Okay, so let’s continue on our journey of what YOU need to know when it comes to offering up a retreat to YOUR tribe. What I know is this: Retreats CHANGE your business (and your life).
In our 3rd and final installment, we will look at creating an effective stick campaign, your self-care routine before, during and after the retreat, and making money from your retreat.
1. CREATING AN EFFECTIVE STICK CAMPAIGN
When I hosted my first Retreat for Goddesses in 2011, my coach at the time told me I had to create a stick campaign to keep my registrants engaged after they signed up. I had no idea what she was talking about.
I just thought when people signed up, that was it … I’d be seeing them at the event a few months later. Easy breezy. Wrong.
I don’t know what it is, but nothing gets people more excited and scared simultaneously than signing up to attend a live event. You need to STAY IN TOUCH with your attendees after they sign up to let them know you believe in their choice and you will make their attendance worth their while. Otherwise, peeps start getting cold feet, scheduling conflicts start emerging and cancellations occur (you’ll get these regardless, but a stick campaign will help reduce this).
On the cancellation front, do make sure you have a clear cancellation policy in place so all parties know how this works. Answer these questions? Is there a fee to cancel? By what date will cancellations be accepted? What happens to their registration fee when they cancel by a certain date? Is it refunded in full, refunded minus a cancellation fee, credited to their account for a future purchase with your company or forfeited all together if they cancel last minute?
So, back to the stick campaign. For my 1st annual Retreat for Goddesses, I went all-out with my stick campaign and sent all of my registrants (I had about 16 that year) “Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards” by Doreen Virtue. I loved those cards and wanted everyone to have a deck. I figured this was my year to lay the foundation of the event.
You do NOT need to spend a lot on a stick campaign. I actually spent too much on this in my first year. At around $10 – $15/mailing, this wasn’t a sustainable strategy. You live and learn.
In future years, I sent a thoughtful message in the mail, along with ONE CARD from a different Goddess card deck. This reduced my costs drastically, but was still that “high-touch” technique that I wanted to leverage to create intimacy with my peeps.
For my 3rd annual event, I also created a weekly “stay-in-touch” campaign leading up to the Retreat. Each week, we would send an inspirational message related to the Retreat, along with reminders about the event, that went to all registered attendees. This is really easy to pull off. I actually wrote all of those emails (about 8 in total) in 2 sittings and had my assistant schedule the emails to our registrants. Easy breezy and very effective.
We also had a private Facebook group where gals could connect with other attendees as soon as they registered. Here, they started getting to know each other, making travel plans and sharing their excitement about the event. Facebook groups are FREE to create. DO IT.
The point: create a stick campaign that mixes “high-touch” (send something in the MAIL even if it’s just a welcome letter) and ongoing “stay-in-touch” techniques to ensure your peeps feel comfortable and excited about taking this leap with you!
2. SELF-CARE ROUTINE
Okay, so you MUST take exquisite care of yourself before, during and after the retreat. Leading a retreat is one of THE most intense experiences of my career. It will be the same for you if you really go deep with your people, which I believe is what they want.
Here’s an idea of what I did to nurture my mind, body and spirit leading up to my most recent Retreat for Goddesses.
2 WEEKS PRIOR
- Shopping at my favorite boutique in my town for a few dresses that I felt and looked great in. I tend to go for SOLID bright colors as they photograph the best
- Hair appointment! Cut and highlight with my go-to stylist
- Lots of yoga
1 WEEK PRIOR
- Writing and visualizing about my intention for the event
- More yoga
1 DAY PRIOR
- Setting up my “out of office” email
ONSITE AT THE EVENT
- My assistants really “take over” and do what they do best at the event. I don’t drive myself, I let my assistant Samantha do that. I vigilantly protect my energy!
- I have my own sleeping room (I don’t recommend sharing) and lay down between sessions when I need to rest (even when I don’t nap)
- Eating very well – lots of protein, greens and fruit
- Drinking LOTS of water. Tea in the morning
- Massage on Day 2 in the lovely, award-winning spa
- Yoga and meditation
- Standup paddleboarding
- Writing and visualizing about my intention for the event
- Sharing from the heart, listening to the stories from our attendees, being present
- Being grateful for it ALL, trusting the FLOW of the Universe
AFTER THE EVENT
- More yoga!
- Reaching out to all attendees to express my gratitude for coming
- Reaching out to clients with special gifts who stepped up into the Business Adventure School, my yearlong coaching, training and mastermind program (more on this below)
- Lots of REST!
- 2-week vacation 2 weeks after the event ends
- Deciding when/where to host my new LIVE event in the fall of 2014 (I’m psyched about this!)
This is my method. Yours can look TOTALLY different. The key is to include PLENTY of time to nurture yourself on the deepest level. You will be AMAZED at what hosting a Retreat “brings up” for you – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. You’ll grow more than you thought possible. This is why you are on the plant. TO GROW and help HEAL the peeps you are here to serve.
And one final point here: YOU WILL NEED an assistant to help you prep for the event and help you run things onsite. If you don’t already have one, get creative about finding help. This is crucial to your success.
3. MAKING MONEY FROM YOUR RETREAT
Let’s get serious for a bit here. The purpose of your business is to MAKE MONEY. Your purpose might be something totally different (it probably is), but don’t confuse your purpose with your business’ purpose. You are ALLOWED to make money from your Retreat and SHOULD make money from your Retreat. Deal? 🙂
Creating, hosting and leading a retreat takes TOO much work for you not to make a profit on your efforts. You’ll see.
I’m getting all intense on this point because I didn’t really get this with my first Retreat for Goddesses and when I crunched the numbers after it was all said and done, guess how much I made on the event?
Yup. Ouch! Mind you, I was 4 months post-partum with my second son Luke when I ran that Retreat so I was just happy I pulled it off! But all those late nights I worked to get the details right and “perfect” and all I had left to show for my efforts was $1,500. I was disappointed.
BUT … it wasn’t all for nothing because I DID launch my brand new coaching, training and mastermind program at that event and signed up about 4 clients from that event. Then I launched that program to my whole list a few weeks later and signed up about 8 more people. This led to consistent cash flow and awesome client experiences.
I also had a photographer at the event and got GREAT photos for future marketing efforts. This built my brand in huge ways. I’ve hired a photographer for every single event and consider this a very wise investment. You want VISUAL reminders of the magic you helped create. This is a major boon to your biz.
At my most recent Retreat for Goddesses with 30 women in attendance, we were in the BLACK from our ticket sales minus our expenses … plus I launched my newest offering onsite, my finest to date: the Business Adventure School, a yearlong coaching, training and mastermind program. We had 6 amazing women step forward for this offering, and will launch this to my entire community very soon where I envision a number of other women saying YES and submitting their application (there are 2 membership levels that are filled by application only).
Not only is the Business Adventure School hugely powerful for my clients, but it’s also a profitable venture for my company that brings in regular, consistent revenue. When you’re an entrepreneur, cash flow is king.
Your Retreat can be a LAUNCHPAD for something spectacular that you share with your tribe that will change their life AND your business. When you make your offer, incentivize your peeps to take action AT THE EVENT. Otherwise, it’s very likely that you’ll lose them. Make it easy for them to make a decision. Make them feel SAFE and PSYCHED to work with you.
This is HOW you’ll make money from your Retreat in my experience. And offering up opportunities for your tribe to invest in themselves through your offerings is a gift in the highest form. You’re providing a divine opportunity for your people to continue the transformation started at your Retreat. Nothing is sweeter or more profound. Everyone wins.
Like what you read here? This was the third and final installment in this series. Thanks for reading! Where do we go from here? I invite you to join me for my Gutsy Business, Rich Life VIRTUAL RETREAT I’m hosting on Tuesday, September 10. In order to host a retreat, you need to attend one first. I’d be honored if you’d join me! Reserve your spot here now.