2018 Year in Review & 2019 Goals

2018 Year in Review & 2019 Goals

Dustin Lien
January 22, 2019

This is my 5th consecutive year doing these year-in-review posts(!), and I always start with this disclaimer:

Just so you know, these reviews are really for my own introspection and reflection on what went well during the year, what didn’t, and what I want to accomplish the 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.

If you’d like to read previous reviews, here are links:

2014 Year in Review

2015 Year in Review

2016 Year in Review

2017 Year in Review


In 2018, my theme was “Unleash”

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


2018 was a big year of clarity in a lot of areas including business. Things are getting a little bit simpler, yet life still has a way of being unpredictable no matter how hard I try to guess what’s coming. Mostly I gained clarity on what wasn’t working for me. Also I’m clearly good at starting things, but not always great at the follow through of goals.

Business Goals for 2018

  1. Launch The Unleashed Life podcast and grow it to 1,000+ listens per episode (I did launch the podcast, but honestly just didn’t put enough effort into growing it to. Wasn’t my priority, and I’m cool with that.) Looking forward to continuing to meet and interview cool people in 2019.
  2. Launch the new DustinLien.com and grow the email list to 10,000+ (I did launch the website (you’re on it right now!), but also didn’t prioritize email list growth.)
  3. Write my next book (I ultimately decided to wait indefinitely to release the book, though it’s about 90% done.)
  4. Launch the Consulting Mastery program and help 50+ students (I did launch this, but closed it after 10 students. It was a great program, I just decided to not put time into it so I could focus on JumpInfluence.)

2018 Business Highlights and Lowlights


I had it in my mind at the beginning of 2018 that I would start to phase out of email marketing consulting and move fully toward my personal brand and helping people become freelancers/consultants. Instead as I got into the year and more companies were calling, I went all in with it.

I shifted from just email marketing consulting for personal brands to going with an agency model to support ecommerce clients with more full-service digital marketing. I also was able to hire part-time help with a lot of the client work which has been great. Looking for more growth in 2019!

Also, I launched a new 8-week consulting program called Automatic Lead Machine to help service providers (mostly fitness coaches so far that have signed up) to attract more quality leads.

Revenue didn’t end as high as I had projected it to, but the restructuring set the company up for a much bigger 2019.


One goal I had in my head that I actually didn’t write down for last year was to book two speaking gigs in 2018, and I did exactly that. 2 :)

In May, I gave a talk at Daniel DiPiazza’s Alpha Mentorship retreat in Topanga (Malibu area). The talk was called, Creating Value Out of Thin Air. Watch on YouTube or listen on the podcast.


In October, I was asked to speak at Texas State University (my alma mater) for their Mass Comm Week. I gave a talk called How to Get Started as a Freelancer With Skills You Already Have. Super fun, and unexpectedly filled up the auditorium for the talk and had really awesome Q&A after. Really enjoyed it.

tx state dustin lien

Also in July, my wife and I moved from the west side of LA to the heart of Hollywood! We’re still getting used to the change, but the walkability score is ridiculous here. We were able to sell a car because we can walk most places we need to go, and I can walk to the gym and to the office in under 10 minutes. Game changing for me.

Business Goals for 2019

As I look back at the last 5 years of these reviews, I’ve pretty much never completed a business goal that I set. The thing is though, it’s not because I’m incapable of achieving a goal, but rather because trying to predict a year at a time is almost impossible. So many things factor into where my attention is best put. Things like market conditions, opportunities I can’t see coming yet, and changing ambitions. I still set goals for this year, but I’m going to keep it simple. One goal per company that’s tangible and trackable.

  1. Launch Coda Life, and get the first 1,000 customers
  2. Grow JumpInfluence revenue by 300%


Relationships Goals for 2018

  1. Keep meeting awesome people, deliberately
  2. Seek out mentors for book publishing and public speaking

Relationships Goals for 2019

  1. Talk 1 on 1 with 50 entrepreneurs I’ve never met before
  2. Host 10 dinners with friends

Health and Fitness

Looking at last year’s goals now, the first one is not trackable at all so it’s hard to say how it went. It was definitely on my mind most days, so, sure, let’s say I did that. For 2019, I’m going more trackable. I also want to note that I’ve been working out 4-5 times/week and keeping a relatively low body fat % for the last decade, so I don’t think I need to keep adding that to my goals each year.

Health and Fitness Goals for 2018

  1. Eat with the purpose of creating and sustaining energy throughout the day
  2. Increase my bench press, squat, and deadlift to combine to at least 1,000 lbs. while maintaining a body fat percentage of less than 10% (2 shoulder injuries threw this plan off big time. Still recovering unfortunately, but getting in 4-5 workouts a week still.)

Health and Fitness Goals for 2019

  1. Play basketball at least 20 times
  2. Do yoga at least 50 times


I accepted a part-time role as Children’s Ministry Director at my church in August of 2017, and continued in that role until it was filled by a full-time employee in April 2018.

I planned on continuing to pursue my Masters in Seminary in 2018 as well (I took 1 class in 2017), but after a lot of thought and prayer, decided it wasn’t the best route for me. 2018 was a good year of growth in my faith and relationship with God, and I’m eagerly anticipating what He’s calling me to next as I continue to do my best to spend time in prayer and study, and listen to the Holy Spirit.

Spirituality Goals for 2018

  1. Grow deeper in relationship with God through focused prayer time and study
  2. Maintain or increase the practice of daily meditation for calming of anxiety and stress management (I did more of this, but not enough to claim “daily”)

Spirituality Goals for 2019

  1. Start a home-based church
  2. Dedicated prayer time every day. Every day. (Not because I have to, but because I want to)

Theme for 2019

Every year for the past few years, I’ve chosen a theme word or phrase as a mantra of sorts. Something I want to live out and can use as a reminder throughout the year.

My theme for 2019 is “Lead by example, especially when it’s difficult.”