Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elizabeth Skwiot, Founder of Cirque-It Fitness, located in Santa Monica, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Cirque-It Fitness is circus-infused circuit training– a 'boutique studio in a suitcase' that studios and trainers can implement into their existing facilities to differentiate themselves in the competitive fitness market. Our model is specialized small-group training, so trainers and studios make more than they would with personal training, but clients pay less and still get high value.

Tell us about yourself

In 2001, I stepped off a flying trapeze platform at what is now the Circus Center of San Francisco. I fell in love – not only with flying through the air but with the entire community and with how circus training made me feel. In fact, I left graduate school early with a Master's degree (I later returned to finish my doctorate at UC-Davis) to pursue my passion for the aerial arts. Not long after, I started teaching English and Spanish as an adjunct instructor at several colleges in Minneapolis. I got certifications as a Pilates instructor and personal trainer to make extra money. I immediately saw how circus training could add a new functional dimension to all the standard exercises people typically do. I invented an adjustable trapeze bar (you can use it while keeping your feet on the ground) and developed hybrid programs that blended aerial arts and fitness. My clients loved it, and the feedback I received convinced me I needed to bring circus-inspired fitness training to market.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I created the Cirque-It Fitness and Aerialates programs. I got them both approved for continuing education by ACE, NASM, and AFAA. My company is a NASM Education Partner, meaning we also educate others as they study for additional NASM certifications. I invented the Cirque-It Fitness trapeze bar, which has a utility patent. I've trained over 100 instructors in my own programs. We have endorsements from coaches of Olympic gold medalists, physical therapists, and elite athletes. I'm also very proud of the lives we've changed through our fitness programs.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

As a business owner, you could work all day, every day. There's always another potential investor to pitch or other sales call you could make. It's important to set boundaries for yourself.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Set tangible, manageable goals.
  2. Get mentorship from someone who's done something similar.
  3. Learn to hone on on your goals and ignore naysayers.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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