There are lots of french words flying around our household at the moment as we brush up on our french in preparation to work from Europe this summer (winter in Melbs). Ahhhh super excited!
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Do you dream of running a retreat in your business?
Would you love to take your knowledge, wisdom and unique magic to an exotic location or entice people to your home town?
Today I'm sharing behind the scenes of some of the successful retreats I have run over the years and the biggest lessons I learned from each.
Retreat 1 - Wellness Retreat - Byron Bay
My very first retreat I ran was a small meditation and wellness retreat in Byron Bay. I found a gorgeous house in the Byron Hinterland on Stayz.com and told the owner about my intention to run a retreat from her property.
I paid a deposit and trusted that I would be able to find just 5 people that I needed to fill the rooms. It was a small and intimate retreat and a perfect goal for my first retreat. The retreat program followed the theme of my 4 week life coaching program that covered areas of body, mind, emotions and spirit.
I had only just restarted my business again after taking a few years off to travel and deepen my spiritual training. I didn't have an online business back then so I had to restart my biz each time I travelled. I found the five people for the retreat by sending out emails to my small email list of about 100 past clients.
I also had the idea to offer the retreat as a 2 day workshop for Byron locals so that I could attract a few more people. I got one extra person who joined as a workshop participant.
I kept the costs low by doing most things myself but asked friends to help out with some tasks in exchange for massages. One friend ran morning yoga classes and offered massages to retreat participants and another friend cooked the main meals. I bought all of the food myself at the local Byron farmers markets for the weekend.
It was a powerful weekend that required lots of work (in both preparation and execution) for relatively little pay. I think I made a $600 profit but I lost count of the hours I worked on it. However, it was an amazing experience and I was so proud of myself that I had the courage to follow my intuition and do it.
Biggest Lesson - I've come to see that the first time doing anything is always the hardest, however there are always huge lessons to be learned to make the following one's much easier and even more successful. Don't be put off if your first retreat doesn't fly. Live and learn.
Retreat 2 - Meditation Retreat - Uluru
The absolute favourite retreat that I have ever organised is hands down the meditation retreat I ran at Uluru alongside an Aboriginal guide.
I had dreamed of this retreat for years and I was constantly being nudged to make it happen. I called about 20 tour companies but they all sounded too mainstream, inflexible and were run by non Aboriginal Australians.
So asked a friend living in Alice Springs if she knew of any authentic Aboriginal guides who would co-create a tour with me. She recommended a man and I called him that day. He sounded perfect and was happy to design the perfect tour with me. He named his price per head and we decided on a minimum number of 5 people needed to go ahead.
Ahhh it was a bit scary to trust that I could find 5 people but once again I trusted my intuition and kept moving forward.
I started marketing in February for a June retreat. It took until two months before to find the 5th person and another 5 people booked in the following month. So just a few weeks before the tour I had 10 people booked... phew! A few people booked in from the invite I sent out to my mailing list but the vast majority of participants came from Facebook advertising. I spent about $1000 on Facebook Ads and made a 5K profit on the tour.
The tour guide organised everything from the moment we arrived in Alice Springs to the moment we ended of the tour in Alice Springs. All I had to do was find the 10 people (which was huge) and undertake meditation sessions twice daily during the tour.
Biggest Lesson - Often with retreats we need to trust our intuition and pay deposits before we have found the people needed to fill the retreat. The courage to take a risk, to trust our intuition and to stay focused until the last minute is vital. It was the risk of investing 1K in FB ads that made all the difference to this retreats success.
Retreat 3 - Business Retreat - Bali
Another successful retreat I ran was part of the Peace Passion & Profit Mastermind last year. The retreat was included in the PPP business mentoring fees. Including a retreat as part of your online program is a powerful way to deepen the learning experience.
I had seen an image in my mind of a villa with a large outdoor table with plenty of group laptop space and a poolside view. I rented a villa in Ubud on airbnb.com that had a suitable large outdoor table with an inspiring outlook, similar to what I had visualised.
There were some people who were unable to make the retreat in person so they attended online for a couple of hours a day and undertook their own home style retreat. We worked on our businesses for 5 days from 10am - 3pm and I had a local restaurant deliver a healthy lunch everyday. I supplied drinks and fruit platters. Each retreat I have run has been easier and easier to organise.
Biggest Lesson - Retreat time can go fast... like life... so you don't want to fill it up with too many activities. Less is more. A simple focus for each day with just a few activities to complete with time to relax and soak up the wisdom makes for a transformational retreat.
Some of my fondest memories in my career have been during the powerful, deep and intimate connection that occurs during a retreat.
So if your intuition is guiding you to create a retreat.... DO IT!
Trust the image that you see in your minds eye and take a leap of faith!
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