In the October Issue:
So, you are thinking of a retreat.
You’ve been to one, or you know people who have. Only you are thinking of doing one IN your business. And a million questions are coming up for you.
Can you make it work? How do you begin? Can it even work with my business model?
I remember how I felt when I had the first idea of doing a retreat. Honestly, I had more questions than answers. But I went with it, and just did it. And now–after leading more than 20 retreats since 2017, I have found a process that works.
The truth is, there are things I wish I had known before I began. Much of what I do now has been through a process of trial and error, following people who have been successful doing retreats, and learning as much as I can, on the go. So I felt that sharing some perspective could be helpful for you if you are in the beginning stages of planning your first retreat.
First, is this a realistic idea to pursue in business? Can you REALLY make money doing it and make it work?
You can ABSOLUTELY do retreats in your business.
Some questions I would ask would be: Do I want to add meaningful IN PERSON events as part of my business? Is this something I think my clients, or community, would enjoy and pay to be a part of? Is it in my skill set to do, or do I need to hire a retreat strategist, coach or event planner to help?
People are LONGING to be together IN PERSON. I do not care what anyone says – nothing can make up or substitute for the magic of being in real time together. The energy is different and the connections and experiences you create together are not things you can script or replicate on a screen.
What outcomes do you think you could deliver in your business with a retreat or event in person? Do they align with your mission, your purpose and what you do in general? If you are used to being online, or seeing someone through a screen – being in person presents a different sort of thinking process. I would recommend you begin there and see how that resonates with you.
I will suggest that people are looking for unique and different ways to experience transformation, growth, and connection with others – and retreats check all three boxes, hands down. Not every business can do them – but for the ones that can – I believe it really gives you an opportunity to separate yourself from all the others in your space. When you can create magic in an in-person experience, it’s a game changer.
I would also recommend that you work with someone to help you cover all your bases, if events and their creation are not in your wheelhouse. You can expend valuable time, energy and resources by trying to just ‘DIY’ or ‘figure it out’, not to mention losing hard earned money in your business. At the end of the day, your time should be in helping to put together your retreat program, and delivering it with excellence. Get an expert to help you and protect your investment and energy – one who has been where you are and can show you the ropes – from crafting your message, to marketing and selling to your existing audience and, of course – pricing it so you make your numbers work for you.
Next, are there businesses that are better ‘suited’ to put on retreats than others?
This can be a tricky one.
Obviously if you are in the business of delivering change in any form – a retreat can present a unique opportunity for your clients. There are thousands of courses, programs, and coaching containers out there that promise change and all the deliverables to go with it. Retreats allow you to connect with others, share in their energy and transformation – plus it gives you an opportunity to bond and form lasting friendships. Retreats work great if you are a coach, are in a service profession of some kind, where interaction is a big piece of your program, or even if you do any part of your business in person.
And here is a bonus thought: Retreats are an untapped market in MANY industries – so I am betting you will see them offered more and more. They are a wonderful program idea to learn a new skill, enjoy an experience, or provide comfort and respite in a busy post pandemic world.
Finally – I would give yourself permission to begin, even if you think you don’t know it all. Imperfect action always trumps having the perfect plan – and even if you have all the necessary things in place, you will find there is a lot you find out after the fact. Rest assured, that you will learn way more than you think by just allowing yourself some grace.
If you do decide to embark on doing retreats in your business – be sure you have support. You can take advantage of my FREE mini-Playbook – it outlines my 5-step process I have adopted and use for all my retreats and events.
Finally – what’s a good way to begin?
Honestly – this depends on you. Obviously, you want to talk to people who have done retreats, or who have experience doing them. If you have been a participant but not a retreat leader or facilitator – it takes a certain skill set to change ‘hats’ -- so I would at the very least talk to several people who have done them to get their ‘lessons learned’. I remember what I felt like when I began doing retreats – I knew what I knew, but I also didn’t know what I didn’t know.
I would start small and keep things simple. We often try to pack too much in – thinking that for some reason unless many things are happening people won’t sign up. Less is more – and it will give you more freedom to allow your participants to just be. Remember that change takes time – and often people will need time to process what you teach.
MEET ALISON K
Alison helps to serve entrepreneurs in the fitness and health space to innovate and grow their offerings. As a retreat expert, Alison also offers training and programs to help business owners start their own retreats.
As a busy entrepreneur, she feels a calling to help serve her clients through customized fitness and self care programs online, and holds destination fitness retreat experiences in various locations.
Tune in for her podcast ‘The Ultimate Journey of Self Care’ across most platforms.
Connect with Alison HERE!