You’re a Freak (It’s Okay: We All Are)

I’ve been diving in to the awesome pictures from ALCHEMYLive photographer Judi Esmond Martin.

This is one of my personal faves so far. My girls holding up pictures of their FREAK FLAGS that they created at the event.

freaks
Yup, I gave them an assignment to actually MAKE their freak flag and celebrate their freaktasticness. It was rad. (I always have crayons at my events … and one gal got so creative she went outside and put flowers and leaves on hers!)

Admit it: you’re a freak.

We all are.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

FLY YOUR FREAK FLAG WITH PRIDE.

ALV_8136

Then watch with awe as your tribe steps forward to celebrate with you!

When you are YOURSELF, you give your crew permission to be THEMSELVES.

In a world that so tries to push us to CONFORM, it’s SOOOO liberating and refreshing to be around mavericks who bring their WHOLE selves to life.

Are you ready to be FULLY YOU as you share your gifts with the world?

Don’t water yourself down.

Don’t be boring.

Don’t hold back.

Your business will grow, your soul will grow, your happiness will grow.

tribe

Wow. Oh wow.

How will you celebrate your UNIQUENESS today?

ALV_8837

No need to hide anymore.

You’re safe here.

xoxo

Are You a Leader or a Lurker?

Full heart. Expansive soul. Connected.

That’s how I feel after leading 50 women from around the world through an upleveling adventure at ALCHEMY Live here in the beautiful and magical Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.

Lives were changed. Commitments were sealed. Forever friendships were created.

Thanks to ALL who made this event possible. YOU ARE AMAZING.

Big love to the gutsy biz chicks who stepped forward into the Business Adventure School! I’m so excited to rock it out with you to take your mission, message, marketing and money to the next level. (And stay tuned for your invitation to join us in our next class of superstar leaders!)

A big theme of the event was GUTSY LEADERSHIP.

Be a leader, not a lurker.

followmeforward

These gorgeous stained glass windows were in the grand staircase at our resort. They spoke to me so powerfully.

FOLLOW ME FORWARD.

That’s the invitation I made to the women who were ready to drop the excuses (not enough time, not enough money) and grow their business, mission, and marketing know-how at long last.

So psyched that a number of gutsy biz chicks at ALCHEMY Live said YES to my 12-month transformational mastermind, training and coaching program called the Business Adventure School. We’re going to have such an epic journey together!

Enrollment will be open NEXT MONTH for the rest of my tribe to step it up and be a part of this sacred container. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, enjoy these shots from ALCHEMY Live.

Soul sisterhood at its finest!

Day 1: Getting the energy flowing with Eye of the Tiger!

Day 1: Getting the energy flowing with Eye of the Tiger!

Day 1: All women need a magic wand!

Day 1: All women need a magic wand!

Day 1: Jenny interviews Melissa Lydon "Women + Wealth"

Day 1: Jenny interviews Melissa Lydon “Women + Wealth”

Day 1: Meet and Greet - Find the other 1/2 of your rock star name.

Day 1: Meet and Greet – Find the other 1/2 of your rock star name.

Day 2: Stirring up the awesomeness at #ALCHEMYLive! in the energy vortex of the world

Day 2: Stirring up the awesomeness at #ALCHEMYLive! in the energy vortex of the world

Day 2: "Your Sacred Marketing Puzzle" with Cybele Loening author of Dead Lies

Day 2: “Your Sacred Marketing Puzzle” with Cybele Loening author of Dead Lies

Day 2: Color Walk Teams!

Day 2: Color Walk Teams!

Day 2: Glitter Skirts Rule!

Day 2: Glitter Skirts Rule!

Day 3: Getting Ready to Rock and Roll!

Day 3: Getting Ready to Rock and Roll!

Success Panel

Day 3: “Sacred Success Panel + Your Upleveling Adventure”

Day 3: "Sacred Success Panel + Your Upleveling Adventure"

Day 3: “Sacred Success Panel + Your Upleveling Adventure”

 

Creating, Hosting + Leading Live Events + Retreats [Part 3]

Okay, so let’s continue with the FINAL installment on our journey of what YOU need to know when it comes to offering up a live event to YOUR tribe. What I know is this: Live events and retreats CHANGE your business (and your life).

We dove deep in part 1 of our series on a few key elements to consider: dates, venue, and agenda.

In part 2 of our series, we explored your website, email campaign and launching.

In our 3rd and final installment, we will look at creating an effective stick campaign; your self-care routine before, during and after the event; and making money from your event.

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? Or are cancellations not allowed, but tickets can be transferred? YOU DECIDE and stick to it.

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.

cards

I sent attendees at my 1st annual Retreat for Goddesses a pack of these “Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards” as a gift and part of my “stick campaign.”

For ALCHEMY Live happening later this month, we offered all gals who signed up by a certain date a ticket into my new digital 4-week course the Tribe Building Bootcamp. It’s an awesome way to get the gals rocking prior to coming together LIVE and in person.

TBB

For your event, you can easily create a Facebook group or event page where your peeps can connect with each other and get excited prior to the event. They can also make travel plans and release some of their pre-event jitters!

The point: create a pre-event “stay-in-touch” campaign 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 event. Leading a multi-day live event 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 live event last year:

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

  • Facial
  • Massage
  • Writing and visualizing about my intention for the event
  • More yoga

1 DAY PRIOR

  • Manicure/pedicure
  • Setting up my “out of office” email

ONSITE AT THE EVENT

  • My team really “takes over” and do what they do best at the event.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
meditation

I led guided meditation at my live event in 2013. This was hugely powerful for me, as well as the women who were interested in this tool.

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
  • Lots of REST!
  • 2-week vacation 2 weeks after the event ends
  • Deciding when/where to host my 2014 live event (it’s happening later this month!)

This is my method (and I’ll let you know what I do differently after ALCHEMY Live soon).

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 live event “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 EVENT

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 live event and SHOULD make money from your live event. Deal? :)

Creating, hosting and leading a live event 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 live event and when I crunched the numbers after it was all said and done, guess how much I made on the event?

$1,500.

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 upcoming ALCHEMY Live, not only will it be a transformational experience on the deepest level, but it will also be the first opportunity my tribe has to apply for membership in the 2014 – 2015 crew of the Business Adventure School, a 12-month mastermind and coaching program unlike anything else in the market.

brochure

The cover of our program brochure.

The Business Adventure School is hugely powerful for my clients AND it’s a profitable venture for my company that brings in regular, consistent revenue. When you’re an entrepreneur, cash flow is king.

Your live event can be a LAUNCHPAD for something spectacular that you share with your tribe that will change their life AND your business. So many of your attendees WANT to go deeper with you and continue to have access to the possibilities that you and your program will help them see. You’re doing them a SERVICE by offering them an experience to continue working with you.

If you’re making an offer at your event (and I typically recommend this), 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 live event 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 event. 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!

Hey – If you’re already signed up for our upcoming event ALCHEMY Live, see you there! Magic will be happening! If you didn’t grab a ticket yet, hop on before it’s too late.

Badge

 

Creating, Hosting + Leading Live Events + Retreats [Part 2]

Okay, so let’s continue on our journey of what YOU need to know when it comes to offering up live events and retreats to YOUR tribe. What I know is this: these experiences CHANGE your business (and your life).

We dove deep in part 1 of our series on a few key elements to consider: dates, venue, and agenda.

Now, let’s talk about marketing. This is a HUGE area, so I’ve broken it down into website, email campaign and launching.

1. MARKETING: WEBSITE

If you learn nothing else from this series, remember this: IF YOU DON’T MARKET YOUR EVENT, YOUR EVENT WON’T HAPPEN. So many smart business owners are clueless about marketing. It makes me sad because it doesn’t have to be this way. Marketing isn’t hard! It’s sacred.

Here’s what you need to host your event from a marketing-perspective: a website (a one-page sales page will do, but you can create something more elaborate if you’d like), some flyers if you’re hosting locally, and an email campaign.

For my 1st annual Retreat for Goddesses in 2011, I invested $1,500 to hire a graphic designer to create our branding and multi-page website.

RFG_logo

This was our first-ever logo.

I am a brand junkie and believe in the power of strong branding so this was an investment that made sense for my business.

If you are on a tighter budget, you could get away with hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) to create a simple sales page for you with your invitation to your peeps to join you. It has to be VERY COMPELLING and your copy must be strong. If you want an example of a sales page, check out my sales page for my upcoming event ALCHEMY Live. You can see the key elements to include: banner, invitation, event details, reasons to attend, photos, client testimonials/social proof, payment options, call to action.

RFG-logo

The logo for our 3rd annual event.

Graphic for ALCHEMY Live, the event that was born after I retired the Retreat for Goddesses

Graphic for ALCHEMY Live, the event that was born after I retired the Retreat for Goddesses.

Hire a graphic designer to create a beautiful banner/logo for you that you can splash EVERYWHERE as you lead your marketing campaign. On a budget? www.elance.com or www.fiverr.com are great spots to find inexpensive talent.

You need to have a way to collect payment. Do not require people to call you or send you a check. No! We use a Merchant Bank called PowerPay in my business, but if you’re not there yet, use www.paypal.com or www.eventbrite.com to collect payment. You want your website to do EVERYTHING for you. Makes it easier for everyone.

We also include some kind of satisfaction guarantee with our events. I’m so confident attendees will go home changed, for the better, that we have a guarantee that says if by the end of the first day of the event, they don’t love the experience, they can turn in their materials to a member of event staff and ask for their money back. People love guarantees. It’s called “risk reversal.” Off this in all of your events and feature it on your website.

icon-guarantee

2. MARKETING: EMAIL CAMPAIGN

Once you have your site up, it’s time to shift into action! Up until this point, you can be planting the seeds about your event with your clients and tribe. It’s a good idea to do some research with your community prior to booking your venue and choosing your dates about what THEY want to get out of an experience like the one you want to create.

Once you open up registration, reach out to those who expressed an interest to offer them the first chance to book their spot. I like offering early-bird pricing to give incentive to fast-action takers.

Create an email campaign to your list to spread the word. News flash: one email just won’t cut it! It has to be a multi-month effort.

In the emails, highlight the benefits of attending, answer the key questions or objections attendees have and continue believing in what you’re offering.

In every email, you must have a CALL TO ACTION. Invite them to sign up right then and there. You can offer bonuses, preferential pricing and special VIP deals that EXPIRE. People tend to delay making decisions for as long as humanly possible (even if they want to do something). You have to get in there and give them a reason to take action NOW.

2. MARKETING: LAUNCHING

For sophisticated marketers, you’ll want to create a big LAUNCH around your retreat. I teach this in detail in my mastermind the Business Adventure School, which will be open for enrollment soon. Knowing how to LAUNCH has allowed me to create a 6-figure business.

Hosting a teleclass, webinar or video series leading into a teleclass/webinar would be really smart. In-person workshops or “tour stops” are really effective too. I hosted workshops at local yoga studios to promote my 2nd annual Retreat. I even rented the local Women’s Club in my hometown in Florida and ended up attracting 3 women to the Retreat for Goddesses that year to travel all the way to New York. I was thrilled!

I’m also a big fan of offering free or discounted tickets to my live events to students and clients in my courses. That works really well. Try it!

The idea is to give people a taste of you and your teachings. Once they experience how amazing they feel in your presence, they’ll want to go deeper and commit to the offering you are inviting them to be a part of.

Like what you read here? Stay tuned for next week’s final installment of this series.

And if you want to take one of our FINAL spots at my next event ALCHEMY Live, hop on it! It’s time to turn your GIFTS into gold. Join us this October in the magical Berkshires of Massachusetts! It’s going to be AH-mazing.

Go here for details.

Badge

 

Creating, Hosting + Leading Live Events and Retreats [Part 1]

Creating my first-ever live event, the Retreat for Goddesses, back in 2010 created a HUGE GROWTH SPURT in my business. Up until that point, I was a classic life and career coach who was stuck in a one-to-one model simply trading hours for dollars.

While I loved my work and my clients, I had hit a wall. I couldn’t grow anymore and knew that with the birth of my second child in 2011, things would have to change. I wasn’t willing to just scrape by and only touch a handful of people with my message and teachings.

Enter the Retreat for Goddesses. It literally came to me in a dream when I moved from New York City to the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. The name of the event just dropped into my body. I went with it even though I’m not sure why I was selected as the teacher of all things Goddesses.

GGS#1

Hosting that event allowed me to step into the next level of my growth as a business owner and human being. During the retreat, I launched my first 9-month coaching, training and mastermind program. I stopped trading hours for dollars. I attracted more committed clients who were willing to invest in themselves.

All because I created, hosted and led a juicy live event experience.

And next month I’ll be hosting a live event for the 4th year in a row in my business. ALCHEMY Live is the name of my upcoming event and I am SO excited about leading this transformational journey for my crew.

The venue for ALCHEMY Live: a gorgeous resort spa!

The venue for ALCHEMY Live: a gorgeous resort spa!

Do you want to lead an event or retreat for your tribe? It’s certainly an art and a science with many lessons to learn. But in my experience (and I used to produce large conferences in my corporate job), there is no other type of experience that goes quite as deep as a live event.

Let’s dive in to what you need to know:

1. VENUE

Choose a venue that will be appealing to your ideal client and tribe. Consider geographic location, venue vibe, sleeping room arrangements, food, view, activities onsite.

You’ll also want to consider what you’ll be responsible for in the contract and price your tickets accordingly. The first two years, our venues required an all-inclusive price where my company was required to take all room reservations and roommate requests and then pay the venue a lump sum based on the numbers of women we attracted to sign up.

sanctuary

Last year and this year, I chose to work with a venue that would handle all the bookings and payment for those rooms, while my company handled event ticket reservations. I realized I had no desire to become a travel agency, which is what we were the first two years handling roommate requests and pairing people up and dealing with cancellations and changes. Not my cup of tea! But you must do what feels right to you and your biz.

Contract for a number of people you are confident you can attract, but that also scares you a bit because you know you’ll have to stretch. Understand what is included in the price and market these details to your peeps (how many meals are included? what activities are included? what are the accommodations like?).

listening

Also consider if you’re booking a classic retreat center, a hotel or a resort. I have experience at all types. There’s no right or wrong, but your venue should be a reflection of your brand and should attract your juicy clients like bees to honey.

Find a few options and go on site visits before you make a decision. If you can eat a meal during your site visit, do it. Good quality food = happy campers!

Group shot in front of greenery beauty

2. DATES

When do you want to host your live event and for how many days? I recommend a 3-day event as you’ll need that time to really go deep. Consider adding on an optional VIP upgrade at an additional cost where you provide a ton of value and an exclusive experience that only the VIP peeps will get.

I’ve hosted live events on weekends and during the week. At this stage in my business, I personally prefer hosting my 3-day events during the week because I don’t want to miss the weekends with my children. Plus, I’m attracting business women with flexibility in their work schedules so getting away during the week shouldn’t be an issue when you are working ON your business (vs. IN it).

Parlor Room

You need to start promoting at least 4 months prior to your event (earlier if possible). Lead time is crucial in your marketing efforts. You must give your clients and prospects notice if you want to fill seats. Yes, you’ll get last-minute sign-ups, but the majority will sign up a few months prior. Don’t underestimate the importance of this! When I was a conference director in the corporate world, we did studies that found that the more lead time we had, the more registrations we had. The sweet spot was about 5 – 6 months out.

3. AGENDA

Who will be leading your event? You the entire time or will you invite guest teachers to join you? This is personal preference though I highly recommend inviting some guest speakers to share in the “holding of the space” and to help you promote the event. Hosting an event (I don’t care what size it is) is a HUGE undertaking and the more help you can get with this, the better. Plus, your attendees will enjoy learning from another teacher who will know more about a particular area of expertise than you do.

Just be mindful that your speakers understand what you’d like them to teach, when they’ll be speaking and what your guidelines are for “selling from the stage” (when appropriate). It needs to be a win for all parties. Be clear upfront about your expectations.

Christine on Stage

As for your teachings, I recommend building in plenty of exercises for your peeps to participate in. Don’t just straight-up lecture! That’s not the point of a retreat. You want to give your attendees a chance to INTERACT with the material, try it on in their businesses and lives, connect with their fellow attendees, and go home with a plan and direction. My team passes out lots of worksheets to our attendees that truly brings the lessons I teach to life. It’s amazing watching the magic unfold.

When it comes to creating my multi-day events, I build in time for personal exploration and play. I’ve been to so many events, where you are in a conference room from morning until late at night without much fresh air or processing time. That’s not my bag. I’m all about giving people the SPACE they need to get the answers they seek. And guess what? Those answers won’t only come from you. You are creating the sacred space for your attendees to find their own answers. This is SO, SO powerful.

Giddy-up Rayna

Like what you read here? Stay tuned for next week’s continuation of this series.

And if you want to take one of our FINAL spots at my next event ALCHEMY Live, hop on it! Last time I checked, we had 4 spots left. It’s time to turn your GIFTS into gold. Join us this October in the magical Berkshires of Massachusetts! It’s going to be AH-mazing.

Go here for details.

Badge