What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Circus Performers


I went to the Universoul Circus in Washington Park in Chicago, and was in total awe at the ability of the performers.  The amount of work and commitment they put into their performances showed in their grace and execution. Can your clients say the same about you? Does your level of commitment and work ethic show in the service you provide?  To be sure, check out some of the things entrepreneurs can learn from circus performers.

  1. TeamworkTeamwork is the foundation of the entire circus – from the ringmaster to the performers to the pooper scoopers.  Everyone had to be on point and on cue.  As an entrepreneur, you cannot do everything alone.  You need help from other people with the same or different skill sets; specialists in different industries; or mentors and interns.  Teamwork is essential to get your business going and growing.
  2. Courage & Uncomfortable positioningI admired the huge amount of courage displayed by the high wire guys.  They truly stepped out of their comfort zones by doing tricks on a wire more than 10 feet off the ground.  In business, you need the gumption just to begin and even more courage to keep moving forward which can also be pretty scary.  You have to move far out of your comfort zone by doing things you never done or even thought of doing before to be successful.  This uncomfortable positioning will help you develop professionally, personally, and best of all – financially.
  3. RiskThe tiger trainer risked his life to be in the cage with at least five tigers, one of which had an attitude.  This guy believed in himself and his dreams enough to do this in public.  Like tiger training, starting your own business is a risk.  If it weren’t, more people would be doing it.  There are three ways to increase your likelihood of success: just do it; have a business plan; and believe in your dreams enough to make them come true.
  4. Focus and concentrationIn addition to the high wire guys, there were a few acrobats performing in the air.  Not only did it take strength and courage to do this, it took focus and concentration.  As a business owner, there will be many days where you will have to shut yourself away from everything and everybody to concentrate on tasks at hand.  You will have three or four projects that must be completed at the same time, and you have to stay focused to make it all happen.
  5. Have a plan BAll of the aerial performers had cushions below – also known as their plan Bs – just in case something happened during the acts.  Have you thought of the Plan Bs in your business?  What will you do when funds run low?   What will happen if you don’t have help?  Take time to consider all options in the event your original vision doesn’t turn out as you had hoped.
  6. Strategic pricingDuring intermission, elephant rides were offered for $10 per person.  There were two pachyderms that seated four to five people.  And four was definitely the exception.  I can honestly say that I witnessed at least $1,000 being made during this 15 – 20 minute intermission.  And that was one show!  They had two to three shows a day!  Based on this example, what service can you offer at a price that will appeal to a large number of people that will earn a maximum profit in the least amount of time?
  7. PracticeThe Chinese performers that rolled, flipped and threw tables with their feet made it look so easy.  At one point, they were flipping each other! They did not master their moves overnight and neither will you.  To become the best at what you do, you just have to start working on mastering what you know.  You don’t know everything; you won’t be good at everything; and don’t have time to do everything even if you are good at them.  Be sure to be the best at what you do.  This can only be done with practice. Lots of it.
  8. DisciplineIt took lots of discipline for all of the performers to excel at their skills.  You have to do the same by staying on top of your game as the owner, manager and employee in your business.  This will be done through networking, research, subscriptions to industry magazines, reading business magazines and news and continuous education.  It will be a challenge, but with lots of discipline, it can be done.
  9. BalanceMany performers had to learn how to get and maintain their balance while standing on the shoulders of others.   Many entrepreneurs do not always have the luxury of that additional support. Some of your balancing acts will include working in vs. on your business; fun vs. work; and your professional vs. personal life.  While it may seem overwhelming and heavy at times, you will win with a delicate balance of patience, practice and commitment.


Who knew entrepreneurs could learn so much from circus performers?  These professionals spent hours perfecting their skills which was reflected in their performance.  If you put in as much time and effort into making you dreams come true, you are guaranteed to succeed.


Image: UniverSoul Circus

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