Creating a Sales Plan

Considering my Side Hustle is going to help fund my retirement, sales and marketing is probably my most pressing need right now.  Since I work as an accountant for a food service company, I have bookkeeping and tax preparation skills.  I am also attempting to eventually monetize two blogs, but earning from those will come in trickles.

Both blogs and services businesses can be valued at approximately 1X revenue, plus any assets and less any liabilities.  I have 26 years to build a business (or multiple income streams) that generate $500,000 per year in revenue.  Looking at that way, my future looks good.  However, after researching response rates for various marketing campaigns, making $8,000 this year may be daunting.  My best bet to generate my income goal would be through accounting services.  I charge $30 per hour for my one bookkeeping account and should earn around $2,500.  I plan on charging $35/hour for the next client. Tax preparation is better, I plan on charging $75 for a very basic return, which will take an hour or less, thus an hourly rate of $75 per hour.  Depending on demand, I may increase.  Since I work out of my home, expenses are low.  I can net approximately 66% of revenue, so I need to earn $12,000 to meet my goal.

What scares me are the response rates for various campaigns: 1% for postcard mailings, 6% cold calling and 2.5% for emails.  Visits and phone calls are intrusive, emails are deleted or marked as spam and post cards are trashed.

First thing I need to do is to create a sales plan:

  1. Set Goals My goal is $12,000 in sales mentioned above.
  2. Put It In Writing If it is in writing, it is a plan.  If not, you are daydreaming.  The goal and specific steps should be where seen every day.  I took a small corner of the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker for mine.
  3. Identify What Steps Are Needed To Achieve Your Goals Based on the response rates above and using an average price of $120 for a tax return and $100 per month for bookkeeping services, I have figured out I need to make at least 400 contacts.  While I would rather do tax returns over a monthly service, I need fewer bookkeeping clients.  I’m hoping that will lead to tax clients, plus I will leverage relationships at work. Figuring I make the sale on 1/3 of every response I get, here are how many contacts I need to make using various efforts:
    1. Tax – 80 clients needed (4000 phone calls/drop-ins, 24,000 postcards mailed or 9,600 emails.) Since the tax season starts in a month and mostly ends in April, I will have a hard time meeting this goal.  The postcard mailing is unreasonable, since it will cost as much as I would earn.
    2. Bookkeeping – 8 clients needed (400 phone calls, 2,400 postcards or 960 emails.)  I did get my first client via email, and have had responses from 2 others inquiring of my rate. Unlike individuals, businesses are not protected by the Do Not Call list, so I do not have to verify before dialing.  Emails are regulated, so make sure to review the CAN-SPAM act and comply before sending any out.
    3. Blogging – I would need to have affiliate sales on Amazon of $91,667 annually.  I have had 9 clicks and 0 orders on my affiliate link to date, this will take a while to build.
  4. Give Your Goals A Doable, But Challenging Timeline My timeline is to have my business be able to replace my job income and extra to meet annual savings goals in 5 years. This should be easier once my wife graduates and starts working next Fall.  In 10 years, I want my business to generate $250K in annual sales and blog traffic of 35K viewers per month combined at both sites.
  5. Accountability I have told my wife, friends and viewers of this blog my goals.  If that’s not accountability, I do not know what is.
  6. Just Do It Hope Nike has not trademarked the dictionary, but goals without action are worthless. 

Once you have a plan, what do you do with it?  I have chosen emails as my preferred method,because I fear picking up the phone.  I got most of my email addresses from the local chamber of commerce.  I have found alternate methods too, such as classified ads for employment usually list email addresses and some websites do.  I get phone numbers and addresses from the local phone book.  I have only made a few calls to date.  I have sent some postcards, I bought 500 postcards and business cards from Vistaprint for less than $60.  I have not had any responses yet with the mailings.  I have dropped in to 8 businesses and left business cards.  That is as uncomfortable as calling.  The last method was buying some door hangers from Amazon, which I intend on passing out for tax services late this January.

Even with my desire to save for retirement, I still have to make time for family.  I do not want to devote more than 10 hours per week on this pursuit right now while my children are still young.  If all activities were revenue generating, that would be more than enough. Unfortunately more of my time will be spent marketing the first couple of years.

I will provide regular updates on my successes and failures.  Wish me luck!


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