Hi, this is Darla LeDoux. Today I want to talk with you about how to host a profitable retreat. So many retreat leaders make mistakes when it comes to hosting, where they end up making maybe a few hundred dollars for themselves at the end of the day. They host an all-inclusive retreat and they charge based on market value, and so they underprice themselves. They don’t really think ahead and they walk away with very little money in their pocket, and I don’t want that to happen to you.
The reason I don’t want that to happen to you, is because I am such a believer in the power of small retreats. There is nothing that brings the kind of transformation that you can create when you have a small group of committed attendees, who are really on a path of creating growth for themselves. You can’t get that kind of transformation from behind a laptop, and you can’t get that kind of intimacy and connection in a large event. Small retreats, I believe are a pathway to really changing the world, I want yours to make money so you keep doing them.
Let’s talk about how to host a profitable retreat, not just a fun or interesting retreat. By the way, it is my belief that a profitable retreat model makes a bigger difference in the world, than one that doesn’t make money. The more committed someone is to the transformation, the more likely they’re able to get it, and make it last.
3 Steps to a Profitable Retreat
The very first thing, is clarity. Clarity does not mean perfection. To be clear does not mean that you’re perfect, it means that you are really clear about the outcomes they will get, and how you’ll get them there. You don’t even have to tell them how you’ll get them there, but you want to know what the outcomes are. Make sure they’re outcomes that people actually want.
Let me give you an example. I have a retreat it’s called The Pulse, and it’s how to make money and impact from the heart of who you are, that’s tagline. The outcome is, they will walk away with offer and message clarity. They will know exactly how to talk about what they offer, and they will know how to structure what they offer. How they get there, is through an understanding and a deep owning of their personal story, and their personal perspective in life. That’s all I really need to know, to have the kind of clarity I need to put the right people in the room.
You want to be clear about the outcome. Then for you in your own mind and heart, you want to know how you get them there. You don’t have to know everything about what’s going to happen in your whole retreat. In fact the less time you spend spinning on that, and the more you spend time talking with people and putting them into your retreat, the better. You do want to have that internal alignment, that says, “I know that when that person is in my room, they will get that outcome.” That’s the clarity that you want, because people feel your confidence in that.
The second key to hosting a small retreat, is pricing … A profitable retreat, is pricing. Here’s my recommendation for pricing. I don’t want you or need you to make a ton of money on the initial pricing for the retreat. What I do want is that, you don’t loose money which happens a lot. Here’s how I recommend pricing, I want you to think about how many people you want in your retreat. My recommendation is always 12, I think 12 is a great amount. Anywhere between 8 and 12 is actually perfect, you can make a huge difference, and a lot of money from 8 to 12 in the room.
Let’s say your sweet spot is 10, and you want 10 people in the room. For me when I host a retreat, I like to really treat people well and so I spend some money. My average retreat costs about 4,000 dollars, if it’s a retreat I’m travelling to and I have a team member coming as well. It’s less if it’s local and things like that. Anyway, 4,000 is the high end of where you can think about your expenses. If you’re having 10 people, if that’s what full is for you, then you want to divide the cost of your retreat by 5, and that’s how you’ll know how to price your retreat. This particular retreat will need to be priced at 800 dollars, so that you break even when it’s half full. That way you can go in feeling very confident when you fill the other half, you’re making some money. That’s my recommendation about pricing.
I’m talking about profitable small retreats, so you might say, “Gosh, that’s not that big of a profit, maybe 4,000 if I fill it.” I hear you, and let me tell you why I recommend pricing it this way. It minimizes your risk, but it maximizes the number of people that you’ll have in the room.
The next piece to your profitable small retreat, step 3 is your container. Let me tell what I mean by container. When someone does a retreat with you, we want to have a really clear outcome, if they’re going to come, it will make such a difference in their life, they’ll be talking about it for the rest of their life. A lot of people are going to leave and they’ll want more support. Let’s say you solve a particular problem … Have you ever heard this idea that every solution, creates a new problem. If you think about it, it’s really true. Anywhere in your life where you solve a problem, let’s say your computer is not working, you get a new computer. Now you have a new problem, you have to learn how to use it, you have to transfer your files, you might need new accessories, all of that.
Every solution creates a new problem. It’s true, it’s a fact of life, it’s a fact of actually the fundamental universal law of more life. Which means that we are actually designed to continue to grow, it’s how we’re designed, don’t make it wrong, don’t make this wrong, we want to continue to grow. When they’re leaving your retreat, some people will be whole and complete, they got exactly what they need at this stage of the journey, and they’re on their way. A lot of people are going to be hungry for more, they’re going to have experienced you for two and a half days, doing your very best work. If you’re an intuitive entrepreneur, you just shine in this setting. They’ve seen you at your very best, they know who you are, maybe even better than you know yourself and they want more. They want to buy more access to you. That’s where this container comes in.
I call it a container of support, specifically a high level container of support. You want to offer people the opportunity to continue to work with you in this high level of container of support, for the next 3 months, or 6 months, or a year, following your retreat, depending on the type of work you do, and the problems you solve, and what they really need. You want to design something that’s just for the people who really want the outcomes you provide. They really want to work with you side by side, they want as much of you as they can, and they’re going to be really committed.
You want to offer that at your retreat, and you want to offer that for a large amount of money. You really want to make it worth it for them to invest and get that outcome, and worth it for you to really create that outcome with them. My first container of support that I sold was 6,000 dollars, I kind of did that on my own. With my clients, my goal is always that they offer something ideally that’s around 10,000 and you just can go up from there as you get more experience, and understanding of your people, and what you deliver.
If you think about, if you have 10 people in your retreat, and 5 of them buy your container of support at 10,000 dollars, you just had a 50,000 dollar weekend. That’s how you make real profit in your retreat. I know some of you are going, “Yeah, but I don’t have something that’s worth 10,000 dollars.” I know that’s not accurate, I know that’s not true, you can start smaller. I guarantee, your natural gifts and talents when you bundle them correctly, will absolutely be worth 10,000 or 20,000 or more, for your highest level clients. If you have any doubts about that, please reach out, or come to my Pulse retreat actually, and we’ll get those offerings clear, we’ll get your pricing clear, and your messaging clear, so really own your value.
These are the 3 secrets to hosting profitable small retreats. I hope you’ve gotten a nugget of value, please leave a comment below, I would love to hear about it.
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I am just starting fitness retreats and your video info was extremely helpful. Thank you!