A circus is an aggregation of performers who entertain people for a living. Individually, these artists are maestros at what they do, and when they unite as a team, they put a superb performance in front of a crowd. Their acts are mostly unique. From pulling unbelievable stunts to using animals, and mind-blowing acrobatics, the job of a circus is basically to wow any audience. They can be localized or move from place to place as they entertain revelers.

Now that you are aware of the nature of the business, it’s time to let you in on what it takes to run a circus business.

If you are ready, let’s begin.

To run a circus business, you need to first have:

  1. A Plan

Having an idea isn’t enough. Granted you know what lane you are veering into, it’s all in your head, the kind of circus you want to run, the kinds of activities you’ll be putting out there to get the cheers and the tears. You certainly need more than that.

You need a foolproof business plan because beyond the artistry, it’s business and if you don’t treat it as one, it isn’t going to look like it. And you know in a business profit is made as well as losses which are minimal. If you don’t have a plan, your profit margin will suffer.

So you need a concrete business plan. This business plan should answer critical questions like:

  • What’s the cost of starting up and running it full time? Depending on the nature of your circus, you could be spending less or more. If you are just doing acrobatics and you are stationed at a place, the cost will be less. If you are going into a more complex artistry and moving from place to place, the cost will certainly be higher.
  • How much are you going to be charging your viewers and clients? You need to conduct a survey and find out how much other circuses are charging per night or per show. The charges can vary per location, per act, or per hour. You have to find out.
  • What’s my target audience? You certainly can’t be performing for everyone at least not at the onset. You need to narrow down your audience to a certain demographic. Most circuses perform for clubs and pubs, while some are localized in a neighborhood where they perform on birthdays or entertain families who have the luxury of fun. You can choose to be versatile, your call.

These and a few other pertinent questions can help you get started with a sense of direction, goal, and professionalism.

  1. A Brand

If you want to run a circus business, you need to create a brand for yourself. From choosing a unique name to designing a logo, you need to create a distinction among the lot. Your brand is your unique identity which starts from your name and logo. You would want to design a logo that reflects the kind of art you do, or a general one that will incorporate various elements of art. However you choose to go about this, ensure it is spectacular, and does not in any way bear resemblance with another brand.

Colors are also important. The colors you choose will reflect on your logo and every other branded item of your brand like your tees. It should be unique as well so people can easily identify with it even from a distance.

  1. A Dream Team

You need to assemble the team of your dreams. Now you should have a dream. The kind of performers you want, the places you will go to, the acts you will perform, and you can leverage the limitless possibilities of your imaginations.  But have dreams and all of them will be included in your business plan.

But now you need to find that dream team you have in your head.

You can choose to hunt for rising stars, pitch the idea to them, and congregate them. Then you focus on building your dream team out of them. This might take a while, a lot of patience, lots of commitment, and a lot of tolerance. In the end, you would have built your dream team from the ground up to where they shoot for the stars.

Alternatively, you can scout for already performing aficionados and pitch your idea to them. When they accept to form a circus with you, you can then discuss how you intend to share the profits. This is more like a partnership. If you are looking for your dream team via this route, you need to watch out for defectors from other circuses and woo them. However, you shouldn’t go about sweet-talking members of other circuses to join your new team. Wait for them to come out before playing your cards.

  1. A Web Presence

In this time and age, any business without a web presence is hardly perceived as a serious one. You can run all the publicity yourself, but a web presence can help you reach out to your target audience faster and in a convenient way. You can reach out to thousands of people via your social media handles and redirect them to a landing page which is your website.

Your website should be elaborate on the kind of offerings you have for people who decide to pay for your entertainment. The charges should be spelled out as well, no need for them contacting you for such financial details unless they want to negotiate.

Make every detail concise and crystal clear. List your offerings with the most scintillating of them at the top, make the site easy to navigate, and keep your terms and conditions lucid enough.

You should include pictures and videos of the circus as well. You might need a copywriter to craft an about page for you, and a call to action that will be followed by the contact details of your circus.

  1. A Solid Collaboration

While your brand is still in its budding stage, you need all the assistance you can get, and that can only be gotten via a worthy collaboration. This can be done with seasoned directors, choreographers, artists, and other circuses. There’s a lot of wisdom and experience that you can benefit from a collaboration.

Whether your dream team is ready or still trying to hatch out from its shell, a collaboration gives it the boost it needs to grow. There are certain angles you probably haven’t look at, there are certain perspectives you couldn’t see, and there are huge prospects you certainly aren’t aware of that the right association can expose you to.

Never underestimate the power of association when it comes to businesses. There’s a lot that an extra hand can bring to the table especially if that hand is experienced. You might want to call it partnership or mentorship, it’s a great step in the right direction for your emerging circus.

You can collaborate with as many artists as you want because they come with different styles, backgrounds, themes, and experiences to your rising show and business table. However, you need to be selective when making collaborative choices. You could often invite some artists to come to groom your team rather than going all out to collaborate. You can use your discretion here.

  1. A Rare Act

Entertaining people is hardly like a walk in the park. It takes a lot of creativity, passion, and energy to get people glued to you. In an era where the rat race to make it big in any industry is at an all-time high, it demands even more creativity and fuel to get people engaged.

What’s the rare act you are bringing to the scene? What’s the distinction you are setting? Why will people leave other circuses and start paying for yours?

Do you want to start your circus and let it float generic offerings in shows that people have seen for times without number? Or you want to make a difference, get them stunned, and leave them craving for more?

These are the questions that need to be answered first before starting out. You can have all it takes to start a circus business, but this is the ultimate factor you need to keep it running. It’s the juice, the essence, the extra ingredient that changes the entire taste of your show and sets it apart from others.

If you’ve not thought about a rare act yet, it’s time to brainstorm. Think of a show that addresses the challenges inherent in a given demographic or a show that brings to the fore, certain hidden elements of societal change. Those are clues, you can brainstorm on more.


It takes a lot to run a circus business. Some you will find out mid-way into the business, and some you will learn of as you set your foot on the door. However, the aforementioned are substantial enough to get you started and meet fewer surprises on the way.

The most important factors you can’t possibly turn a blind eye to are your business plan, your dream team, your branding, a collaboration, and a rare act to keep you going.