Thinking about co-planning a Retreat? Read this first.

Excited about planning a collaborative retreat or gathering with your new biz bestie? Or maybe you connected with someone local whom you think would make an amazing partner for the in-person event that has been growing inside your heart. That is incredibly exciting! There is amazing value in co-creating retreat experiences, especially for first timers. You can share the workload, making it much more manageable to plan – and since you’ll both be connecting with your separate audiences to find enthusiastic attendees, it can double your marketing reach.

Sometimes we can get caught up in awesome energy, which is obviously important when choosing someone to work with on a big project. But I caution against planning a collaborative retreat based on energy alone, without alignment around other factors. It takes a special combination of energetic spark and logistical compatibility to co-plan an in-person event! Developing a successful and healthy collaboration is something that you need to do intentionally.

As a Retreat Planning Consultant, I get a lot of requests to co-plan events. It makes sense – people see me as successful at what I do and imagine I will be their perfect partner. I also have a lot of clients who are considering co-planning – or who are terrified of it (they had too many group project nightmare experiences in college where they did #allthework)! But that’s not going to be you, because you are here reading this, and I have a solution for you. ;) 

Enter stage right: Collaboration: A Wonderful Workbook for Would-Be Collaborators.

It is a super concise and powerful framework nestled in an 8-page workbook that will help you answer the question, “Is this person going to drive me insane or can I really plan a successful event with her?” It reviews what you need to feel clear on BEFORE you schedule a chat with your potential partner, and outlines the conversation you need to have with them BEFORE you decide to jump into planning a gathering together.

This is how to best use the Collaboration Workbook:

  1. Sign up to receive Collaboration: A Wonderful Workbook for Would-Be Collaborators.

  1. Download the Workbook and send a copy to your potential partner, asking them to fill out the section titled “Questions to Ask Yourself” on page 2 (or send them a link to this page and have them sign up to receive a copy).

  2. Fill out “Questions to Ask Yourself” on page 2 with your own answers.

  3. Schedule a time to discuss co-planning with your potential co-planner.

  4. Let your discussion be guided by the Collaboration Conversation Checklist on page 5. Be sure to make notes so you have something to refer back on when you are assessing your conversation and the viability of your collaboration.

Once you’ve answered the questions for yourself and had this conversation with your potential collaborator, it is time for a GUT CHECK. Pause and listen deeply to yourself. Does this feel like a good fit to you? Does anything feel off? NOW is the time to be sensitive to red flags, and ask hard questions – don’t wait until you have already jumped into planning. Be honest about your own limitations, and get clear on theirs. If it feels aligned, you can begin the next steps such as setting clear expectations, defining roles, choosing an online project management system, hiring a planning mentor to help guide you through the process, scouting locations, securing sponsors, marketing to your peeps - all the fun stuff!

Once you have found your RETREAT PLANNING PARTNER (yay!), it’s time to schedule a 60 Minute Roadmap Intensive. You can split the cost, both show up to the session, and I will help you get clear on your next steps to a profitable, meaningful event.

XO Lizzy

50+ Retreat-Worthy Gift Bag Ideas


One of the most fun parts of planning a retreat is putting together a gift bag that will delight your attendees! I am a huge believer that everything you put into a retreat gift/swag bag should be a useful, delightful extension of your goals and aligned with your event values.

It can feel overwhelming and exciting to imagine filling up a gift bag for your retreat. Begin by outlining your outcomes for the event itself. What do you hope your attendees will walk away with? What topics are you covering? Answering those questions will help you come up with the products and services that will help them continue to meet those goals after they leave your event.

In The Brave Gatherers Facebook Community I asked, "If you could snap your fingers and have ANYTHING YOU WANT - what would be in your retreat attendee gift bag?" We came up with an amazing list of ideas that is sure to spark your imagination! (You won't find any logo stamped flashlight keychains here.)

  • A delicious textile, like a scarf or a blanket because part of my mission in my retreats is to create a sensory experience that is woven into every day life
  • A handlettered inspirational art print from This (Un)Scripted Life Etsy shop
  • A custom journal to serve as a journal the day of the event, but also to continue their writing journey at home
  • Gratitude cards
  • Essential oils 
  • Affirmation deck
  • Inspirational art print 
  • Anything to pamper (candles, bath bombs, etc.)
  • Water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Art prints
  • Books related to the topic 
  • Tea 
  • Essential oil roller bottle (Maven can help you with this)
  • Flowing pen
  • Silk blindfold, candles, creams and oils
  • A card from An Artful Breath card deck
  • Lavender scented eye pillows/bags
  • Gift cards for products of some of the amazing things my friends make
  • Glass water jar (This is one of the gifts we give out at the Mindful Woman Retreat and it is well loved!)
  • Confetti popper (to be used at a celebratory moment!)
  • Homemade essential oil blend
  • Bath bomb
  • Lip balm
  • Art supplies 
  • Artwork for them to display in their work area that has a favorite quote - to remind them of our time together
  • A cute & comfy event shirt with a logo or quote
  • Fun pens in great colors 
  • Warm & cozy blanket 
  • Scarf
  • Planner 
  • Planner stickers 
  • Gratitude notecards (I particularly love this set from Hundred Hearts Project)
  • Organic skin care 
  • Bath salts
  • Ring, necklace or bracelet with inspirational message,
  • Sweatshirt/sweater
  • Cozy socks
  • Packet of seeds 
  • A kaleidoscope
  • Wrist mala from Sacred Becoming
  • Palo santo
  • Candle
  • For the bag itself to be reusable (I get mine from Charlie Thyme)
  • Mantra deck
  • Quartz crystal
  • Recording of a mantra meditation
  • Infinite Receiving Cards
  • Custom event-specific essential oil blend (Sweet Abundance does a lovely job with this)
  • Organic Cotton Recovery Robe from Recoop
  • Aromatherapy perfume
  • Organic chocolate
  • Crystals
  • Organic herbal tea
  • Snack bar/protein bar 
  • Something moon related
  • A small string of twinkle lights
  • Bookmark
  • Magnet
  • Tea wallet

A caveat that came up was to be mindful of anything that is scented (things like lotions, lip balms, bath stuff, or candles) - they can be less appealing to some because of skin and fragrance sensitivities.

What would YOU put in YOUR retreat swag bag? Comment below or join the conversation

Thank you to the amazing Brave Gatherers who contributed to this post! You can check a handful of them out here: 

Xandra O'Neill |

Justine Hwang |

Sheila Pai |

Natasha Botbijl |

Deanne Kalda |

Rebecca Wong |

Samantha Brook Johnston |

Betsey Kelly | Maven


Start Here to GET ORGANIZED!

You’re in the right place if you believe that women are craving in-person connection and support, and you know that offering these experiences can be a valuable (and essential) part of your business model. I am obsessed with helping women entrepreneurs feel empowered to plan their own or collaborative one-day retreats for busy women in their communities who are craving connection, support, and transformation.

I am offering a new vision for retreats that is accessible and doable, and breaking down the process so that you can get started TODAY. I want you to close out the spring with your first successful retreat under your belt, excited about planning your next one for the fall!

Want to know how many people I had on my list when I sold out my first retreat? ZERO. I didn't even HAVE a list yet. If I can create a continuously SOLD OUT retreat series, so can you.

This guide will take you through 10 of the most important aspects of planning a successful (SOLD OUT!) one-day retreat. 



Let's Change the World.

I'm just going to jump right in on this one and I've got to warn you - I am going to get deep (it's just how I roll).

Becoming your authentic self in a culture that has very strict notions of who we “should be” is really, really hard. We slash and silence ourselves, we buy shiny shit we don’t need to fill invisible holes that we have been told that we have. We think our pain and fear means we are broken, when it just means that we are human. We fear revealing our flawed selves to each other with shame, and then we project our shame onto each other by policing and silencing each other (especially the brave ones). We make ourselves small because we are told that we cannot take up space. We run around in busy-ness and aren’t really living fully alive in our own lives. But it doesn't have to be this way.

I know it and you know it – women are the love revolution. We are rising up in conscious connection and support of each other on this life journey. We can and are changing the world, and it starts in small, intimate communities led by soulful, heart-centered, wellness and creative entrepreneurs who are passionate about changing people's lives, empowering them to explore, heal, change, grow, and unfold into their most authentically beautiful selves.

You are one of those change makers. You are longing for deeper connection and an uplifting sense of belonging, the kind that comes from a warm hug, a brave conversation, and an engaged community connected to your work. You want to get out from behind these blinding screens and sit with your community on cozy couches, around blazing fires, in circles of laughter and support. You want to hold real space for women to explore, heal, and transform. You have something beautiful, valuable, and incredibly unique to contribute to this world, and you know it (and I know it too!). You feel passionately about your work, and you want to share it with everyone you possibly can! You yearn to really impact the women who need what you have to offer, those who are on their own soulful journey toward healthy, abundant, and conscious living. You know that retreats are an incredibly powerful way to do all of this, and you know you want to host them for your community (and beyond!). And you want to do it without losing your mind (or money)!

Let's break the mold for what retreats are "supposed to be like" and offer a more attainable and community-conscious perspective. Retreats are for every body. You don't need to take a 24-hour flight and spend 7 days (and a few thousand dollars) at a retreat in Bali to change lives, ok? Some of the most powerful retreats are the ones that happen in our local/regional communities with women craving connection, support, & transformation, right now. You can plan soulful retreats with passion, purpose, and ease. You don't need to be or have anything but the drive to make a difference in people's lives.

I think I might know why you're hesitant. You don’t have a huge community of people; building your tribe is one of the reasons you want to start creating events in the first place, right?! I need you to hear me when I say this --- retreats are not just for the well-established; they are also for the just-getting-started.⠀

Live events are not something to consider for the future. Live events are something to start working toward RIGHT NOW. Everywhere you look, the top creative & wellness entrepreneurs (& so many others!) are prioritizing in-person gatherings as an essential aspect of their business model. But live event planning isn't just for the big leagues. In fact, it can be even more meaningful & profitable for small one-person businesses, transforming you from an anonymous face in a crowded marketplace, to a leader in your industry & community. Imagine if you started now, you'd close out spring 2017 celebrating the success of your first beautiful retreat, excited to plan your next one, & wondering why the heck you waited so long to start. ;)⠀

This is important work. YOU are doing life changing work, and I want you to feel confident and supported in offering retreat experiences as a part of your journey.

That's what Retreat Roadmap is all about.

The love revolution. It starts with you. It starts right now.

Let’s change the world.

XOXO Lizzy

PS - Snag your free copy of "The 'You've Got This!' Guide to Planning Your First Retreat With Passion, Purpose, and Ease" below.

Top 5 Reasons Retreats are Essential to Your Wellness Business

Your work is deeply valuable. You are intentional about every little detail, and it shows. You are changing your client’s lives, one at a time. Retreats will allow you broaden and deepen your reach, establishing your business as a step above the rest. Here are my top 5 reasons why retreats are essential to your wellness business.

1. In a busy world of quick, shallow exchanges and endless Facebook groups, many women are craving in-person community support networks. Even if your attendees only stay in touch via social media after your retreat, giving them a chance to connect deeply with each other in person will help them forge online friendships that go beyond emojis. Our Mindful Mama and Mindful Women retreat attendees engage regularly in a very active Facebook group open only to women who have attended one of our retreats, and many relationships have moved offline into play dates, pot luck dinners, and shared glasses of wine.

2. Retreats offer a longer timeframe to get deep with each other than one session or class. Whether you decide to hold a one day, overnight, or weekend retreat, moving through a series of experiences together will allow for the development of a deeper connection between you and your community, and within your community itself. Waiting for the bathroom during a break, negotiating yoga mat spacing, sharing art supplies, sitting down for a meal together, holding hands during a meditation, hearing each other’s stories and being present for each other in person – these are moments where new friendships are born, where wounds are healed, where people take the next step in their journey. Your retreat will facilitate this kind of magic!

3. Live events are so much fun, both to plan and to attend. Extrovert or introvert, being with each other in person gives people a chance to connect for real. There will be laughter, tears, hugs, story telling, and if you’re anything like me, probably dancing. Planning events is also a blast. I cannot get enough of all the little details; signage, branding, sessions, partners, sponsors, meals, swag bags, name tags. Each piece of planning a retreat is a chance to have fun and make it your own.

4. During a retreat, you get a chance to strengthen your audience's connection to you. Time together changes everything. You are no longer the professional at the desk, on the computer, or on the yoga mat at the front of the room; you are a living, breathing, perfectly imperfect person who will unfold in authentic ways throughout the day. They will watch you share your knowledge, facilitate conversations, and manage mishaps, and your grace and power will forge a deeper connection than you ever thought possible.

5. We need to get off of our computers and into shared physical spaces with other women who are also mindfully journeying through this beautiful, messy life. Retreats give us a chance to do it!

Now more than ever, creating a retreat series will give your business the advantage of growing a deeply connected and flourishing community of people who can benefit from your work, share their experience with others, and help your tribe growing roots & wings.

XOXO Lizzy

PS - Ready to dive in? You can get get Retreat Ready in 5 Days my mini-course, Rise Up With Retreats. It takes you through the 5 steps I use every time I am getting ready to plan a successful, sold out retreat. I want you to have the same results!

How To Sell Out Your First Retreat Or Workshop

One of the things that often worries people about planning a retreat or workshop is that they don’t know how they are going to find people to attend. Especially if you don’t have a huge following (yet). What if you put in the time and energy to create something beautiful and don’t sell any tickets? It is enough to make you want to throw in the towel! The beautiful thing about a retreat or workshop is that you are not looking for hundreds or thousands of attendees, especially not at the beginning. To kick off, you are likely looking to fill a roster of between 5 to 30 people (depending on your topic, location, space constraints, etc.). I am here to assure you that with some intentional outreach, you will have no problem selling out your first event and beyond!

1.    I get it. You don’t have a huge community of people; that is one of the reasons you want to start creating events in the first place! One way to increase attendance is to partner with an established influencer, someone who already has a following of people who would be excited to attend one of their events. For example, a popular yoga instructor might partner with an emerging meditation facilitator. As the emerging meditation facilitator you might not have a huge audience clamoring to purchase a ticket, but the yoga instructor with a dedicated following will fill the seats for you both.

2.    Get local in your search. Most people are not going to drive more than 2 hours (if that) for a one-day retreat or workshop. Accept that as a blessing because that will allow you to really narrow your outreach to a limited geographic location. Say you are planning a one-day nutrition retreat focused on incorporating homemade fermented foods and beverages into your diet. Map out a 90-minute traveling radius from your event location. Then use trusty ole Google (or your favorite search engine) to find all of the places where people who might be interested in health and wellness would go, and connect with those places. localized Facebook ads, reach out to local vendors who will talk you up and connect you with people who are in need of your retreat.

3.  Update your social media accounts with attendee numbers, creating a sense of urgency and excitement. Share highlights from your planning process, such as workshop materials, giveaways, and meaningful content. Help your community see that this is an opportunity that they do not want to miss out on! 

4.    After your first event is a smashing success (I'm here for you!), you can continue to drum up excitement and connection by creating an affiliate program within your attendee group. They then become another network through which new people learn about your work. This can be a 10-20% referral fee, an additional discount on a future event, or something else you can dream up that works for your folks.

5.    Along similar lines, continue to strengthen your connection to your attendees by giving them early access and discounted tickets to future events. Doing this keeps you connected to your community, and helps make sure your events stay packed with people. ;) 

 These are just a few ways that I have used to sell out my retreats, workshops, and conferences. Have you used any of these tips? Let me know how they work for you in the comments. What additional ideas do you have for increasing attendance at your events?