2019 Year in Review & 2020 Focus

2019 Year in Review & 2020 Focus

Dustin Lien
December 30, 2019

This is my 6th consecutive year doing an annual review, 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 to those:

2014 Year in Review

2015 Year in Review

2016 Year in Review

2017 Year in Review

2018 Year in Review


Table of Contents
1. 2019 Overview
2. 2019 Theme Recap
3. 2019 Business Goals Review
4. 2019 Relationship Goals Review
5. 2019 Health & Fitness Goals Review
6. 2019 Spirituality Goals Review
7. 2019 Closing Thoughts
8. 2020 Opening Thoughts
9. 2020 Business Focus
10. 2020 Personal Focus
11. 2020 Health & Fitness Focus
12. 2020 Spiritual Growth Focus
13. 2020 Theme

2019 Overview

This was a year of learning how to stop chasing, and start simplifying; a year of leadership growth and practical action; a year of reaping what’s been sowed, and planting new seeds.

A lot happened in 2019. I got a tattoo, turned 30, tried to grow my hair out, gave yoga a fair chance, gave my first talk at church, launched and closed a new business that helped a lot of people with stress and anxiety, learned how to adjust my hips, spoke at Coda Con, Spaces, and Ever Forward Summit, took a solitude trip to Joshua Tree, became a pastor in residence and helped launch a new church service in Venice, traveled to Washington D.C., New York, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Texas, and more cool stuff I can’t remember right now.

2019 Theme Recap

My personal theme for 2019 was “Lead by example, especially when it’s difficult.” I chose this theme because I wanted to continue growing in leadership in different areas of my life, and one of the most difficult, but also most important, things to do when leading others in any area, is walk the walk. And not just walk the walk when it’s easy—anyone can do that. It’s walking the walk when it’s difficult to that earns greater trust from others.

2019 Business Goals Review

  1. Launch Coda Life, and get the first 1,000 customers
  2. In January, I launched Coda Life, a high performance supplement brand, along with the first product, Deep Breath (capsules to help eliminate everyday stress and anxiety). In July, I put on a small conference called Coda Con 2019, and had a great time with great speakers, attendees, and a yoga/meditation session. I found myself in a familiar spot nearing November of this year, where attempting to split work time between Jump (marketing consultancy) and Coda was hurting both businesses. So, I made a difficult decision in November, and closed down Coda indefinitely. I really love the business idea, it has great potential, I just no longer felt like I could grow it well right now while also running Jump effectively. Who knows what the future holds, but for now, I won’t be doing anything further with Coda. Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway: I did launch Coda Life, but did not get the first 1,000 customers.
  3. Grow Jump revenue by 300%
  4. This year, we had our best year yet as an ecommerce marketing consultancy, and I’m really proud of it. Our total revenue compared to 2018 didn’t increase 300%, but our recurring monthly revenue did! In previous years, most of our revenue came from one-off course sales or short-term consulting, so it’s a big relief on payroll and company bills to have dependable recurring revenue.

2019 Relationships Goals Review

  1. Talk 1 on 1 with 50 entrepreneurs I’ve never met before
  2. I set this goal based on the assumption that the more entrepreneurs I network with, the more collaboration and referrals my business would get. That may be true, I suppose, but I didn’t even think about this goal all year. I met a lot of new people though just naturally, and strengthened other relationships.
  3. Host 10 dinners with friends
  4. I hosted a few dinners with friends, but didn’t count. This category is going to be abolished 2020…

2019 Health and Fitness Goals Review

  1. Play basketball at least 20 times
  2. Final count = 6
  3. Do yoga at least 50 times
  4. Final count = 18

2019 Spirituality Goals Review

  1. Start a home-based church
  2. Instead of starting the church this year, instead I started a Pastor in Residence 1-year program at my church in Venice, getting mentored and learning how to lead a church. Also there is a possible geographical change coming Summer 2020, but once I know for sure, I’ll be able to start the church.
  3. Dedicated prayer time every day
  4. I certainly prayed everyday, but not necessarily scheduled or fully focused time everyday.

2019 Closing Thoughts

This was the year I turned 30, and I don’t know if there’s something chemically that happens in the brain, or if I just personally gave additional meaning to the age, but a lot of things started clicking for me this year. I feel my priorities shifting, I feel more clarity arriving, I feel more at peace, and I feel more separated from the ever-changing winds of culture. This was a really good year across the board as far as these categories are concerned, and I’m excited for 2020!

2020 Opening Thoughts

A few things are prominent in my mind right now that I’m ready to embrace for 2020:

Arbitrary, ego-driven goals don’t work for me. I touched on this in my 2018 year-end review, but didn’t embrace it very well in 2019; most of the goals I set have little to no meaning other than being a nice sounding number, and that lack of meaning causes me to abandon goals. Also, it’s frustrating to set a goal and make a lot of progress, but still feel like you failed at the end of the year because you didn’t hit your arbitrary goal within your arbitrary 1 year timeline. Progress is always good. Starting now, instead of setting annual goals, I’m going to set and annual “focus” for each category. Something I want to focus on improving. I’m also changing some of the categories. Instead of “Relationships” I’m replacing that with “Personal” to be a little more broad. Instead of “Spirituality” I’m changing it to “Spiritual Growth”. It better suits what I’m talking about because the word spirituality has been softened and muted to include things that have nothing to do with a person’s spirit.

Minimalism is refreshing: I’ve been working toward living more simply with less reliance on hoarding physical items I don’t even want or use, let alone need. Minimalism doesn’t have mean owning nothing or only 5 items or anything crazy like that—just, being conscious of the items you allow in your life. Here’s a great resource for learning more about minimalism (they have a great documentary on Netflix too). https://www.theminimalists.com/

Margin = freedom to choose: Margin with time, finances, headspace, etc. leaves space to help others, be creative, spend time with loved ones, etc.

There’s always more work to be done, so there’s no sense in overworking: Currently reading a book called “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy At Work” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Ok, let’s dive into 2020.

2020 Business Focus

Jump had a solid year in 2019, and client results were the best yet. In 2020, I want to diversify the income beyond client work, and into DIY ecommerce marketing training. I recently paid way too much for the domain name EcommerceMarketer.com and building out new streams of revenue under that name is what I’ll be working on in 2020, in addition to continuing to help our amazing clients at Jump.

2020 Business Focus: Grow EcommerceMarketer.com revenue enough for it to become the dominant revenue stream for the business.

2020 Personal Focus

2020 Personal Focus #1: Improve enough at playing golf to not feel embarrassed

2020 Personal Focus #2: Log 125 hours of practicing piano

2020 Health & Fitness Focus

2020 Health & Fitness Focus #1: Workout at least 200 times

2020 Health & Fitness Focus #2: Get a physical

2020 Spiritual Growth Focus

2020 Spiritual Growth Focus: Start a church

2020 Theme

This year, I want to pay closer attention to the actions I take or don’t take. I had a strong case of confusion about what things in life to focus on at various times in 2019. With the vast amount of opportunities available to us in America, it’s really easy to question everything all the time. Should I keep doing what I’m doing? Should I stop and do something else that might bear more fruit? Should I try to do multiple things at once? These types of questions can cause a person to make the most detrimental decision of all…the decision to do nothing. We sometimes assume that doing nothing is our safest bet, because we fear the outcome of doing the wrong thing more than we fear the outcome of doing nothing. What we forget is, if we do nothing, we’re guaranteed to make no progress and possibly even lose the progress we’ve made so far. But, if we do SOMETHING, we either make progress in a good direction, or we learn it wasn’t the right decision, and we have more data for the next decision.

2020 Theme: “Action in the midst of uncertainty”

That’s all for this year; onto the next one!