Is one of your big coaching dreams to host a live retreat? Mine too.

The idea of spending a long weekend nestled away in the mountains (or on the beach) with lovely clients, leading workshops, and bonding over good wine? Yes, please.

I’m four months into planning my first retreat, and holy moly, there is so much to do.

Although I haven’t officially hosted a retreat yet (that’s happening soon), I have learned some super helpful information over the past few months of the planning process.

I can’t speak to leading a great retreat, but I can share what I wish I knew before getting started.

What I wish I knew before planning my first retreat:

Find a collaboration partner.

One of my intentions for 2014 was to host a retreat, but I felt so overwhelmed by the idea of finding the perfect accommodations, planning the schedule, and marketing the event, that I began to shut down. But then I joined forces with a fellow coach and we decided to co-host the retreat. Almost immediately, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

Identify your strengths.

If you’ve decided to work with a partner to plan your retreat, you’ve put yourself in the awesome position to split the work in half. Begin by identifying your strengths (sending heartfelt emails, making phone calls, writing magnetic copy, creating a solid budget, etc.) and decide who is in charge of which tasks.

Get clear on your dream attendee.

Similar to your dream client, but perhaps slightly different. Who do you want attending your retreat? What are their biggest struggles? How will this retreat be the perfect match for them?

Choose a location.

This should be one of the first decisions you make because it will influence your budget and the remainder of your planning. To get started, decide what’s most important to your dream attendee and what type of setting will best serve the type of retreat you’re hosting. Be sure to consider the geography, the sleeping arrangements, local attractions, etc.

Create a budget.

For some of you, this step will come before choosing a location, but I found it easier to fully flesh out the budget after the location was finalized. You’ll want to include accommodations, taxes, fees, catering, gift bags, transportation, excursions, etc.

Find a caterer.

Unless you plan on cooking for several people three times a day, it’s time to start looking for a caterer. Once you know your location, google is a good place to begin.

Other important questions to consider:

  • Is there a deposit required? Is it refundable?
  • Are there additional taxes and fees?
  • Do your meals allow for food allergies?
  • Will you provide airport transportation?
  • Will you have your attendees sign a contract/agreement?

Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to begin creating your marketing strategy.

How do you plan on spreading the word about your fab retreat? Will you share it with your newsletter subscribers? Host a blog tour? Plan a webinar? The options are endless.

Now go rock that retreat, coach!


Ashley Wilhite is the founder of Your Super Awesome Life, where she helps women live a life they love while creating a freedom-based business. You can find Ashley on Twitter, Facebook and get your free copy of “The 5 Things That Hold You Back From Living the Life You Love.”

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