I Call BullSh*t - Prove Me Wrong

author/source: Amy Flores-Young

Photo Courtesy of Julien I Slrw

I am FIRED UP! My head is spinning and my heart is racing just sitting to type this.  I will do my best to stay on target and summarize.  Please take a deep breath (or grab some popcorn) as we dive into this together.

As a retreat strategist and planner, I am in a few (ok, too many) “retreat Facebook groups”.   A question that is often posed is, “How do I figure out what to charge for my retreat?”

Simple enough in many ways but a VERY layered question when you get into it.  Of course, there are the base numbers: expenses divided by the number of people.  But many people miss lots of the little leaky expenses and get this wrong. Quick examples of expenses that are often not accounted for are marketing, credit card fees, gratuities, time your VA assisted, and taxes. You see TRUE expenses are much more than the accommodation, food, and travel costs - but I digress

Photo Courtesy of Cathie BriggetteThe other piece of the profit puzzle is the value of your leadership/coaching/transformation: meaning the income you desire for your time and expertise.  Most leaders EXTREMELY discount this or don't really take into account the true cost of their "leadership time".

I have had two clients plan almost IDENTICAL retreats logistically in the EXACT same accommodations. Where one charged $3750 and the other $9900!  So you see while there are some formulas, there is also some subjectiveness and nuance.  

Are you with me so far? Not too complicated - but not easily answered without knowing the business model and intention of the event.

And while I usually try to give a quick summary that there is no easy answer or flat rate for success.  That is not a typical type of response on these threads.  Usually, the vultures start with, “I’m a pricing expert and can show you how to earn $25k-$50k on each retreat”.


I SO STRONGLY BELIEVE in the in-person experience to grow a thriving business. Many people try retreats but do not invest the time in creating a full business foundation and strategy for weaving their events into that business.  BECAUSE OF THESE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS, they dive in, honestly naive, and often end up losing money overall. I see it time and time again and it doesn't have to play out that way. That is why I get flat-out angry when seeing these types of messages on social media. I have caught myself at least a dozen times in the past month starting to reply in my sparkling #Masshole tone in full effect BUT then remember ... "Not my Circus, Not my Clowns".Not my circus

Most who are asking this question are new to planning out retreats or they have done a few and not gotten the return they envisioned. I would wager they are HIGHLY UNLIKELY to have the business foundation and strategy to create that high of a return on their first few events.

Telling leaders there is a magic formula for $25+k returns is hocus pocus, and remember, they call me The Retreat Wizard so I know hocus pocus when I see it.  Or telling them to take the costs (again usually determined incorrectly) and add $3k for each attendee for yourself is not aligned either.  OR just double the amount of people and make more money. This can work IF they can create an aligned event energetically to support more guests.  The "make big money" programs offer "the fix" without having a clue as to what the leader is really looking to build.   

Photo Courtesy of Cathie BriggetteCan you have a 5-figure retreat as a newbie?  AB-SO-FRIGGIN-LOOT-LY  But realistically closer to the $10,000-$15,000 mark.  I have partnered with thought leaders and coaches to create over 100 retreats.  I don’t think I am being cynical with low numbers, they are what I see time after time with coaches and practitioners who have not fully mastered a retreat business strategy. Once we dial in that strategy, Dang skippy you can hit higher profit numbers!

I have clients that make well over $25k for each event!  BUT that is not where they started.  And not for nothing, they worked with me to create an intentional strategy that fit their ALREADY STRONG business foundation.  

If you are still building that foundation and its surrounding community, you can still be profitable (never undervalue your magic) but understand there is usually a learning curve to have repeatable, high profit retreats year over year.  

Are you asking yourself, “What SHOULD I charge for my retreat?”  I have a little starter tool to get the ball rolling.  Download the Retreat Profit Calculator and let me know your numbers.  


Photo Courtesy of Amy FLo Yocall-bullsht-prove-me-wrong

Event Strategy & Planning
Retreat, Disability, Disney Travel Specialist
978-257-5718 | 
[email protected]


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