The Missing Link To Sold Out Retreats

In this second article in the blog series “Sold Out Retreats” I'm going to talk to you about the ONE missing link to having successful sold out retreats.

Let me ask you a question...

Are you wondering what type of event, workshop, or retreat your community would absolutely LOVE to sign up for?

If so, you are definitely a step ahead because you are asking the RIGHT question.

Many teachers and retreat leaders entirely neglect to do the necessary market research BEFORE they plan their next retreat.

This one step - doing market research - is the missing link I see a lot, and it has the potential to guarantee that your retreat will be a hit with your people.

It is the step that can set your retreat up for success.

I have witnessed many retreat leaders skipping this step and thus having an uphill battle when marketing and trying to fill up their retreats.

If you resonate with this, please keep reading.

I have a bit of a rant-post for you today because I see HOW BIG of a deal this is.

Let’s start with the definition of the concept of “market research.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has one of its definitions as:

“Research that is done to get information about what people want to buy, why they want to buy it, etc.”

In other words, market research is just a fancy-pants word for ASKING your community what they want and being open to the feedback they give you.

When you ask your community what THEY want from you, the process of getting people to register for any of your services (be it a class, workshop or retreat), becomes THAT much easier.

Makes so much sense right?!

How important is it to have that validation before you invest all that time, energy and money into creating your next retreat?

What if I told you that this is the SECRET to SOLD OUT RETREATS?

So why are so many of us missing this critical initial step of asking for feedback on our retreat idea (or any other new offerings you have in mind) BEFORE we actually get to work on creating them?

I see three main fears that hold people back from doing the initial market research step of validating their retreat idea.

#1: Fear of not being “the expert”

When you ask our people what they want you to create for them, you are putting yourself in a vulnerable position and opening yourself up to feedback.

All of a sudden, you run the risk of “being exposed” as someone who doesn't necessarily have all the answers and know what they are doing. This runs especially true for people that are in leadership positions and are considered teachers and mentors.

This fear has a root in our egos, thinking “we know what’s best,” “we should be the experts.” Deep inside we don’t want to be challenged in our position as the expert teacher.

But the truth is that (just like Brene Brown says) vulnerability is vital if we want to grow as great leaders.

If this fear holds you back, know that you will have so much insight from the process of asking your community what they want and need and that being vulnerable is part of the path of truly making an impact in other people's lives.

Last but not least, giving your community a voice - by listening to their input - is key to building a strong, connected, and loyal retreat tribe.

#2: Fear of not getting the answers you want

This is a very common fear for those of us creatives who love spending time in our “brain-lab” secretly plotting our next retreat, workshop or program.

I’m guilty of this one sometimes. I have to make a conscious choice to get out of my brain and onto the field with my people because I know this is where the magic happens.

Two things can happen when you get out of your “secret creative lab” (be it your brain, your journal or your laptop).

A. You may get the answers you wanted which is validation for you to continue to work on your retreat project the way it is with SO much more confidence.

B. You might get a fresh new perspective on what your ideal students really want and need from you and how you can serve them better. Even if it’s not what you initially thought it was.

#3: Fear of “doing the legwork before the legwork”

{BTW, that’s a quote from one of my amazing clients and community members}.

Yeah, I know, we all get a little lazy when running a business sometimes. There are just so many other things we could be doing with our limited time.

Getting feedback from your community takes work, commitment, and a willingness to stay open-minded to seeing things from your client's point of view. It just takes time.

If you feel like doing the pre-work of market research is just too much for you, then think about the amount of work that goes into planning and promoting a retreat.

You don’t want to do all of that work to have your retreat flop when you realize nobody is interested in it. It just doesn't fill a need or desire for your students.

It’s heartbreaking to hear stories from people in my community who have tried SO dang hard to fill up their retreats, to only find themselves having to cancel it at the end because they didn't do their market research.

Especially when it comes to premium offers like retreats - where the stakes are higher - you really need to take time to ask your community for their genuine feedback.

There is another amazing side effect of this process.

You are creating organic buzz around your next retreat, and that gets people to pay attention because they feel included and involved in the creative process.

It is pre-marketing work, and it will launch you to a sold-out retreat.


  • If you are great at doing market research to get feedback from your community, you rock. Keep it up friend!

  • If you have never paid attention to this before. I really hope this post serves as an encouragement for you to try this with your retreats and other offerings. I promise you will get some great insight from it!

What’s Next?

  1. Leave a comment below and share what you resonated with in this article.

  2. Don’t forget to share this post with a peer or friend that would benefit from reading this!

  3. Stay tuned for more in the blog series, Sold Our Retreats!