How to Reverse Engineer Your Revenue Goal


Although making money wasn’t my biggest reason for starting a business, I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t important to me. Yes, choosing my own schedule and working on projects that excite me definitely drove me to become my own boss, but realizing that there is no “ceiling” to how much money you can make when you work for yourself really lit me up.

At some point in time, you’re going to have a revenue goal that you’ll want to reach in your business. Thinking of that number is easy, but actually obtaining it? That’s where the challenge comes in.

Here’s the thing, though–it’s going to take some work to make it happen, but it’s not impossible. When you set the amount of money you want to make, there is one thing you need to do to know how you’re going to get there: reverse engineer that goal.

Reverse engineering means starting with the final outcome and working backwards to create a plan or a list of steps that you need to do in order to reach that goal.

Are you ready to learn more about this? Let’s dive in to figure out the steps you need to take.

Set Your Revenue Goal Amount

Before you can even create your plan or list of steps, you need to know what your goal actually is so that you have something to work with. Truthfully, there’s no “predetermined” number that you should choose–it all depends on you, your lifestyle, and your needs.

I have had a few revenue goals at different points in my business for specific reasons at that time:

  1. $2,000 / month: I set this goal because I was working part-time at a coffee shop and babysitting while running my business. I estimated that I made a little bit under $2,000 per month between the coffee shop and multiple babysitting gigs, so I wanted to see if I could pass that amount from my business alone. And I did.
  2. $5,000 / month: After doing some research, I discovered that entry level marketing positions in the Boston area had a salary of anywhere from $45,000 – $50,000. When I knew I wanted to take my business full-time, I determined that I needed to bring in about $5,000 per month so that I could earn a gross revenue of $60,000 per year, which would end up being right around that entry level salary after taxes and expenses. And I did.
  3. $100,000 / year: Once I knew that I could definitely go full-time after graduating, I wanted to bring in $100,000 in one year because I had the specific goals I wanted to reach of paying off my student loans and car payment, investing in an office space for my business, and saving money for future goals. And I did this, too.

I have set higher goals since those three, but those three mean the most to me because I reached all of them while in college and kept pushing myself harder to obtain the next one… and I realized that I seriously could achieve what I wanted if I kept putting my mind to it.

The most important thing to remember when setting your revenue goal–no matter how low or how high it is–is to have specific reasons for reaching it. What are you going to do with that money? How is it going to improve your life? What are your plans? You don’t want to make money just to make money. Money is a vehicle to help us live the lives we dream of.

And now, I want to make more money to buy my first home, save for my future wedding, and purchase a beach house one day. Those goals are what keep me moving forward every single day in my business, which is why it’s so important for you to have them.

Determine How Much You Need to Sell

Once you know how much money you want to make, you need to figure out how much of your product or service you need to sell in order to get there. This involves taking your overall monthly goal, dividing it by the cost of your product or service (or putting together a few different combinations if you sell more than one thing), and determining how much of that product or service you need to sell to bring you to that amount of money.

I’ll share an example of my $100,000 / year goal.

$100,000 per year equates to approximately $8,333.33 per month. If I sold only one service of $500 per month, I would need to have about 17 guaranteed clients each month to reach that goal. But if I sold a few services of $800 per month, $500 per month, and $200 per month, I could guarantee a variety of combinations:

  1. 4 clients at $800 per month, 6 clients at $500 per month, and 11 clients at $200 per month
  2. 1 client at $800 per month, 10 clients at $500 per month, and 13 clients at $200 per month
  3. 10 clients at $800 per month and 2 clients at $200 per month

And so on and so forth. I personally liked coming up with multiple combinations because I knew it gave me options on ways to reach my goal.

This part right here is actually huge for telling you if you’re at the point where you need to delegate work or raise your prices, too. If you keep coming up with combinations that seem quite impossible due to the fact that you don’t know how you’ll even have the time to work with all of these clients to reach your goal or fulfill all of these customer orders, that is an indication to you that you may need to start outsourcing or charging more… which will help you to make more money in the long run.

Improve Your Marketing, Business Development, and Sales Efforts

Now that you know how much money you want to make and how much you need to sell in order to get there, there’s only one step left: sell.

Setting this goal is only one tiny part of the equation–following the actions to reach that goal is the big monster. I know that when I was serious about bringing in a certain amount, I realized that I had to stop only working in my business and instead had to work on my business to help me achieve big. That means that you can’t only focus on working with your clients or fulfilling orders with your customers–you have to actually think about the things you can improve in your business to grow and scale it.

And that all starts with marketing, business development, and sales.

I took everything up a notch when I realized I needed to onboard new clients than I actually had to reach my goals. These exact methods helped me to get there, and I know they can do the same for you:

  1. Increased marketing efforts to make sure I was constantly nurturing my audience across social media, email marketing, blogging, Facebook groups, PR, and more
  2. Networked with dozens of entrepreneurs–both virtually and in-person–to build relationships and set the foundation for either working with them in the future or being sent referrals by them in the future
  3. Raised my prices to cut the clients that weren’t actually making me money in the long run and attract the clients who would provide me quality business
  4. Set up strategic partnerships to allow for referrals and support other business owners in mutually beneficial ways
  5. Hired more team members to delegate additional tasks so that I had more time to focus on sales and development

And more. Once I strategically and consistently started putting in the work on these tactics, the results were tenfold. I realized I had solid leads coming in left and right because I set the groundwork to attract, nurture, and convert those leads… which therefore made me more money.

Be Patient with the Process

The most important part is to be patient with the process. You’re not going to reach your revenue goal overnight, and that’s OK! You also may not reach a high number right away–you may start out with small goals in the beginning–and that’s also OK.

Understand that with anything in business, results and success take time, but being consistent with your efforts is what will help you to get there.

Have any questions about this? Leave a comment below or fill out our contact form.

Ashley Mason is a marketing consultant, speaker, and founder of both Dash of Social and Student to CEO.

Starting her business at the age of 19, Ashley successfully grew it to reach six figures by the time she was 21 and now works for it full-time. Since then, she has been featured in prominent publications such as TEDx, The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, SWAAY Magazine, and more.

Passionate about pursuing entrepreneurship at a young age, Ashley hopes to inspires others to take that leap, just like she did.

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