Real Talk: Our First Year We Heard Crickets
Four years ago, Emily and I launched the first Creative Soul Weekend offering and heard… crickets.
We had put together the weekend of our own personal dreams - there was yoga, there was creativity, food was all included, and there were two lavish nights in a dreamy cabin. The price tag was around $400. Although we had lots of friends interested in coming, no-one signed up. Too pricey, was the feedback.
Well, fair enough. I mean, who were we? No-one had ever been to a “creative soul weekend” before. (Except the two of us and our friend Aleena the year before, the proto-CSW in St Peters). Personally I wouldn’t plunk down $400 either if I didn’t know what I was getting in return, no matter how promising and shiny the website looked. (And it did look great.)
But the cabin was already booked, we’d already paid for it. We couldn’t just cancel! We really wanted to make this work. So we regrouped and decided to eat the cost of one night at the cabin, and just stayed there ourselves. We cut the retreat back to one night, got rid of one of the workshops, and said that food would be potluck - each participant would be responsible for bringing some food. The cost dropped to $200 and we sold out.
>> And then we actually DID the retreat. And it was even better than we had imagined.<<
And we did it again the next year, and the next. Each time, we listen to the participants’ feedback, learn from it, and change the retreat slightly, expanding it slightly each year. And now here we are, four years later, and this year’s offering is pretty much what we dreamed of in that first year! And we’re one spot away from selling out.
So what does that tell us?
It tells us that the old cliche “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again” is true. Only it’s more like, “if at first you don’t succeed, tweak the offering again and again.”
It tells us to put the work in, one day and one year at a time.
It tells us to TRUST your gut. We felt there was magic in this idea, there was something there that other women would want too. Isn’t that what’s at the core of creativity, anyway? You create something out of nothing… and to do that you have to trust yourself.
I feel there are more lessons in this than just those three… if another one jumps out at you, feel free to share it with us!