Behind the scenes: my Creative Business Day Retreat

Earlier in May, I hosted a wonderfully nourishing Creative Business Day Retreat at Paus, just outside Cambridge.

Having created and hosted six retreat weekends over the last five years, it felt like high time to offer a day retreat that would inspire, remove challenges, and rejuvenate!

The day started with tea and coffee, and a few introductions. I had a very prompt group (or should that be lots of luck with the traffic!) so we had plenty of time to chat and get to know one another.

My job at any retreat is to listen deeply to the needs of the women who gather and make sure they leave with some insight, clarity and practical suggestions for actions to take. So as I guide everyone through introducing themselves and their businesses, I’m listening out for themes and clues for what they really need.

I use meditation to help us all get really present, and to bypass the monkey minds that keep us stuck in fear and old habits. At my weekend retreats, I lead groups through regular meditations and longer visualisations, but as this day retreat was shorter, I kept things pretty focused!

Another tradition of the retreat is the gift of a star with a word on it. It’s a little bit of magic, but also an important symbol: a token to remind guests of their insight and clarity when they leave. Each word is carefully chosen, but ultimately goes to the person who needs in most.

Once we’re all settled in, I lead the group through some writing prompts. For this retreat, it was all about where you are now and where you want to get to. After we spend about an hour digging into some pretty big questions, each person has the opportunity to share with the group, and get some coaching from me.

This is where we really uncover the things that have held us back, that we haven’t been able to see before. Yes, there were tears. Yes, my hormones meant that I was also tearing up! But it’s good. These shifts are important.

Writing prompts sound very simple and straightforward, but the truth is there’s a lot of power behind them. I go deep – asking things in different ways and looking for fresh perspectives. It’s rare that guests don’t find something useful during these workshops.

After a delicious and nourishing lunch, guests had access to the incredible outdoor hot tubs at Paus, as well as time to reflect on the insights of the morning.

We had a little closing ceremony, including a meditation and some declarations of things we’re leaving behind as we go onwards. And of course some happy-sad goodbyes!

The day retreat was such a lovely way to celebrate my last in-person work before my maternity leave, and I loved spending the day at Paus.

If you’re interested in my next Creative Business Retreat Weekend in March 2020, I currently have two places left.

And for more information about future events, you can sign up to my newsletter.

Fancy a private retreat or workshop for a small number of friends or colleagues, get in touch!

Progress not perfection: your guide to a better Christmas

jhydegraphicOn November 9, my supportive Christmas ecourse starts for the second year.

Now, this course is dear to my heart. It’s some of my best work. It’s something I whole-heartedly believe in.

It’s the result of supporting small creative businesses through six years of busy Christmas periods.

The course is designed to provide you with regular dashes of inspiration, support, reminders, and the feeling that you’re not alone.

You don’t have to do anything or learn anything, you simply receive emails (and care packages, if you choose) packed full of ideas and resources to help you stay sane over Christmas.

The idea of Progress, not perfection is just that – a shift from the idea that to have a successful Christmas, you have to do everything perfectly. That if you do one thing wrong, you’ve failed.

No. Enough of beating yourself up and working yourself to the bone.

Weekly printable to do lists
Weekly printable to do lists

With Progress, not perfection, you’ll get support throughout the busiest weeks of the year that’s easy to pick up, doesn’t take up very much of your time, but might just make a difference to how you feel and what you do.

I believe the idea of perfection gets in the way A LOT, especially when we’re stressed, busy, and worrying about whether other people are doing it better than we are. It’s easy to get caught up in every little detail, without knowing how to prioritise the mountain of stuff you have to get through in the next 24 hours. (Or, let’s face it, the next 5 minutes.)

So what do I actually get?

Starting on Monday 9 November, for 6 weeks, you’ll get three emails directly to your inbox on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There’s no Facebook group or community to be part of (although you can get involved in chat on social media if you choose) – this is about me and you. It’s Christmas, after all, so while you’re giving so much to your customers, I’ll be giving you a little something in return. I give, you receive.

Is it different from last year?

Some of the content will be repeated from last year, but I’ll also be adding in new audio and video recordings and a couple of live chats (like this one) during the course. Because the main aim of this course is to prompt and remind you to take care of yourself, you’ll find it just as helpful this year.

What do the emails include?

  • Mondays: introducing the theme for the week (ranging from productivity to priorities to gratitude), a printable checklist with practical stuff to do, and a couple of ideas and practices intended to help you through each week
  • Wednesdays: a gentle reminder of our theme, with a printable reminder to pop up in your immediate eye-line, plus some suggestions of how to make your day work even better for you
  • Fridays: a feel-good playlist to get you moving and dancing, a little pick-me-up message and chance to check in, plus links to festive treats online.

You can also opt in to get two happy post care packages (one at the beginning of the course, and one at the end), filled with surprise treats for you:

  • Printed copies of the weekly checklists
  • Reminders to put up in your workspace
  • Relaxing, energising and balancing essential oils
  • Surprise treats just for you
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Holistic holidays

If you’ve been following me and my blog for a while, you’ll know that I offer a mixture of practical business stuff (like pricing spreadsheets and writing product descriptions), as well as a more holistic approach to supporting small businesses (like my mentoring).

This course matches that approach – it includes practical tips and reminders that are easy to adopt in busy weeks, plus reminders to eat well, take deep breaths, and make sure you have a healthy dose of perspective.

Let’s be honest. You already know most of this stuff. You know that you need to get sleep. You’re already preparing for Christmas as best you can. You’ll survive – you have to.

What I’m offering is a series of reminders to do it. To get sleep, to keep on top of orders, to keep things in perspective. And, maybe, to believe it’s not just about surviving – it’s about thriving.

Wouldn’t it be lovely?

To have someone who knows how truly, madly, deeply hectic it can be at Christmas pop into your inbox every other day.

To feel you’re not alone, but without having to ask for help. (We all know how hard that can be when you’re already running low.)

To be reminded to celebrate the brilliance of your business, your success, your life when it feels like you’re teetering on the edge of sanity.

To get a parcel of lovely things that remind you to take care of yourself, to keep your eye on the end goal, to focus on progress, not perfection.

You might even end up feeling like you know more about yourself and your business, rather than feeling depleted, on 25th December.

How to get the goodness

For 6 weeks of emails and online goodness, sign up below. You’ll get three emails a week packed full of support and reminders for £65.

For all the emails, online goodness, plus two care packages, sign up below. You’ll get a package at the beginning of the course, and one at the end, and both will be full of helpful, encouraging, and relaxing luxuries – all for a total of £130. That includes emails AND care packages.

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Care package participants: This is available for UK only. 
 


 

About me:

 

JennyPortrait_098 I’m Jenny Hyde – your guide to a better Christmas.

I’m a mentor and advocate for small creative businesses. I believe that looking after your business means looking after yourself, and that business success comes in many different forms.

While working for notonthehighstreet.com, I supported their small business sellers through five Christmases, so I know the rollercoaster of challenges, successes, panics, relief and joy of the season very well.

My speciality is combining practical help with understanding and clarity.

I believe in the power of tea (and cake), and, of course, I believe in progress, not perfection.

Guest post: Gabrielle Treanor tells us what it’s like to retreat with me

Gabrielle Treanor

Gabrielle Treanor is the overthinkers’ coach, and you can find out more about her amazing work at GabrielleTreanor.com. She’s an ambassador for happiness, a stationery lover, and a lovely client. In this post, she describes her experience of my Small Creative Business Retreat in 2015.

There are a number of words that spring to mind when I think back to the Creative Business Retreat in March: space, connection, realisation, learning, reflection, laughter, relaxation, inspiration, comfort, insight.

The Retreat gave me something I didn’t know I needed – time to think, to step back from the business of daily life and look at my work and my life from a slight distance. When you’re in the thick of things, beavering away at your business and getting on with everyday life, it feels normal and right. To take a break from it, to step away from work (yikes, what will happen to the business if I’m not there!) feels risky, indulgent, unnecessary even.

Taking myself off to the Peak District for three nights felt really self-indulgent and I felt quite guilty about ‘abandoning’ my business and deserting my husband and dog. Spending a long weekend with a group of women talking about our businesses but also spending time relaxing (Jenny was quite clear on that point) seemed like a luxury that was hard to justify to myself.

But, as it turns out, that long weekend was exactly what I needed, for me and for my business.

Cliff House bedroom

The workshops Jenny held were a chance to really step back and look at your business as a whole. Thinking about your purpose, what do you want to communicate to your customers, brand, marketing, photography – all so important to your business but not something that we necessarily give enough time, space and thought to. When we’re working to deadlines, getting out orders, designing new products, managing staff, paying tax bills and the other 87 jobs we juggle, it’s hard to make time for the stuff that we know is important but isn’t so easy to tick off a list.

I knew a couple of the other women at the retreat, I’d spoken with a few on social media but there were several women that I’d had no contact with before that weekend. All of them, without exception, were friendly, interesting, running their businesses in their own way, doing amazing things and, not realising just how brilliant they are.

Through the workshops and in informal chats we learned about each other’s businesses. Everyone ran their business in different ways, some on their own in the house, others with staff in premises but we all had similar worries and fears, and we all learned from each other. Running your own business can be a lonely affair so having time to chat with other creative business owners, in a relaxed environment, felt so good. The knowledge that your worries aren’t unique, and picking up ideas and ways to deal with issues was invaluable.

As time went on and we got to know each other a little better, we opened up more to each other and shared our dreams for our futures. Just as everyone is different everyone’s hopes for their businesses and their lives were different, and so inspiring. Sharing and learning in this way is only really possible, I think, in this sort of retreat setting, where you’re spending several days, not just hours, together.

One of the biggest treats (and benefits) of the retreat was not having to do anything! Jenny had thought of everything and her lovely team meant that we didn’t wash up so much as one mug the entire weekend. I think I may have managed to make myself one cup of tea but that was unusual as there was a constant supply of tea, coffee, cold drinks, and snacks. Plus there was a choice of what to have for breakfast, as well as filling lunches and dinners. There was no chance you could go hungry on the retreat!

While it felt a little wrong to do so little to help around mealtimes and clearing up, the effect it had was quite remarkable. With no need to spend thought, time or energy deciding on what to eat, making it, washing up afterwards, we were free to spend more time chatting, laughing, relaxing and reflecting on our businesses. That brain space was so important in how beneficial the weekend was.

Out of all the words I listed at the top of this post I think space is probably the one that sticks out for me. At the retreat I had space to relax, to make friends, to learn, to reflect on my life and my business, to feel inspired and motivated, to savour my life as it is and how I want it to be.

The support and encouragement we all gave to each other felt so good, and continues now. Goals I was just dreaming about in the Spring of this year have been achieved, in part, due to my time at the Retreat.

My life and business is undoubtedly better for having experienced Jenny’s Creative Business Retreat. I’m already excited about what will come of the Retreat in 2016.

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Find out more about retreats here.

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