2020 Year in Review & 2021 Focus

2020 Year in Review & 2021 Focus

Dustin Lien
January 3, 2021

This is my 7th 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

2019 Year in Review


Table of Contents

1. 2020 Overview

2. 2020 Theme Recap

3. 2020 Business Review

4. 2020 Personal Review

5. 2020 Health & Fitness Review

6. 2020 Spiritual Growth Review

7. 2020 Closing Thoughts

8. 2021

2020 Overview

This was a tough year. The COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe and affected virtually everyone in the world. Despite the lockdowns, the overwhelming sadness of deaths, political unrest, and the economic difficulties for so many people—this year also brought new hope and progress.

In 2020, I launched a new business, planted a church, improved at golf, got a new dog, and moved to Austin.

For Jacqui (my wife) and me, the hardest part of an already difficult year, was losing our 6-year old dog Tucker to sudden aggressive cancer. He was a really great dog, and we miss him.


It was such a big loss for us, and the only thing that helped our hearts begin to heal, was adopting Milo!


Shortly before getting Milo, we made a big move from Los Angeles to Austin, TX. Jacqui got accepted to the highly-competitive graduate program for Screen Writing at UT!


Throughout the pain and struggles of 2020, I’m happy there were still plenty of joys.

2020 Theme Recap

My Theme for 2020 was: Action in the midst of uncertainty.

I chose this theme after a solitude trip to Joshua Tree in late 2019, as a nudge for myself to continue moving forward with important projects, even if I wasn’t sure where they would lead, or if they’d lead anywhere at all.

It turned out to be the year a pandemic struck the globe, and everything all of a sudden became uncertain. My theme helped me continue to move forward when finances were uncertain, my health and the health of loved ones was uncertain, and life as we knew it became uncertain.

Keep moving forward.

2020 Business Review

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

This was my only business focus set for the year, but as we all found out, this was not a normal year. When the pandemic reached the U.S. it was clear that we were headed for an economic downturn. In April, my agency lost half of its monthly revenue from clients cutting costs, so all attention had to be put toward building it back up, and I put EcommerceMarketer.com to the side.

I’m grateful to report that by the end of the year, we built the agency revenue back up, and finished the year with about 13% YOY growth.

I wrote a post summarizing some thoughts on how we were able to recover and grow.

In September, I was able to put attention toward Ecommerce Marketer again, and although the revenue building is still early, we’re off to a good start with the first few thousand in sales.

I also did a complete redesign of DustinLien.com this year.

2020 Personal Review

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

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

I feel really excited about the improvements I made with golf this year. It's one of the few activities that is pretty COVID-19 safe, so I spent a lot of time at the driving range, and playing an occasional round.

I'm just in it for the fashion...

For the piano goal, I started the year off strong, but ultimately decided to stop pursuing the hour amount goal. I practiced occasionally.

2020 Health & Fitness Review

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

2020 Health & Fitness Focus #2: Get a physical

I'm happy to report that I logged in my phone every time I worked out 210 times this year!

Unfortunately, I did not get a physical.

2020 Spiritual Growth Focus

2020 Spiritual Growth Focus: Start a church

It might seem a little crazy to start a church, and it might seem even crazier during a pandemic, but when God speaks, I try my best to listen.

In August, I launched DNA Austin, and although we had to launch with online-only gatherings, it's been a life-changing experience already. I can't wait to see what happens next.

2020 Closing Thoughts

It was a challenging, disruptive year in so many different ways. But, I know that it's through the fire that we're refined. Onto the next one :)


Here are the things I'm working toward:

• Growing Ecommerce Marketer and JumpX Marketing

• Creating more friendships in Austin

• Significantly improving my health and energy. Currently following the Bulletproof diet

• DNA Austin

• I've been spending a lot less time on social media the past few months, and it's been liberating

2021 Theme

My theme for 2021 is: Do less, better.

More can be a trap. Not always, but often. I want to focus on important things that are working well, and improve on them, rather than stretching myself thin and running in maintenance mode.

I hope 2021 is a year full of joy, peace, and progress for you!