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Business Ideas – 3 Lessons from Guy Laliberte (Cirque Du Soleil)

Business Ideas – 3 Lessons from Guy Laliberte (Cirque Du Soleil) by Evan Carmichael


guy laliberte


Today we’re going to look at how a young entrepreneur went from performing in the streets and sleeping on park benches to becoming a billionaire who plays high stakes poker and is a space tourist in his spare time. This is the story of Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.


“I bet everything on one night. If we failed, there was no cash for gas to come home.” – Guy Laliberté


Guy Laliberté, (born September 2, 1959) is a Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist, poker player, space tourist and the founder of Cirque du Soleil. When Laliberté was 18 years old he left Canada for Europe to become a street performer. He played traditional Canadian music on an accordion with a hat for donations and slept on a park bench by night. He also met other street performers who taught him how to breath fire, juggle, perform magic, and walk on stilts before returning home.


Unable to find a 9-5 job back home, he started a business that would create large-scale street shows. After 3 years of successful shows in 13 Canadian cities, Laliberté wanted to get bigger. In 1987 his company was booked as the opening act for the Los Angeles Arts Festival. He spent all the money he had to get to Los Angeles and prepare for the show. If it didn’t work out he’d have to perform on the streets to get gas money to go home. Luckily for him the gamble paid off – his performance received standing ovations and ticket sales came flying in.


With an estimated net worth of US$2.5 billion, Laliberté was ranked by Forbes in 2011 as the 11th wealthiest Canadian and 459th in the world. In 2006, Laliberté was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and his company now employs over 5,000 people – not bad for a hustling entrepreneur who started off sleeping on park benches because he couldn’t afford to pay rent.


Action Item #1: Have a Greater Purpose
Action Item #2: Foster a Creative Workplace
Action Item #3: Take Risks 




True Story


Laliberté understands the importance of getting the right people for his company. Once a year, Cirque du Soleil engages in a hiring campaign to bring new and freshly energized talent on board. For 16 weeks, anywhere between 60 and 70 candidates from around the world are gathered together to be tested. Pushed to their limits, Cirque encourages candidates to do things they probably have never done before, evaluating not only their core competencies, but also their values, generosity, courage, teamwork and problem solving skills. Laliberté wants to hire people who are risk-takers, just like himself, and who fit with the company’s core values.




“It was live or die in L.A. And we bet everything on one night.”


“If you want to be good you have to connect with the best people.”


“Today, the dream is the same: I still want to travel, I still want to entertain, and I most certainly still want to have fun.”


Business Ideas: My Favorite 7 Boldest Entrepreneur Moves of All Time

Business Ideas: My Favorite 7 Boldest Entrepreneur Moves of All Time by Evan Carmichael




Bold Move #1: Walt Disney Does The Impossible


walt disney

According to Disney: “Somehow I can’t believe there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy and the greatest of these is Confidence.”


Bold Move #2: Guy Laliberté Risks It All In Los Angeles


guy lalibert

According to Laliberté: “It was live or die in L.A. And we bet everything on one night. By the end of the show we had standing ovations. The day after, tickets were selling like crazy. I bet everything on that one night. If we failed, there was no cash for gas to come home.”


Bold Move #3: A.P. Giannini Bets On The Little Guy


a p giannini

When a massive earthquake hit San Francisco in 1906, all the banks in the city closed down to assess their damage. People couldn’t get access to their funds at the time they needed it the most. The earthquake demolished Giannini’s bank but he opened up shop by setting up a desk using two barrels and a plank of wood across them. He would lend money to people based on a handshake to help them rebuild their lives. He also went on to fund entrepreneurs like Walt Disney who nobody believed in and projects like the Golden Gate Bridge that were considered too crazy to invest in.


Bold Move #4: Anita Roddick Is Forced To Survive


anita roddick

According to Roddick: “For myself, I needed to earn money, to look after the kids while my husband was traveling for two years across South America… I started The Body Shop in 1976 simply to create a livelihood for myself and my two daughters, while my husband, Gordon, was trekking across the Americas. I had no training or experience and my only business acumen was Gordon’s advice to take sales of £300 a week. Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking.”


Bold Move #5: George Lucas Challenges Traditional Business Models


george lucas

According to Lucas: “My first six years in the business were hopeless. There are a lot of times when you sit and you say ‘Why am I doing this? I’ll never make it. It’s just not going to happen. I should go out and get a real job and try to survive’. I thought Star Wars was too wacky for the general public. Right or wrong this is my movie, this is my decision, and this is my creative vision, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to see it.”


Bold Move #6: Ted Turner Decides To Be Successful


ted turner

According to Turner: “All my life people have said that I wasn’t going to make it… I’ve never run into a guy who could win at the top level in anything today and didn’t have the right attitude, didn’t give it everything he had, at least while he was doing it; wasn’t prepared and didn’t have the whole program worked out.”



Bold Move #7 Milton Hershey Doesn’t Give Up


milton hershey

But he still refused to give up. He started a new business with a former employee of his and moved from making caramels to chocolate. After 10 years of failure, Hershey finally hit on a winning business. His company expanded year after year and if he had listened to his friends and family through those 10 years of failure we would never have known the Hershey Chocolate bar.


Business Ideas – 3 Success Lessons from Wolfgang Puck

Business Ideas – 3 Success Lessons from Wolfgang Puck by Evan Carmichael


wolfgang puck


Today we’re going to take a closer look at how the son of a single mother and a young boy contemplating suicide would start his own company that is worth around $500 million today. This is the story of renowned chef Wolfgang Puck and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.


“Young people want to be famous before they know how to cook, before they know how to treat people, before they know what hospitality means. I stayed in France for seven years and Austria for three, so before I was a chef anywhere I was already cooking for 10 years.” – Wolfgang Puck


Wolfgang Johann Puck (born January 8, 1949) was born to a hotel chef mother and a butcher father; the art and love of preparing food was in his blood. Puck’s father abandoned his mother just before his birth, leaving Maria Topfschnig as a single mother. In 1956, she remarried to coal-miner Josef Puck, who then adopted Wolfgang, making him Wolfgang Johann Puck. This marriage would result in two younger sisters and a little brother for Puck.


Under the guidance of his mother, who had been dabbling in the professional culinary arts for some time, Puck began cooking pastries. He had made up his mind at an early age that he wanted to follow in his mother’s footsteps and become a professional chef. Instead of following the traditional route of first attending culinary school, however, Puck chose to instead train under an apprenticeship from the age of 14. He was sent on a train to southern Austria to work in a hotel kitchen, but did not find the success he had hoped for. After stepping onto cakes on a bakery floor, he recalls that, “everyone told me I’m good for nothing.” A few days later, the head chef told Puck, “You’d better go home to your mother so she can breastfeed you for another year.” After pondering suicide, Puck chose instead to apprentice at another hotel. It proved to be a wise decision.


Puck decided to move to the United States in 1973 and worked in several restaurants before finding a home at Ma Maison, a failing Hollywood restaurant. There he would bring the restaurant back to prominence and become co-owner. In 1982, Puck launched his first cookbook, Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen. With the success that followed, and upon meeting his future wife and business partner Barbara Lazaroff who would encourage him to follow his dreams, Puck got the confidence he needed to finally realize one of his lifelong goals; Puck was going to open his own restaurant. With the backing of some investors, he opened Spago and the rest is history.


Action Item #1: Don’t Complicate Things


Action Item #2: Hire Good People


Action Item #3: Never Give Up



True Story 


Wolfgang Puck has been seen many times by customers, but never in the light Terry Dullum remembers well. One evening he entered one of Puck’s new restaurants in Las Vegas, the Californian Pizza Kitchen at the MGM Grand Hotel. As Dullum tells the story, he walked in and sat down, only to see Puck through the open kitchen. He was surprised to see him there at all, but what surprised him more was Puck came out and took his order, then proceeded to make the pizza he ordered himself.


Dullum stated that he could see Puck toss the dough, put the ingredients on the pizza and then place it in the oven. According to Dullum, he thought maybe this was a dream and said he smiled each time he watched Puck sampling each one of the raw ingredients before he placed them on Dullum’s pizza. Here was a man worth around $500 million, owned a host of restaurants around the country, is the main caterer at the Governor’s Ball for the Academy Awards for the past 18 or so years and is probably the most famous chef in the world, but took the time to make one person a pizza. Dullum states Puck brought out the pizza and it was the best he has ever had.




“I love to make people happy.”


“There is no value with just one restaurant or with one person. The brand has to be bigger than the person.”


“LA is really very interesting. You have a Chinese part, a Japanese part, a Vietnamese part and so on. You have Thai markets. When I started to learn about the city, I said, ‘You know, maybe our menu should represent the cultural heritage of LA.”


Words that Change Lives: David Wolpe

Words that Change Lives: David Wolpe


How to Know Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes: Adam Leipzig

How to Know Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes: Adam Leipzig

Adam Leipzig has overseen more than 25 movies as a producer, executive and distributor. and has produced more than 300 stage plays and live events, and he was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Theatre Center.


Tony Robbins – What They Seldom Teach You in School

Tony Robbins – What They Seldom Teach You in School

Unleash the Power Within is Anthony Robbins’ cornerstone weekend program: a crash course in taking massive action to change the quality of your life forever. In three and a half of the most empowering, educational, and entertaining days of your life, you won’t just deal with-you will vanquish-anything holding you back from utilizing the force that can instantly change your life. You will learn not merely how to survive global changes in the economy, environment and political arena, but how to thrive and prosper at a level beyond what you may have thought possible.


Small Business Management–All in the Family and Beyond

Small Business Management–All in the Family and Beyond

Part 1

Published on Jan 8, 2013

Ronald Norelli, Northeastern alumnus, and president and CEO of Norelli & Company; and Kimberly Eddleston, associate editor of The Journal of Family Business Strategy and associate professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, discussed succession planning and other management strategies for small and family businesses. They talked about trends in innovation and organizational change for small businesses, and discussed how they must periodically transform themselves to improve or sustain their competitive positioning.

Part 2


Michael Kies takes inspiration from the life of Walt Disney

Michael Kies takes inspiration from the life of Walt Disney

Michael Kies describes the aspects of Walt Disney’s life that serve as an inspiration to him. If you follow these inspirational steps you could have a more fulfilled life.


BMW Unveils New Electric i3 Concept Car – Los Angeles Auto Show

BMW Unveils New Electric i3 Concept Car – Los Angeles Auto Show

BMW unveiled its new i3 concept car at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. The luxury car maker is expected to use its new i3 and i8 models to compete with Fisker and Tesla. Video by WSJ’s Joseph B. White via #WorldStream.


Jim Carrey The Power of Consciousness

Jim Carrey The Power of Consciousness


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