Announcing the Theme for Indie Cruise Retreat 2018: The Storytellers

I am excited to announce the theme for Indie Cruise 2018. For those who don't know, Indie Cruise is the signature retreat for Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs. If you already know you want to join us, you can register for Indie Cruise 2018 now by clicking here. If you have any questions before registering, call Suzanne Niemeier at 800-326-4971.

Indie Cruise, which I've hosted since 2011, is a boutique mentoring retreat for people who are passionate about creating a product (or maybe a service too!) that enhances people's lives while providing you with the kind of fun, flexible lifestyle you want to live. It's also a great way to pause and unplug in an exotic tropical location with like-minded entrepreneurs so you brainstorm and manifest the next level of success without being bombarded by the constant demands of everyday life. I host this event every January because it's the perfect time to reflect on what worked and didn't work during the past year, and map out your direction for the year to come. Keep reading to see what we have planned for our 2018 retreat, which as of the time of publication of this post, is exactly 100 days away.

Welcome to Ixtapa!

Indie Cruise 2018 will not take place aboard an actual cruise ship. If you want to know why, you can read about that here.) Instead, we will gather at the lovely Club Med Luxury Resort & Spa in Ixtapa, Mexico. Here is a video from a prior retreat so you can get an idea of what we have in store for you. (See more photo albums and videos at the Indie Cruise website).

Indie Cruise 2018 Theme: The Storytellers

At Indie Cruise 2018, you will learn to clarify and amplify your message through storytelling, so your target customers will sit up and take note of what you have to offer.

At Indie Cruise 2018, you will learn to clarify and amplify your message through storytelling.Click To Tweet

Donna Maria, Indie Business Network

You will do this in two ways.

First, a carefully curated group of Storytellers will share their entrepreneurial journeys through the four critical phases of entrepreneurship that are outlined in my Indie Method: Emerge, Engage, Evolve, and Expand. Each of the Storytellers has been matched with an entrepreneurial phase that resonates with them in a special way. As you learn about their adventures in each of these phases, you will get an overview of the basic flow of a business journey from start to finish.

As they re-live and convey their entrepreneurial experiences to you, you will be both entertained and informed. The leadership lessons you learn will be invaluable. You'll see how they built their confidence (sometimes from zero) over the years, and how they have clarified their message to create community (composed of both customers and entrepreneurial friends) around their brand and generate a steady stream of opportunities to sell their products.

Second, as you learn from our Storytellers, you will be supported as you create the clear and compelling messages that resonate with your target audience. You'll learn how to ask for the sale without being pushy or obnoxious. You'll learn how to filter all business opportunities to the lens of your brand message so you never waste time on people who are not interested in what you have to offer, and focus on the people who want what you bring to the world.

By interacting with our Storytellers and with your fellow creatives in an intimate and unplugged environment, you will be empowered to craft a powerful and compelling and fascinating narrative that is unlike anything your customers can get anywhere else in the world. You will see how to drill down into the heart of your brand and extract the words and phrases that help your customers understand precisely why they need to buy your product.

Why Storytellers, and Not Speakers?

Speakers are great, and our Storytellers are going to be speaking with (not “to”) you. They won't be standing at a podium with a slick slide deck telling you what you need to do and how you need to do it. There's a place for that of course, and it's likely that there will be times when people will share “steps to success.”

But what makes our Storyteller approach different is that it facilitates organic learning structured around narratives and anecdotes that engage and inform as they also inspire and educate. We'll be using real life occurrences to illustrate how stories can be used to convey a particular brand message, and how you can structure your story by seeing how other people structured theirs.

Our Storytellers will help you with both sides of that coin. On Indie Cruise 2018, you'll learn how five Storytellers have crafted their stories over the years, and you'll learn how to create and convey your story in ways that have long-term, positive, bottom line impacts on your business.

The two things about your business that no one else can duplicate are you and your story.Click To Tweet

Donna Maria, Indie Business Network

Meet Our Storytellers

  • Emerge Phase: Sandy Engels

    Sandy Engels of The Purple Sage in Ethel, Louisiana has been a soapmaker for many years. Starting last year, she began to take a more sequential approach to building out her business. Starting with my Emerge phase, Sandy began laying a solid foundation in terms of market research, brand messaging, and target a specific audience, focus more on the foundation than on the product. Once she gained clarity about her platform, she gained clarity on products she should make, and for whom, and will re-launched her brand in mid October.

    Sandy's Story: How to Enter Your Market With Courage and Confidence

    Learn more about Sandy and her Story here.

  • Engage Phase: Christy Rose

    Christy is the founder of KB Shimmer Terre Haute, Indiana. Christy has grown her nail polish business in a fairly short period of time to include nearly one million Facebook fans (yes, you read that correctly ONE MILLION), and an Instagram following of over 55,000. She has clearly mastered the art of storytelling through engaging on social media, and she will share her story, and help you build yours, on Indie Cruise 2018.

    Christy's Story: Use Social Media to Earn Hundreds (or Thousands) of Raving Fans

  • Evolve Phase: Toushonta Hogan

    Toushonta is the founder of Scent_sa-tional Soaps in Los Angeles, California. Her mission is to see nature as a means for beauty while promoting self-awareness thru the use of natural products. Her business has evolved in wondrous ways over the years, including what Toushonta calls her “wandering through the desert” years. Her story will highlight the evolutionary journey of her brand, and help you evolve successfully in yours as well.

    Toushonta's Story: Gain the Clarity Required to Mature Your Brandstrong>

    Learn more about Toushonta in this episode of the Indie Business Podcast.

  • Expand Phase: Deb Jasien

    Deb, a former theatrical set designer and the founder of Fields of Ambrosia in North Conway, New Hampshire, has owned her business since 2001, and her store in 2007. Deb also wholesales her products, but she is very picky about what stores she will sell her products to. She has arrived at a point in her business where she can expand in any direction she wants. her brand message is clear, her target customers are very specific, and she does not waste any time trying to turn a non-customer into a customer. She does this comfortably and confidently in the Expand phase of her business.

    Deb's Story: How to Expand Your Brand with Intention and Common Sense

  • Learn more about Deb in this episode of the Indie Business Podcast.

  • Expand Phase: Kristin Fraser

    Kristin, a former school teacher and new mom, is the owner of The Grapeseed Company in Santa Barbara, California. Her products are sold at her website and in her own branded California retail stores, and also in spas, boutiques and retail store nationwide. Kristen's story will allow you to view an Indie journey in every single imaginable way. Kristin has has honed her niche so well that people come looking for her when they want skincare products made with extracts from grapes

    Kristin's Story: The Financial Side of Growing and Expanding Your Business.

    Learn more about Kristin in this episode of the Indie Business Podcast.

    If you really want to get a flavor for where Kristin came from to the arrive at the Expand phase she is now in, check out my blog post about Kristin from a decade ago. Talk about a story!

    Embracing the Art of Storytelling is Critical to Your Success

    1. Storytellers create compelling conversations.

      Your story is real. You don't make it up! It unfolds organically over the days and months and years that you lead your business. It creates a unique tapestry that is beautifully woven into the fabric of your business. No one else has your story. As you live and tell your story in the presence of your customers, your sincerity and passion shine through and complement your product line in a way that produces engaging conversations, which inevitably lead to sales opportunities.

    2. Storytellers educate and entertain.

      Gone are the days when you can sell a product by sounding off about this benefit or that benefit, or this ingredients, or that component. Today, and into the future, the product is secondary to the story. Or, as author Bernadette Jiwa puts it, people aren't buying the cookie; they are buying the fortune.

    3. Storytellers produce positive sales outcomes.

      As you consistently and repeatedly share the message of your brand with your target customers, you become an authentic representation of how your product can enhance their lives. The story helps them to trust in you and your brand. The trust forms the foundation for a solid business relationship. The relationship gives way to opportunities to sell your products.

    How To Register For Indie Cruise 2018

    Registering for Indie Cruise 2018 is easy with our simple payment plan. Your deposit holds your room, and your travel insurance is included! The balance can be paid in easy installments over time, or you can pay the entire balance at once.

    The details are on our Indie Cruise website registration page … just click the “Register Now” button!


    Keep up with the latest news on Facebook and Twitter!

    Once you register for Indie Cruise 2018, you will be invited to join our private cruise Facebook group where all the magic happens. Until then, check out our Facebook photo album for Indie Cruise 2017, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

    What are you waiting for?

    You can get deposit details and register for Indie Cruise 2018 now by clicking here. If you have any questions before registering, call Suzanne Niemeier at 800-326-4971.

    See you in Ixtapa!

    Question: Will you be joining us? Space is limited, so grab your soon. We'd love to see you in Ixtapa, Mexico! Do feel free to help us spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.