In today’s episode, I’m taking you on a behind-the-scenes journey of my experience with retreats.
Whether you’ve been thinking about going on a retreat or potentially running and selling one, this is going to be a really helpful episode for you.
Let’s dive in!
I’m going to start this episode by talking about my experience going on retreats personally. I think that it gives a lot of insight into where my journey with selling retreats comes from and why I find retreats so valuable…
I go on retreats very regularly. Whether that be for business or health, and whether that be in a group or on my own.
The first ever retreat that I went on was for my business.
It was about a year and a half into starting my business, when David and I decided that we wanted to take the business mobile. We wanted to work from other countries and find ourselves a little semi-permanent space overseas.
We saw a 10-day retreat that was being held in Bali that teaches you how to grow your business in a mobile way and gives you the opportunity to practice running your business whilst in different spaces in Bali.
It was such a great experience!
Initially, David and I weren’t considering Bali as a space that we wanted to go to to run the business. We were initially mostly focused on going to Europe or some other countries, but we fell in love with the lifestyle in Bali. We really felt like we could get there and get ourselves set up quickly.
That was actually behind our decision to move to Bali.
That retreat was really helpful for me to not only see what retreat facilitation would look like, but also to experience life as a mobile entrepreneur and build my confidence in being able to do that myself.
Once I was in Bali, I was very inspired to facilitate my own retreats.
We had a spare bedroom in our villa so we invited people to come on retreat one at a time to stay with us and have three to four days of working on their business each day. Then we would also show them the sights around Bali and take them to our favourite spaces.
When I was facilitating a mastermind in 2015, that mastermind also included a Bali retreat. That was the first group retreat that I ran in Bali, and we had five people come and be part of it.
That was my early foray into retreats – actually going on one myself.
These days I go on multiple retreats per year.
I try to go on at least two retreats every year for my health and wellbeing. It’s an opportunity for me to unplug and really focus on my health and movement.
I usually do my retreat at Bev Roberts’ house. She facilitates amazing VIP 1:1 health and wellbeing retreats and I absolutely love and adore those.
If you want to find out more about Bev, head to livingfabulously.com.
She has a little flat that’s attached to her home that has an infrared sauna in it. She makes the most amazing food and it’s so nourishing! I call her Mama Bev because she really looks after me. It’s such a beautiful experience.
I aim to do that at least twice a year. If I can’t do two with Bev in one year, then I’ll do one with Bev and one other one.
I try to do at least two retreats every year just for my health and wellbeing – it’s a little bit of a disconnect and a detox.
Then I also do multiple retreats each year for my business.
Some of those I just organise for myself as solo retreats. I aim to do a solo retreat every 2-3 months.
That’s when I generally record most of my podcast episodes, I do a lot of the behind-the-scenes work in my business, and I record modules for my courses, programs, Accelerator mastermind, and my new freebies.
I generally create and record those on a solo retreat because I have an epic space that is set up just for recording. I hire a place, I’m there on my own, and I really find it helps me with that change up of energy and location.
It helps me get focused in that creative space and know exactly what I need to achieve.
I’ve recently just come back from a solo retreat, and I’m currently in the process of doing the debriefs of that.
Whilst I’m on retreat, I have this little post-it notes system that I put up on the wall, and I have a record of everything that I wanted to do on the retreat and everything that I have completed on that retreat.
It’s really helpful for me to get a big bunch of work done in a compressed amount of time, and it’s just such a nourishing space and opportunity for me.
I generally have half of my food pre-prepared by Davey, and then the other half of the time I’m dining out and just having a really beautiful time being on my own.
Even as a raging extrovert, I do find that I have a lot of intuitive insights and creative ideas that come from that time alone and just being in that creative space where I have nothing else to focus on except looking after myself and looking after my business.
I have a lot of experience going on retreats.
I’ve also gone on a lot of facilitated retreats or self-organised retreats with business friends.
I have one group of business friends that I met on a paid retreat with Denise Duffield-Thomas, and we still go on retreat with each other once a year.
It’s a really beautiful opportunity for us to have a peer-led masterminding retreat. It’s absolutely brilliant and I absolutely adore and love that one.
I also have an affinity with going on Denise Duffield-Thomas’s Rose Farm retreat. I’ve been twice already, and I’m going a third time this year.
It’s such a powerful expansive opportunity for me.
It’s very money mindset focused, and there are also some great insights into behind-the-scenes with Denise’s business.
I just find it’s such a powerful space to be in. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Spending time on retreat with people who are investing in a really big mindset shift and who have the same level of ambition and drive as we do, in a very chill and boundaried way is incredible.
It’s a gorgeous experience with retreats because there’s no glorification of hustle, and there’s no one telling you to work hard or get hungrier. It’s very much focused on finding what your unique pathway to wealth is, what the easiest way for this to be done is, and what mindset blocks are stopping you from choosing the easy option.
It is a really powerful experience with retreats.
I’ll probably go every year from here because I just love and adore it.
We go to the one that also has the Oscars party. Davey loves the Oscars, so he comes down to Newcastle with me and we have an amazing time checking out the Oscars. We have a little holiday attached to that retreat time as well.
As I said, I’ve got lots and lots of experience going on retreats.
I also have plenty of experience running retreats.
As I said, I ran my first retreats in Bali. But when we moved back to the Sunshine Coast in Australia in 2017, I also facilitated a bunch of retreats there.
Davey and I rented a six-bedroom home because it was one of the only ones available at the time that was fully furnished and allowed pets, so we decided to host retreats there seeing as we had the space.
I facilitated three people on retreat consistently, and that covered our expenses in that home, as well as giving us a healthy profit margin.
I facilitated five of those three-on-one retreats in our home, and a few one-to-one VIP retreats as well.
When I was in New Zealand, I also facilitated retreats, and now I co-facilitate the FinishFest retreat with Claire Riley in Noosa.
Running that retreat in Noosa was really great for me because I also got to experience another person’s style and model of facilitating retreats.
My experience with running retreats has been:
- In my own home
- At venues
- Co-hosted/joint venture retreats
A couple of quick tips on that…
From here, I don’t think I would ever facilitate a retreat in my home again.
One of the challenges with facilitating retreats in my home was that there was no disconnection time.
Whilst I may be a 29 out of 30 extrovert, when you’re holding space for people in retreat mode, I think it’s really important that you have good boundary time to digest, process and have a little bit of time to yourself.
What I found was, the more of those retreats I facilitated at my home, the more I would end up just going to my room at 6pm to have some of that extra time away.
If I was facilitating at a venue, then it would be far easier to have that boundaried solo time without feeling like I need to host 24/7.
That’s definitely a boundary that I’m going to continue to stick with moving forward.
It’s not necessarily that I want to escape from people, but there is no space to ‘escape’ to in order to have that processing time where you can decompress and not hold space for everyone all day and all night.
That’s just a little lesson of mine and a boundary that I’ve set.
I know people who still do facilitate retreats in their homes, and it’s totally fine for them. They don’t necessarily get caught in that space. I just feel like from here, it’s not going to be a fit for me.
The big thing that I want to talk about in this episode is SELLING retreats
Selling retreats can get very tricky at times. It can be far more challenging than we assume it’s going to be.
We can sometimes get caught up in that belief that if we just offer it, then it’s going to be a no-brainer for people to buy it. Or if we just put together the perfect agenda and have the most amazing massage thrown in, that people are going to be able to automatically see the value.
That’s absolutely something that I’m guilty of.
When it comes to retreats, I know how valuable they are. I know the intangibles of retreats.
When I’m marketing retreats, I can sometimes fall into the trap of just assuming that everyone else gets it as well. Rather than talking about the tangible and more practical sides of being on retreat, I just talk about the magic of retreats, and I assume people are going to get it.
But that’s not necessarily strong messaging or value proposition so it’s definitely something I need to continue refining for myself and continue to learn how to articulate the value proposition of a retreat in a way that doesn’t have people think they’re going to have workshops and strategy sessions and access to me 24/7.
That can also come from going the other way.
You feel like you want people to get so much tangible goodness out of coming on retreat with you, that you over-schedule the time and you create this wildly rigorous agenda.
It does feel like it’s reassuring and comforting to you because you’re keeping them busy the whole time (therefore you’re giving them the most value), but as a retreat facilitator, I know that most of the value comes from the downtimes.
Most of the value comes from being away from home and being in a different environment and having different conversations.
Those conversations don’t have space to happen if you micro-schedule every minute of every day.
One of the things that I do when it comes to selling retreats is I create a very spacious agenda.
I’m very clear on exactly what the focal point of that retreat is. Yes, people can come on retreat with me and we could work on any part of their business. But it’s the same as me saying, ‘Come and work with me as a mentor. We can work on anything!’
If you try to sell to everyone, you end up resonating with and speaking to no one.
If you try to say your retreat does everything, people start to feel like they’re going to get nothing done.
Having a strong focal point in the marketing and messaging of each retreat has significantly improved the conversion and the rate at which we make sales of those retreats.
Another thing that I want to talk about in sharing my experience with retreats is that there aren’t necessarily great lead magnets for retreats.
That’s a question that I get asked quite a lot…
- Should I run a webinar and then upsell people into my retreat as I would a course?
- Do I run a challenge?
- Do I have to run an in-person workshop because only locals are going to come on retreat with me?
The answer that I give is that there is no one proven lead magnet for retreats.
In particular, different retreats have different audiences that you want to attract. Retreats are probably the one product in my business where people go from zero to buying much faster than anything else.
For me, rather than trying to create lead magnets for my retreats, I instead focus on building that connection and engagement with my audience, seeding the talk about retreats quite consistently, and simply having a waitlist for retreats.
Rather than using some form of opt-in or lead magnet to encourage leads to come to something that might then upsell to a retreat (because there’s a big difference between a one-hour webinar and coming away on a five-day retreat!), instead, I talk about retreats quite consistently.
Whenever I’m on solo retreat, I’ll do some Facebook Lives and Instagram stories about that retreat. This generally gets a couple of inquiries in and I put pop those people on the waitlist.
I also talk about retreats in certain podcast episodes (I’ve got an episode on how I structure a solo retreat to get work done. If you want to check it out, head to tashcorbin.com/328).
Promo posts for my retreats go out quite consistently on my social channels and out to my mailing list. That will generate a couple of inquiries. If my upcoming retreat is the right fit, we’ll talk about that. But if not, I’ll pop them on the waitlist for future retreats that might be a better fit for them.
It’s actually something that I consistently seed and consistently generate leads for.
When I feel like I’ve got some spaciousness to run a retreat, I promote it to my waitlist first, and then I will start promoting it more to my general audience and seeing if there’s anyone who might be interested.
That is the behind-the-scenes look at my experience with retreats.
I would love for you to come and check out the new section of my website… My new Events tab!
I’ve just added this to my website, and I thought this was a great opportunity for you to come and check it out.
Over on the Events tab, you’ll find the next group retreats I have coming up, as well as any other events I’m going to be running.
That will include things like free workshops, in-person events, events where I’m guest speaking, Conference, and retreats that I’ll be facilitating.
There’s also a link there for you to jump on the waitlist for future live events so that you don’t miss out on those notifications.
Simply head to tashcorbin.com/events to check it all out!
Thanks so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.