You need support in your corner, from people who have been there who can say, “Oh yeah, that’s totally normal. Here’s what’s going on with your client. Here’s the conversation to have. Here’s how to help them discern.” All of these things. Get someone in your corner, because it is the best thing you’ll ever do.
– Darla LeDoux
Darla LeDoux: Hello, and welcome to today’s episode of Retreat and Grow Rich, the podcast. I am here with a very special guest, the lead coach in our Retreat and Grow Rich programs, and her name is Julie Flippin. Hi Julie.
Julie Flippin: Hey Darla. How are you?
Darla LeDoux: I’m good. Thanks for doing this with me. I’m going to give you a minute to introduce yourself because I really want people to get to know you. They don’t even know that you’re the power behind the scenes over here. But I’m going to take a moment just to introduce this episode. We are here in our series on Retreat Business Models, and we’ve been interviewing guests who have various models of incorporating live experiences into the way they work and I’ve been doing some teaching, so we’ve talked about really looking at the problem that people have when they go to host a retreat. Julie, you and I will talk about this, and I know you can bring your experience to the table. But it’s like when we do retreats, we’re called and we get so excited to host a retreat. But a lot of people don’t understand the business behind it, and so they make a pretty page and they get a beautiful venue, but their retreat doesn’t fill.
I see this happen so often, or they have one or two people, and they didn’t price it to make money, and that doesn’t really work. We talked about that in the first solo episode. Then we talked about gateway programs, which are really the secret to warming people up for your retreat. Then we had a whole episode on the RICH retreat, and the role that serves in our business. The RICH retreat is … I also call it a connection retreat.
It’s where you get connected with people. From that, what’s amazing is, once people retreat with you, they want to do more, and they really get a taste of what transformation looks and feels like in their body, and they can start to project what it’s going to be like being at a different energy in their life, and they know they want support with integrating that. A lot of times, Julie, I talked about this, we become … we’re really good at ignoring our discomfort, right?
Then when we become aware of it and we start to realize not only is it there, but that we have the power to shift it, now all of a sudden we start to see, “Oh my gosh, there’s a lot I want to shift in my life,” and we don’t yet have the muscle to do it alone, or it’s really not as fun to do it alone. That’s where the high-level program comes in. We’re going to dive into what is a high-level program, what does that even mean, how do you incorporate the live retreats into your high-level program, and why would you even do that.
Julie, I’m going to have you, by way of introducing yourself, share a little bit about your experience in your own business including retreats. I’m sure I’ll share some stories as well, and we’ll talk a bit about what we’ve seen and experienced with how high-level programs work. I want to really let people know about the retreat leader archetypes, and how that can influence the types of retreats you want to host, and how to really think big picture about your business. That’s what we have in store for you in this episode today, and we’ll go back and forth teaching.
Julie, welcome, and I would love for you to start by letting people know a little bit about your journey to business coaching and hosting retreats yourself in your own business before joining our team.
Julie Flippin: Thank you. Fantastic to be here with you, Darla. I love all your podcasts, so it’s really nice to be featured on one. I started in corporate. I had 20 years in corporate, and I really felt done with that. I had the imposter syndrome and all of those things that went on, and I really wanted to work with the business owner, even way back then because I’ve had my own businesses for probably 17 years now.
My first business was an accounting and bookkeeping business, because that’s what I really knew. I was really good at it, and I worked in that for about four years, and I felt that inner calling, that nudge that there was something else for me. While I was running that business, I ended up going back to school and becoming certified as a psychotherapist, because I recognized even working with the business owner on their numbers, that there was something deeper going on. I felt so drawn to help people uncover, discover, become more successful, so I went back to school, I got certified. Of course, I fast tracked the whole thing because I was still running my business. I started my second business, and once my revenue got up, I sold my first one, and I had a private counseling practice for almost nine years, and I loved it. I really loved doing that deeper work with people.
Darla LeDoux: Yes.
Julie Flippin: I was really clear about, without that, we’re really lost.
Darla LeDoux: One of the main reasons I think people are drawn to lead retreats is because of that deeper work. Can you talk a little bit about what that was like? You’re working with business owners, and helping them with their profitability and their numbers, but what were some of the cues or signals that you saw that had you go, “We really need deeper work?”
Julie Flippin: Yeah, what a great question. The biggest red flag for me was looking at … I worked with different business owners in different businesses, so the different ones. If I were to compare two services or products, my question became, why was one successful and one not? I had some business owners that just rocked it, and others that were constantly struggling, and it wasn’t because their service wasn’t as good, their pricing wasn’t good, all of that.
I knew that there were deeper reasons and issues and how they were showing up in their business. Darla, I would say, given my own personal experience, my childhood, I came from the trauma. I had been doing personal work on myself, and of course, that really informed my love and understanding of transformation, because I got to see the difference that came in my life when I started to do deeper dives within myself. But those were the big red flags. Why, when everything seems to be on track, does the evidence not show and reflect back the money, the clients, the success? That was my big red flag with the business owners at that point.
Darla LeDoux: That’s really interesting that you got to see behind the scenes and see the difference between someone who’s doing their inner work and someone who’s not, really.
Julie Flippin: Exactly. Exactly. It was amazing. I ended up doing a little bit of work with some of those people once I got certified, because they understood. They still called me for a number of years. Stepping into that practice gave me the ability to … I mean I worked with children, individuals, I did marriage enrichment, CEOs, executive directors, and it gave me a different aspect of how some of the deeper beliefs were showing up in their life and in their business or in their position, their career. I really loved that work.
Darla LeDoux: Did you have the experience? Because a lot of the people, as you know, that we work with … What I see happen a lot is, they had to do their own inner work to even have a business, right? Whatever the business is, it’s like once you get in business, if you’re someone who is called to transformation, you suddenly recognize, “I need to be a different level of energy, or I need a different way of showing up to do this,” and then it’s so exciting and so freeing, you just want everyone to know.
Julie Flippin: Absolutely. Absolutely right. So exciting watching them … Even, Darla, what I found was happening, as people did their inner work, their vision, their aspiration started to change. Everything started to expand for them, and they started to realize the limitations they had been living their life, their business, their career.
I will say, even children I worked with, and this is interesting, so working with children, watching how they started to show up in their life, and the significance of empowerment for them was amazing. I mean, it starts back there and goes all the way up. The nice thing about working with children as we didn’t have as many layers.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. I remember that I did Landmark education years ago, and they had a children’s program, and everybody said, “Oh, they get it so much faster.”
Julie Flippin: Yeah. Because, through our habits, we cement these habits, the way we do things, the process, all of our survival instincts, all of that gets so cemented in. Then we have story upon story upon story that really reflects back as to why something’s not going to work.
Darla LeDoux: Exactly. You started working with business owners and doing the inner work, and what’s been your experience with retreats? I know I’ve designated this in various places on the podcast, but for me, a retreat is a multi-day experience that’s designed to be transformational in nature, or designed to create new awareness.
For me, some masterminds I participated in, I know you participated in “mastermind programs”, which was all the rage at the time and still is really, some are transformational in nature, and some aren’t. There’s a variety of ways to play here, but what was your journey?
Julie Flippin: Yeah. I just want to say that I did transition into business coaching from that practice, partly because I love business and I love the business owner and the fearlessness, the courage it takes to show up and do that. That’s where my journey really got to in business when I reentered that.
It’s funny. I do a couple of different types of retreats indeed. I did some spiritual retreats more just for individuals, and those were flat out retreats that were purely transformational. That was the whole intent. My first business retreats were interesting. I went with 300 slides and my PowerPoint thinking that this-
Darla LeDoux: You got me beat. I had a 182.
Julie Flippin: Yeah, I’m exaggerating. I’m not even sure how many, but it was like I was thinking content and that didn’t happen. It just became so clear that what needed to happen was the transformation. I personally hadn’t been to a business retreat that was formed and created for transformation. It was for information, and we might do some work. It became apparent to me, pretty quick, what my group really needed, it was wonderful. I loved leading these retreats, I got to know my participants, my clients better.
I had one retreat I did where one of my clients, she had worked on her branding and had it all figured out, and through watching someone else’s process in our retreats, so having a breakthrough, she finally hit the space of, she was called to do something entirely different and she had been in such resistance. Finally, in this two-day, it broke. I will tell you, when she’s really stepped into that, she is rocking it in her field. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever seen.
Darla LeDoux: Amazing. Amazing. Interesting that you had only seen modeled programs that deliver information, but yet your inner knowing said, “Wait, that’s not what they … they may not need all these slides.” I know for me, I had 182 PowerPoint slides. I had a little booklet. This was not in a fulfillment retreat, however it was. I’m going to distinguish that for people in a second.
But I had a 182 slides, and I had the whole design and intention for transformation. I was so nervous in my first retreat. I had a little game that they were going to play the night before, and I was like, “Either this is going to be amazing, or they’re going to walk in day one hating me already, because they already had an assignment.” But it ended up being really amazing, but it’s a lot to fit in, right?
We want to be really specific about how we’re designing our retreats and what the intention is. I knew what my intention was, for me personally, but I also had seen modeled … the binders and the slides and the information, and I love creating content, so that wasn’t hard for me necessarily. But it’s a lot to include in a single retreat.
Julie Flippin: It is so much work. Interestingly enough, having that intention of wanting them to break through but through information completely backfires. One of the things I’m curious about with you is just a question for you, with that first retreat, so 182 slides, how did you fall into … how did you get into the real transformation part of that in your fulfillment retreats?
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. Well, that one was a connection retreat. Let’s talk a little bit about that, and let’s come back to that question. This episode is all about high level programs. I want you to imagine that you have your perfect people already in the room at the retreat, you’re giving them a taste of transformation, which is what I feel is so important in the RICH retreat and we covered that in the last episode. So they’re getting a taste of what it could look and feel like in their life if they choose to step into this different energy field.
Now, you’re offering them a chance to do that courageous work with you as your guide. In our business, we have a program that we know when people come to our rich retreat, some of them, that’s all they need, right? It’s designed to amplify what’s already working about you, give you the tools to put your message out in a bigger way, to have the right people come to your retreat, to design your retreat beautifully, and all of that, right?
For some people, they’re going to take that, it’s going to be enough and they’re going to leave, but for others, they’re going to go, “Oh my gosh. You’re my person, you’re my people. This is my team, this is my family. I want to do this work with you. I know you’re the perfect people to support me because you get me and you get all the steps.” That’s where we offer the high-level programs. For everybody listening, you have your own version of this, right?
We help retreat leaders to be extraordinary retreat leaders and business owners, so their retreats are powerful and profitable, not just awesome but I’m broke at the end. That’s what we help people with. But whatever you help people with, there’s a way that if people really got … and here’s what I know about our listeners, is if people really got the magic that you do in your work, you would have a huge line out the door, because you love what you do, you’re gifted at it, it’s the natural talent.
But people don’t know, and people don’t know because it’s hard to explain transformation, right? It’s hard to explain it, you need a taste of it. For our listeners, whatever you do, here’s how I want you to think about your high-level program, is if people really understood what you do, and the magic that you work, how would you work with them? If you knew there would be a line out the door, and you could offer your best work at the price you really want to charge, the price that works for your life and your desires, I could call it desire-based pricing, what would you offer them?
That’s your high-level program. When Julie and I work with our clients, we backtrack from that, and we really look at, what’s your ultimate, how do you want your life to look, what do you really want to be offering? If people really could understand the value in working with you, how would you design that? Then your RICH retreat is a taste of that, right? It’s like giving them the first step and inviting them to work with you further.
The reason I’m starting there is we’ve got to really distinguish, so there’s this RICH retreat, which we talked about last time, which is where people really get to know you and get that buy-in to say, “Julie, you’re the best. I trust you. You’ve given me so much in this time. I am totally open to a new possibility. I can’t wait to see what a year with you would look like, or what six months would look like, or nine months would look like.” Those are the people you’re designing this for. At that point, then the question is how do you want to design it?
If people are here listening to this podcast, it’s probably because they love retreats, and one of the best ways to get to do more retreats is to include retreats in the delivery of your high-level program. That is what we call a fulfillment retreat. It’s fulfillment retreat because someone’s bought the whole program, and your program could be … My first high-level program was $6,000 that included two retreats. Our program today is $30,000, and we always include retreats in our high-level program.
We’re going to talk about why that’s important today. Julie and I, we’re going to talk about how to think about when in your program to include retreats. You don’t want to just throw in a retreat just for the hell of it, because there’s an expense that comes with hosting a retreat. It takes your time, you might have to travel, you might fly your team, all of those things. You don’t want to do it just for no reason. You want it to really be strategic, the way that you include retreats in your program. With that, Julie, we’re talking about the high-level programs, and you asked about the fulfillment retreat.
There’s the connection retreat, which that was my first one with the 182 PowerPoint slides. I’m not sure, in this moment, if I had PowerPoint in my fulfillment retreat at the beginning. They definitely don’t now. I don’t do PowerPoints for anything anymore. As we’re growing, our Retreat and Grow Rich brand, there’s a possibility that we’ll have bigger rooms, then we’ll need slides and AV and all of that. But what I really love is a flip chart and a marker and a … Right? And a rough agenda, a clear intention. Clear intention, rough agenda. My first fulfillment retreat, your question is, how do you think about creating that transformation?
Julie Flippin: Right.
Darla LeDoux: The first thing is we want to imagine, so I want everybody listening to imagine that you have this group of people who already know how magical it is to work with you, who are already bought into transformation as a way of life and a way of doing business. Right? I think, for myself, and I know you do this too, Julie, that personal growth is the context for my business. Transformation is the context for my business.
In other words, it’s not like let’s go make all these things and it’s separate from my transformation. My whole purpose for being is my transformation so that I can pave the way for others. You’ve got your group of your ideal people, and now they’re like, “Yes, I want to work with you further. I love you. Let’s do more together.” Now you want to really think about, “Well, okay, what do they need?”
Julie Flippin: Right. Right.
Darla LeDoux: In the RICH retreats I designed, people are going to walk away with a new way of being. Maybe they came in feeling fearful about money, and they’re walking away with this possibility of, “Well, if the world were abundant, how would I be? How would I walk through life?” Or maybe they came in with this masculine doing energy that we’re so inundated with, right? Of like, “Well, if it’s not hard work, I shouldn’t get paid.”
We create all this extra hard work. We see this transformation happen a lot, right? They walk out with the possibility of, “Oh, what if I could really be light and efficient about the way I work, and how I already am is really valuable, and so I don’t have to do all these other things to prove myself? What would that be like? What’s the possibility of that?” People are in that place of, “Okay, I have this amazing new possibility for how the energy in my world could be.”
Then you’re asking yourself, as the person designing the high-level program, “Great, what do I do with them from there? How do I help them to integrate that new possibility in all the areas of their life? What information do they need to be able to do that, and what additional transformation do they need to be able to do that?” You and I both experienced, Julie. I feel very fortunate because my first high-level program I personally joined was very transformational in nature. I got that experience.
But I also was in a lot of programs that were very informational. Here’s the latest way to get people to open your emails. Here’s the latest way to do a livestream because it’s all the rage. Here’s the latest way to … whatever. Informational. In most high-level programs, people are wanting to give a combination of information and transformation. At least the people that we attract.
Julie Flippin: Yeah, yeah.
Darla LeDoux: What’s beautiful about the world today is you can deliver information, like we are, right? You can deliver information online with recordings, with videos, with trainings. There’s an abundance of ways to deliver information. For me, I like to reserve the retreats for transformation, because there’s nothing like being live and in person and connected with people to create transformation. Above that, when you’ve gone to a RICH retreat with someone or you’ve gone to a first fulfillment retreat with someone and then you see them in the next retreat and you know, “Hey, in that retreat, I stood up and I declared my abundance, and hey, four months from now I’m going to walk in the room with those same people who heard me say that. I can’t show up and not be that, so I better freaking do it.” There’s some magic that happens in this model.
Julie, I’m curious if any stories or experiences are popping up for you, whether as a client in a high-level program, or as the leader of a high-level program, where you really got to see the value of having that container of support over time, that included retreat.
Julie Flippin: Yes. Yeah. I just so love what you just shared. One of the things I want to add to that is, and I think this is really important when you think of a high-level program, we have to get over … I had to get over this, what I think they would think of as value, because traditionally or in the past, transformation hasn’t been valued as much as information.
The reason you did probably 182 slides and I did slides, and thought I would deliver all this wonderful content is because I didn’t want them to be disappointed or didn’t get enough. That was my personal transformation, to be able to show up and say, “I’m giving them what I know they really need, not what they think they need or want.” That just really popped up for me.
Darla LeDoux: I love that so much, because I was taught, I’m sure you were, sell them what they want, give them what they need.
Julie Flippin: Yes, yes. Exactly.
Darla LeDoux: Because there was this interesting way that we were being trained, that people won’t pay for transformation, so you need all these smoke and mirrors to make them think it’s valuable, and then you’re going to make them transform.
Julie Flippin: Right.
Darla LeDoux: Julie, there was some truth to that, but we’re evolving. We are evolved, right? The people are hungry for transformation now. We still have rational minds that need … We need to give some reason to our rational mind, why to go transform. But I love that you brought that up, because that’s where the proving comes in, and we see this all the time with our clients, don’t we?
Julie Flippin: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: But what am I going to teach? Is this enough?
Julie Flippin: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: I couldn’t teach them this, right? I couldn’t teach them all, I don’t know, how to market or how to diet or how to whatever, yet the content can get in the way of the transformation.
Julie Flippin: What I found exciting, really, really exciting, and I’m thinking about my first high-level program, my first people I worked with and being nervous and wanting to give them so much. What started to become very clear to me, Darla, and I think this was the magic, I got to see the habits that they had created, their blind spots, the beliefs that they had, being the objective mirroring back, and then for me to find the courage to really confront them with some of this.
Confront is probably a strong word, but to introduce, to allow them to see themselves and why they weren’t showing up. I had one of my earlier clients, and I mean, he had a great business and he was just getting in the way of the success of it, and this is what really started to become so evident in our work. I didn’t have two-day retreats, I had VIP retreats, because I didn’t have 10 people or eight people or something like that. They were just magical because we got to spend that day together and we got to some of the deeper work.
One of the other things I think about, I worked with three partners, and so as we did our work, we started … I think they were doing $50,000 when they started with me, and they were technically excellent at what they did. Within that first year, we went from 50 to 150,000 and the individual work we did, the dynamics between them … Having three was great numbers for doing a retreat. We were able to divide then each of them got to know each other in such a profound way.
We went 150 because, with the high-level program, some of my clients stayed with me for two or three years. 150 to 300,000, that was a huge jump. Then 400,000 was their fourth, and then they were like, “Okay, we’re ready to go flying by ourselves.” But, oh my gosh, the personal transformation they went through as they grew and just watching the evidence of their business growing with, it was extraordinary.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. So seeing that transformation over time.
Julie Flippin: Yes. It’s really nice, and I think it’s important for people to know it’s not unusual for people to stay with you longer than your six months or nine months or 12 months, because there’s more work to do, there is greater levels they want to get to. That first year is very foundational if they’re a newer business owner or a newer client. Sometimes when you get into the next phase, it’s where a different level of what we might call magic would start to happen. To show up so powerfully and confidently and attract who you really want to work with, who you can really serve and do.
Darla LeDoux: I love that, Julie. When you’re talking about working with people multiple years, I think that’s a great segue into, well, how do you design this program? What goes in a high level program? How do we think about really giving people this magical container of support that they want to stay in for multiple years? I really want to share about the retreats that you do, retreats with you for multiple years. You don’t have to have different retreats all the time.
Darla LeDoux: We’re going to talk a little bit about that too. In a high-level program, there’s lots of ways to design it. We have a thing called the high-level program game that we play in our high-level program retreats, helping people design what they really want offered in their high-level program. We just make it fun. So you pick up the little cards of the features of your program.
Julie Flippin: That is fun.
Darla LeDoux: I like games.
Julie Flippin: The venue.
Darla LeDoux: Exactly. There’s lots of things you can put in high level programs. There’s like an exhaustive list, and a lot of times people think, “Well, the more features I put in my program, the more value I’m creating,” and which is not necessarily true. So when we play the high level program game, people design their program and then we say, “Okay, if you had to cut out 20% of the features, what would you cut? Right? And what would that look like?”
Because we’re trained to think more features is better. This is marketing 101. You all probably know this, but you’ve got features of your program and benefits of your programs. The benefits of your program are all the transformational results, right? Earn more money, have better sex, whatever it might be. Right? A tangible thing that you know you received. The features are how you get them there, so three retreats in the 12 month program, or biweekly individual coaching calls or monthly group calls, et cetera.
What I personally love and think is the most effective in a high level program is to include a combination of live retreats, individual coaching, and group coaching. Then in our programs, we also include training. That can be delivered … recorded ones, and delivered over and over again. For me, that combination is really the sweet spot where people get the most value. Because when you’re doing one-on-one coaching, it gives people an opportunity, if you’re in business coaching especially, to get personal strategy that really suits them.
Then you have the group coaching over time, like Zoom calls, where people get to see each other over time, hold each other accountable, support each other, contribute to the community. We do a monthly mini retreat where there’s a deep dive meditation that we do each month to keep people tuned in to their soul and what’s most important to them and what’s really calling them, as an example.
I’ve done a lot of programs where we do biweekly training, and then people get to ask questions. There’s a lot of ways you can design those group calls. Then there’s the live retreats, which are really for those … they’re like anchor points to bring the next level of transformation and the next level of pivot, because when you start doing work in this way, you shift, right?
Then you start to execute from that new level of energy and you learn all these things and then you’re ready for that next transformation. Julie, that’s what I heard you say, with the people that you coached over time, it was like, “Okay, and now we’re going here and then now we’re going here,” and it’s so beautiful to see that happen in a live retreat over time.
Julie Flippin: Absolutely. For them to recognize the true investment they were making. I think this is sometimes where people get a little bit mixed up when they start offering high-level programs and talking about them. This is an investment in their life and in their business and everything that their life touches. One of the things I’ve always said is our businesses are a vehicle for personal expansion and growth. It just happens to be that.
It’s really about them being willing to make the investment because they have a … something’s happened that they understand the value of what’s about to happen, and yeah, working with people like that. One of the things I want to say too, Darla, I think this is really important when it comes to high-level programs and it’s something I learned the first time when I signed up for a high-level program and it was terrifying. Like, “Oh my gosh, what’s going to happen? I’m spending all this money,” and all of those things.
As I said, I had three businesses. My first two, they were very successful. It took me and my second one about five years to hit the $100,000 mark, the six figure mark. Starting that third one thinking, “Oh my gosh, I don’t want to take another five years just to be here.” I was multiple six figures in 18 months because I had the support. Something else, so I just want to say, during that time, my marriage fell apart and I can’t begin to tell you having a coach and being involved in a high-level program, having someone know me that was willing to do the deeper transformation.
I remember saying to her, “I’m so afraid that I’m going to get lost here and it’s going to affect all the momentum I’ve got with my business because of this personal thing.” She said to me, “Julie, I’ve got you. You do what you need to do and I promise you, if I see you slipping in any way at all, if I see anything happening, I will let you know. You can relax with this. We have it.” Darla, how do you put a price tag on that? It was more than just business coaching, but having that kind of support was so amazing because let’s face it, as we’re building our businesses, doing all of this life is happening outside.
Darla LeDoux: Yes.
Julie Flippin: I think that’s one of the real benefits of a high-level program and having that kind of a container of support. It is invaluable at times.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah, and the community as well. So many people do think, “Well, my parent is sick so I can’t do this right now.”
Julie Flippin: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: Or, “We’re moving so I can’t do this right now,” or whatever. It’s like, that’s exactly why to do this right now, because you need a whole team and a horse to help hold that energy with you.
Julie Flippin: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: Not for you, not co-dependently. We cannot do that as leaders, take it on for people, but to have that community holding it with you when you’re going through your stuff. Our culture is so, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and let’s make sure we’re perfect, and I know you and I both, Julie, could never begin to count the number of conversations of people who are like, “Yeah, but I am failing because,” and it’s like, “No, actually this is the transformation.” Right? This is for you letting go of that relationship was likely the exact thing that made the way for you to reach multiple six figures.
Julie Flippin: Exactly. Exactly. It’s really interesting when we see what happens. I mean, let’s face it. Here we are, we’ve got a high-level program we offer. We offer fulfillment retreats, we’re doing deeper transformational work with our clients. I mean, that’s really what you know your company is all about. Of course, it’s going to affect all their life. These deeper transformations or transitions and breakthroughs we’re having are going to show up outside, and it’s so bigger than just our business. Without a full container of support, what really is going to happen quite often is we go back to the old way of being.
You and I were on a VIP with someone the other day, and she said she had come to our connection retreat and decided to sign up for a high-level program. She said, “I loved that. It was so fantastic. I saw things I wasn’t capable of seeing before. I believed in myself and my ability to do things I didn’t know were possible. The week after I got home, it started to slip away.” So nice she knew she had a container of support, so we were able to hold that, harness it, continued to grow it. This is what happens. You go to one thing, how do we sustain that without continued support?
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. I want people to really get that. People can come to your rich retreat and get a transformation that’s permanent. Once we get something in ourselves, we can’t unknow it. It’s not like that’s for nothing.
Julie Flippin: Right.
Darla LeDoux: Our environment is number one. Guys, and if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, “It’s okay if my environment isn’t great,” and by the way, your environment includes people, our environment is huge. If you’re surrounded with people who don’t get what you’re talking about, who don’t get your vision, who aren’t in their own journey of transformation, and you’re wanting to hold possibility, it is very challenging. Or if you’re living some place that does not make you feel inspired, some place that reminds you of lack every single day, it’s hard to remember abundance.
You go back to this idea of support over time and even year over year or coming to the same retreat or hearing the same message more than once. When I joined my first program, Julie, I also was like, “I had a taste of transformation at a live event and I knew I wanted more, and I was terrified and I didn’t know anyone who had ever paid money for something like that, any money.” I was super nervous, and I had three retreats in the program.
At every single retreat, my mentor said at some point during the retreat, “Do you like what you see when you look out your window?” Now, the first time I heard it, I was like, “Okay, what else?” It’s like that’s not important. Tell me about my business. Then the second time I heard it, I was like, “Oh, why does he keep saying that?” My gut is like, “Oh, pay attention.” Then the third time, I’m like, “No, I freaking hate it.”
In all of that, that is just a side comment that happened at the retreat. But because I was in the container and the space to hear it, because I was out of my home environment, right? If I had been home, I might not have been feeling it in the same way. I ended up renting out my house and moving to an apartment with trees out the window, and it was amazing. That was the start. But I would have not received that message without that structure. It changed everything. It really did. It wasn’t like the grandest department, but I liked what I saw when I looked out the window and it changed everything.
Julie Flippin: Yes. Yeah. They’re not always huge, big earth shattering fireworks going off breakthroughs, they’re small little steps that we take, new awarenesses, new perceptions, new ability to see life and our life in the world in a different way. That happen. I think there’s something to be said about removing someone from their current living situation, taking them away where you really have that time to just separate yourself from all of the things that you do every day, where you can do the deeper dive, and knowing you’ve got that support after.
The high-level program is, without a doubt, my favorite part in business. I mean, I love everything that we do, but knowing, “Oh, we have a year together.” I find clients just relax. If even in shorter programs, maybe a three month program, it’s like, “Okay, I got to get all this in three months.” It’s like, “Ooh, I don’t want to do any deeper work really because I’ve only got three months.” That can happen sometimes, and I’m not saying that they don’t have their place, they’re not valuable.
That’s the difference in a high-level program. We have a year together. It’s a journey we’re going on, and their commitment, their financial, emotional, physical, mental, spiritual commitment is the same as our commitment as coaches. When people are all in, it’s easier for us to be all in too, and we journey together over that year or … depending on how long someone’s high-level program is.
Darla LeDoux: Right, I worked with a client, Ashley, not too long ago, and she’d been doing retreats for a long time and she was always filling new retreats. She was successful. People came to her retreats, they loved it, they got transformation, she’s doing great. But financially, the level of effort of constantly filling new retreats is a lot. The financial reward wasn’t really worth it. We helped her develop her high-level program.
Here’s the best thing that happened. I think it was a nine month container that she created with a couple of retreats. She actually did one retreat that combined … it was like a fulfillment connection combination, so she was bringing in some new people too. But she already knew the room was “full.” Right
Julie Flippin: Right.
Darla LeDoux: I remember getting a text from her where she said, “This is the best experience of my life because all I have to do right now is just pour into these people.” That’s the feeling that you’re talking about, right?
Julie Flippin: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: It’s like your clients who are all in committed, and you’ve designed it for their transformation.
Julie Flippin: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: Now, that doesn’t come without issues. I want to share a couple of decisions that you’ll need to make. You’ll need to decide, guys, if you’re doing a rolling program or a cohort program. We help our clients decide, because this has to come from what really works for you personally and how you’re designed as a leader, and also your content or the transformation you offer can help us decide what’s best for you and your clients, and the life you want to live, really.
We have a quiz called your Retreat Leader Archetypes. If you haven’t taken it, which is helping you determine your archetypes type and the type of retreats you really like to lead. That can help you decide, because what I know, if you’re listening to this, is there’s a lot of things that you love to do and teach and talk about and that your clients need.
It can help you decide how much of this do you give them in this program, what do you give them during retreat, and what do you give them virtually via email or calls or whatever, to design for their optimal transformation in a way that you really like to work. We need to consider both of those things. That’s how you decide if you’re doing a cohort or a rolling program. The cohort means everybody starts and ends at the same time, and so it’s a group, it’s a family, that goes through this program together.
There’s positives to this, obviously having that connection, and negatives, which is you need all the people to start at once, which has a different energy profile to it than a rolling program where when someone comes to work with you, they can join in at any time. Benefit wise, it’s like it’s really on the client’s timeline, which is great. The downside is there’s not that same connection because people are coming and going. If you have a rolling program, there’s lots of things we can do to design in to make sure people feel welcome and get connected and all of those things.
But the reason I’m mentioning that is that’s going to be an important decision that you make, and it will also affect what you do in your retreats, and how you design them. Julie, back to where you talked about the clients that were coming on retreat for multiple years, when you do … Let’s say you do a rolling program, right? And people stay for years, because there isn’t a big graduation. What’s great is people tend to renew more easily in a rolling program because they want to continue.
Julie Flippin: Absolutely. Yeah.
Darla LeDoux: I did a program, it was called the profit acceleration circle. It was my high level program I did for years, and it was a rolling program and I had three retreats a year. Typically, we had a retreat which filled the program. We would have groups that started at once, and there would be a group of five that came in to the other group of 10 or whatever. Then we had 15 for awhile, and then some people graduated. It flowed like that.
But I would do three retreats a year. The first retreat would always be on one topic, alignment, for example. The second would always be on money, and the third would always be on marketing and messaging. Then we would roll through those same topics again. You might think, “Well, that person has already been to the alignment retreat.” Well, guess what? Once you go through a whole year and you have your money right, your cashflow is at a whole different level, your marketing is set in a new way, now you’re in a whole different place to hear the alignment message.
Julie Flippin: Absolutely.
Darla LeDoux: Julie, some clients we helped design their program and their retreat is the same all year. Right? Just like our Retreat and Grow Rich retreat, people have attended multiple times because they’re in a different place, and so they get a different aha and a different outcome every time. Guys, you don’t have to complicate your high level program. It could be that every retreat you have has a live experience, which my favorite thing is to help clients design experiences that are going to awaken their audience.
You want to do that experience on day one to open people up, right? So day one you’re really getting them present to their intention and then throwing them right into an experience. So they get real with themselves really quickly about where they’re at. Then next two days, you can have a whole system and way of doing it, that you do the same every single time, and you could do two of those or three of those or four of those in a high level program, same every time but it’s going to be different every time because the people are different every time.
Julie Flippin: Such a great point. Such a great point. It’s like reading a book and then reading it again. When people say, “I don’t remember reading that.”
Darla LeDoux: Exactly, or watching a movie.
Julie Flippin: Yeah, I don’t remember that part. That is so important that-
Darla LeDoux: Hopefully it’s more impactful than that.
Julie Flippin: Hopefully it’s more impactful. It’s absolutely right. As we shift and change and going back and having a similar experience, it will feel different, it will look different. One of the things I did at one of my retreats is I had people do vision boards, and I had all these magazines and I didn’t ask them what they wanted, I didn’t encourage them to even think about what they wanted.
What I said to them was, “I want you to go through the magazine, because we’re really working on our intuition, and what are you pulled to? And just take those pictures out. Even if it looks crazy, just pull those.” They created a vision board based on really what the deeper soul calling was, versus what my head says, “I want a new car.”
Darla LeDoux: Right.
Julie Flippin: We ended up doing books, vision books, versus vision boards. Then doing that exercise again, at a different time, was completely different. Where they had expanded to, the way they saw things, they were able to take things out and put things in. It’s amazing doing exactly the same exercise some months later, and the difference. What is really remarkable is for them to see the difference, the growth, the how maybe I was a little bit more in my ego, in my head, and wow, I am so much more aligned within my heart and my soul now.
Darla LeDoux: Yes, amazing. We talked about the rolling program or the cohort program and what to include, including some training, maybe there’s an intake process, a lot of our clients use assessments, we use certain assessments in the intake process. There’s the group calls, there’s the individual calls. If someone doesn’t want to do any of those things, by the way, don’t do them.
You can totally have a high-level program that has no one-on-one coaching. It’s only group calls. Or let’s say you hate Zoom and you don’t ever want to do a Zoom call, you don’t have to. There are lots of ways you can design this. I just want people to really feel empowered. The main thing is you want to look at, however, you desire to design it, there’s a great reason to design it that way because spirit wouldn’t give you that desire if it weren’t supportable. Okay? I mean, that’s a huge part of everything that we teach.
Julie Flippin: Yeah, I have a colleague who … she doesn’t work July and August. Her program runs September until the end of June, every year. She doesn’t work those two months, and it has worked beautifully for her.
Darla LeDoux: Yes.
Julie Flippin: Yeah, I really value what you’re saying with that, is this isn’t about us being a slave to what we think we should do and what we think our clients would want and the way it’s got to be. This is about, as you said earlier in the podcast, creating the life that you want, backing your business into it and creating that high level program around that. Of course, we’re always going to give our clients everything that we believe they need in a way that works with our life.
Darla LeDoux: Exactly. Exactly. When your starting out, guys, that can feel scary to think about offering a high level program, like, “Does anybody want this? What if I don’t have enough people?” Julie, you mentioned you didn’t have enough people to do fulfillment retreats in the beginning. Sometimes, let’s say a lot of times people’s very first RICH retreat, they have five or six people, or three people.
Julie Flippin: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: Then they think, “Well, I can’t do a high-level program.” But what if you could? What if you could? Because you don’t have to have this, I want to say, retreat that looks great on Instagram, to have it be an amazing retreat with huge value for your audience. You really, really don’t. You don’t have to have the ultimate program to start doing programs in this way. Because as soon as you start doing them, your belief in them and your excitement about them and your testimonials and everything you see possible, is going to completely shift.
In that moment, now you’re going to be so ready to turn around and market your next retreat and market your next program. Don’t be afraid to start with a small group. Nobody is judging you and saying, “Oh, she only has three people in this program.” What they’re saying is, “Oh my gosh, we get this program with three people.”
Don’t be afraid to start it, don’t be afraid to price it where it’s worth, because this is a personal choice with your intuition. You would probably rather have two people paying you $20,000 than four people paying you three, right?
Julie Flippin: Absolutely.
Darla LeDoux: If someone’s a yes at $5,000, they’re probably a yes at $10,000, and I’ve seen this over and over again. Get your right people in. The people who are on the fence and are only going to do it because it’s inexpensive, those aren’t your right people. Go for what it is that you really want and get support. Get a coach. You can work with Julie and I. There’s a lot of people who are amazing coaches. We happen to be the best at this whole transition into adding transformational retreats into your business. Get support in that, because there’ll be a lot of decisions you’ll need to make and a lot of places where your ego will get triggered along the way.
Julie Flippin: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: We’re having support like that ego trigger, just like you leaving your marriage, Julie, I’m sure it was triggering in a million ways, right?
Julie Flippin: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: When someone says no to your high-level program when the person that you designed your retreat for doesn’t register. I mean, I’ve had all these things happen, right? When you have your first high-level program and someone says, “I’m not coming to the retreat,” even though they’ve prepaid for it and all of that, right? These things happen because that’s part of their transformational journey.
You need support in your corner, from people who have been there who can say, “Oh yeah, that’s totally normal. Here’s what’s going on with your client. Here’s the conversation to have. Here’s how to help them discern.” All of these things. Get someone in your corner, because it is the best thing you’ll ever do. As Julie said, it’s the most fun having a high-level program. It is the most fun.
It also makes a big difference financially to know you have income coming in every single month for a year. It’s amazing, but it’s not for the faint of heart, right? Being able to hold that space and keep a healthy energy in your group, and be comfortable having the conversations about possibility and having people register and pay you a lot of money to hold their intention sacred. There’s a lot of growth in that. Don’t be afraid to get support.
Julie Flippin: Yeah, yeah, 100%.
Darla LeDoux: Julie, anything you want to add?
Julie Flippin: No, I think it’s been a really rich conversation. It’s been fun having a conversation with you and just reminding me of how exciting it is for working with people.
Darla LeDoux: As we’re recording this, we have a retreat next week for our high-level program, so it’s like, “Ooh, I can’t wait.”
Julie Flippin: I know one of the things that did strike me is, even in my practice, I didn’t realize this till right now, I created high-level programs in my private counseling practice because I would have clients … I created programs. They would work with me for six months, nine months or a year. I was also, at the same time, creating retreats for creating the life you want to live, all these different things that were included in their program.
I had a monthly income which was unheard of in my industry back when I was doing it. It was like, “Well, I don’t know how many clients are going to show up this month. How much am I going to make?” I just realize now, I was creating high-level programs, even back then, without knowing what I was doing. I wouldn’t have called it that.
Darla LeDoux: I bet some clients were like, “Whoa, is this woman crazy?” Others were so grateful to their resolve.
Julie Flippin: Here’s what I said when people would call me, I was really clear, “I don’t work like everybody else. My primary intention is to get you the results you want. If I thought you could go to someone and work on your issues three times, that it would work great. I know in my experience you’ve been living a certain way a long time, it’s going to take some time to resolve that.
If you’re interested in coming in and working in a committed relationship with me, over a period of time, I would love to see you. If not, if you want the traditional work by the hour, then let me refer you to someone.” I went from a 50% to a 95% close rate.
Darla LeDoux: Wow.
Julie Flippin: When I changed that one thing within my practice, it was amazing.
Darla LeDoux: I love that. I love it. That’s just great evidence for people, that there are people who want that level of accountability. They don’t want to just be another appointment on your calendar, and they don’t want to be able to just disappear. Right? When you’re up against it … and I love this, this is a great closing.
When you’re up against it in your life or in your business, when there’s that thing that you know you want and your ego is afraid, right? Or your subconscious is afraid, the first thing you’re going to do is withdraw. If you have to make counseling appointments and pay for them individually, that’s going to be the moment where you say, “I don’t want to go this week. I don’t want to go this month.” Right?
Julie Flippin: Yes.
Darla LeDoux: But it’s the exact time when you need it the most.
Julie Flippin: Yeah, absolutely.
Darla LeDoux: Let’s take a risk and create that high-level program because your clients on the other side will be so grateful.
Julie Flippin: Yes, they will.
Darla LeDoux: Awesome. Thank you, Julie, for joining me. It’s so fun to have a partner in crime for this.
Julie Flippin: Thank you. It’s been awesome having this conversation. I’ve loved it.
Darla LeDoux: Thank you, everyone, for listening. There are more episodes to come in this series on retreat business models. Please let us know what you’re learning. Leave a review, send an email to our support team, firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know what you’re taking away. What are you loving? What would you like to hear more of? And share your own retreat success stories. We’d love to celebrate you. This is Darla LeDoux and Julie Flippin signing off. Have an amazing and profitable day. Bye, everyone.
Have you been called to integrate retreats into the way you do business?
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