From Sickbed to Success The Power of the Sales Plan

As entrepreneurs, we often find ourselves lost in a sea of tasks, not all of which fuel our financial engines. We’ll discuss the critical importance of revenue-generating tasks—those that directly contribute to your cash flow and long-term business growth.

Drawing from my recent brush with illness, I’ll share how having a clear sales plan was my business’s lifeboat. It allowed me to maintain customer spending and manage my workload, despite being away from the helm. We’ll touch upon the mental fortitude required to rest without guilt and how to leverage creativity and productivity in harmony.

Grab your notepad, and let’s get ready to craft a sales strategy that will shore up your business and give you the peace of mind you deserve. It’s time to prioritize your well-being alongside your financial success. I’ve got the full transcript below:


So I hope this doesn’t happen to you, but it sure happened to me. Y’all, I got sick. And while I need to take some time to recover and get myself back up and running again and, you know, turn my attention to my health, the reality is is it’s so challenging when you’re an entrepreneur to fully, fully, fully rest. Right? We’re always thinking about, okay, how am I gonna get the money in the door? How am I gonna keep, you know, these things going and the client’s happy and all the things happening? So I wanna share with you today 3 ideas, three concepts about why I think the sales plan is the missing tool that you need in your toolbox for your business if you wanna see consistent sales coming into your business month over month, quarter over quarter, year after year. And if you listen to these three reasons why today, I hope and I’m gonna give you an action step for each one of them. I hope that they start to give you some real concrete steps that you can start to take today, and hopefully, you don’t get sick like I do. But if in the event that you do get sick, you’ve got some really solid ways of now navigating that illness in a very, very different format than the usual stressed out way that most of us deal with it, where you’re like, please hurry up so I can get better so that I can go back to kind of like running the rat race. So in case we’ve never met, my name is Maya Herriddett.

I’m a business coach and speaker, and I love helping entrepreneurs and freelancers uncover what they don’t know that they don’t know about running successful businesses. Now I’ve spent a number of years working on my own b to b service based business and what I found out is one of the big things that is often not discussed for a lot of entrepreneurs, especially if you’re a first generation entrepreneur it’s or if you’re, you know, getting started in this business after working for a number of years doing the type of work that you now wanna do in your company, is we don’t have enough conversations around sales. And so a lot of these episodes that I wanna share with you are gonna dig into this theme around what is that talk around sales that we’re not having? What are the conversations that we’re not digging into the ideas and the concepts that could make you, I don’t know, a lot more money without having to learn anything else more. And I think that’s the wonderful thing about sales is that I’m gonna already assume in your business right now, you know how to be able to deliver the service you offer for your clients. Like, you’re good at what you do. And if you’re not, or even if you are like myself, you keep getting continuing education. The challenge is the work that you’re putting out doesn’t equal the sales you see coming in the door with your company, and it definitely doesn’t equal the revenue that you know you could make. And so this is an opportunity for you to take a pause, listen to this podcast, jot down a couple of ideas, a couple of notes so that now moving forward, you’ve got some tools underneath you that are gonna really make a powerful impact on how much money you’re gonna be able to make on a regular basis.

Alright? So sit back, grab something that’s, you know, makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and stay tuned to listen for some of the ideas and the action items I give you. And if you’re noticing, I am sounding really nasally right now, so I’m not gonna edit that out. I’m not gonna try to find a way to make my voice sound more appealing right now. But, yeah, I’m still in the healing process, y’all. But I thought it would be so important to give you these tools, like, in the middle of the process when the ideas were fresh, when I’m able to point to some of the, moments in a very real way, in a very real meaningful way versus when I’m back up to a 100% health and, you know, of course, hopefully by then things have gotten a lot better, but you’re not always in that state of where you’re like, oh my gosh, I can only do the bare minimum. What does this look like? How do I do it? So quick backstory on what happened. Last week, I was getting ready to teach one of my 3 hour classes for a client, and I noticed that there was, I had this tickle in my throat. And so I went all all out.

Right? I got some vitamin c. I started taking some of the herbal remedies that I that I know. And then I had probably, like, 4 3 different types of drinks for my 3 hour class. It was a virtual class, so happily, I was able to do it from home. But I had 3 different types of drinks. I had my, you know, hot teas. I had a ginger ale there. And I I thought I, you know, would be okay for the class, and I was.

But when I finished, I was really, really, really exhausted and kind of knew, like, I’m gonna probably need a day or so to rest. Well, that next day I woke up and I was like, oh my gosh. I felt like a truck had hit me. You know, I had a fever, you know, there was a lot of nausea, there was like a whole bunch of things that were going on, but I honestly didn’t take the sickness ridiculously serious because I thought it’d just be one of those 24 hour bucks. You know, I realized right away, okay, well, this is not seasonal allergies. I should just be out for 24 hours. So, you know, I just informed my assistant. She made a few phone calls on my behalf to kind of cancel meetings or push things back for me or respond on few super pressing things, but happily I was able to give myself, you know, I thought it would just be a day of reprieve.

Well, when I woke up day 2, that’s when I was like, oh, okay. This is not just like a 24 hour virus and like, boop, you’re back up and running again. And I don’t think it really wasn’t until day 2 that I started thinking for my own business about, okay, so how am I going to navigate this thing and how am I going to make sure that I not only put out the fires, but I do it in a way where I give my body the proper rest? I think it’s so hard as an entrepreneur to give yourself mental rest. How many of you can relate to that? Right? Like, even if you’re laying down, you’re not really laying down because your brain is running 600 miles an hour trying to remember everything that needs to get done. And I just wanna share with you, like, full a 100% transparency. I drink my own Kool Aid. Right? I literally started looking at the notes from my own sales plan and started reviewing them to get myself on a course of how was I going to navigate some of these next steps. And I wanna share with you 3 specific things that I was thinking about the whole time that I think can make a really big difference for all of you right now, and if you haven’t already started working on a sales plan, plan, give you some motivation around wanting to get one done.

So the first thing that I went to when I looked at my sales plan is the big thing that I think most entrepreneurs are not clear about is I wanted to know what are the revenue generating tasks that I was going to choose to focus on during this time. And I’m going to repeat that again. What were the revenue generating tasks that I was going to focus on during my, you know, sickness? And I want to step back and pull back the covers for a minute on this idea of revenue generating tasks because a lot of us have a long list of things to do. Right? And that’s a good thing. Like, if you run a business, you’re gonna have a lot of things to do. But are you clear about what the revenue generating tasks are? And for most of us, we’ve never sat down and really worked on what that list is. What are the actual activities, the actual specific activities that you have to take in your company that are gonna keep the revenue, that are gonna keep the money, the sales, the customers spending more money with you month over month, quarter over quarter, year over year. Now if you’re in a service based business like myself, it’s a little bit more complicated sometimes than if you have a brick and mortar and you’re on Main Street.

Now if you have a brick and mortar on Main Street, you too have revenue generating tasks for the record, but they’re going to look a little bit different because, you know, hopefully you have foot traffic coming past you, or you have, you know, ways of kind of being able to track people just by your physical location to be able to do business with you. Right? But if you’re a service based business, if you’re, you know, working from a home office, for example, nobody, but you know, is you’re sick and you can be in your office for 3 months straight in and unless you have a way of, you know, sending out the white flag and even if you do that, that doesn’t mean people that are gonna pay you to do the work. So you’ve got to really get clear on what your company’s revenue generating tasks are and I recommend that you have clarity for every single month what you need to focus on. And so, in my business, right, I’ve done this activity a number of times where I just sit down and I write down everything that needs to get done on my company, right? Just write the list, like, I you know, I need to do this, I need to do this, I need to do this type of marketing, I need to do this bookkeeping and the financials and all those things. And then I go back and identify, well, yeah, Maya, those things are good, but what are really revenue generating? And you circle and highlight those because those, a lot of times, are the tasks that we often put to the side because they’re not the fires that you got to put out in front of you. And I’ll give you an example of what I mean by that. As I’m recording this podcast episode right now, it’s April. Right? And so if you’re in the United States and you’re working a w two job or if you’re, running a business or even if you’re a freelancer, right, and did some work on one of the platforms, you know, like, a Fiverr or you’re working on, Uber or Instacart or, you know, any of those platforms where you got some additional income coming in, we are all thinking the same thing.

I gotta make sure I pay my taxes. Okay? So that could be as, you know, complicated as making sure you’re navigating your estimated taxes that you need to pay, you know, navigating any tax, prepayments or, you know, making sure you have the money to be able to handle whatever you might owe this year for 15th, like, all of those things, all of the bells and whistles involved with tax season. Now I wanna emphasize, paying your taxes is extremely important and I want to prioritize for everyone listening, please make sure you pay your taxes and pay them on time, and if you can’t, work with an accountant, work with an enrolled agent to get some advice on how to be able to navigate those steps. Like, don’t just hide and run and hide from it. Like, get support and get some some guidance as as to what to be able to do to navigate things. But your taxes, as critical as it is, as urgent of fire it is that you have to put that out, it’s not a revenue generating task. And watch this example if if and see if you can relate to what I’m talking about with either taxes or any other example. It is so easy to get caught up in making sure you have everything ready so that you can file your taxes by April 15th or for those of you that have, to file by March 15th, I hope you already got yours done already.

It’s so easy to get caught up in, you know, getting your numbers straight and your bookkeeping and looking at your reports and did you get all of the, you know, 10.90 nines in and blah blah blah. And then you’ll turn around 2, 3 months later and you haven’t done any revenue generating work. So in my business, one of the mission critical things that I use to be able to identify revenue generating work is I look at the number of proposals that I send out. I send out proposals for both coaching clients and I also send out proposals I send out really juicy proposals when I’m looking to do my b2b service work that I do. That’s a revenue generating task because if I’ve identified a certain number of places to send proposals out to, and I’ve done my research and I’ve worked really hard to make sure the proposal is juicy and I’ve been doing business development. People that are I’m sending the proposal into, they know who I am or I’m finding ways to build relationships. You know, I can’t predict predict it, but there’s a good chance I’m gonna be able to win some of those opportunities as future revenue, right, as future clients. Now I’ve been doing this for a number of years, so I have a whole system down pat as to how I go about doing it, but I’m gonna recommend for any of you here right now, if you have a service based business, what are the actual steps you need to take to get more clients coming in? Right? And not what are the steps like, oh, I’m gonna go search on social media and you spend 2 hours there, but you didn’t actually do anything revenue generating, right, you didn’t actually pitch any of your offers or you didn’t actually find a way to build connections or get new people on your email list.

No. You just scrolled on social media or you even posted on social media, but that doesn’t mean that that’s revenue generating necessarily. Right? So I’m gonna recommend that after this podcast episode, you sit down and go through what were all of the things that you did in your business last week and then just circle how many of them actually generate revenue. Now when you first do this activity, you might get a little frustrated or a little bothered or whatever because you’ll start to realize for a lot of folks, and you’re not alone, that you’re not really doing a lot of revenue generating things or you’re not even sure what a revenue generating task is. Listen. Don’t sweat it. It doesn’t have to be perfect when you first start doing it. I’ve already given you some examples.

If you’re sending out proposals, for example, that is an example of a revenue generating task. If you’re actually pitching, if you’re saying, hey, this is what I have to offer, would you be interested in buying it? That is a revenue generating task. Okay? The person may not say yes. Like, be clear about that. They always have the choice as to what they’re going to say. But the averages are if you make enough offers and your offer is a solid offer and you’ve done your homework around it being a need and it solves a problem for people, you’re talking to your ideal target client, eventually, you are going to nail some people that are going to say yes and they’re going to want to work with you and you’re going to have new clients coming in. So the first thing that I did on day 2 was I looked over my list of revenue generating tasks, and I started prioritizing which ones that I was gonna push off for a little bit of time and which ones were super, super critical for me both for the today, like, what is it that I need to get done during this month to make sure that I’m on task as to where I need to be. And then also some of the things that would help me 3 months, 6 months, and help the business 12 months from now that far too often get pushed to the side.

Right? Like, we’re always like, yeah. I’m gonna get to that. I’m gonna get to that. But right now, what I really need to do instead is I need to rewrite my website for the 3rd time in a row and your website is not generating much revenue. Okay? So I just want to challenge you first and foremost, have a list of what those tasks are because then when your back is up against the wall, like, hey, you don’t have a whole lot of time or in my case, you know, I’m sick. I have no energy. And I think what frustrated me most about being sick wasn’t just the no energy was I couldn’t even think. I couldn’t really process things.

Right? Like, even if I wanted to kind of work on things, I really couldn’t. But having that list of revenue generating tasks in advance, I was able to kind of pick and choose what I was gonna be able to work on, if anything. And actually, for the 1st 3 days, if I’m honest with you, I did nothing. I just assigned them. I assigned, a couple of action steps that I could give to my, my assistants to be able to work on. And then that gave me a moment to rest because I’m like, okay. So now when I’m back up and running, when I’m ready to go, you know, or at least when I start feeling a little bit better, I haven’t completely dropped the ball on this thing about getting the work done that needs to get done to get new clients coming in. So I spent a long time on that first one and I I think it leads directly into point 2 and point 3, but I really, really wanna emphasize that again, y’all.

Please be clear on making a list of the things that are the things you have to do for your business or even the busy work for your business, and then being very specific to understand and having a list rather around what your revenue generating tasks are. And to be frank, those are probably the tasks that for a lot of people that try to run away from sales as hard as they can, we just hope that sales happens. Those are usually the tasks we’re not doing on a regular basis. So listen, don’t feel any shame. Don’t feel upset about it. Don’t, you know, get mad at yourself or try to avoid it. Just start really making a conscious effort to even think about what those tasks are, And then in future podcast episodes, I’ll give you tools on how to get started if you’ve never done that type of work or that activity before. Okay? Now the second task that I think you wanna think about when you’re on your sick bed right now and you’re looking at your sales plan, you identified what your revenue generating tasks are and which ones you’re going to focus on.

The second one that I also want you to identify is I want you to really think through, how am I going to get these tasks done? And I’m asking that question because this is the big work that for a lot of people we don’t like sitting down and doing. And so one of the things that I recommend for a lot of entrepreneurs is at the beginning of every quarter or at the very least, 2 or 3 times a year, I want you to sit down and really think through. If I have these revenue generating tasks, if I need to get more proposals out the door, if I need to make more pitches to individual prospective clients, if I need to do more discovery calls, if I need to show up on social media in the DMs, like, whatever your way is to sell, what are the minimal number of steps that I need to take in order to be able to make that happen? And I’ll tell you why that seems simple, but in many ways is not. It’s because you probably don’t have a process. And I’ll give you an example of what I mean by that. So last week, I had actually pitched a prospective coaching client to join my coaching group. I pitched her in the beginning of the week, and I told her, hey. You know, take a couple of days, look over my proposal, you know, what we talked about, and I’ll touch base with you on Friday to see if you’re gonna be interested in moving forward.

Well, when Friday comes and I have no energy to do anything, crap. Now what do you do? Well, the good news is, is that I already had a process in place. I had already communicated with her. I wanted her to take a couple of days to think about what it was that I was offering her. And then from that time period, we would then touch base on the next steps. It makes it a lot easier then for me to then be able to either assign that to my assistant and have her follow-up, which is actually what I did. I just literally told my assistant, hey. Can you send an email to her and just let her know that I’m sick and I will follow-up with her with next week? Right? And then also too, to be frank, this week, I did reach out to her.

She was one of the first people that I reached out to this morning. I didn’t feel awkward and icky and really more so unclear about what my next steps were. Right? So for a lot of us, when we’re trying to get sales coming into our company, we don’t have clarity on what the steps are from point a to the point where you actually are able to close the sale. And listen, if you’re new in business, you may not have thought through what those steps are and that’s perfectly fine. You you’ll figure that out by starting to sell. But for a number of us, we actually have done this a number of times and we’ve just never sat down and actually wrote out what the steps are. I’m going to recommend you need to sit down and really be super clear on what are those actual steps that you take from saying that you wanna be able to land a customer. Right? So you wanna be able to find a new client or a new customer to then being able to close the sale.

And you’ve got to think through what all those actual steps are. 1st, I do this, then they do that, then I do this, then they do that. And then, yeah, sometimes this could happen or that can happen. But if you don’t have a structure in place, that’s where it becomes so easy to wind up losing a ton of money and losing a ton of time. Whereas in my coaching call example, and I hope that one, you know, sits with you, whether you are working 1 on 1 with people, whether you have much larger service based types of contracts that often take months to secure, like, you know, those are harder to come up with the step by step, but I do have a step by step process even for my larger clients where, you know, it’s gonna take multiple steps before we actually figure out what we’re gonna be able to do. I think if you do that step, then when you need to retract and you can’t do it the way you would normally do it, and you have to find a way to shorten the learning curve, or the amount of time or energy you can spend, it just becomes easier to make decisions about how you’re going to proceed rather than leaving things very open ended, which for a lot of us, that’s how sales is for a lot of us within our companies. It’s very open ended and we don’t have a clear way of guiding both ourselves and the prospective client from point a to point b. So I want to challenge you there to, like, really step back and make sure you have a clear sales process in place so that you know how you’re going to make the sale, how you’re going to close the sale.

And then, yeah, you get sick, you look at the process and maybe normally you have 10 steps that’s in the process. Hey, you just do one and at least people know that you’re still there, you’re you’re still interested, you’re still wanting to be able to work with them, but you’re not going to be able to kind of finalize those next steps and those next details until you really get your energy back up and running. Okay? And then this leads into that 3rd step of why I recommend having a sales plan and how it’s such a game changer. It can literally move you from, you know, being on your sick bed, stressing out and constantly in a state of worrying about, well, how am I gonna get the money coming in or keep things rolling to, you know, having an rest. Like, I actually sat back and watched movies y’all and, you know, dealt with the shivers and dealt with, you know, the fevers and stuff like that, but I wasn’t I really had very few to minimal moments of, like, stressing over the work. I just I did it. And it’s not because I’m, like, some angel. I am not.

I’m a worrier by nature. But it really comes down to if you put this plan in place and in motion and you make it part of your regular business operations, then when stuff does happen, I. E. You can’t show up for a couple of days unplanned, it doesn’t derail your plans and it’s not gonna derail kind of what needs to happen with your business. I think the big critical thing for me right now is I have a desire right now to want to go back to, like, working hard. You know, I pride myself in showing up and working hard, delivering quality services, but I’m crystal clear my body is still not a 100% where it needs to be at right now. It’s probably why this idea of doing a podcast seems so exciting and so sexy, to be frank. Right? And that’s a good thing.

That’s definitely a really great thing to have happen. But I also need to be able to pace myself with showing up back in my office again, going back to my business and not burning myself out so that I wind up becoming sick again part 2. Well, if you have a sales plan in place, if you’ve sat down in advance and figured out, hey, here’s how much money I wanna earn. Here’s the steps on how I’m going to earn that money. What do I need to do to reverse engineer to get to that money? And then obviously the third step of what am I reviewing on a regular basis to help me know, am I reaching that? Am I not reaching that? Well, listen, first thing I did this morning is as I did part of that review process. I actually went into my current invoices that have been paid. I looked into my invoices that are outstanding right now. I understood and and mapped out, okay, so what does my cash runway look like? Cash runway is just a fancy way of saying how much money do you have in the bank before things get really, really funky.

And you know what? I’m looking okay, y’all. And I want to be clear, that doesn’t mean that I don’t need to put a fire under my own behind and make sure that I show up, but it just gave me that ability to kind of let my brain take a mental rest while I’m giving my body the physical time that it needs to be able to heal. And again, I’m not perfect y’all. I tend to work really, really well in sprints. I’ll come up with brainstorms and ideas in sprints. I do really, really well when clients are like, Hey, we need you to come up with this new content for, you know, this new project. And when they initially tell me, I’m like, great. You know, I gotta wait until the creativity juices hit me.

And then, you know, I I I’ll sprint from there and kind of run to be able to come up with those ideas. But I’ll tell you this, it’s so much easier to do all of that type of deep thinking work gradually when you’re getting yourself back from, you know, having been sick. If you know the numbers that you’ve needed to meet in your business, you’ve been meeting those numbers for a while. Right? And that that’s, again, that’s not that I’m so good at what I do. It’s just that I sat down a while ago and I just started creating a plan for myself. And I started identifying, well, how do I make sure that every time that I’m booked with 3, you know, b to b service clients that keep me so busy and I’m so loving the work and I’m excited, but then the contract finishes and, oh, no. I have no more work to do. How do I prevent that drop off from happening? Well, the way you do that is is you make sure that on an ongoing basis, you’re attracting new people, you’re making your brand visible, you’re highlighting your testimonials, right? You’re following up with people when you meet them.

And that takes work to plan that out. So don’t think you have to have a PhD in sales or you have to be this like, really amazing salesperson to figure all of this out. You just don’t. I gave you the 3 tips ironically on the sales plan in this podcast, and I’ll continue to keep highlighting how to use them on other episodes. I didn’t want to dive in too deeply on this one because, we’re already at 25 minutes. But I hope that those three tools right there you know, figuring out what your revenue generating tasks are that you’re gonna work on, what the minimum ones are that you wanna work on, really getting very clear on how are you going to get there. Like, what what is it going to take? What parts of the sales process are you going to complete? What can wait until you’re back and you’re well again? And then that third piece of really measuring. If you don’t measure your sales work on a your sales up with your sales action steps and you’re like, well, I made no money, but I asked 3 people.

And then week 2, I still made no money, and, but I asked 3 people. And then week 3, I still made no money, but I asked 4 people this week. Right? Do you get the pattern right there? Of course, over a couple of months, a couple of weeks of doing this, it’s gonna take you time to perfect your ask. It’s gonna take you time to perfect your pitches, of course. But if you start tracking those action steps, that’s then gonna give you the template that you need a year from now, 2 years from now, 3 years from now, when you’ve got a ton of clients coming in, you’re super busy, you’re trying to figure out how to navigate things, you’re gonna know when you hit those bumps that life throws us because life definitely throws us those bumps, you’re gonna have no problem then of being able to kind of reset. And that’s what I’m gonna use the next couple of days to do is is I’m really gonna take some very intentional time to reset. I have a few pressing things. I have a few fires I have to put out.

I’m definitely gonna make sure my clients are happy. I am gonna show up for my 3 hour class, you know, tomorrow evening. There’s no doubt about that. But I also have some room to wiggle y’all. And it’s not that those tasks don’t not need to get done. They do, just so we’re clear. There’s there’s things that, you know, are still pressing, but when you sit down and you really, really think through your sales plan in the way that I’m outlining, you give yourself breathing room. You give yourself room to really be able to kind of navigate, take care of yourself in these times like we need to, and make sure that you’re showing up for yourself in a powerful way.

So I know this was a little bit of a longer episode. Again, please forgive my voice, but I really wanted to do it, at a time frame when a lot of this was super fresh and I’m still experiencing. I’m literally gonna log off of this podcast episode and put my feet up, no exaggeration, and not do anything. And I hope that this inspires you that if you haven’t already started with identifying what you need to do for your sales plan, start start sketching one out. I’ve got plenty of resources on my website to get you started if you want to do a 101. But if you have been using it for a period of time, I want to challenge you. Is there a next layer, another layer deeper now that you can go with this plan? Do you have clear sales processes in place? Can you now start outsourcing or starting to get support with parts and pieces of those processes so they’re not all on your on your lap? So that that’ll now increase, actually, the amount of work that you can get done and the amount of ask that you can do. Yeah, maybe that’s where you can spend a little bit more time is kind of like digging in a little bit deeper on your existing sales plan and figure out how you can make it even more effective.

Right? And I’ll just give you this this final quick tip. If you have had a plan for a while or you have some variation of a plan, you’re like, okay, Maya, I wanna go deeper, but, like, where do I start? My suggestion is there are probably some things that you do really, really, really well that you should continue to do really, really well, but there are also some things that you should probably outsource. And while that’s a whole course all by itself on how to outsource effectively, you don’t just give the task to someone then hope that they can duplicate it the way you can. I would recommend that if you start breaking out your action steps into individual action items and individual steps, it’s gonna make it a lot easier than when you do want to have somebody support you, be able to hand things off to them because you’re gonna have a template, you’re gonna have a way to kind of show them what it is that you’re doing, and it’s gonna make it so much easier to get them onboarded and get the results that are gonna make a difference. Alright? So, again, I’m putting my feet up y’all. I hope this was super helpful, sending you love, all that good stuff, and happy, happy cash flow. Take care, y’all.

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