenshot

Tinogona website on May 20, 2011.

Aside from Oprah’s donation of $1.5 million, we don’t know the full reach of the Oprah effect. Because of Tererai’s vision, perseverance, and inspiration, the rebuilding of the school is expected to improve the quality of education 4000 children in Tererai’s home village and neighboring communities will receive. Be sure to follow Tererai’s Tinogona blog to keep up with that evolution. We’re sure it’s going to be exciting.

How We Pulled Everything Together

Sometimes in life, dreams are achieved in a ways that are bigger and more powerful than you could ever anticipate. And we achieve them one step at a time. One effort, one task at a time. We are both honored and delighted to have the opportunity and to contribute our part in Tererai’s journey to achieve all the dreams she wrote down, tucked in a tin can, and buried under a rock.

Though our combined skills qualify us to be a part of big name corporate teams (check out some of the awards we’ve won and our portfolio), we excel at helping small to medium business owners achieve their dreams. This just happens to be one example. And while the site we created wasn’t hit directly by the Oprah Effect (Oprah sent her viewers to Save the Children to order shirts and donate.), the site did receive a respectable wave of traffic and the site did what it needed to do.

We couldn’t possibly explain everything we do when we help our clients achieve their wildest dreams in a single blog post. In upcoming posts, we’re going to share with you our journey of creating Tererai’s site. We’ll cover topics such as

  • Choosing Suitable Hosting to Survive the Oprah Effect
  • Making a WordPress Site Lean and Swift
  • Choosing the Best Plug-ins
  • Basic Site Elements Necessary for Search Engines to Find You
  • What the Oprah Effect Does to Your Site Traffic

So stay tuned. Subscribe to our RSS feed. Join our eNews list. We’ll share some of the things you need to consider to get your website ready when your wildest dreams come true. Tinogona—It IS Achievable!

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