In the second episode of Money Matters, we are talking about Guy Laliberté, co-founder and CEO of the one and only Cirque du Soliel, and how he made his fortune.
Guy Laliberté was born in Quebec Canada in 1959 and displayed a love for show business at a very young age.
One day, his parents took him to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and was so taken by the spectacle that he took up playing the accordion, walking on stilts, and even breathing fire without even a morsel of fear for extreme injury. It's safe to say the young boy was cut out for the circus.
After some years of honing his skills by playing harmonica and accordion on the streets, Guy joined a performing troupe called Les Échassiers, which included fire-breathers, jugglers, and acrobats, and he hitched around Canada from show to show.
Guy grew tired of traipsing up and down the country and returned to Quebec to try and hold down a steady job at a hydro-electric dam, but as luck would have it, the company's employees went on a major strike. It didn't take long for Guy to return to the streets and return to his passion of performing to willing crowds.
Street performing reignited Guy's love of the circus which led him to co-found Quebec's first internationally renowned circus with Gilles Ste-Croix and a small group of other performers.
The troupe began to pick up momentum fast and the bigger the show got, the more guy cultivated talent from around the country. Guy named new and improved show the Cirque du Soliel (circus of the sun) while in Hawaii which he believes stands for energy and youth Eventually, Guy proposed taking the gang across country lines to the Los Angeles Art Festival to make it big, without even a return ticket. The group's future was uncertain, but the risk paid off.
The crowd went wild and the troupe were swiftly taken to the bright lights of Las Vegas to perform to keen crowds of locals and tourists alike.
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It didn't take long until people flocked from all over the globe to get a glimpse of the Cirque du Soliel and it became a colossal international success, dazzling crowds the world over and becoming one of the biggest showbiz spectacles in history.
Not only is Guy still a pivotal part of the Cirque du Soliel family, he is also a professional poker player, space tourist and worth a whopping $2.5 billion. He has been branded by Forbes as the 11th wealthiest Canadian on the planet.
Pretty sensational stuff. It just goes to show that if you follow your instincts, stay true to your passions and take a risk or two, you stand to make a real success. For another incredible rags to riches story, read about how Colonel Sanders built is Kentucky chicken empire.