Why I Created a Retreat for Women Entrepreneurs

 
 

Earlier this month, I got these three emails in a single morning:

  • How I gain 1,260 Instagram followers per week (and how you can too)

  • How Michele made $7k from one blog post

  • Here’s why you need a digital product

Scrolling through my inbox and seeing these just made me want to collapse on my keyboard.

There is so much noise out there. No wonder we’re confused on how to grow, get more clients, raise our prices. Business gurus are telling me to do 179 things — which one is the right one for me?

Over the last six months I’ve been braving rejecting this notion that you have to do it all to be successful. I want my business to feel good. If it doesn’t, why work for myself? I could feel like crap working for someone else and have a whole lot more security.

This past winter I became curious if other people were feeling the way I was — if they, like I, wanted a break from the noise and, instead, advice from people who they knew and trusted.


“Despite the fact that we’re ‘connected’ we’re not actually connected. I think that’s why we have this itch to meet up in person.”

- Kali Edwards, Graphic and Web Designer - Beyond the Mood Board, Episode 2


WHAT BUSINESS OWNERS ARE CRAVING

Being the researcher I am, I created a survey.

75% of people polled said that they had attended a retreat or conference for business owners in the past. And do you want to know what - overwhelmingly - they said their favorite part was about those experiences?

It wasn’t the content. It wasn’t the speakers. It was the deep connection they made with other attendees.

But that makes sense, right?

Most of us are behind our computers all day long. We’re pouring our hearts and souls into our work and putting it out in the world hoping for a good result. But that can feel so isolated…and lonely.

You want to know what survey respondents said about the thing that was missing in their past experiences? Not enough time to connect and take action on what they learned.

I’ve been there.

For so many creators, we think that the more content we can stuff in, the better. We do this in our programs, courses, and events. But what we fail to see is that sometimes people just need time to digest, reflect, and personalize everything they’re taking in.

In fact, the top three things my survey told me that people want in a retreat are:

  • Workshop sessions (to learn and implement),

  • Inspiration to recharge, and

  • Social activities and connection.

 
lakeside house near mountains
 

HOW RETREATS HAVE CHANGED MY BUSINESS

As I talked about on Episode 5 of Beyond the Mood Board, I’ve invested in many in-person gatherings since I started Pattern of Purpose in 2015.

The first took a little bit of a leap of faith. I wasn’t sure if investing at that level without a concrete deliverable would be worth it to me. I thought everyone else attending would have it figured out and me - I wouldn’t have anything to add.

What I found was the opposite. Even though I arrived at the first one on the heels of my business officially turning five months old, I didn’t have to wear that as a badge. I mingled with other business owners who had been at it for years. Some were operating six figure plus businesses. And yet, we shared in our questions:

How do I get to the next phase of business?

How can I be better with my money?

Should I launch a course or give it all away for free?

In addition to these questions, there was a deep longing to forge connections with women that would surpass the retreat dates. I met some of my greatest friends there. And you know how hard it is to make friends in your 30s!

With each year passing and each retreat I attended, I started paying attention to the delicately planned details that made the experience what it was. I also started noting what I’d change if I ever facilitated a retreat myself.


“Entrepreneurial conventions have helped me tons because it puts me in the business mind of things vs. just talking about writing all the time. I surround myself with other successful creatives like photographers and painters and seeing them create and how they monetize has helped me understand how I can do things better.”

- Tasha Harrison, Author and Writing Coach


HOW I’M STRUCTURING THE BACK TO BUSINESS RETREAT

Here I am, three years after my first retreat, creating an experience that promises to help women move toward work that feels good to them - whether that’s starting a business or changing one that no longer serves them.

One non-negotiable that I had for this retreat is that all attendees would stay under a single roof together. This is one thing I’ve missed in the events I’ve attended in the past. Naturally groups were formed and if you didn’t find your place you were kind of left out for the entirety of the weekend.

It’s hard to create time for deep relationships to form when you’re only together from 9-5. You can meet up for dinner, sure, but when you’re separated there isn’t as much time to organically sit, chat, and partner.

The togetherness and camaraderie that comes from learning, bunking, and eating together is unmatched.

I also wanted it to be all-inclusive. When you’ve invested in a business expense like a retreat, subconsciously you’ve got that amount budgeted in your mind. Then when you arrive, most of us try to keep expenses low. What that does, however, is limits our opportunities to engage in meals and activities that further those bonds and brainstorming sessions.

I don’t want my attendees to feel like they only get the best of the experience if they pay more. That’s why I’ve priced the retreat as it is with a ton of value baked in. We’re all in this together.

Lastly, I want Back to Business attendees to leave making progress on their inspiration and aha moments. How many of us have attended a retreat or conference, been filled with ideas and then lost steam when the day-to-day takes over? (Hands up over here.)

That’s why I’ve built in time for workshopping and mastermind sessions. Yes, I want you to learn something new, but I have the hunch you know what you want to be moving into and just aren’t quite sure how to make that happen. This is the place to make the leap from idea to action.

 
two women standing outside at a winery
 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND THE RETREAT?

There are so many entrepreneurial-spirited women who feel a shift coming: whether that’s ditching a career that no longer serves, operating your business less like a hobby and more like a profit-generating entity, or introducing a new service under your brand.

But when you’re in the thick of the day-to-day it’s easy to avoid taking action on these shifts.

They feel so big. We want to do justice to our ideas. So we wait.

We wait to take action on them until the details are completely ironed out. We don’t share them with the world until we can perfectly articulate them.

And while it makes sense that we want to keep our visions close until they take the form of something we’re proud of, ideas sitting in a Google Doc don’t make any money. They don’t create any freedom. They don’t serve others.

The Back to Business Retreat is for women who don’t want to wait anymore. They’re ready to take action and they want personalized advice.

I am making a huge declaration here, but it’s one I believe in: You’ll make six months of business progress in just four days. Wake up to the solitude of the Shenandoah Mountains and mastermind with your peers over fireside chats.

We’ll work on refining your idea, positioning your brand, and crafting a strong pitch that conveys your passion for the work and connects with the hearts of your audience.

If you feel called to create something, I urge you to check out the details of this opportunity.

Because this experience is intimate in nature, there are only six rooms available. I look forward to reading your application and welcoming you to Virginia in the fall.

Kim WenselComment