Things I Learned on My First International Business Retreat in Cartagena, Colombia

I am back from my first international business retreat! I spent 6 days in Cartagena, Colombia with 9 amazing ladies, and we learned a TON. I got some questions about the retreat, so I thought I would do a recap on why I went and what we actually did on the retreat.

Things I Learned on My First International Business Retreat in Cartagena, Colombia

Why did you sign up for the retreat?

A big reason I signed up was because one of the organizers was my girl Cassandra from The Quirky Pineapple Studio! We’ve known each other for a few years and started our businesses around the same time, and we’ve even collaborated on an SEO and content course together. I love the work she does and the community aspect of her business, so I knew she would organize a great event, especially since her partner was Andrea from It’s a Travel OD and they’ve already done awesome collaborations together.

Andrea of It's a Travel OD and Cassandra of The Quirky Pineapple Studio

Photo by Joyce Toma Fotos

The second big reason is because it was held in Cartagena, Colombia, and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit a new country! (Especially with a group of people who speak Spanish because I speak nada). I’m used to traveling with a couple of friends, Matt, or solo, so I thought that traveling with a group of strangers would be an interesting adventure.

Another reason I signed up is because in the past year, I’ve felt a little isolated as an entrepreneur. Online groups are great, but I really started missing human interaction. So exploring a new country with some entrepreneurs with a variety of backgrounds sounded just like what I needed!

Entrepreneur retreat in Cartagena

Photo by Joyce Toma Fotos

What did you do during the retreat?

We did have some fun time, but the goal was to work on our businesses. We had 3 days of workshopping that included social media, branding and messaging, business goals, and brainstorming new services and ideas for our businesses.

While we were on the retreat, I got so many ideas for my website that I completely rewrote my About page, removed one of my services, and updated the copy on most of my pages while I was still in Colombia! And I still have more changes I want to make. I also got great feedback on business ideas and collaborations, so stay tuned for that.

Coworking space in Cartagena

Photo by Joyce Toma Fotos

When we weren’t workshopping, we were having fun! After the workshops were done in the afternoon, we had time to explore and grab food, and we had an entire day for a boat ride and exploring some islands.

Business retreat in Cartagena, Colombia

Photo by Joyce Toma Fotos

Who went on the retreat?

I think the best thing about the people on the retreat is how diverse everyone’s businesses are! I was able to have new eyes on my business and services I offer. Since everyone had very different businesses and were at different places in their businesses, there wasn’t any pressure to be the “best” at a topic, and everyone was comfortable was comfortable asking questions or sharing their struggles.

Old City tour of Cartagena

Photo by Joyce Toma Fotos

Check out everyone on the retreat (from left to right, after me)-
Rebecca, freelance writer and content strategist
Caroline, copywriter
Aliyah, VA specialist in email marketing and graphic design
Andrea, vlogger and remote work expert
Cassandra, copywriter for impact-driven businesses
Alesha, wedding and event planner
Irene, Spanish translator and interpreter
Marisa, community engagement and activism educator and coach
Shalie, travel vlogger

Tips for what to look for in a small business retreat

If you’re looking for an international business retreat, stay tuned because Andrea and Cassandra are thinking of planning another one- maybe even two! But until then, make sure other retreats you’re looking into are aligned with what your business is about and what you’re comfortable with because since this was my first retreat, I learned what I will be looking for in future retreats.

Bar in Cartagena

Photo by Joyce Toma Fotos

As an introvert, I was glad that we had our own hotel rooms and we had a lot of time on our own. I was able to have time by myself to recharge and get work done. I was also really happy that the group was only 10 people because I get overwhelmed with big groups.

I am going to an SEO conference in a few months, but I enjoyed being in a group of ladies from so many different industries who were fairly new to business like me. We were able to connect over our struggles and ask questions without feeling intimidated. I’m excited to learn from people who have been in the SEO longer than I have at the conference, but for an intimate retreat, I enjoyed being able to focus more on connections and forming relationships. So before committing to a retreat, make sure you’re comfortable with things like the schedule and types of entrepreneurs going so you can get the most out of it!

Old City tour in Cartagena

Photo by Joyce Toma Fotos

I know I’ll be at one of Andrea’s and Cassandra’s future retreats, and I hope to see you there! 🙂

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  1. Cassandra says:

    YAY! Loved having you at the retreat and it was so great to explore a new country with you – considering we’ve only met in Philly and Northern VA!

    Can’t wait to hear how the SEO conference is and all the things you learn (:

  2. Haley says:

    This trip looked AMAZING! How empowering to also REMOVE a service from your business and crazy how much it allows you to grow and actually serve your clients at what you LOVE and what you’re best at.

  3. Heidi says:

    It sounds like you had a blast on this international business retreat!

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