Bali. Tuscany. Sedona… I GET it. You want to host a retreat. You’re four months into your coaching practice and it sounds like so much fun! Everyone thinks it’s a great idea and says they just might join you! Woohoo!!
Thing is, as with several other offerings that you could focus on, the trick in hosting a retreat… has little to do with hosting a retreat!
So… maybe it’s not a retreat you’re after.
Your goal may be just getting paid coaching clients, leaving that soul-sucking job and finally making a DIFFERENCE in the world. But how to get started?
Friends suggest you speak. Tell the world you’re in business. So you decide to host a workshop.
People will pay $100 for a day of coaching before they’ll pay thousands for a private program right? Once they’re there, you’ll be able to close a few clients.
But again the trick with hosting a workshop (especially one where you’ll need to sell from the stage), has little to do with hosting a workshop!
With any coaching offer like a retreat, workshop, or live event – the tricky part is FILLING the event, i.e. butts in seats. Filling a group event that has a fixed date and location may seem simple enough, but it is one of the most underestimated endeavors in the early days of a coaching career, and it’s where so many coaches go wrong.
The easiest way to come to this conclusion on your own is to breakdown the logic of a few key factors.
First off, what all these offers have in common, is that they require group participation on fixed dates at a fixed location. This means the possible objections a potential participant may have immediately doubles. And if you plan on hosting recurring events, the urgency to attend your upcoming affair plummets even further.
“Awww, I’d LOVE to, but I already have plans that weekend.”
“I just can’t make it happen this time around but I love to come next time!”
There is a big difference between everyone you talk to expressing interest (I mean who doesn’t love to travel or get inspired for the day?!) and people going out of their way to put your event on their calendar and their money where their mouth is.
Now obviously when you already have a tribe that adores you, filling events is easier! And if you don’t, marketing can do the trick.
But this is the second major rabbit hole coaches underestimate: the resources needed for successful online marketing.
To successfully market anything (especially something with a cut-off date for enrollment) you need not only financial resources but digital resources and expertise. Even when you have a thriving tribe, you may need these resources depending on the number of spots you’re trying to fill. For example, a 50 person event could take thousands on your list, or a highly engaged social following.
Group programs also fall into this category if they have a hard start date, even if they’re delivered remotely.
Anything with a fixed start date is limited to a big promotional push before the program kicks off as then doors close as promised. What if you only enrol two people when you were shooting for twenty?!
Of course there is always risk in any business endeavor, but when promising a group event, it goes without saying that many people will expect a group. Some people love the community and join for the connections. Some will love the individual attention instead, but the last thing you want is an unhappy participant right off the bat.
So this is definitely a factor to take into account if you don’t have a built-in audience yet or a great deal financially to invest and online expertise to leverage.
When your heart is set on a particular offer for whatever reason, it can be really hard to change course. In the coaching industry in particular, we put our heart and soul into building a practice that we love, and we understandably want to offer our passion projects right off the bat!
So I really get it if your desire to manifest an offer that needs to be sold online or to a group on a fixed date/location seems non-negotiable. But your long term success should be even more of a priority.
Setting yourself up for ultimate success often means temporarily delaying the instant gratification of focusing on a passion project, to build a sustainable foundation by focusing on profit.
It might not seem as sexy or spiritual, but if you’re serious about having a thriving career in the coaching industry, you have to approach starting that career as you would in any other industry: as a startUP. And what do startUP’s need most at first? Revenue.
For coaches, it is no different.