The 5 biggest lessons I’ve learned from 5 years of hosting the Illume Retreat

February 28, 2019


Back in 2014, I nervously and excitedly launched a big part of my heart through the Illume Retreat. I wanted to create an intentional retreat experience that was different from a lot of the educational experiences that were out there at the time.

I wanted an experience that focused on how we could create businesses that operate from a clear place of purpose and that honors your unique definition of success—not one that propels you towards someone else’s definition of success.

My heart wanted this experience to be an intimate cozy space where attendees had access to top industry leaders, an opportunity to build community with a close-knit group of like-minded women, and where they were able to do so in a truly restful and enjoyable setting along the way.

This October marks my fifth retreat I’ve hosted in five years and although our venues and dates have changed over the years, the experience has always remained the same. And that is one that is fiercely dedicated to equipping you as a creative entrepreneur to build a business that operates from a clear place of purpose through actionable strategy, intentional vision, and a dependable sense of community.

The 5 biggest lessons I’ve learned from 5 years of hosting the Illume Retreat | b is for bonnie design #illumeretreat #waco

The 5 biggest lessons I’ve learned from 5 years of hosting the Illume Retreat

Over the years I’ve hosted this wonderful retreat experience, I’ve learned a thing or two about what works as well as quite a few experiences of figuring out what I could do better for my attendees.

I view every retreat each year as an opportunity to refine this experience so that I can invite each group of new Illume Retreat attendees into the very best I can offer.

But as I look back on the past few years, I want to share five of the biggest takeaways I’ve gleaned from this experience.


Realistically, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my five years of hosting the Illume Retreat is that you deserve to build a business that enables you to chase after your definition of success.

So often, I see educational resources and trainings that teach you how to hit six figures or they teach you how to do x, y, z like the top industry leaders—but for as well and good as that is, that actually overlooks a key piece of information.

It makes this big assumption that those are all things you want because those are all things that propel you towards your definition of success. But realistically if we look at a lot of those goals often times we find they are goals made for someone else, not necessarily you.

If you are looking to build a business that is intentional, small, purposeful and excels in person-to-person relationships and you aren’t looking to build an empire—then why invest in the tools and resources that are created by people building empires?

Why invest in education, tools, and resources that are designed to propel you towards someone else’s definition of success?

Think about it this way, when you’re really chasing after your big business dreams, you want to intentionally be making choices that propels you towards a finish line you’ve dreamed of for yourself, right? And that’s exactly what I aim to create each and every year I offer the Illume Retreat experience.

The Illume Retreat curriculum I’ve purposefully designed to help you get in touch with what your definition of success looks like and what your place of truth actually is for you so that whether you are in year seven or in month seven of your business, you have the tools and clarity you need to build a business that propels you towards your definition of success.


Guess what, friend? You don’t always have to have the answers. There is power in leaning into uncertainty in some seasons.

Over the past few years, I’ve welcomed women in all walks of life and in all seasons of business into the Illume Retreat.

Sometimes we have women who walk in with a clear idea of the questions they want to ask and the answers they want to receive, while other times we are so honored to welcome in women who are in a season of uncertainty and openly looking for a newfound sense of clarity. They come in and don’t have the answers and might not even know what it is they want to chase after. But the beauty of them humbly walking through the doors of the Illume Retreat allows me to meet them right where they are and pour into them in that specific season of uncertainty.

I really do believe if we’re able to enter into the Illume Retreat experience by being honest and vulnerable with one another, then we’re best able to experience the explosive kind of change that can come from this experience.

Remember this, if you’re in a season of uncertainty and you don’t quite know what the next step should be: first know it’s okay to not know the answers. And second, there’s actually some power of leaning into that uncertainty.

Sometimes we need to walk through seasons of uncertainty in order to appreciate the clarity that comes afterward.

So if you’re in that season, don’t worry, you’re not alone. You’re welcome here.


One of my favorite aspects of the Illume Retreat is the community that comes with this. By creating a retreat experience with just 10 attendees and 4-5 educators, you really do get a close-knit sense of community over the three days we spend here in Waco.

You really get to know not only the educators, but also your fellow attendees and because of that you’re walking away after our bittersweet goodbyes on the final day with a team of like-minded creatives and newfound friends who are cheering you on towards your definition of success every single step of the way.


Another thing I really treasure about the Illume Retreat is that I’m able to welcome women into this experience who are chasing different goals and building their businesses in a different way.

Although they might have different ideas of what that finish line looks like in their business—whether they’re building something small and steady or something massive and dynamic—they’re all choosing to do it in a way that’s centered on a clear sense of purpose.

They all come into the Illume Retreat experience because they are drawn to this idea that you can build a business that blesses your life, not one that robs you of it.

You can build a business that’s grounded in a sense of clarity and certainty and offers a deeper sense of impact not just into the lives of those you serve, but also the lives of those you love.

And that is powerful my friends. That lets us know we can do business differently and allow it to become something that is as fulfilling and purposeful as it is profitable.


Over the five years of the Illume Retreat, I’ve 100% been blown away by the amazing women who choose to join me at my table. I’ve been honored by their vulnerability, humbled by their candor, an in absolute awe of their tenacity and big dreams.

Because of that, I’m fiercely committed to continuing to offer this experience and pour into the handful of women who join me year after year so that I can figure out ways to continue to build a longer table.

I am passionate about sharing what I’ve learned from the past seven years as an entrepreneur and I’m excited about being able to invite some of my wisest and dearest industry friends to join me as we guide a handful of women through the Illume Retreat experience every single year.

And I hope that this October 14-17, 2019 you’ll be one of the amazing creatives who chooses to join us this fall at the Illume Retreat table.

Be sure to join the waitlist to be the first to know when early bird doors open and potentially snag your seat before registration opens to the public on March 13.

Join the Illume Retreat Waitlist

Add your email address below to be the first to know when registration for the 2019 Illume Retreat opens. And while you're at it, snag our signature guide packed with 7 tips to create more margin in your life delivered straight to your inbox!


Now I’m sure you’re wondering what all the juicy details are, and I can’t wait to share more with you in the days to come, but these are the big details you need to know:

Our 2019 all-inclusive three-day Illume Retreat will happen October 14-17, 2019 and is limited to just 10 creatives.

Registration will open, bright and early at 9:00am CST on March 13, 2019.

Flexible payment plans are available.

As part of your registration, all of your lodging, meals, hands-on sessions, and a ton of 1:1 time with all industry leaders are included

If you want to learn more about what the experience is like, feel free to click here for our 2018 Illume Retreat recaps.

The 5 biggest lessons I’ve learned from 5 years of hosting the Illume Retreat | b is for bonnie design #illumeretreat #waco

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I'm Bonnie -- a designer, brand designer + strategist, writer, wife, and pet parent to the most rambunctious golden retriever this side of the Mason-Dixon! I'm passionate about building authentic brands, encouraging small business owners to chase their dreams, and spreading joy through design. It's a delight to have you here, lovely! Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair and stay a while, won't you?

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