WHAT RUNNING A RETREAT TAUGHT ME ABOUT RUNNING A BUSINESS

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If one thing’s for certain, it’s that starting and running a business is a challenging journey that gifts us so many opportunities to learn and grow. Here’s my recent business reflections …

 

Late last month, my biz babe and I ran our very first retreat - Boho Bliss: a 3 day adventure, wellness and connection getaway. It was unlike anything I’d ever worked on before. A 3 night luxury all inclusive getaway for seven guests. Dang! It was freakin’ epic and a lot to organise. It was bigger, bolder and more financially risky than any event I’d run before. It was the first large scale collaboration I’d ever been a part of and it was packed full of learnings!

There were ups and there were downs. There was certainty and there was self doubt. There was calm and there was frustration. All up, the process of Danielle and I first meeting, coming up with the idea, planning and executing the retreat happened in just under 5 months (clearly we don’t stuff around!)

Through this time I learned so much. About myself.  About business. About life.

Today, I want to share the business learnings I was gifted.  Even if running retreats isn’t your jam, these learnings will definitely serve you in your business and its growth, my love.

 

Be bold. Reach out to the people you’d love to work with.

A bit of background – Danielle and I first met when I attended an event she was running. Falling immediately in love with her energy and passion for life and business, I sent her a message the next day asking if she’d be interested in collaborating (on what, I had no idea!)

Fast forward 5 months and we’d not only run a retreat together, but had also developed a beautiful friendship in the process. Wowza – all from one brave little message (and of course, her willingness to say a big ‘heck yeah, let’s give it a whirl!) I often wonder (as I do in my over active mind) what would have happened if I hadn’t had the courage to send that initial message. If I hadn’t been brave enough to step up, out, and put myself on the line. If I’d sat on the fence and dreamed, rather than taking inspired action.

Be brave and reach out sugar! Sure, you’ll get some knock backs, but you’ll also get some beautiful ‘HECK YEAHS!’ just as I did! The knock backs will make you stronger and the ‘heck yeahs’ will transform your life. You can’t go wrong when you look at it like that, can you!

 

Choose the right person/people to collaborate with.

I’ll be real and say that collaboration can be TOUGH. Just like any relationship, it takes a lot for two people to come together and ‘work’ – especially when they’re creating something they’re both super passionate about.

I’ve heard horror collaboration stories. But, on the flip side of this, I’ve also heard beautiful stories of collaboration (and have obviously experienced them myself).  I got pretty lucky with Danielle considering I didn’t really know her from a bar of soap when we first made the decision to collaborate. I know people who have known each other for years, been wonderful friends, yet worked together horribly.

My advice is this – know what you want and need in a collaborator.

Sit down and have an open and honest discussion with this person BEFORE starting any work together, and assess whether or not you’re a good fit. Not ‘fitting’ doesn’t say anything negative about you, or them. Just like in a romantic relationship, we simply do not mesh with everyone.

As well as this, set clear expectations for one another. For me personally, equality was important in that I needed both Danielle and I to be investing the same amount of energy, excitement and positivity at all stages of the retreat process – from planning and marketing, all the way through to the execution. It simply wouldn’t have worked for me otherwise.

 

When you’ve think you’ve promoted enough, think again. You need to promote more!

Dang, I wish I could count all the hours that were put into promoting Boho Bliss. Wow-ee, it was intense. I thought I knew a bit about promotion but holy moly, Boho Bliss really gifted me the opportunity to up level my learning in this area. To learn how to expand my reach. Ask for help. Sell authentically. Be consistent.

A lot of biz babes put hours into dreaming and planning events and other incredible offerings, but shoot themselves in the foot with their lack of promotion. I get it – it feels weird and uncomfortable to promote yourself and put yourself in the spotlight. But honey, you have to. Otherwise, what’s the point?!

 

It’s better to have tried and ‘failed’, then to never have tried at all

Danielle and I both had ‘what the actual F are we doing’ moments during our Boho Bliss journey but the thing we always came back to was this … we have to try! We were both dedicated more to trying and ‘failing’ (aka things not working out the way we wanted them to – which is actually a-ok!) than to giving in to our fear. And it was so worth it. Even if the getaway hadn’t unfolded as beautifully as it had, it would have been worth it. For the relationship Danielle and I formed. For the relationships we developed with our Boho Bliss babes and beaus. For the crazy big learnings. For the personal and professional growth.

 

So there you have it my love, the four key business learnings I took away from running my very first retreat.