Originally posted on Facebook by Elmar Haker
So, I’ve not been posting so much here lately, but I want to share something exciting that I’ve been working on in the last half year together with my buddy Colin, that I met a few Nomadcruise’s back.
First a bit of background. For the past 7 years I’ve been travelling and living in some very beautiful places around the world, combining it with my online freelance work and later with organising Flaks retreats for sporty entrepreneurs. I started these retreats when I’d managed to do all my work completely location independent for a while, but wanted to get more like-minded people to share this lifestyle with. One of the better decisions of my life, as I’ve been meeting a bunch of awesome people through organising these events, made many new friends and learned a ton of different things.
I’ve since expanded and experimented with Flaks to the point where I’m now focusing on my top favourite locations: Tarifa, Norway and Switzerland. For me it’s the perfect combination of slowly building a brand, having a blast, getting an extra income and making new friends in beautiful destinations.
But it has not always been easy to fill up every retreat. Sometimes it’s actually pretty stressful as I always need to do big down payments of very expensive villas in advance, not knowing if I can even get a group together. Or sometimes the finances might work out, but there’s only a few people that signed up, making it a very meagre networking event.
And in these years I also found out that there’s a lot of work involved in getting the word out, finding the right people, going through the application process, invoicing (and sometimes reimbursing), communication and follow-up after the events. Letting alone all the tax and law requirements that are involved. I must admit that I have been at points where I was thinking of giving up, only to then get new energy from another awesome group of people during a Flaks retreat.
So I will definitely keep continuing for a while longer, as it gets easier (and even more fun!) with more and more returning Flaksers with whom I love to share these experiences together. But I also want to make this whole process easier for myself and for my participants.
One of the returning Flaksers is my buddy Colin Decker. During the last Flaks in Norway we talked a lot about the very quick increase over the last years of retreats being organised and the increase of demand for these kinds of shared unique experiences. But we both also saw many retreats failing, usually in a silent – never hear from it again – kind of way. Even when the retreat idea was great, the host even greater and we thought that there must be a ton of people out there that would like to join.
So we figured there must be a way to make all of that retreat-starting-hassle easier. And with less risk involved for the organiser, but also for the participants, who are usually not aware of who’s joining or that a retreat could still very easily be cancelled if the host doesn’t cover the costs…
And that’s where the idea for Retreatrs was born: a platform where anyone can quickly set up a risk-free retreat and easily manage applications, communication and follow-up. We came up with a way so that nobody loses money if there is too little interest in a retreat and that all pain points of retreat-organising are solved (like invoicing, managing applications and communication with participants, etc). Plus we figured that the ‘getting-the-word-out’ part is probably the biggest challenge for new organisers, so we’re working on a list of features, like beautiful templates for marketing material, elaborate communication strategies and features that will help the applicants organise themselves better. All so that the host can focus on the experience and doesn’t have to worry about most of the hassle.
In the past half year Colin and me have been working very hard on this and we figured it’s about time to do that very scary thing of testing the waters and sharing the work (in progress!) with friends. So here it is guys, please have a look at www.retreaters.com and let us know what you think!
We’re softlaunching this thing with a very first retreat hosted by Justus Zeemann in Jericoacoara. One of Brasil’s most beautiful kitesurfing beach-villages. Apart from enjoying the beautiful area, kitesurfing and hanging out watching sunsets with a mojito, Justus will share his extensive experience about how to monetize knowledge in the form of online courses. And Colin and me will be around to organise the Flaks mastermind-sessions to help each other succeed with (business) ambitions.
Take a look at the retreat page and join us there for a blast!