#253: Offering Wellness Retreats with Amber Hagberg

offering wellness retreats with amber hagberg

Have you ever considered running a retreat? It’s yet another way that health coaches can earn while transforming lives! In this episode, we’ll hear from Amber Hagberg about what kind of coaches make ideal retreat hosts…and how to go about it profitably! But maybe you’re not quite ready for a retreat…if instead you’re looking to add more private clients to your practice in the next 90 days, go to: HealthCoachPower.com/blueprint

Find Amber at:
AmberHagberg.com

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Full transcript:

Speaker 1:
Well, hello there, health coaches. I am so pleased to be bringing you this show today. Not only because we're broaching the subject of retreats, which we've never done that before. We've never talked about retreats on all the years that I've been doing this show. Not only that, but you know what? We had this huge storm on Saturday and it knocked a tree over, like completely upside down on my street, was dangling off the electrical wires and I was out PA with no power for two or three days. Luckily, my kids were with their dad this week. It all worked out. I spent time at my boyfriend's house, but now we are back up and running so the podcast can go on. Wasn't so sure there for a minute. So happily, we are back. We are plugged in. I'm also thrilled because about the whole power situation being resolved because so many of you took me up on my offer last week and you asked for our Healthy Profit University blueprint.
So we've had lots and lots of interest in that. I want to make it even easier for you. So if you're looking to add more clients to your practice in the next 90 days, all you have to do is go to health coach power.com/text, and from there you can text us. How easy is that? You can text us 90 days and we'll be able to get back to you much faster. That way if you're outside the US, not going to work. But you can find me on Health Coach Power Community on Instagram at Health Coach, power community, and same thing, just dmm the words 90 days and we'll send our blueprint over to you free of charge. But for today, I am psyched to have a conversation about health coaches holding retreats. So if again, you're here live with us as we record the episode, please tell us in the chat, have you ever held a retreat? Have you ever thought about holding a retreat? I mean, how cool and where would you want it to be? My guest today is Amber Hagberg, who helps health coaches, yoga teachers, and other multi-passionate wellness entrepreneurs run and sell out retreats around the world. Now I admit Amber, I know nothing about this topic. I've never done it. So thank you so much for being here and stepping in where we need some help.
Speaker 2:
Thank you so much for having me today, Michelle. I'm super excited to be connected and I know our stories are pretty similar in that and except she's like, Nope, retreats. Nope, not for me. I'm like, oh, this is my jam. I'm so excited to come on, be on your show and share all things retreats.
Speaker 1:
Perfect. So I want to jump right in, and I know we have a lot of different health coaches in our community. So we have some who are still in school. We have some who've recently graduated and there are some me been practicing 10, 15 years. We have all kinds. So in your experience who can run a retreat? Do we have to have more experience or certain level? Do we have to be very good at planning scale events? Do we also have to be a yoga teacher who's perfect for this?
Speaker 2:
Good question. Literally anyone that has a desire to run and lead a retreat can and they can start now. The reason being is it's just about planning and that can be the overwhelming part is putting together all of the pieces. But when you know what your vision is, what your mission is, why you want to host retreats, it's starting to market and building a brand around retreats. And in that it's like what is your vision? Like your business, what is your vision for the retreat? What are you setting out to do, getting really clear on why you're doing a retreat because that helps you to design what is the retreat, what is the retreat going to be about? And being a multi-passionate, I started doing yoga teacher trainings and yoga retreats fresh out of my yoga teacher training. And so I was like, oh my gosh, dear in headlights, how do I do this?
And it was just figuring out all the pieces. And I spent 10 years really figuring out how to create a retreat and how to market it and how to sell it out. And it just starts with beginning. You have to learn how to do it and it's messy in the beginning. So it's like what's the name of your retreat? Who is your retreat for? When you think about who your retreat is for you, think about the name because that's going to attract someone to come to your retreat of all the thousands of retreats out there. And then when your vision and your mission and what it is that you want to do in your retreat, who it is you're talking to, and when you know who it is you're talking to, you can create that language in the marketing to sell the retreat because oftentimes people try to sell the retreat by selling the venue, but that's not what makes us move.
What makes us move is the transformation of what's the end result, which is I'm sure something that you're learning with Michelle. It's like what am I selling? And it's like sometimes it's the details. We want to know what's included, what's not included, how much, but really it's like what am I going to get out of this? What's in it for me? What is in it for me for your retreat? And no, you don't have to teach yoga. You can collaborate and bring on a yoga teacher. You don't have to do yoga retreats at all. You can do fitness. And that's what some of my clients do is they just teach working out and nutrition and drinking water and being detoxing, detoxing from the phone, detoxing from being busy, whatever it may be. So getting clear on your vision of why you want to run retreats and who you want to run the retreats for.
And then comes the fun part where and and thinking about where and when. You always want to dial it back to who is it for? Because if you're going to market to school teachers, you definitely don't want to do it during the school year. If you want to market to health coaches who work online and their entrepreneurs and they create their own schedule, do you want to take them to Costa Rica in December when it's getting cold and they want to keep working out outside? You have to think about who it's for when you choose the location. And then it comes with the budgeting and how much are you going to pay and how do you get people to sign up for your retreat before you have to put thousands of dollars down out of pocket because retreats aren't an online space of working with clients or in person where it's like you get to sell it before it happens. So I'm always like, okay, who do you want to market your retreat to? Where do you want to do it? And then get people to say yes before you put thousands of dollars down by creating a wait list, generating curiosity and having incentive bonuses for people to sign up before you put the deposit down. And that's something that I teach in business mentorship too. It's like sell the program before it comes because when you find out who's coming, then you can calf and create it with the person. It's a co-creation in the process.
Speaker 1:
Oh, we talk about that all the time. Yes, yes. But never more important than when you are going to have to put down a good amount of money to reserve a place. I'm impressed that you started doing it right away because I also was in YO teaching yoga years ago and the thought of having to pony up a couple thousand dollars to put down somewhere, and then I think this has to be the biggest mistake people make and then you just cross your fingers and hope you can sell spots. Is that not the biggest problem that people run into with retreats?
Speaker 2:
Yeah, so I just got off a client call with a coaching client who's like, she threw thousands of dollars at a retreat center in Bali. No one signed up, no marketing plan. She's got one month left. And it's like, ooh. She's like, I just got so excited and I went in for it. And so it's like we want to reverse engineer the process and sell a couple spots before we invest in the retreat center. And that means planning out, I like to say about six months, people don't actually start signing up for retreats six, four months before, but if you have clients or you have friends that you can get to sign on and put down a deposit, it's happening. You literally just need one person to feel the momentum of it's happening, especially if you've never done it before. If you've never done it before, you're like, I don't know if I can do this.
I want to do this, maybe I can't do this. And it's getting your first client once you get it, it's like, okay, I'm doing this, I'm actually doing this. And you start to build your confidence over time, but the way in which you get a wait list started is like you build the curiosity, you get people on, sometimes you don't even release the details about where and when, but it's like we're going to do this retreat, we're going to do this thing. And if you want to be the first to know, put down a $500 deposit and then the first one that you get, you're like, okay, that can be my initiation into a retreat center. And if you are just starting out, it's good to not go for Yoga Barn in Bali for example, it's like the biggest retreat center that exists in Bali uin, which means it's one of the most expensive.
So you want to start to create relationships, which is what retreats really are, building relationships and networking and marketing with people that get to know and trust you because this is a bigger investment usually is a retreat. So you want to know your community and who it is that you're going to be having come there, but it's to build relationships with retreat centers or in Airbnb or in V R B O. Who do you know that runs a V R B O or an Airbnb? Who do you know that's just opening up a retreat center that can't wait to get their first retreat held? Because me being in Costa Rica, I've been here for eight years now and there's so many retreat centers and I meet so many people that are moving here to open up retreat centers and you're just like, can there really be enough? And so as much as you want to host a retreat, they want you to host a retreat. And so the ball is in your court because if you have a retreat center but you don't have retreaters, you got nothing. And so building relationships with people that are just starting their business as you are just starting your business or you're growing your retreat business, that's really important because you can get a better investment price on the retreat center as well, and they're more willing to negotiate with you.
Speaker 1:
Oh, that makes a lot of sense. All right. So we know we have to be careful about just spending a lot of money and hoping that somebody signs up for the retreat. It's actually very similar to when we talk about online courses because even in the online space, you want to sell a course before you spend so many hours and so much money building it and paying for whatever, a videographer or a member site and all these things. It's the same exact principle. I never would've thought of this years ago, and I was just starting out though, and I'm sure you've learned a lot along the way. What I'm curious now, from your perspective, what are the major benefits of let's say a health coach running a retreat? Because I think it sounds cool, it sounds exciting, but should we be going into this thinking, okay, retreats are going to be a major income stream for me, or this is how I'm going to make a name for myself. What should we be expecting in terms of the impact it can have on our business?
Speaker 2:
Yeah, great question. So with retreats, retreats can add such a profit to your business, not only profit as income, more income revenue and stream, but you get to travel to new places, you get to grow even deeper with your clients because you can work with people coaching online courses, but there's nothing like spending four to six, 10 days with your clients and really getting to understand them, what they struggle with, what they're good at. It's really good to build and deepen relationships with your clients. And then when they come on these life transforming experiences with you, they bring friends so it grows your business and they're like, wait, we need to do health coaching with you after this. I need to keep doing this because they see you in action, they see the transformation of working with you. So it grows your online business, it grows your in-person business, it grows your revenue, and it also does marketing for you because when you go on a retreat, you usually bring someone and then after the retreat, they're going home and they're 10 pounds lighter.
This always happens at my retreats and I don't focus on weight loss, but because they're eating at the same times, they're eating clean whole foods, surrounded by like-minded people, having a good time creating the lifestyle of what it means to really be strong and healthy. They lose weight and they go home and they're like, I'm going to keep this. Are you really? And so that offers you the opportunity that maybe they just came on retreat. They actually aren't working with you, and so they want to keep working with you. And I host retreats with a chef who's a nutritionist, and she gets 60% of my clients to go with her afterwards, whether it's through their product line and buying things through her company and her, I'm not sure what you call it, I'm sure, I'm sure you know what it is, but there's a certain product line that she buys them supplements and she sends them the medicine and she gets an affiliate link for that. But also you can make 10, $20,000 running one retreat if you budget it correctly. So there's so many benefits to retreats outside of you get to travel and take a week off and go to Costa Rica or wherever it is that you want to go. It's great for people that love to travel.
Speaker 1:
Travel, of course. I mean, I've had such transformational experiences going on retreats and the one that, oh, I went on this 10 day retreat to Thailand, came home and got divorced. It was just a life changing thing. So I think whenever we think retreats, wellness retreats, we're thinking Valley, Thailand far away somewhere, probably expensive. It's a big deal. It's long. And that's one style of retreat. But could you describe maybe one or two other styles of retreats that don't sound quite as daunting?
Speaker 2:
Yeah, so for example, in Bali they have one day detox retreats. Some of my clients that I work with, they have a three day weekend workshop on self-love or nutrition or fitness, and it's deepening their practice of whatever it is they do with their clients, but in an immersion. So rather than us doing four calls over an entire month, it's like, Hey, let's spend six days together and these are the pillars. These are what you're going to learn about. This is going to shift, and then we're going to create the next month for you. And a lot of times if you've never ran a retreat before, many of my clients, they start with one day retreats and three day retreats. They start to build brand awareness around leading retreats. They get the experience, planning, logistics, organization, emails, what to bring not to bring, what happens if something comes up inside of a retreat.
Because when you're working with your clients and it's, there isn't so much trigger and activation, but if you come into a group setting, if you've ever gone to a yoga teacher, trainer, you've ever gone through a transformational experience, there can be friction. And in that friction is an opportunity to grow. So what happens in conflict? How do you solve that? That can happen in a weekend. You get to learn a lot in a shorter period of time and people are going to be like, oh yeah, I'll go to your weekend workshop 40 minutes away. And then that's preparing them to spend a bigger investment to travel to Bali or Thailand. And when we think about international, it's, I just looked it up for my client that I was coaching right now, it's $1,700 to fly to Bali plus the investment of her retreat. We have to plan in advance, and that has to be part of the marketing aspect of it.
It's like this is travel. You're going to fly first class, you're going to get your food served you, you're going to hang out on the plane, you're going to read books, you're going to listen to podcasts or you're going to sleep. And when you arrive to the Dubai airport, you are going to experience the culture. Whereas if you're just selling this retreat and it's over the weekend, there's not so much logistics. There's not so much marketing and selling because it's just the weekend. Let's go spend a weekend together and dive into X, Y, Z, X, Y, Z being your pillars, your process, your philosophy and business.
Speaker 1:
I like that. So it can be a one day thing, a weekend thing, it can be local, it could be. What about online as an option?
Speaker 2:
Yeah, C Ovid 19, I hosted my first at-home retreat, stay at home retreat, my teacher training and my online, my teacher training and my in-person business got shut down, no more retreats. And I was like, okay, I'm going to host it on at home. And actually it's a great place to build community and connection there too, because of the zoom room. You can do breakout rooms in the zoom room, you can do group sharing in the zoom room, you can do coaching in the zoom room. And it's a great way for people to unplug. And it's a lot what a lot of people are doing now because there isn't an overhead, there's no cost in that, and it's a great way for you to plan out the organization of that is there's a lot that comes when you're creating a bigger event and what it takes to market that, but also to plan it and to make sure that you're showing up for your clients in those moments before, during and after. It's not just, I guess planning for an online program. You're thinking of before, during, and after, but when you're creating a schedule, what are we going to do? How many breaks are we going to take in between workshops? How are we going to digest some workshops that you hold can be trigger and activating and emotionally releasing? What program or what class do you go into after one of those,
Speaker 1:
Right? Yeah. Mean, so we might hopefully not have to do this because of a pandemic, but I'm even thinking about health coaches who work with populations who are maybe too sick to be able to travel. If you're working with women who are really struggling with let's say autoimmune disease and they have no energy and they're barely able to drag themselves around, they're not going to be flying off to the other side of the world. So having an online retreat might be a way to go, and it sounds like a good way to get used to this idea of scheduling programming. What am I going to include? Maybe it could be something in person later.
Speaker 2:
Yeah, and I think what you brought to me is just the idea of when you're going to do an in-person retreat. I mean not in person, but an online retreat. It can be a routine and a regimen that you're walking them through what they can do on their own every single day, how to food prep and how to put it into the refrigerator so that it doesn't get grossed really quickly, and you could take them through an entire day of what you would do for an entire month condensed into a shorter period of time for you and your client,
Speaker 1:
Right? Right. There's something very palatable about that. Someone says, oh, I'm just going to, we love to just dig in and do it all at once. Clients are always very gung-ho in the beginning, so what if you actually did that with them and then you're charging a good amount of money and it's all happening in just that one week. Interesting. Ideas are percolating in my head. I can see they're percolating in yours, and I'm sure everybody's listening. So, all right. We talked about the mistake of paying the money too soon, hoping people sign up later. Maybe one or two other mistakes that you see coaches or yoga teachers making when they decide to hold a retreat?
Speaker 2:
I think sometimes, well, I had mentioned before the idea of selling the place rather than the experience, but also not doing research beforehand as far as where you're going to host the retreat. And what I mean by that is if you're going to go somewhere that you've never been before, there's a lot of research that you need to do to make sure that you know how to hold your clients and the experience from getting point to point A to point B, but then also knowing the lay of the land and what's happening at the retreat center, sharing with them what's included and what's not included. Because oftentimes they don't share, and I've been at a retreat where it's like you thought everything was included and you arrive and they're starting to charge you for things and you're like, oh, I didn't realize getting really clear on what's included and what's not included and how to get to and from the retreat center doing your research about places that you've never been to.
You can also host retreats at places that you've been to, which is easier because you're not needing to do as much research, but when you don't, you get to grow along with them. And it's an experience, but that just means more planning in advance. And so making sure that you have it clear on your sales page and when you're talking to your clients what's included, not what's not included. And then also having a contract. This is so important, and I know working with a lot of yoga teachers and heart-centered entrepreneurs, it's like, oh, they want to refund and they don't want to come. And it's like you've already paid all the deposit upfront and they are starting to get cold feet at the end and you didn't have 'em sign a contract and now you need to pay back thousands of dollars, which can be a sticky situation when we're here to show up and serve.
But business is business, and you can make exceptions if someone's grandfather dies or someone breaks their legs. But to have a contract that says in writing, what is the contract? When is the deposit due? If the full payment isn't made on time, is there a penalty? Is there a late fee charge? If I want to transfer it to another retreat, is that accepted? Can I have a full refund a month before it happens? Can I have a full refund if I don't make it? These things need to be clear and in writing, otherwise, you are going to be really sad when someone gets cold fee upfront or five people get cold free and they didn't sign something, so contract up first. I think really the big picture is planning, planning and logistics beforehand so that you can enjoy the retreat while you're there. Because with retreats, yes, it's a really nice cast and cash injection.
You do get to make good money, but there's a lot that goes into it, and that's why you get compensated well is everything that happens before, everything that's happening during you're holding space, you're creating, you're crafting it. And then afterwards what's integration? And this is one piece that people miss often is they don't have a what's next after the retreat? And so they're leaving that opportunity to grow with their clients to the next level by not having a program or something in line for at the end that they sell them into. It's like invitation, do you want to keep this as an experience that you once had, or do you want this to be the moment of the catalyst? Like you said, I went home and I got divorced. When you go home and you make those changes, do you want me in your back pocket by joining this course, this program, this offer that I have for you? And that all comes with planning from the very beginning because when you are planning from the beginning, you're talking about the offer, the entire retreat, and not just on the last day. It's like you've planted the seed from day one all the way to the very end so they know what's coming.
Speaker 1:
Yeah, so smart. I'm sure you can double the amount that you're earning from the retreat by having a strategically planned offer at the end. Yeah. Yes. Because a lot of work, I mean this is not passive income. This is the opposite of passive income. You are doing the work, you are showing up in real time, you are flying, you are having jet lag with everybody else or whatever it requires. So you want to definitely make the most of it. I love all of these sort of advanced tips that we certainly wouldn't have thought of doing it on our own or the first time around. So tell us, how do you work with wellness and multi-passionate entrepreneurs to get a retreat up and running?
Speaker 2:
Yeah, I definitely knew the reason I created this course or this offer or how I accidentally became a retreat coach is I tried it all on for many years of just throwing spaghetti at the wall and trying to do it. So what I've done basically is share my last decade of experience of what it takes to create the retreat together. We can plan the name, name your retreat, choose where the location is, design the numbers, how much do you need to break even, how much do you need to make a little extra money? How many people is bare minimum? When do you cancel it, when do you call it off? When do you transfer it? And we put all those logistics together and then we do the marketing aspect. Marketing a retreat is just a little bit different than marketing your online program because it is a deeper investment in time, money, energy, resources, and so we create and craft a unique plan for you on how you can sell your retreat.
And something that I like to do is selling the retreat in a package. So you go through a program and then you end into the retreat or the retreat begins the program, vice versa, depending on where you're at in your business. And then we look at how to create and craft upsells together. I just like to be the person that holds your hand and answers all the questions for you to create contracts, to organize your thoughts, to organize your plans, and really be able to make it cohesive for you where it's just like, okay, I created my retreat and there's not so much stress and overwhelm because I know that's what I needed when I was going for it is just like retreats aren't passive income. It's someone that has a desire to grow deeper with their clients and invest a lot more time, energy, and resources into this experience because it's a dream of yours. Maybe it's a dream to travel, maybe it's a dream to go deeper and get to know your clients. Maybe you just want to make a little extra revenue and having that additional revenue stream in your business. But for me, it's like create, launch, sell your retreat with me.
Speaker 1:
Sounds amazing. And I know that anyone who's doing this for the first time is going to really want some handholding and really want someone to turn to when the unexpected happens. And then that you know could say, oh no, I did expect this. You should expect this. This happens every time and here's how you handle it. That's just the benefit of experience. We always need a mentor ahead of us, so where can our listeners go to learn more about you and about all that you offer.
Speaker 2:
Yeah, thanks Michelle. And something I'll just add to that piece of it doesn't matter if you've done retreat for years or you're just starting, there's this energy and frequency that you have to hold before someone signs up or as it's getting closer, you only have one month left and you don't have the number of people. It's like there is just this, I'm going all in mindset, energy, action to hold that. And that's what I like to do with my clients is like my client right now, she's getting ready to go to Bali and she's like, I only have six weeks. And I'm like, yeah, and you could totally sell out and get just one person each week. Yeah, that for me is just like making your heart feel at ease. You can find me at Amber Hagberg on Instagram. If you want to check out a mini course that I created just to experience what it's like to work with me, it's a $27 offer.
You can go to amber hagberg.com, sold out retreats, and then from there you can continue to grow together. If you do want more handheld support or you just want to get a strategy session, and soon we'll be bringing Michelle onto my podcast Amplified Impact. So if you want to listen to the podcast, dive deeper into the heart. For me, what I teach on the podcast is, as you grow your inner human, you grow your outer world, and as you grow inside, you attract wealth, happiness, peace, joy, dream life outside as you do the inner soul work inside.
Speaker 1:
Oh, thank you so much, Amber. I'm so glad we were able to bring this topic of retreats into the show. I am grateful to you.
Speaker 2:
Thank you so much Michelle.
Speaker 1:
And for those of you interested in pursuing retreats, definitely look at what Amber has to offer if you're more at the stage where you're looking for those private clients. Instead, go to help coach power.com/text and just text us the message. In 90 days, you'll get our free Healthy Profit University Blueprint or dmm US on Instagram 90 days we're at Help Coach Power Community. Enjoy your week, everybody. We will see you next time. Thanks again, Amber. Bye bye-Bye.