Everything you need to nail it, from planning to profits
- It doesn’t have to feel like a giant shot in the dark
- It doesn’t have to be a massive risk (of losing moola and credibility and possibly your mind)
- It doesn’t even have to be the scariest thing you do this year
You can go into it fully prepared, fully planned, and fully excited...and you can know that your participants will be fully on board.
Because adding a small, boutique retreat to your list of services can be an awesome thing you do for your business - you just need to know what you’re getting into and exactly how to get the most out of it.
Well, you’re in for a (re)treat...because that’s what this is, yo.
Your First Retreat will teach you the tips and tricks of the trade from someone who has ‘been there, hosted that,’ It will tell you the exact steps you need to do in order to plan and run these bad boys successfully—both locally and internationally (ooh la la).
Let’s face it: retreats seem really hard to plan.
There are so many damn details to think about (on top of your already-full plate of, ya know, the rest of your business).
Doing anything for the first time can be scary AF (not to mention the fact that you’re not even sure if your business is ready to run retreats).
Because you’ve probably been to one of those iffy retreats. One where you didn’t feel like you got what was promised. Or where you ended up having to pay for a bunch of stuff you thought was included. Or one where the whole vibe was just super weird and the group didn’t mesh. Or just one where the food sucked (ie. the worst possible scenario). And trust me, if you felt like it was a failure, imagine how the person who executed it feels.
Your First Retreat is the way to make sure you don’t end up like that.
But be warned - this is not a OMG MAKE 7 FIGURES WITH THIS ONE RETREAT kind of course (sorry to burst the BS bubble early on); instead it’s a realistic view - that I’ve gathered over 4 years of running multiple local and international retreats - on what they can do for your business and the kind of results (and revenue) you should really expect. You’ll learn the possibilities and the limitations of retreats. Because, if you know me, you know that I definitely want you to grow and succeed and try new things, I just want to give you the real scoop and spare you the false claims that only lead to disappointment later on.
What do I mean by ‘boutique retreat’? I mean an intimate, 8-20 people kind of gathering, in a local or exotic destination (take your pick!). Not only is this much more doable and scalable than a massive corporate-style, conference-style retreat, but it’s also a number that you can more easily fill up ‘n sell out, and one that will help you create a truly transformational experience for your participants.
This course is specifically geared towards: Anyone with a service-based business – I’m lookin’ at you coaches, healers, creatives – who wants to add retreats to their existing business model.
I’m Becca from The Uncaged Life.
Over the last 4 years I’ve run multiple international and local retreats (and have LOVED doing them!). I know how powerful retreats can be. I kept getting coaches wanting to pick my brain on what’s worked for me and how I’ve gone about it, so I decided to take all of my knowledge and add in input from other retreat leaders to get an accurate picture of what works across the board. What I realized is that so many solopreneurs want to do retreats but they’re not sure if they’re ready, they have no idea where to start, and they’re afraid of losing money. So, I wanted to make things feel doable and easy; so that people could realize that retreat dream sooner than they think…and with much less headache and risk than they would if they were just wingin’ it. And also? It’s a pet peeve of mine to see courses that have flashy, false $$ promises, so I wanted to approach this with a candid, no bullshit mentality so that people have an accurate idea of what retreats entail and what they can earn.
Here’s exactly what we cover in Your First Retreat:
Are you ready to run retreats?
Do not pass ‘go,’ do not collect (or spend) $200 - this is where we get real on whether or not you’re ready to run a retreat. This will take care of a lot of those big bad fears swirling in your head and help you assess your focus on your foundations , how big your list and audience should be before you launch, and best yet: a guide on how to get there if you’re not ready yet. No ‘giving up’ served here. If you’re not ready yet, you will be after working through this module.
Your big retreat vision
If you’ve only gotten as far as “It would be pretty cool to host my own retreat…” this module will get you way beyond that and into the big WHY you want to really do this, and WHAT kind of retreat you envision (because this vision is what separates ‘good enough’ from ‘damn good.’). I’ll lead you through crafting a mission statement and purpose for your retreat - this will majorly guide how you can make your retreat a transformational (and hella enjoyable) experience for your participants. Because, well, a solid retreat is way more than just another vacation. This is also where we’ll go over how to talk about your retreat in a way that makes your ideal participant tear their shirts off in excitement. We will also cover whether or not you should create your retreat with a partner, bring an assistant on for support, or hire contractors to help - and then exactly what you need to discuss (and sign!) with them before bringing them on.
Location, Venue and Dates
Here’s where we get into the nitty gritty of planning your retreat dates, the location, the venue, and the group size. Ya know, the big nuts and bolts of the whole shebang. You’re going to feel SO prepared and in the know when you scout out that location and venue, when you have the critical zinger questions to ask them (before laying down any money), and when you determine the perfect retreat group size for the retreat you’re cookin’ up. (Basically, we are leaving nothing to chance; because these are the details that hold a lot of weight for the type of experience you’re creating (and for the profit you’re gonna make).
Nailing down the Itinerary
You’ll get access to some real examples of retreat schedules so that you can plot out how your retreat time will be divvied up and structured. Things like: how much workshop time versus free time to include and how to plan (and charge for) additional excursions. You’ll use your location, your group size, and your vision to influence how you design your time because retreat itineraries are NOT one-size-fits-all. Get yours just right in this module.
The B-Word: Budget
Aside from the mission behind your retreat, you’re probably hoping to make some coin too, right? We’ll hear some real numbers from real retreat leaders and get into the nitty gritty of what kind of profit you can expect to make. I’ll arm you with easy-to-use budgeting spreadsheets so you can figure out what to charge, and hard won advice for early bird pricing, deposits, payment plans, and cancellations. I’ll show you how you can play around with the numbers to determine how much you’re spending and making as well as how to plan for all possible expenses so you don’t end up losing money (I wish this was more rare, but it’s a big issue newbies run into!) (Not you though.)
Before you Launch
Here’s where the rubber meets the road: launching this puppy. I’ll walk you through how far in advance you need to launch and help you outline EVERY FACET so when you start marketing the retreat you’re armed and ready. This section includes a template for writing a killer sales page as well as a retreat contract you can use with your participants to cover your rump, and theirs (p.s. that handy contract is worth $600-1000 alone!)
Marketing this B*tch
I’ll clue you in on THE trick for filling your retreat spots quickly and easily—something all retreat leaders I know use to fill theirs up lickety split. We’ll cover your detailed launch sequence including how to get other people to do your marketing for you (yes really). Included in this section is a clear plan for how to use things like Facebook ads, email marketing, and social media to fill your retreats, with best practices and only what you NEED to know - no wasting time with stuff that won’t work. Because barf.
You’re about ready for blast off, your spots are filled, you’re really excited...here’s everything you need to remember before you head out to meet your participants.
On your Retreat
Your retreat has started! All of your gorgeous work is coming to fruition! But there are a few sticky situations that can arise and a slew of handy reminders to make sure your guests have an unforgettable experience (the good kind of unforgettable). We’ll talk about managing your energy levels (retreats are a lot of work!), how to deal with problems that might arise, and how to make sure you fully show up for your group right from the get go, plus some small touches you can add for BIG impact. I’ll also go into some things you can do ON your retreat to help you better market and sell your next one (future-thinking makes for future success, y’all.)
After the party it's the after-planning
Once the retreat has wrapped and you’re back home, there are a few things you’ll want to do to help round out the experience for your guests, like gather testimonials, and offer them options to continue working with you. Exactly how to do it is all in this module, with the exact email templates I use to get sparkling testimonials every time.
Your First Retreat is filled to the brim with all of the tools and resources you need (and that I use every single time) to plan the shit out of your retreat. Things like:
A digital format
that is not only beautifully designed and intuitive, but also able to be worked on offline, so you can do it whenev, wherev.
so you can fill out all of the pertinent info and steps in one place (aka become a planning queen).
to make sure you never miss any of those details in the planning process and so you can see, at a glance, where you are and what you need to do.
Budgeting and pricing tools
so you can concretely (and easily) calculate your retreat costs and play around with numbers to make sure you don’t lose cash monies. Even if you hate spreadsheets (like me!), this tool will be your roadmap for profit and is super easy to use.
up the wazoo, like participant information forms, payment plan trackers, scheduling tools, marketing plans and all of the other retreat planning tools I use.
Sales Page template
so you can knock out a killer, compelling page to sell that bad boy (along with a real sales page example from one of my sold out retreats)—because as we all know, how you market and position your retreat can make or break the whole thing.
A retreat contract
that you can tweak to make sure your ass is completely covered (most lawyers will charge about $600-1000 to create this for you from scratch and don’t get me started on what could happen if you don’t have a contract).
and done-for-you swipe copy to help you (rocket) launch your retreat (selling your spots is one of theeee hardest, and most overlooked parts, so I’ve got you covered).
A testimonial template
you can use to get riveting testimonials to help sell your next retreat (and hell yes after using this course you’ll be excited to do another...and another).
Because I believe that more heads are better than one, I’ve gathered 3 experts to walk you through the planning, marketing, and legal processes of retreats: They are:
Sandra Pilarczyk - venue coordinator and hotel manager.She’ll discuss what to look for in a venue, what you absolutely must ask venues before booking, how to get deals, and how to make sure you don’t lose money.
Claire Pelletreau - Facebook ads expert.She’s giving killer advice on how to use ads for retreats, what works and what doesn’t, common mistakes to avoid, and best practices for what images and copy to use for the best results (hint: it’s not the same as running ads for the rest of your business)
Gena Shingle Jaffe - entrepreneurial lawyer.She will go into everything you need to get in place legally to make sure you and your guests are covered. (She’s the genius behind the bonus contract we’re giving you to take and tweak for your own retreat.)
BONUS: I also include interviews with 4 other successful retreat leaders. They’ll be dishing out their favorite tips for nailing your first retreat plus all of the things they wish they’d known before they started (all hail learning from other people’s mistakes!).
GOLD. Your experts are:
relationship coach who sells out her retreats year after year
life coach who shares what she felt was the hardest thing about retreats
coach and podcaster who tells us his tips for not losing money (because he did!)
business coach who shares her best tips for creating the perfect schedule
Ready to host your first retreat?
Side effects of this course include:
- peace of mind that you’ve thought of everything and have your bases covered
- confidence that you’re prepared and won’t screw up
- excitement that people want to come to your retreat and certainty they’ll have a rad time
- feeling ahead of the game on a launch
- knowing concretely what numbers are coming in and going out
- increased retreat profit and decreased fear of losing it all
- avoiding common pitfalls that so many people fall into when planning retreats (cue: Adele singing “hello from the other side”)
What’s the saying, a dream without a plan is just a wish? Well a retreat without a plan is just a nightmare waiting to happen. (Perhaps that should be on pinterest somewhere.)
So ditch the ‘hoping for the best’ mentality and instead get the advice, tools, resources, and secrets from the retreat pros so that it’s only a matter of time before you’re one of ‘em.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your First Retreat is a self study, online program - which means you can start anytime! Once you purchase, you'll be sent a link to download the course and you can get to work at your own pace. Retreats can take some time to plan, so this format ensures that you're not waiting on a group to all go at the same pace - you can hunker down now and be on your retreat in no time!
Technically, yes. Financially, mentally, strategically? Not as well as if you’re armed with info from pros who have gone before you. It’s like, can you go drive a car for the first time on your own? Sure. But if you learned how from someone who knows what they’re doing, you’re way less likely to crash, hurt yourself, lose money, or get arrested.
This course is best suited for people who have a business that already has clients...but the first module will help you get up to speed if you’re not there yet. But what it won’t do is help you figure out your business niche, etc, so you’ll want to make sure you have those foundations in place first before taking this.
No. And anyone who is putting those kinds of numbers in your face is doing sneaky marketing. This course is for people who want to lead transformational and profitable retreats, but money-making is not the main goal. You will turn a profit - and a good one,yes! I’ll lay out what you can realistically expect to make and set you up so that your retreats feel good for you and your participants. Oh, and I’ll explain what those “6 figure” retreat leaders really mean when they promise that number.
I want to run a conference-style retreat with 50+ people and multiple speakers, will this show me how?
Nope - this course is specifically for peeps who want to run a boutique-style coaching, personal transformation or adventure retreat with 8-20ish people.
I'm not currently offering any one-on-one help with retreat planning. This is a self-study course, which means you can work at your own pace. Retreats take a lot of time to plan, over a long period, and this way you won’t feel like you’re rushing the process, but you'll be the first to know if I do open up spots in the future!
OH HELL YES! There are specific things every retreat leader needs to know, and I’ll tell you exactly what they are. I can’t legally give legal advice, but I do let you know the considerations you need to be aware of, AND the amazing Gena Shingle Jaffe joins us in an exclusive interview to tell you everything you need to help you protect your ass.. I even include a sample contract you can take and tweak for your retreat (worth the price of the course alone.) Note: I don’t give tax advice in this course, nor can I tell you the specific regulations of every possible country you might want to run your retreat in. So while I do my best to give you all the information you need, you will have to do some research on your own as well.
This is GOLD!
This course is incredibly meaty. I kept saying to myself, “Wow, she really thought of everything!” I also appreciate how it’s laid out. It’s a very clear “do this, then this, which flows into this….” and that’s a great way to pre-emptively tackle overwhelm. I love that the templates would allow me to dive in and start planning right away, so that the lessons and insights don’t get lost between reading and implementing. Amazing work, this is GOLD!
Gabrielle Gilliland, Grief Coach
The resources in this course are brilliant!
Retreat planning is such a mammoth undertaking with so many different things to consider, I was feeling completely stuck with where to start. I knew I needed a comprehensive plan, but was so scared I’d miss out a vital step that I didn’t know about, that I put off putting ANYTHING down on paper. But with this course, I am SO excited to get cracking! I feel like I have a solid roadmap to follow and that when I follow all the steps I’ll have a great plan in place – it doesn’t feel overwhelming any more. The amount of information and all the resources and templates is just brilliant – although in many ways I’m not surprised as I knew it would be amazing coming from you!! I feel fully equipped to plan an amazing retreat – from nailing my idea, deciding on my dream client, planning, marketing, launching and hosting – the whole shebang! If you’re thinking of hosting a retreat – you need this course!
Becs Miller, Publicity Coach
An absolute must-have for anyone who wants to run retreats!
I thought I would need an experienced retreat planner by my side to plan retreats, but with Your First Retreat I feel so much more confident! This course breaks everything down and even goes into details that I would have NEVER thought about if I was doing this on my own. It gives a clear step by step plan on what to do and when to do it. I was surprised at how in depth the course was! All my bases are covered. THANK YOU!
Nicole Woodroffe, Life Coach
You're learning from an expert!
Rebecca clearly knows her stuff when it comes to retreats. This course answered both the questions I knew I had... plus the questions I didn't realize I had but needed to consider. I now feel informed - and excited to take next steps! Rebecca's done the research, she's run the retreats, she knows what works and what doesn't work, and she's brought all this together clearly in one place - so you can save yourself time (and money) by benefiting from her experience.
Corrina Gordon-Barnes, Relationship Coach
I love the comprehensive nature of this course!
What's great about this content is that it is fresh and actionable. Becca has done the work to organize & refine the steps to take into a straightforward path. This is how retreats get created, marketed, booked, and run, and how retreats can integrate into your existing business!
Erica Marx, Life Coach
Get the momentum and clarity you need to START!
Rebecca always provides so much detail and practical advice, and the course is loaded with information! I loved that it gave clear guidelines to follow, but also left room for me to do things my own way. It's a great guide that walked be step by step from the beginning of setting a solid foundation and vision. It has given me the confidence and excitement that I needed to move forward, for both short and longer retreats that I'm planning for 2017!
Lynne Newman, Occupational Therapist and Doula
The templates made me cry with relief and happiness!
This course is brilliant. It is detailed, thorough, reassuring and a pleasure to work through. It makes what might seem an intimidating feat and breaks it down into manageable bite-sized pieces. Thank you Becca!