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Can Early Episodes of the TV Show Scandal Provide the Entrepreneur Valuable Business Lessons and Tips?

Updated on March 31, 2018
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The former executive director of a successful nonprofit agency now content specialist, Cynthia writes about a variety of researched topics.

The widely popuplar TV show Scandal can provide lessons for the entrepreneur.
The widely popuplar TV show Scandal can provide lessons for the entrepreneur. | Source

Look Deeper than the Plot and Discover Valuable Business Lessons and Tips

Entrepreneurs, look deeper into the plot folds, character flaws, and the twists and turns of the popular American TV show Scandal. You may be surprised to discover there are business tips and lessons that an entrepreneur can take away from early episodes of the show and the business savvy of show's heroine, Gladiator (as they liked to call themselves) Olivia Pope.

Olivia Pope is the main character who owns a business that is central to the believability of the show. Ms. Pope is a lawyer turned "fixer." Not a vocation you will learn about in law school or in business school, but given the state of politics, one that is in demand. And she is extremely good at running her business.

Much of what Olivia Pope does with her small, but very, very powerful enterprise - from the way she conducts herself in her business life to the way she handles a crisis - other entrepreneurs could and should mimic. The premises are definitely duplicatable.

Tips and Lessons from Scandal for the Entrepreneur

Here are a few of the tips and lessons for entrepreneurs found in the early episodes of Scandal:

  • Be true to yourself. Olivia Pope proved countless times that you must be true to what you believe and to who you are. She learned this from her successes and is brought back to it by her failures.
  • Believe in your power to make a difference in anything you attempt, large or small. Olivia Pope is no shrinking violet and she believes that what she does will make an impact, no matter the size of the project.
  • Build a power team because you realize you can't do it all. Olivia Pope has her Gladiators.
  • Develop a sense of style and stick with it. Integrate it into your brand. I'm not saying that you need to become a male or female fashion icon, but I am saying that you should respect your business enough to always pay attention to your appearance and the image you project.
  • Go first class (or as close to first class as you can reasonably get until you are at first class status). Go with the best you can afford and you will attract the best. Be meager and skimpy and you will attract meager and skimpy. Upgrade continuously.
  • Only take on clients you think you can totally get behind, regardless of the type of business you have. Your clients deserve that, because only then will you provide your best service.
  • Look out for the little guy. Give a helping hand where help is needed and you are the only answer. They don't even have to know you helped. Just be there for someone else. You never know when you'll need someone there for you.
  • Keep the end result in focus. Always!
  • Realize you won't always get peaches and cream. There will be sour grapes to deal with, but the champagne will eventually flow.
  • Always proceed with integrity. When you don't, your focus becomes cloudy and confused. That's when life gets scandalous. We see that happen to Olivia Pope and her team. That's what makes it soapy. You don't want soapiness or drama for yourself or your business.
  • Know exactly what you want from life, because that is ultimately the basis of the way you create the strategy for your business.
  • Don't apologize for what you want. As long as it is legal and you are providing a valuable service or product, remember it's your life.

Scandal's Olivia Pope has her office space, you should create your own office that reflects comfort and provides function.
Scandal's Olivia Pope has her office space, you should create your own office that reflects comfort and provides function. | Source
  • Have a well thought out space for working whether your office location is home or elsewhere. Look at Olivia Pope's space, it says business, but it definitely says comfort, functionality and lots of style. Make yours just as comfortable and functional. Add the touches that are unique to you and your style without breaking the budget. If you are a feng shui enthusiast, consider the benefits of feng shui for your working space. For most organization is a plus and having the tools to work with is a must.
  • Be willing to work occasionally with a client who can't afford your full service. Who knows? The client may have have incredible referrals they are willing to provide to you. More importantly, it feels good to help someone else. The caveat here is to be selective. It is your choice. Choose a time that makes sense for your business and they should pay something.
  • Don't give your services or product away. Know and believe in your worth and don't be afraid to let your potential customer know your worth. Charge accordingly and most of all, don't apologize for your fees. In Scandal, you never see Olivia Pope so much as blink when she sets her fees. Take a lesson.
  • Take the time to regenerate and refuel before your mind and body does it for you and shuts down at a time that is most inconvenient. I don't see Olivia Pope refueling (that would probably be boring for the viewer). As a consequence, she has little mini-meltdowns. One day she may not recover from the mini-meltdown.
  • Remember that none of us is perfect, not even the heroine of that fast-paced TV show called Scandal. You will make mistakes in your business. What's important is how you react and what you do to correct your mistake that could make or break your ability to be a success. Don't beat yourself up. View mistakes as opportunities in disguise; learn from those mistakes.


Scandal, created by writer and producer Shonda Rhimes, was not created to provide tips or lessons to the entrepreneur, although they are there. Rather, Shonda Rhimes created Scandal as entertainment. It is a dynamic television show with layers of plot and intricate character development that just keep unfolding with every episode.

Granted, this is quite a list, but it shows that a television drama like Scandal really can teach valuable lessons that you can apply to being a successful entrepreneur. You can learn from both the positives and the negatives of the show and the characters. One thing that comes through is that Olivia Pope throws herself into her business and doesn't let up; she is committed over and above to her business and her brand. Commit to your business, your entrepreneurial endeavor, and chances are you will be as successful as the fictitious Olivia Pope and the real life character she is based on.

Lessons on success in business can come from surprising places. You may not think of business lessons when you think of the show, Scandal. You are probably not looking for any tips, but those lessons and tips are there and they can be helpful in guiding you to success with your business. Use the business tips and lessons from the early episodes of the show, Scandal and its heroine, Olivia Pope, to your advantage and success may be a part of your plot.


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© 2013 Cynthia B Turner


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