If you were to ask me one thing that feels super duper BIG but I’d like to do… it would be to plan out my own retreat. I just finished writing my book for this year’s mega goal and I’m starting to plan my life and business for 2017.
I’ve been thinking seriously about planning a retreat for at least the last year. It’s always been in the back of my mind but I never thought I’d actually do it until I went through some challenging times recently like the possibility of my daughter facing a lung transplant and even as recently as September 2016 a biopsy scare, it was negative but it was her third freakin’ biopsy.
I realized that I need to nurture my spirit more, like a true injection of love, life and passionate pursuit of my dreams. I have some pretty FANTASTIC friends who have been in the same industry with me for years and I went to the two people that I love and admire…
These two ladies are dynamite and know a thing or two about running retreats. So I asked Nicole if she’d like to interview and she accepted. You see, I’m here to share this with YOU today because this is something I never thought could be a reality.
If you listened to the podcast I did with Nicole a couple of months ago, you’ll hear me talk about it and her cheering me on to just do it.
I’d like to present to you Nicole Dean, retreat extraordinaire, I hope it blesses you today and inspires YOU to plan your own too.
How To Plan Your Own Retreat
Tell me about what sparked you to hold a retreat.
Back in 2013, my dear friend, Kelly McCausey, and I were stuck in an ice storm in Atlanta after a retreat. I had gotten food poisoning or something so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fly out. Plus the airport was closing and I really didn’t want to get stuck in a bad situation sleeping in an airport with a questionable digestive system, so… we decided to just hang out in Atlanta for a few days until I was able to fly home.
During that time, Kelly had an itch to do something new and interesting and wanted to do an event or a high end coaching program with me. I was interested, but nothing felt fun and easy and exciting that we discussed. Hotel events…coaching programs… it all felt like stuff we already had done. Plus I’m a true introvert, so I was craving something more intimate and interesting. I’ll let you in on a little secret.
When my Kelly friend gets on a roll like this, she goes into one-track-mind mode. So I would fall asleep at night with Kelly talking about ideas and then wake up in the morning, open one eye and look over at her and she’d be sitting on the edge of her bed waiting for me to wake up and then it would continue. (I still think she was clearing her throat quietly to wake me up but she’s never admitted to it.) 🙂 Finally after 2 days of this, I finally said if it was at the beach it would be fun… 🙂 and voila.
Beachpreneurs was born. Kelly isn’t one to sit on an idea long, so we held our first event a few months later at a beach house on Pensacola Beach in Florida, near where I live. It was magical (as all of our events are), bold breakthroughs happened, lifetime friendships formed, and lives changed forever. We realized we had created something really special and we both said Yes, please. More of this.
What do you feel is the first thing someone should do when planning a retreat?
The first thing is to really take the time to envision what your retreat would look like if you could imagine ANYTHING and create exactly what you want beyond your wildest dreams. Once you do that, the pieces seem to just come together. Beyond that, it’s just about finding a place, putting together the offer for your event, the schedule, the food… and, of course, marketing it so you can fill spots.
What kind of finances did you need to have upfront?
For our first event, I talked with my husband about it before we put any money down. He said Either this is going to be really successful or we just bought an expensive little vacation for you and Kelly. 🙂 For our Beach Retreat, we get a very big beach house.
It sleeps 30 people (but has 15 beds so we max out at 15). It costs approximately $1000 per day just for the house. Plus of course food, drink, and other expenses. In our case, we had to be willing to risk about $6000 for our first event, including our travel expenses. However, that was our choice and you could do it much cheaper. We chose to go bigger for that first event, but we could have gone much smaller.
In fact, we’ve also hosted a different type of retreat we call the Beach Cottage. It is a smaller event than the Beach House. There’s a max of three guests, so our expenses are much smaller because we can get by renting a smaller house.
For this event, we have 3 guests, Kelly and me, and a Virtual Assistant or two because this is a get it done retreat where we dig in and accomplish something money-making. Of course there’s also beach time and sushi, too, but digging in is the best part. There are many ways to do this where the guests pay for their own rooms, too, if you decide to go with a boutique style hotel or inn where there are 4-10 rooms and you take over the entire inn. There would be less risk if you went that route.
Heck, I’ve seen glamping retreats, so the only limit is your imagination. Again, take the time to envision what would be FUN and EASY for you and also life changing for your guests. If that’s going to your grandpa’s hunting cabin in the woods, then do that.
Were you nervous you would book the venue and no one would register?
We were fully prepared for that. Our plan for the first event was to invite people that we would love to spend time with and charge a low price and hope that they signed up. It worked. How did you choose the price?
For the first event, we chose a price that we hoped was a no brainer in order to have guinea pigs to play with at the beach. 🙂
Thankfully we did have lots of friends who loved the idea and saw the value right away and we were able to get that first event off the ground successfully and fund our down payment for the next one, too.
No we didn’t make a MILLION dollars, but we got to have a great time with amazing friends and have it totally paid for and then some. So that was a success in my book for sure. Our prices are still too low and we’ve had a lot of people say to double them, but we are happy with how it is right now.
The important thing for me is that I get to spend time at the beach with warm, smart women and I’m truly blessed.
How did you plan the retreat? Like how many days to book and the details of the schedule?
We planned the retreat to be over the course of 3 or 4 days. I actually don’t recall if it was three the first time, but the retreats now are 4 days total including arrival and departure days. The schedule was really important to me because I wanted the event to be totally different than hotel events which are all about sitting in a room all day long which is so not my thing.
For our beach events, I wanted lots of down time for the guests to connect with each other, walk the beach, drive or walk to the shops, and process the masterminding that happened. We
have sessions in the morning, a long break in the afternoon, and then a short session after dinner to wrap up the day. Sometimes we have optional activities in the afternoon, if one of our attendees wishes to share an activity or if the group has a request.
From self-defense demonstrations, to aromatherapy, to personality typing, we’re open to pretty much anything. In fact, I’m in training to become a yoga instructor so we’ll have optional beach yoga classes at our next one. 🙂 But the big thing for me is that I love to shine the spotlight on smart people. So, it’s about the community, not about Oh everyone see how smart Nik and Kelly are. We want to build relationships in a safe place that can stand the test of time so our attendees have friends for life.
What is one thing you would tell someone who would like to plan a retreat?
Take risks but be smart, too.
If I think of all of the best things that have happened in my life thus far, they all have involved taking risks. Starting a business, getting married, moving across the country multiple times, choosing to have children, adopting my beautiful girl, traveling, and so many many more things than I can count.
Were they scary? Yes. Were they worth it? Oh a million times, yes. I can’t imagine my life without them. And Beachpreneurs? It’s such a magical thing.
To think of NOT doing it out of fear? I can’t even…At the same time, be smart. Don’t plan an event in August in Florida as that’s hurricane season. Check the dates for other things going on at the same time that might make travel difficult for your guests. Get travel insurance on the house if you rent one.
And YES you will have to market your event in order to sell spots. Do all of the smart things while still doing it. And if it’s scary to host a retreat, then attend a few first. See what you love and what you would do differently to add your own flair. I went to an amazing retreat in Costa Rica for 10 days this year and it was held by one of OUR Beachies. She came to our event a few years ago as part of her research for hers. We’ve got smart ladies. I’ll tell you that. 🙂
Any last thoughts?
Yes. If you’re a female entrepreneur ad you’re looking for Bold Breakthroughs on the Beach, or you know what you need to do to earn your next $10k/month, but you don’t know why you aren’t doing it, come join us.
We never know what your breakthrough might be and some of our ladies share some things with us that they’ve never shared with anyone before because they NEED to and they know they’re safe. And sometimes it’s just a simple tweak to your marketing that is everything and rocks your world. All is perfect as it is and we love our Beachies just as they are.
If you think this is what you have been looking for, check us out.