ENCORE: Low Risk Ways To Host Your First Retreat with Megan Gunnell

Hosting a retreat sounds like a great idea, right? When you stop and think about all the logistical and financial details, that’s when many fears and questions come to the surface. Perhaps the biggest fear is whether enough people will pay for your retreat to make it a success. Join us as we dive into this topic with today’s expert guest!

Our Featured Guest

Megan Gunnell

In addition to being a business owner, author, and triathlete, Megan Gunnell is a Clinical Social Worker who has been hosting 1-day retreats, workshops and weekend/week long retreats for 20+ years.

She hosted her first one at a local community center–complete with harp music! From these humble beginnings, Megan’s retreats have evolved into weekend retreats and international retreats that started in 2012 in Costa Rica, Italy, France, and other places around the globe.

In this episode, we discuss why therapists find it so appealing to consider hosting a retreat, along with common fears related to the risk of hosting your first retreat.

Megan explains how to find suitable venues that offer 100% refund options and points out the important legal and logistical considerations. We wrap up our conversation by discussing retreat marketing, which is vital to the success of your retreat. Megan shares what she has learned along her journey as a retreat host. 

Megan's Website and Thriving Therapists ® Facebook Group

You’ll Learn:

  • Megan’s inspiration to expand beyond private practice into hosting retreats
  • Megan’s #1 lesson learned: Start small and grow later.
  • The attraction of retreats? They are transformative spaces for people to pull away from everyday life and reinvigorate their passion and purpose.
  • The major differences between private practice work and group retreats as income sources
  • Legal considerations around liability, disclaimers, emergencies, etc.
  • Megan’s low-risk tips for hosting retreats:
  • Start small with a test audience and test venue with a half-day or one-day retreat.
  • Look for 100% refundable venues through a certain date prior to the event.
  • Do the math and “beta-test” your audience.
  • Making your retreat a profitable venture
  • Finding 100% fully refundable venues—and why international properties are desirable
  • Megan’s top marketing strategies for retreats:
  • Be very clear about your intentions. (Who is this for, and what is the purpose?)
  • Think about your runway. (Make sure it is long enough to “land the plane.”)
  • Build a warm excitement with your audience around the date for open registration.
  • Handling the cancellation or rebooking of your retreat with flexibility and transparency


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About the Podcast

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Selling the Couch
Impact And Income Beyond The Therapy Room

About your host

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Melvin Varghese, PhD

Hi. I'm Melvin. I'm a psychologist, girl dad, and online creator living in Philadelphia, PA.

In 2014, I began to think about how to use our therapist skillset in different realms besides clinical work (e.g., podcasting, consulting, online course creation, writing, etc).

This allows us to serve others on larger scales while diversifying our income beyond 1 to 1 work.

I make podcasts and videos about business, tech, productivity, and lessons I'm learning from becoming the CEO of a lean, mean 5 person 100% remote team (we're not really mean..it just rhymed =P).