Episode #42:
Add Retreats and Bliss More in Your Business

Caterina Rando has been hosting phenomenal women’s retreats for many years. In this insightful episode, she shares how retreats cultivate community, keep clients coming back, and raise the joy you experience when being of service. Gain numerous super tips to help you add retreats to your revenue model. This episode will guide you to successfully host, or upgrade, your own retreats so that you and your guests bliss more in your lives and in your businesses!

Expand Your Fempire Podcast #42 Transcript

Download Episode #42 Show Notes

Add Retreats and Bliss More in Your Business

Welcome to Expand your Fempire with Caterina Rando, the podcast for women in business on a mission. Sharing ideas to support you to grow and thrive. Now here’s your host, Caterina Rando.

[00:00:24] This is Caterina Rando with you again, for another episode of the Expand Your Fempire Podcast. Today, we are talking about my absolute favorite topic, I think I have lots of favorites, adding retreats to your revenue model and your client offering mix.

[00:00:48] I want you not only to massively monetize and thrive in your business, I also want you to bliss in your business. One of the most rewarding things is spending time with your clients at an exotic destination or even a rustic destination, away from your regular business life.

[00:01:18] When people get away, when they change their environment, they’re opened up to new ideas. They’re opened up to seeing themselves differently, their businesses differently.

And the other thing that happens, which is so wonderful when we get together live and in-person at a retreat setting, is that community becomes even stronger. -Caterina

[00:01:31] And the other thing that happens, which is so wonderful when we get together live and in-person at a retreat setting, is that community becomes even stronger. Relationships are built, grown, expanded. And when you create retreats for your clients, you will find that you are serving in a whole new way.

[00:01:57] Now you say “Caterina, why would I want to create a retreat?” Well, let me tell you something. Yes, you have so much value to bring, you have so much to teach your clients. Yes, there’s lots of ways that you serve. When you can give your clients memorable experiences with you, moments that they are going to treasure for life, this keeps them feeling great about you, your business, and it keeps them coming back.

[00:02:30] I have been offering retreats for, I believe over 15 years. We have offered three retreats in Maui. I’ve done many retreats in Sonoma and Napa, in the wine country in California. We’ve done a 10-day Mexican Breakthrough Luxury Retreat on a cruise ship. I’ve also offered several programs in a retreat setting. Our Speaker Mastermind cruise. Our cruise that is also a retreat on how to do women’s retreats. Right now, we are having the Bliss Retreat for Women leaders on a Mission.

[00:03:14] All of these retreats have been opportunities, not only for me to pour massive value into my clients, for us though, to have fun together, to have amazing experiences that they wouldn’t do on their own together. And as a result, they’re blissing more in their lives and in their businesses.

[00:03:37] At one of our retreats in Napa Valley, we did grape stomping. We stomped grapes in these big barrels. It was so much fun. One of the things about retreats is you want to see if you can bring in things to do with your retreat participants that they probably wouldn’t do on their own. And I would say that grape stomping is absolutely one of them. Seeing all the ladies with their bare feet in the wooden barrels, having so much fun, I will remember forever. Next time we go to Napa Valley for a retreat, we will be grape stomping again. We played bocce ball, we’ve been snorkeling in the waters of Mexico. These are things that people absolutely remember forever.

[00:04:34] When you come on a retreat with me, we always have an afternoon tea, but we don’t just have afternoon tea. We give all the ladies fascinators to wear and when we go to dinner one evening, we give them multicolored bright boas that everyone in the whole dining room notices because the feathers follow us wherever we go.

[00:05:04] Here’s what I want to tell you. I want to tell you something. I like to have fun and I like hoopla, I would say fascinators and boas definitely fall in that category. I will also tell you on our next retreat, nobody knows this yet, I’m telling you a secret, I’m going to have Venetian carnival masks.

[00:05:25]Now, when I started, I just included these things because I think they’re very fun. As time has progressed, I’ve realized, you know what? Each of these are an opportunity for visibility.

[00:05:42] One of the things that you do is you find activities to do together that are fun. They also, though, are a teaching point. Because I want my ladies to be loud and proud about their massive value. I want them to be comfortable with everybody looking at them and having more visibility.

[00:06:03] Therefore we not only wear fascinators and boas, we actually promenade, as I like to call it, around the ship. Like peacocking. This is so much fun and a simple example of what you can do at a retreat that you can’t really do in a workshop, definitely not virtually and even live and in-person.

Retreats work because women love to get together. Retreats work because women love to build and expand their network and the reason women love to get together is because they love to share. They love to do things in a group and they love to have shared experiences of fun. This cultivates community like nothing else. -Caterina

[00:06:29] Retreats work because women love to get together. Retreats work because women love to build and expand their network and the reason women love to get together is because they love to share. They love to do things in a group and they love to have shared experiences of fun. This cultivates community like nothing else.

[00:06:59] The other thing is that your clients want to come and be with you in a non- business setting. They want to get to know you. They want to break bread with you, they want to break bread with each other. All of this cultivates community and keeps them coming back.

[00:07:16] The other thing is they have amazing “ahas” when they get out of their normal environment. When they have time for reflection, they reflect on what they want to be different and better in their business.

[00:07:34] Now, how would you offer retreats? Well, you can do an annual retreat, you could do a getaway where you’re doing a program, but they’re getting away to do it. One of the things that we’re going to be doing in the future are sales adventures where we’re going to  go on a retreat and have sales class. But we’re having to retreat, too. Why?

[00:08:02] Because an opportunity to get away, will allow people to immerse in the learning. They get even more value. And guess what? Their business pays for it. That’s the beautiful thing about retreats. Your clients, if you are a business to business, your clients’ businesses will pay for their retreat. Bing, bing, bing! That is really exciting.

[00:08:30] The other thing I want you to know is that when we can give people experiences that they will remember for forever, that has them continue to feel good about your business.

[00:08:46] Okay, let’s talk about some of the things that you want to ask yourself when getting started to do retreats. Let me give you a few questions to answer, to create uplifting, value-packed retreats.

[00:09:03] First one, why are you doing this? Now, of course, you want to do it to get together and generate revenue and cultivate community. Is there an overarching purpose- and I recommend that there is for your retreat?

[00:09:16] I’ve done speaking retreats, I’ve done retreats on how to do retreats. I’ve done luxury retreats where the purpose has been to have breakthroughs in your business. We’re doing the Bliss Retreat, because I want you to bliss more in your business and your life. I’ve been to retreats where it’s about planning for the next six months. It could be a planning retreat.  I’ve hosted speaking retreats. What’s the purpose of the retreat? Give it a purpose.

[00:09:46] Also, next question. What are you going to call it? Don’t just say “retreat.” Give it a name that is on brand for your business. You know me, I like to talk about blissing in your business, which is why we have the Bliss Retreat. Don’t just say retreat, give it a brand name.

[00:10:08] Okay. Next thing, when do you want to host your retreat? Now, here’s a very important thing to know, the longer your retreat. The more time out you want to plan it? What I mean by that is, if you’re going to offer a seven-day retreat, a 10-day retreat,  you’ve got to offer that several months in advance. Because if people have to go on a plane, they have to arrange childcare absolutely you want to give them several months for that. And guess what that also does? It gives them several months to pay for it.

[00:10:43] Of course you can’t offer your retreat until you have a price, until you have a destination, until you have the dates. Recognize this, if you want to offer your retreat in several months, you better get started planning it a year, more than a year.

[00:11:01] Now, this is for a destination retreat. If you’re going to do it in your living room, which can also be a retreat, that’s fine, then that can be planned closer in. The guiding principle I want you to embrace is the longer the retreat, the more time in advance you have to plan.

[00:11:22] I want to tell you something, here’s the other thing. When you plan it way in advance, we start to offer our retreats usually at least a year out when it is a week or more retreat, what it does is it allows you to include programming or bonuses or benefits that keep people engaged for all the months before the retreat.

[00:11:49] Right now, we’re going and getting ready for the Bliss Retreat and by the way, please come and look at our website, caterinarando.com/bliss-retreat because you’ll also see there that we’re offering classes, networking, sales blitzes, community engagement opportunities.

[00:12:12] Because the last thing you want to do is sign somebody up for your retreat several months from now and say, “Hey, I’ll see you there!” and have no engagement between now and then. Did you hear that? As soon as people sign up for your retreat, even if it’s several months away, you want to get them engaged. That is a sidebar, super tip.

[00:12:35] And let me tell you what happens. We’ve got one amazing lady she’s coming on our retreat, her name’s Heather. She signed up for the retreat. Then right away, she started coming to my Clubhouse rooms. She started coming to sales blitzes. She’s meeting all the ladies in the community she’s coming networking. And as a result, by the time she gets to the retreat, she’s going to know everybody there, even though she’s one of the newest people in our community and so far we’ve only met virtually. Engagement is key to make sure that everybody that signs up, shows up, doesn’t cancel, and keeps coming back.

Engagement is key to make sure that everybody that signs up, shows up, doesn’t cancel, and keeps coming back. -Caterina

[00:13:17] Okay. So you’ve got the purpose of your retreat, you’ve got the name of your retreat, you’re figuring out ways to keep people engaged from now to when they show up for your retreat. Then you got to figure out what are you going to do at your retreat?

[00:13:32] Let me give you a general guideline, because everyone’s retreat is different based on your business, your clients, your purpose.

[00:13:41] What makes it a retreat? Well, retreats are when you are not in a classroom setting. That doesn’t mean that you might not have sessions where they’re coming and learning. I recommend you do.

[00:13:57] Retreats also have activities that they might not do on their own. When we have a retreat, we always have some movement. One day we do yoga. One day we do belly dancing. One day we do qi gong. One day, we done veil dancing. And by the way, when you can give them shimmy belts and colorful veils, it makes it even more fun. Include movement.

[00:14:29] The other thing that tends to make something a retreat is when you have some free time and some space for reflection, for going to the spa, for relaxing by the pool. There should always be a pool somewhere close when you’re having a retreat.

[00:14:49] These are things that help make it a retreat and have people have an amazing time that is not only memorable, but it’s different than what they’re doing in their regular life.

[00:15:06] The next thing you want to figure out is where you’re going to host your retreat. In my retreat program, we have a whole class just on how to find the right venue for you. By the way, one of the things you can do is you can go to caterinarando.com/podcast. You can find this episode and you can look there because I’m going to post my venue checklist for you, which has all of the questions that you may or may not even think about to help you pick the right venue for you.

[00:15:44] Let me pause here and say that one of the things I want to be very clear with you, if you’re thinking about doing a retreat, is that your clients, one of the reasons they’re coming to the retreat is to be with you. Yes, to learn from you, they’re also coming to be with you. And what that means is that you’ve got one very important job when you’re doing a retreat. And that is to be with the people that are at your retreat.

And what that means is that you’ve got one very important job when you’re doing a retreat. And that is to be with the people that are at your retreat. -Caterina

[00:16:18] Now I’m telling you this because a lot of women think that, “Hey, I’m just going to have eight ladies, so I’ll just do it myself.” No, you absolutely need support at your retreat.

[00:16:35] It’s not your job to be running around, making copies or talking to the restaurant host or banquet manager or going to the front desk to ask for more chairs, whatever it is. No, that’s not your job, my friend. Your job is to be with your participants. You want to have a team that is supporting you.

[00:16:59] Now I’m mentioning it here because guess what? Finding a venue, negotiating contracts, this is not your job. You want to have a travel or retreat or event specialist that is doing all of that for you. Because before the retreat, your job is to design the retreat and to fill the retreat. You have someone else that is doing all the logistics and getting the room ready. Once you get there, your meeting room, helping get all of the activities ready. Your job, if I haven’t made it very clear, is to be with your participants. This is what will keep them coming back.

[00:17:46] Now, I do want to say that another thing that is often wonderful at retreats, is to bring in speakers and presenters that will offer something that you’re not usually offering or talking about, that will enhance the retreat experience.

[00:18:05] For example, when we’ve done veil dancing and yoga and stretching and all kinds of things- my ladies that are there as participants, I’m calling on them. If they’re a yoga teacher or whatever they are, I’m calling on them to do the movement portion for the day, because that showcases them at the retreat. And they love that.

[00:18:32] In fact, other retreats I’ve been to, they always tend to bring other people in that don’t really know the group and the retreat host is showcasing someone else. Your participants- find out more about them. They would love to be showcased for 20 minutes, 30 minutes around whatever their specialty area is. Now, you can’t do it for everybody usually. And this is a really nice bonus that you can give someone is to allow them to present.

[00:19:10] Okay. Another important question you have to answer. How many people are you going to have at your retreat? Now, the word retreat seems to imply that it’s more of an intimate group. I can tell you though, that some people host retreats with hundreds of people. I have not personally done that. Our retreats are up to about 36 these days. Eight 10, 12, 14, 16, 24. These are all fine numbers.

[00:19:44] What you want to make sure of though, is that you have enough participants so that you’re meeting your room minimum for any contract that you’ve signed. Also, that you are having enough revenue from the retreat participants to pay for your staff, to pay for your activities. And of course, to have some profit for you.

[00:20:07]Additionally, let me give you my one very important super tip for budgeting for your retreat. First thing, if it’s a one-day retreat, you guesstimate all your expenses, and then you add 10%, if it’s a one-day, 10% for miscellaneous. If it’s a two-day retreat, you figure out all your costs, guesstimate usually, and then you add 20% as miscellaneous expenses, unseen invisible expenses. If it’s three days or more, after you figure out all your costs, you add 30%.

[00:20:52] There are always extra things. I remember one year we were doing a retreat in Hawaii. And when we have our welcome reception, we have a chair massage person there to give all the ladies a 10-minute neck and shoulder massage upon arrival. By the way, this is a great thing to do at your welcome reception.

[00:21:16] Well, you know, what happened was a lot of the ladies came late. Instead of having the chair massage guy for two hours, we had the chair massage guy for four hours. What was I going to say to the ladies? “Sorry. I only budgeted for two hours?” No! Of course, I wanted to make sure everybody got their massage, and as a result, had to pay twice as much as I was anticipating.

[00:21:43] This is what I’m saying: there are always things that come up. I’ve opened boxes with, hats or wraps for the ladies and the inventory statement says exactly how many are supposed to be there and we’re three short, which means you got to run to the store. You got to buy them. Because of course, you want to get all your stuff shipped to the venue whenever possible so you don’t have to schlep it across country or to wherever you’re going.

[00:22:09] There’s always extra, extra expenses. You want to budget those in. Therefore, you’re not stressing on the backend. Because retreats do take a lot of effort. They do take a lot of time. It’s great when you’re massively monetizing. I don’t want you to put all of your time and energy and heart into a retreat for several months and not have good monetization. And that starts with good budgeting.

[00:22:41] Next question. At the retreat, what are you going to offer? Because here’s the guiding principle. At the retreat or at the thing, whatever it is. What do you do? You offer the next thing.

[00:22:55]Every time we’ve done a retreat, we’re offering the next retreat. And I want to let you know something. When you do a good job at your retreat, you will get 60% or more insta- signups for your next retreat. And by the way, you don’t have to have the next retreat all figured out. All you need to have are the dates, the price and the location.

[00:23:22] I want to let you know something. I’ve done a retreat where before we even finished the retreat, 90% of the ladies were signed up for the next retreat that wasn’t going to be for another year.

[00:23:36] Now, imagine you’re finishing something and you’re not doing something else for a year and it’s already 90% full. That means that there’s almost no marketing, no marketing efforts, no marketing costs for that next retreat. No sales conversations, except for a few, for that last 10%. Bing, bing! That my friend is blissing in your business.

[00:24:06]I have a lifetime supply of things to talk to you about how to have a retreat that will be so amazing and profitable that your clients will want to keep coming back. I want to encourage you and remind you to go to this podcast episode and download your venue checklist. I want to let you know that we will be offering again soon, our program or retreat on how to do retreats.

[00:24:35] The best thing to do, though if you want to do a retreat is go on a retreat. When you go on a retreat, you see everything that you would do and you see what you would not do.

The best thing to do, though if you want to do a retreat is go on a retreat. When you go on a retreat, you see everything that you would do and you see what you would not do.  -Caterina

[00:24:48] I’m inviting you to come on our next retreat. When you go to my website, Caterinarando.com/bliss-retreat, you will see our next retreat.

[00:25:00] If you’re listening to this podcast in some time in the future, when you go to caterinarando.com, there will be a retreat there because I love not only offering retreats, I love offering programs in retreat settings. And what happens when you come on one of these is that it will do for you what it has done for many of my clients, which has served as the force and momentum for them to do their own.

[00:25:32] I’m talking with you today about this important topic of including retreats not only because it is an amazing revenue opportunity. I’m talking with you about this because hosting retreats for my clients has given me so much bliss.

[00:25:55] Also though, I have seen the transformation that comes from taking women out of their regular environment and putting them in a retreat setting. And watching them flourish and watching them go from quiet to promenading and inviting attention and reveling in the visibility.

[00:26:24] One of the other things I always want when I host a retreat is for the women to see themselves as more VIP when they finished the retreat than when they started. Meaning, often as women, we are caretakers for everyone. We are serving everyone. And I want my ladies, when they come on the retreats with me, to be served by the people that are at the hotel or on the ship, and to be treated like the amazing queen that they are.

[00:26:59] You are the queen of your Fempire. You are the leader of your business. I want you to be louder and prouder about the value you bring. I want you to be louder and prouder about whatever your message is and retreats, support that happening. Because when you go on a retreat and you have time and attention on you and what you want to create, and what’s next, and what’s new, and where are you stuck, and where are you blocked and what’s the next level? You always finish the retreat a different, upgraded, more insightful, more leader woman than when you showed up for the retreat.

[00:27:48] That’s what I want for your participants, which is why I want you to host retreats. That’s what I want for you, which is why I want you to go on retreats a couple times a year.

[00:28:01] Again, come be on a retreat with us. They are awesome and amazing and life-changing, and they will catapult you to get started with your own.

[00:28:14] This is Caterina Rando, again, reminding you, you have massive, massive, massive value to bring. There is a lifetime supply of people to serve. I encourage you to be willing to try this new way of generating revenue that you will love. It will give you an opportunity to serve more people in a different way, to bliss more in your business, and it will absolutely keep your clients coming back.

[00:28:51] I love to talk about retreats, call on me anytime for any reason. Facebook me, don’t email me, Facebook me, Instagram me, send me a note on LinkedIn, text me, call me. I’m happy to talk with you about this, because not only do you deserve more revenue in your business, you deserve way more bliss.

[00:29:16] I’m sending you some love. I cannot wait to be with you again here, or hopefully in a zoom room soon or live and in-person. Join me on Clubhouse for our Thriving Women in Biz club. Join me on Facebook for our Thriving Women in Business group. Come to one of my upcoming workshops. You know, I offer a free workshop at least once, sometimes twice a month.

[00:29:44] We have an amazing community of like-minded like-hearted women for you to come and be a part of. All of this will support you to grow, thrive, learn, and bliss, even more in your business. Until next time, go take what we’ve discussed, and expand your Fempire.

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Expand Your Fempire with Caterina Rando. 

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