Why Small Retreats Build Big Business, or, the Top 10 Reasons I Continue to Host Small Retreats

MountainView1I was thrilled to learn that 2015 is the year of gathering! Astrologically speaking that is. I don’t require my readers to ‘buy in’ to astrology though – you can buy in to numbers and still be on board.

Over the last 4 years I have hosted 10 small retreats – between 6-16 people. That one strategy alone allowed me to add 6-figures in additional revenue each year to my business (while maintaining the base revenue to from the year prior). My very first retreat generated $36,000, and many generate 6-figures in new business, even when the room is small.

Not everyone who hosts retreats creates the same results (and that’s why I’m sharing my secrets in an upcoming webinar). That said, there is tremendous opportunity to build a solid, focused business by hosting small retreats. Especially in the year of gathering.

In 2014 I hosted my first ‘big event,’ and in just a few months I’ll be hosting my second one. I did this for reasons other than money, thankfully, and 2014 was a big learning year for me. My event was successful in that I generated a profit, and I met my two goals of 1) reaching people who would be nervous to gather more intimately with me, and 2) creating an event that felt intimate like a retreat.

That said, the event was a huge amount of work, and a huge expense, and the profit generated, while great, was no more than I had generated consistently from a weekend with 10 people.

And that’s when it clicked – one, that I love my strategy and bigger isn’t always better, and two, that we are moving into a time period in our collective consciousness of seeking genuine connection, community, and tribe, in a way that is different than ever before. We don’t want to be one of a tribe of many, gathering our identity by association. We want to be seen and known for who we are. Connection is queen.

That’s why today I’ve gathered my list of the top 10 reasons I continue to host small retreats:

  1. Identity Exists In Relation To Others. The biggest problem of entrepreneurs, and humans in general, is an identity problem. You cannot know who you are in a vacuum or from behind your laptop. We generate our identity in relation to others. We must be seen to have an identity, and we our identity is reflected to us by those around is. Retreats create a unique space for this to happen.
  2. Environment Is Everything. My business has changed every time my environment has changed. When we are in the same space, we think the same thoughts, see the same things, take the same actions, and we are limited in our ability to grow. Exposure to new environments will create transformation faster than any new knowledge ever could. When hosting a retreat, you get to craft the environment to create the result.
  3. Know, Like and Trust Builds Business. In a 2 or 3 day experience with you, people will establish solidly whether they know like and trust you. This allows them to make informed decisions about whether to continue to work with you, and increases the likelihood that they have a great experience, because they really know who they are hiring. (This assumes that you are authentic in your time with them of course.)
  4. You Are More Than Your Elevator Pitch. People obsess over how to share who they are in 60 seconds or less, yet this is an impossible task. Yes, you want to introduce yourself powerfully, but there will always be a part of you that cannot fit in 60 seconds. The aspects of you that you would never think to tell people about are often the ones that make them hire you. In a retreat, all of the elements of you come across, in PRACTICE, not in a contrived speech. Done right, in a retreat people will connect with who you really are without you having to explain it.
  5. I Love to Hold Space. I learned awhile back that one of the most important ingredients to making true change is being given the space to actually change. The people in our day-to-day life tend to give us the space to be who we were yesterday. In a retreat, you have the opportunity to hold a different space for people, and believe it or not, that space you give them is more important than anything you could ever TEACH them. The world needs more space holders and fewer instructors if we are truly going to evolve.
  6. Provide Transformation Over Information. Our world is in information overload. Nobody would ever have to leave their home to learn everything they need to know about running a business, losing weight, or parenting. Yet, receiving all of that information through the same filter you’ve been viewing life really makes no difference. People need transformation, not information. That’s where the real difference is made. A retreat with a finely tuned intention changes lives.
  7. Make Sales Without Selling. In my retreats I always have an offer prepared for those who want to take the next step with me. (I’ll be teaching about that in my webinar). In the intimacy of the environment created, it is easy, straightforward, and simple to make an offer, and trust that those who are meant to receive it, will. There is a definite strategy to this, and often people either don’t do it or do it in away that doesn’t inspire confidence, but done right you’ll have your exact right clients in your programs for 6 months to a year without having to have countless 1-on-1 sales calls.
  8. Do The Easy Work. Now, I will be the first to tell you that my first retreat was hard. I was nervous, I over-prepared, I was just developing my model along with my sense of my own value. It wasn’t easy. Today hosting a retreat is as easy as breathing for me, and I love it. With the right intention, clarity, purpose, and design based on who YOU are, uniquely, you can develop a signature retreat that allows you to simply be you, show up for a few days fully, and bring in money. No bells and whistles (I don’t even use PowerPoint), just you.
  9. Travel is a Business Expense! Ever want to visit Napa Valley? Host a retreat there. Now you can make a difference, make money, and deduct the bulk of your travel. (Or visit Napa Valley with my January Retreat. Seriously, design your life and business to be fun. I love exploring new venues and crafting different experiences to create the intended outcome. What better way to craft a life?
  10. Connection is Queen. We are in an era of seeking connection. Not just being a part of something to say you were a part of something, but participating in genuine relationships with people that get you, see where you’re going, and hold space for what is possible for you. Connection in which you know that when you show up you make an impact, and when you don’t show up you are missed. Our life is really about relationships and the energy we exchange on the journey. All else ends when we do. Retreats offer a unique opportunity to connect around a topic that is important to every person in the room in their own unique way. And when the higher level offer you present leverages that sense of connection that is already established in the room, that’s where the magic happens. Sure, people could go home and spend time trying to find people with whom they are connected as much as the people at your retreat, but it’s not likely. You are the magnet that brought this amazing group together, and they know it. Why wouldn’t they stay with you and your tribe going forward and allow the connections to unfold magically and profitably? Exactly.

If you’d like to learn how to develop your own retreat strategy, be sure to register for my webinar where I teach you as much as I possibly can in 75-minutes about developing and monetizing your first retreat. Register here


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