788
8 min 42 sec

Event Planner Puts the “Treat” in Retreat

A project manager makes a big move to host retreats from her new ranch.
Community Marketing Retreats Service

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What It's About

An event space that helps teams break out of the box.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Customer Service & Organization
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

The next phase of Denise's hustle involves a lot of outreach. As she put it, “it’s not like the Field of Dreams, ‘if you build it, they will come.’”

So she’s learning how to be bold and advocate for her business. She’s talking to people about how they can use the space and finding ways to keep the Ranch top of mind for her ideal prospects that need meeting places.

Fun Fact

In the 1940’s, Evelyn Overton used a recipe she found in the paper to craft her own "original" cheesecake. After that, she opened up a small shop in her basement Detroit, MI, which later became the Cheesecake Factory empire.

Notes from Chris

Episode 788

More and more businesses are trying to find ways to keep employees engaged. Getting their teams out of the office and away from the same old conference table is one of their strategies. That’s what led Denise Ransom, a freelance project and event manager, to open up her own retreat space. She wanted to build a space that took people out of the daily grind and into the possibilities.

But it wasn’t a dream she could realize right away.

The concept of her own retreat space came to Denise in an epiphany. She was on a plane and furiously captured a bunch of notes about her new idea. She then met with a mentor to explore what it could look like. Together, they drew out a map of the imaginary space. Denise also started a Vision Board, where she saved images for each of the different elements she wanted to include in her space. She even gave it a code name: The Ranch.

She eventually found a place that exceeded her expectations in Corbett, a small town in Oregon’s beautiful Columbia Gorge. Despite a wildfire scare three months into their move, they settled in nicely.

The new 5.5-acre property was dubbed the Peach Cheesecake Ranch. The grounds are surrounded by woods and beautiful views. The retreat area is in the lower level of Denise’s home. It has a nicely appointed conference room, 15 feet of whiteboard, and a window-filled creative studio with a large stand-up table. She tries to keep the decor as simple and utilitarian as possible so the guest can make it their own.

For almost two years now, Denise has been hosting retreats for creative agencies, education non-profits, and HR teams. Most notable so far was hosting the recruiting team for Lululemon.

Denise typically works 4 or 5 hours per event. This includes communicating with the client before they arrive, cleaning the space, and preparing meals for the group. Sometimes she’ll help facilitate activities for their retreat as well. Gene chips in on cleaning duties and support for larger projects.

On average, each retreat brings in roughly $1,000, with hard expenses of around $250. Denise typically charges a per person rate for groups up to 12. This amounts to a minimum of $300 per half day and $500 for a full day. She asks for an additional $40-$50 per person for meals.

Annual profits from Peach Cheesecake Ranch have reached $15,000, allowing Denise to start reducing the amount of project management work she’s doing. She had hoped her side hustle would be more of a full-time business by now, but this is limited by sales. To work on this aspect, Denise has hired a business coach to help specifically with selling.

Her next phase of the hustle involves a lot of outreach. “It’s not like the Field of Dreams, ‘if you build it, they will come’,” she explains. So she’s learning how to be bold and advocate for her business. She’s talking to people about how they can use the space and finding ways to keep the Ranch top of mind for her ideal prospects that need meeting places.

No doubt Denise will cook up something great, and I’m sure she won’t retreat from this hustle any time soon.



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Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"To start, get really clear on your vision. After that create a detailed outreach plan, and then follow through with that plan. It’s not like the Field of Dreams, 'if you build it, they will come.' You have to do a lot of outreach to be successful—you have to shout it from the rooftops!"
—Denise Ransome #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau