Three days to get crazy specific about the life you want and build the business that will allow you to live it.

You made some promises to yourself this year didn’t you? Now, let’s get to keeping them.

This is the year you’ll bring your business to life.

The next 72-Hour Business Plan retreat is  January 20 – 22  (Only 5 3 seats left!)

The Self-Made Business Academy 72-hour Business Plan Retreat is exactly the kind of confidence-boosting, clarity-creating, expert-making jump start your ideas need.

Register now for the January retreat.

This planning retreat was designed for you

You want to know how to take this idea you have or this thing you love and turn it into a real-life, money-making business.  You want simple, step-by-step, lingo-free instruction from someone who understands what starting this business means to you. To your family. To your sense of independence. To your identity.

When I say small business, I mean small business

This is a business school for non-business people. The how-to manual for micro-businesses of any flavor.  The kick in the pants course for all of the would-be caterers, accountants, fishing guides, photographers, jewelry makers and more. This is the start up event for if you want to turn what you love to do into what you do for a living.  

The Self-Made Business Academy will help you design a business you love
that will allow you to live a life you love.

This is you. Arrow - Hand Drawn Black

You understand that a happy, fulfilled life is so much more compelling than the endless struggle to keep up with the Joneses.

(And if you’re normal, this realization manages to free you and freak you out at the same time.)

Your big aspiration is to stay small…to keep your business and your life simple.  You want to start a business that nourishes your soul while it feeds your family.  

Larah is visionary and creative. She is a joy to work with and knows how to honor her family and her talents to be shared with the rest of the world! ~ Joyce Allegra, Serial Entrepreneur & Awesome Mom

So the Self-Made Business Academy was born.

But the 72-Hour Business Plan retreat isn’t for everyone.

This is the part where I’m supposed to tell you how perfect this program is for every one who could possiblybe reading this page. How all you have to do is click the Register button and all your problems will be solved…every obstacle will move and before you know it, you’ll be in business living your ideal live, spending more time with your happy kids and all that dreamy banter.

But I can’t say that, because the 72 Hour Business Plan is only perfect for you if you’re a certain kind of ready.

The 72-Hour Business Plan is for people ready to take the leap …with both feet.

This is the retreat that isn’t…a retreat that is.  It is a comprehensive, extended work session. So, keep reading if you’re tired of trying to learn how to build your business by piecing together conflicting information from endless Google searching, article reading, bookmarking and preparing, preparing, preparing.

If you’re done preparing and ready to start doing…you’re beyond ready…fed up with waiting and so over just talking about this…the 72-Hour Business Plan is the retreat for you.

If you’re all of those things AND you’re ready to do the work that will get you past talking about it and into doing it….then this is, without a doubt, the event for you.

I made this with exactly you in mind.

I can’t tell you it’ll be easy, but I can tell you it’ll be worth it. 

This is the start up event for you. Arrow - Hand Drawn Black

What you’ll get out of the experience

  • You’ll learn how to build a business from scratch, by actually doing it. Real time.  All the business books & blogs in the world can’t compare to the act of building and testing your own strategy.
  • You’ll determine the viability of your idea as a business.  After the retreat, you’ll know how to evaluate any idea and make an informed  “go/no go” decision.
  • Your entrepreneur’s eyes will be open to the world around you in ways you didn’t realize were possible. You’ll see possibility, paths & potential everywhere you turn.
  • You’ll be welcomed into a safe haven where we all learn from each other, share our dreams & confront our challenges.
  • You’ll realize that the whole point of business planning  isn’t a pretty, polished homework assignment. The process is the point, complete with all the ah-ha moments  & discoveries you have while you’re doing it.
  • And you’ll find the confidence you need to take on the oh-so-worth-every-minute-of-it challenges of business ownership.
Larah is very knowledgable about the ins and outs of business management, marketing, organization and writing the business plan. I learned SO much in that class, and I have gone on to expand in my business plans since then. I have much more confidence in business ownership since my time working with Larah. ~ Jen Bersch, Owner of Salon DaVinci

Larah, you believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself & encouraged me, pulling me along kicking and screaming. Six years later, I’m still in business. I’m still going strong because you believed in me! WOW it’s amazing what happens when you have someone in your life to help grow your confidence!! ! ~ Sharon Cross, Owner of Rollin’ N Dough

You most likely don’t need a fancy schmanzy business plan. However,  if you want this thing to happen, you still need a freakin’ plan!

What you’ll learn during our three days together

The course is designed to address the seven questions every entrepreneur should be able to answer.

Why? Who? What? Where? By when? How? How much?

During the retreat, you will…

  • Join a small, intimate group of no more than seven people, which means you’ll get plenty of personal attention.
  • Access the consummate Self-Made Business Academy framework during the retreat and to serve as a valuable resource for years to come.
  • Engage in three days of step-by-step business building bliss with Larah serving as your guide every step of the way.
  • Complete eye-opening activities and over 15 reusable worksheets that will immediately apply & solidify the concepts you’re learning.
  • Enjoy adrenaline-fueled discussion, continuous live support and loads of encouragement as your business idea takes shape.
  • Get support throughout the retreat with free email exchange & candid personal feedback from Larah, plus on-going peer support from your fellow participants.

The retreat itself is just the beginning. 

After the retreat, you will be supported by…

  • Monthly group check-in calls throughout the year with Larah & the other participants will keep you on the path you designed for yourself.
  • An hour-long one-on-one private advising call with Larah to ask any new questions, get feedback or use how ever & when ever you want.
  • Continued email support for three months after the retreat because new questions or challenges almost always arise once you start implementing your action plans.
Even though I have owned my business for over 10 years, Larah offers guidance that I feel will only make my business grow and be healthy. ~ Sandi Strum, Owner of Alaskarama Web Marketing

The virtual retreat is the icing on the cake

You may be wondering how all of this works online. The quick answer to that question is, “Spectaularly!”  But here are the details :

  • Each day you’ll meet up on Skype. Don’t worry, the retreat uses voice chat, so you won’t even have to turn on your webcam.
  • For each topic, Larah will present a 15 or 20 minute lesson, after which you’ll have a lively group discussion about that topic.
  • Everyone will have 20 – 45 minutes to work independently. During these personal work sessions, you’ll use Google Docs. Larah will monitor your progress and provide continuous feedback.
  • You’ll then reconvene to discuss what you created or learned or realized before moving on to the next topic.
  • Throughout the day, you’ll have multiple ways to communicate with the whole group and privately with Larah or the other participants.

Don’t fret for a second if you aren’t yet familiar with Skype or Google Docs. Before the class, Larah will send you simple step-by-step instructions to get you started and boost your computer confidence.

The Agenda

Click on each tab to see what’s on the agenda for that day. [wptabs type=”accordion” number=”3″] [wptabtitle]Day 1[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

  • How creating a plan for your business is not the same thing as writing a stuffy business plan.
  • The seven mistakes that kill businesses and how to not make them.
  • Why you should never, ever try to start a business alone. And why that doesn’t mean you need a business partner.
  • How to build your business on a solid foundation that will make your heart skip a beat and keep you on task.
[/wptabcontent] [wptabtitle]Day2[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
  • Why it’s so important for you to be an expert in your field and how to crash course your industry.
  • How to describe what you’re selling in a way that makes people want to hear about it.
  • The difference between a target market & a niche and how to discover them for your business.
  • What your customers need, what they want, how to speak to both of those…and why it’s so important to meet them where they live.
  • What it means to choose the right business model for your idea.
  • How to plan your storefront…physical or virtual.
  • What’s so important about knowing all of the day-to-day tasks involved in running  a business you haven’t even started yet.
[/wptabcontent] [wptabtitle]Day 3[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
  • You’ll throw your fear and dread out the window as we spend the day doing the strategic thinking you’ve been wishing so hard you could avoid.
  • Discuss the basics of creating a marketing strategy & building a brand.
  • Talk about how to sell without feeling icky about it and the steps involved in planning a promotion.
  • How to best utilize your website and social media to engage your unique audience.
  • How to leverage your strengths & opportunities to overcome your weaknesses & threats.
  • What it means to plan strategically and how to do so in an approachable, affordable way.
  • How to tame and claim the numbers of your business, including setting the right price and estimating your income.
[/wptabcontent] [/wptabs]

If you want to hope for any kind of business success., especially if your business is expected to support your family, it would be careless to move forward without a “plan”.

Take a moment to picture yourself living your ideal life

You aren’t living on anyone else’s time table. Your livelihood isn’t at the mercy of anyone else’s whims. You wake up every morning excited to jump into work you love.The lines between work and play are so blurred you can hardly tell where one ends and the other begins.

The only thing keeping you from that life is this planning process.

Yes, it’s work. And no, it isn’t easy.  Most things worth having aren’t.  It doesn’t have to be scary or daunting. Don’t let it stop you from living the life you want. I’ll be there guiding you every step of the way. Together we’ll build a solid foundation for your business and your new life. Then, brick by brick, in just three days, you’ll watch your business come to life.

Don't Wait - Burst Badge Orange

Registration of this retreat is limited to seven people so I can give individual attention to each participant.  Which is fantastic for you.

 The retreat is the most affordable way to get my intensive, personal support. This much face time at my one-on-one advising rates  would be well over $1500.

You’ll also get these three fantastic bonuses

[wptabs type=”accordion” number=”3″] [wptabtitle]The Ultimate 2012 Planning Guide (Click to read more)[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent] When you work alone, it can be so hard to stay on the path you knowwill take you to your goals. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day activities or get distracted by fun new projects or by awkward family photos. This planning guide is designed to be used all year. You’ll be able to break down your over arching goals for the year into quarterly projects and then divide those quarterly projects into monthly, weekly and daily tasks.  The guide includes open-ended instructions so you can make the tool fit your way of working…plus a peppering of planning advice from the trenches. [/wptabcontent] [wptabtitle]The Gut Check Questionnaire (Click to read more)[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent] This exclusive questionnaire will give you a head start on business plan development by asking a few, gentle but thought-provoking questions about your business idea, your ideal life and what you know that you may not even realize you know.  Your answers on the Questionnaire will also help Larah tailor the course content specifically to your needs. [/wptabcontent] [wptabtitle]Pre-Retreat Readiness Support (Click to read more)[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent] Proper preparation is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you have a great business planning experience. I’ll send you a comprehensive checklist that will help you get all of your ducks in a row before the retreat begins.  You’ll find yourself referring to this guide time and time again because the information is relevant to much more than just this specific event.  The checklist is packed with great planning tips and step-by-step instructions on how to use some of my favorite, free online tools. [/wptabcontent] [/wptabs]

Why Me?

I’m Larah Ritchie and I’m a micro-business adviser & trainer. I know what you’re feeling, because I’ve been there. And I know what to do next because I’ve done it…more than a few times. I did everything wrong and stumbled into success. And I did everything right and fell flat on my face. I’ve held many hands through this journey. I’ve celebrated hundreds of victories with my clients. I’ve pushed dozens of amazing people well past their comfort zone and watched them shine in the spotlight. Choosing to create your own work…to live your own ideal life is nothing less than heroic. The hero’s journey is filled with overwhelming challenges and seemingly impossible obstacles. I’m hear to tell you, it’s a much easier path when you walk it with a knowledgeable guide. I’d love to be yours. [wptabs type=”accordion” number=”3″] [wptabtitle]Click to read why I’m uniquely qualified to lead you on this journey[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

  • I’ve watched over 150 of my clients launch their businesses and take charge of their lives.
  • I developed a nationally replicated women’s economic empowerment program for the YWCA USA while working with the YWCA in Anchorage, Alaska as the state’s only Women’s Business Center (funded by the U.S. Small Business Development Center).
  • I launched the Alaska Microenterprise Incubation Center, the state of Alaska’s first shared-use office space and support center for solopreneurs and micro-businesses.
  • I worked within the Economic Development community as a program designer for micro-enterprise development.
  • I designed marketing programs for a few high-growth venture capital funded companies before realizing my life’s work lies here with micro-businesses.
  • I’ve been a college instructor off and on for the last ten years, teaching marketing, leadership and organizational management.
  • I hold an MBA with a focus on Entrepreneurship, a BA in Organizational Management, a minor in Marketing and an AS in Computer Science.
[/wptabcontent] [/wptabs]

Don’t let her unassuming demeanor fool you. Larah is a powerhouse of ideas and follow-through. She makes things happen, and she knows her stuff. ~ Aliza Sherman, Internet Strategist & Pioneer and Co-Author of Mom, Incorporated 

Larah is a leader and a visionary. She’s an out of the box thinker who gets fulfillment by helping others reach their potential. Larah is wicked smart and so knowledgeable in her craft. ~ Dawnyale Bundy-Hale, Racial Justice Advocate and Social Change Agent Extraordinaire

Frequently Asked Questions

[wptabs type=”accordion” number=”7″] [wptabtitle]Can I take the class if I don’t have a specific business idea in mind?[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent] Yes! In fact, some of the most successful clients started right where you are.  You know more than you think you know. You know you want to own your own business. You know you want a different life. You probably have a pretty good picture of what that different life should look like. You know what you love doing and what you’re a total genius at doing.  You know that at least three things frustrate or befuddle you everyday before lunchtime. You know you’re probably not the only person befuddled by these things. So, you see, you know a lot. Just bring what you know to the retreat, Larah will help you mold & shape that into a business idea. You’ll build your business plan around that business idea. You may even decide, after doing the work, that this isn’t the right business for you to run.  And that’s fantastic too!  Because, when you’re next idea comes along, you’ll have the tools and knowledge to know exactly what to do with it. [/wptabcontent] [wptabtitle]What kinds of businesses have started after going through this program?[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent] I’ve been teaching this material or something like it for over ten years now. I’ve seen countless dreams realized, and hundreds of businesses start & thrive. There have been gardeners & graphic designers, handymen & housekeepers, pet sitters & party planners, fishing guides & photographers. I’ve watched as some of my favorite people in the world grow from scared & confused into confident, successful personal chefs, accountants, freelance programmers, comedians, copywriters and more. Some people started bed & breakfasts, home day cares, assisted living homes, cupcake boutiques and roller derby leagues. Others launched community organizations such a charter school, a childhood hunger organization and an inter-generational community development center. [/wptabcontent] [wptabtitle]What are the retreat dates, days & times? When are the other 2012 retreats?[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent] Here are the planned retreat dates for 2012 (though, they may change as life unfolds): January 20 – 22 March 21 – 23 May 18 – 20 July 11 – 13 September 28 – 30 November 14 – 16 The retreats in January, May & September are on Friday, Saturday & Sunday.  The March, July & November retreats are on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday. We’ll start each day at 11:30am EST and the workshop portion will end each day around 5:30pm EST. At the end of each day, you’ll be given a few things to work on before we start again the next day. [/wptabcontent] [wptabtitle]What happens after you click “Buy Now”?[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
  • When you click on the Buy Now button, you’ll be taken a new page to complete your order.
  • Your credit card records will show you made a purchase from “Well Blended Enterprises”
  • You’ll get a confirmation email. After you click the link in that email, you’ll get a Welcome email.
  • Inside the Welcome email, you’ll see a link to the Ultimate 2012 Planning Guide.
  • A couple days later, you’ll receive a link to the Gut Check Questionnaire.
  • After the new year, you’ll get another email with the Pre-Retreat Readiness Checklist.
  • You’ll also get plenty of reminder emails leading up to the retreat date and occasional bits of inbox inspiration.
  • If you have any questions at all, at any point in the process, please don’t hesitate to email me.
[/wptabcontent] [wptabtitle]Are payment plans available?[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent] Icon - DollarI understand what it means to start with a budget of nothing.  So, if you’re thinking how great a deal this is for someone who has $389, but not for you because well, you just bought everyone’s presents and the dog had to go to the vet and the phone bill’s gotta be paid before the end of the week or….I know. I totally get that.  So, if this is what’s going on in your head, let me know. We’ll figure out a payment plan that fits your unique situation. [/wptabcontent] [wptabtitle]Is there a money back guarantee?[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Money Back Guarantee 100% - Burst Badge OrangeThe no what ifs and no regrets guarantee

I like to live a “no what ifs & no regrets” kinda life, so that’s exactly the kind of guarantee I want to make for you.  If you’re on the fence about spending the money, if you’re worried that it might not be all I’ve said it will be, thing about this: If you don’t sign up will you find yourself wondering, “What if?” in a few months?  Don’t do that to yourself! I’ll make it easier, climb down off that fence and sign up.  I’ll give you until three months after our final private advising session to decide if I delivered everything I said I was going to deliver. If I didn’t, then I’ll refund all of your money. Just like that.  No what ifs. No regrets. [/wptabcontent] [/wptabs]