Why is it that, when we decide to do something new, we often don’t look for support around this?
We might google a bit, look at some experts and then do it the way we think it needs to be done. When we build a house, we always make sure the foundations are strong. If you get a new job you go to an induction, read the training manuals and be mentored in what you need to do to succeed. Then why is it, when we decide to run a retreat, we often jump straight in without building our foundations first?
I run training for those who want to add retreats to their business. Often they have tried to run one and it has not been as successful as they thought, they’ve lost money or only just broken even. Or they have struggled with getting the numbers they predicted, fulfilling their legal obligations, or even just having a system so everything goes smoothly. So why wouldn’t we ask for guidance at those first steps?
I am not sure why this happens but I think it is because we think organizing a retreat is easy, it’s like a holiday, right? With some extra workshops thrown in. I wish it was this easy – I just spent 3 hours on a call with a woman defining the itinerary and costings for a retreat to Chichen Itza for Equinox in September. Organizing all the details of a retreat and then knowing what you should and should not do while on the retreat is vital, and so I wanted to share some of those basic foundations with you so you understand the complexity of the process.
Firstly, it is important to get the logistics right. By this I mean understanding why you want to run a retreat, how your story fits into your business, along with the where, the when, and the how of the program. Part of this is being very clear of what you are offering and determining what your value propositions are (or simply what are your promises to participants).
Secondly, planning an itinerary that is balanced and covers what you are promising is a key to then budgeting for everything you need to – don’t forget to include your costs and profit margins as well.
Thirdly, and one of the most important parts is to have a marketing plan. It is easy to think, ‘I am going to put this awesome retreat together and I know enough people, so finding 10 is totally doable.’ and yes it might be, but then again it may not. So having a plan and launch strategy is vital. Part of this is knowing who your ideal client is and what language they use so that your webpages and social media speaks directly to them
Fourth, make sure you have all your systems are set up so emails are automated and payments are added smoothly, have your paperwork organised – registration forms, legal paperwork like attendance agreements and release of legality forms. This makes the process a whole lot easier and a few hours of set up work saves hours when people are registering, programs like Mail Chimp and Type Form are great, especially now Mail Chimp automations are free.
Lastly, I want to talk about Holding Space because really what does this even mean? It is a difficult thing to put into words and the best way I can do this is for you to picture that person that has supported you, walked beside you in something and given you the space to feel, discover, and learn at our own pace. How has this made you feel? Think of how you felt, how your body and mind reacted and how it allowed you to be.
As a professional, it means you can walk beside someone, not push them or direct them but allow them the time to walk the path they are meant to walk and learn what it is they are meant to learn. It is about opening your heart so that your support is unconditional. A lot of the time it comes naturally to us and we don’t even know that we are doing it but it is a necessary part of the role we play as retreat facilitators and relevant in every retreat setting from business to personal development to spirituality retreats.
So that’s the basics as I see them, be clear on what you are doing and organize your retreat with passion and excitement but don’t forget the logistics are important as well. CLICK HERE to find a whole lot of free resources in my Retreat Library so feel free to come and have a browse and use what you need.