2014 Year in Review & 2015 Goals

2014 Year in Review & 2015 Goals

Dustin Lien
December 31, 2014

This is my first of what I expect to be many year-in-review posts. It’s really for my own introspection and reflection on what went well this year, what didn’t, and what I want to accomplish next year. I’m making it public because I think people might enjoy reading it, and possibly learn from it. That being said, some of it won’t make sense to you why I’m sharing it, but that’s because it’s mostly for me.

There are 4 main areas I’ve reflected on: Business, Relationships, Health & Fitness, and Spirituality.


This year, I made some of the best strides to date in my entrepreneurial career. On March 30th, I launched this blog, which was honestly something I never planned on doing and never expected to do.

In February, I was working on a side project that would provide templates and worksheets for in-house creative departments. It wasn’t officially launched yet because I wanted to have a good catalog of downloadables available on the site. I started reaching out to friends and acquaintances who I knew and trusted as designers to see if they had any templates, etc. that they wouldn’t mind placing on my platform in exchange for an affiliate fee.

One of the people I reached out to was an old friend, Sean McCabe from Seanwes.com. I asked him if he was interested in contributing a product, and he respectfully declined. He later went on to sell that product on his own for over $80k…on the first launch day. We conversed a little (it had been a good 5 years since I last talked with him), and he offered some encouragement that gave me the nudge I needed to start blogging:

“Start a weekly blog on the topic that you are diligent about updating, open up an email newsletter and offer a strong and valuable incentive for people to sign up and then communicate with them regularly and provide value. Write daily, and use the material to put together an ebook in 3 or 6 months. I can see that you have the drive and I think it would be awesome if you channeled that energy into putting yourself out there in a very real way and making something awesome.”

Starting a blog was not on my radar at all. I didn’t see the value I see in it now after only 10 months. All I wanted to do was build a million dollar company (and I still do – more on this later), but what I didn’t realize until I started Strategic Sauce was the power of blogging for authority, and the networking opportunities that will inevitably contribute (and already have) to my success as an entrepreneur.

These are some accomplishments with Strategic Sauce in 2014:

  • Wrote and self-published my first book, It’s Time to Start, which has been downloaded almost 1,000 times.
  • Wrote 33 blog posts
  • Launched the Strategic Sauce Podcast and released 12 episodes
  • Worked out with Noah Kagan from Appsumo and OkDork twice, and formed a friendship (he has been a huge inspiration to me for years, but I never had an opportunity to meet him until I started the blog. Coincidence? Nope.)
  • Recorded and released a Udemy course, Smart Goal Setting for Entrepreneurs, which has been downloaded over 1,100 times

I also had some setbacks with an idea that was invalidated, and also an idea that was all set to launch until I ran into a situation where I was $35,000 short of what I needed for production, so I had to place that idea on the back burner for later. I learned that some ideas are worth saving, and some are not.

Business Goals for 2015:

  1. Launch a guide book and course on Blogging for Authority
  2. Write at least 50 blog posts
  3. Record at least 50 podcast episodes
  4. Do at least 1 hour of creative writing every day (this could be a blog post, podcast outline or show notes, free writing, writing toward a book or course, etc.)
  5. Launch a new online-based business in the fitness realm


I made what is likely to be the most important and best decision of my life this year. I got married in June! This is also the first full year being in Los Angeles, and I made a lot of good friends as well as network connections.

Relationship Goals for 2015:

  1. Call my parents and brothers more often
  2. Make an effort to see friends regularly (Don’t be a hermit)
  3. Make an effort to be more helpful around the house so my wife doesn’t have to do everything

Health and Fitness

In June 2013, I competed in my first natural bodybuilding competition. That required basically 9 months of preparation and extreme dedication, including 14 weeks of strict dieting. I spent the second half of 2013 “rewarding my effort” and getting lazy with the nutrition. That sort of bled into all of 2014.

I wasn’t too terrible with nutrition this entire year, but I definitely wasn’t good. I did, however, go to the gym 5-6 days/week for the majority of the year, so I’m happy with that.

Health and Fitness Goals for 2015:

  1. Pay closer attention to my nutrition to shed a little more body fat.
  2. Take a multivitamin daily


Since moving to L.A. mid 2013, my wife and I tried out a few different churches in the area, but couldn’t find a good non-denominational Christian church that we liked, so we kind of gave up unintentionally. In early Octoberish, we got a flyer in the mail for Venice Church, so we gave that a shot and loved it. We’ve gone almost every Sunday since, and took time to get to know the people while volunteering. It’s a great fit for us, and I’m so happy we found it.

Spirituality Goals for 2015:

  1. Continue attending and being involved in the Church
  2. Take a small amount of time each day for prayer
  3. Try meditation

I feel really good about 2014, and I’m taking that momentum straight into 2015. If I can improve even 1% in each of these 4 areas, then I’ll consider it a success. Again, this is mostly for my own reflection and goal setting, but I hope you found it helpful on some level, and if anything at least interesting. I wish you the best in the coming year, and I hope to be able to continue passing along the bits of knowledge I gain. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not an expert at everything, but I’ll teach what I’ve learned and I’ll never stop learning.