EP 199: Leveling Up Using A Simple One-Day Event With The CEO Retreat Creator Racheal Cook

The Nitty-Gritty:

  • How Racheal Cook scratched her own itch and created a 1-day event without a “grand plan”
  • Why the CEO Retreat helped her overcome a persistent challenge for her clients
  • How the event evolved to become a key part of how her business has leveled up over the last year
  • What Racheal did to overcome her greatest fear about hosting an in-person event

“Meet me in Astoria, Oregon. No charge to you. Let’s talk business for 2 days.”

That was the invitation I sent out to our business coaching clients about 5 years ago.

I legitimately had no idea what I was doing… I just believed that, if I got as many of them as possible in a room together, they could help each other in ways we couldn’t yet imagine.

Some drove to my tiny little town on the Oregon coast. Some flew into Portland and made their way two hours west. As they arrived, I knew we were doing the right thing.

There was nothing fancy about that first retreat (or most of the ones that came after it).

We sat at Ikea desks and we ate pizza from the local pub. We used giant post-it notes and scribbled on whiteboards.

There wasn’t much of a curriculum, just an attempt to address each attendee’s challenge one-by-one or two-by-two during the time we had together.

And while we don’t do these events anymore, this concept is never far from my mind. Getting the right people in the right room to talk about things we don’t often talk about when it comes to business—well, that’s the heart and soul of everything I do now.

That small retreat blossomed into a whole new way of doing business for me and a whole new way of solving problems for our clients.

My guest today has a similar story. Racheal Cook is the creator of Sweet Spot Strategy and the CEO Retreat.

Today, the CEO Retreat is a key touchpoint of how Racheal works with her clients. But it didn’t start that way.

In fact, you’ll even hear her admit that there was no “grand plan” behind her first experiment with a live event.

She just had the urge to get the right people in a room together to work on their businesses.

Racheal and I talk about how she came up with the idea of the CEO Retreat, how it solved a persistent problem for her clients, and what her greatest fear about hosting the event was. We also discovered how the idea has evolved and the role it plays in her business today. Hint: it’s big!

Do you have a story about planting a seed in your business?

Have you run a small experiment and watched it transform your business? Have you taken a small step and put yourself on a whole new path? I’d love to hear your story.

Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #explorewhatworks and tag me, @tara_mcmullin. We’ll be sharing your stories throughout the month! And, you’ll be entered to win a free lifetime membership to The What Works Network. For full rules and giveaway instructions, go to explorewhatworks.com/aprilgiveaway. Giveaway closes April 22, 2019.

Now, let’s find out what works for Racheal Cook!

What Works Is Brought To You By

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Visit mightynetworks.com to see more examples of brands bringing people together and taking their businesses to the next level.

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By Tara McMullin

Writer, Podcaster, Producer. Founder of What Works.

Apr 16, 2019

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EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

This week, I’ve got 4 more stories to share with you from small business owners who have intentionally done things their own way when it comes to sales and selling. They’ve found what truly works for them–even if it bucks the prevailing wisdom or would make a bro marketing expert role his or her eyes.

These stories come from business coach Ashley Gartland, marketing expert Amy Lippmann, designer Mel Richards, and work reinvention coach Lydia Lee.

Listen for how they incorporated these same considerations into finding their own unique sales systems. They designed their systems with personal values, strong relationships, reduced anxiety, and agency in mind.

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

This show is called What Works for a reason.

Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”

Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:

What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?

What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?

What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?

And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?

My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.

Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.

To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.

Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?

While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.

This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.

We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.

Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

Today’s guest is Katie Hunt—who is a member of the former group and serves the latter group.

Katie is the founder of Proof To Product, which helps creative entrepreneurs run and grow thriving product-based businesses. She works with designers, illustrators, and artists to help them develop in-demand product lines and get them sold in stores all over the world.

Not long after the pandemic threw her business and the industry she serves for a major loop, Katie and her team launched Proof To Product Labs to provide a completely digital, ongoing support opportunity for business owners when they needed it most.

And that launch was a smash.

Katie and I get into all of the nuts and bolts of how she adjusted the offer to meet the moment and how she warmed up her audience before the campaign, as well as the exact mix of emails, podcast ads, and social media content she used to sell the offer when it went live. We also talk about how she sees the sales system evolving in the future and how the offer has been received now that people are using it!

What Works offers in-depth, well-researched content that strips away the hype of the 21st-century economy. Whether you love the podcast, the articles, or the Instagram content, we’d love your support