2016 Year in Review & 2017 Goals

year in review

I had a theme the entire year of 2016.

It was a theme I held closely and really embraced on a daily basis. All decisions were flowing through this theme, and it made a big difference in my accomplishments.

My theme for 2016: WORK HARD

In all caps, just like that. I even made a MuscleFeed shirt so I could wear it around and remind myself.

work hard shirt

I’ve got a theme for 2017 too, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s review 2016!

This is my third year doing a year-in-review post (you can read 2014 here and 2015 here if you want), and I always start with a disclaimer for the readers:

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.

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

Business: Goodbye 9-5!

The goal I set at the end of 2015 was to grow Musclefeed.net to $1,000/mo in recurring revenue. My focus quickly moved away from that when I really thought about why that was the goal I set (thanks Tony Robbins!).

I realized that this particular goal was really just a tactic to help me get to what I really wanted, which was ditching the 9-5 for good, and $1,000/mo wasn’t going to cut it.

I’ll explain below how I successfully left the 9-5 grind, and what life is like now (hint: it’s more like 7am-10pm now, but 10X better)

2016 Business Highlights and Lowlights:

MuscleFeed

With my goal being 1k/mo from MF in 2016, I hit the ground running in January and February, and did…ok. Nothing revolutionary here, maybe $500 in sold merch and personal training programs.

Halted all active marketing efforts in the beginning of March when a new opportunity came up that I couldn’t refuse (best move ever). Still working 9-5 at that point as well, fyi.

Routertaco

In March, I was contacted about an opportunity to jump in on starting a new website idea. The idea itself was not what excited me (not that it was bad, just not my passion). What excited me was the opportunity to be coached and mentored by one of the all-time greats in the marketing/entrepreneurship space.

RouterTaco.com was born.

It was really an SEO/affiliate marketing play, and if you’ve ever relied on affiliate pay for your income, you know it takes a while to grow a site’s traffic enough to see a decent payout.

After about 3 months of a slow build, we decided to throw it to the sharks and move on. It’s an interesting balance to try to find. When do you push through the challenges and keep moving toward the goal, and when do you throw in the towel before more time is wasted? That’s for every individual to decide, but it’s always a difficult struggle. Sometimes we quit right before things get really good. Sometimes we hold on too long.

Even though RouterTaco didn’t work out, I’m fortunate enough to have the same person coaching me through the next adventure: FitFly (more on this later).


**Still working 9-5 at this point of the story.


Lien Marketing
It’s early June, and I hadn’t made much progress on anything leading to breaking out of the 9-5, and it was weighing on me. You know the feeling—jumping from idea to idea and switching focus, getting very little accomplished.

I had to make a move.

I realized my best move to replace the 9-5 income was to find a few consulting clients. Easier said than done, but I went hard at it.

I threw up a quick website in a day, slapped a basic logo on there, and started reaching out to companies about marketing consulting.

The two requirements I had were that I needed freedom of location and flexible time. Without those, consulting becomes just another job.

After a month of outreach and networking, I had fully replaced my 9-5 income and my last day was July 5, 2016. And so the story begins.

Here’s a picture of me on my last day:

last day of work

The catch is I now put in 10+ hours/day for consulting on average, and work on FitFly on top of it, so the 9-5 was replaced with 12-15 hour days instead. What’s different though, is I can work from anywhere in the world, and my time is flexible.

FitFly
After the death of Router Taco, I had to come up with a new business idea. I had the idea for this product long before I realistically considered manufacturing it, so it was a quick start once I decided to go for it.

The FitFly Shaker is a disposable (recyclable) supplement shaker. It’s a product that’s been only been seen on the market in very small scale, and only a couple of companies have tested it. I took a small risk (hustled up the extra needed money) and had some manufactured.

Go buy a 10-pack and tell me what you think >


Business Goal for 2017

Full Self-sustainability

This is my goal for 2017. Consulting has been a great way to take a leap forward and allow more flexibility in my time and work, but it still means working at the mercy of someone else. If my clients fire me, I make no money, so the freedom isn’t quite there yet, and that’s what I’m after this year.

FitFly is my focus, and I will bring it to $5k+ in monthly revenue this year.


Relationships

2016 Relationships Highlights and Lowlights

2016 was a great year for relationships. My wife and I got to do a lot more traveling due to the flexibility of being able to work from anywhere in the world. We travelled to New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and some local-ish places we’d never been before.

I also met a ton of people this year, and made good effort to see friends often.

My goal for 2016 was to be more helpful around the house. I might have been, I’m not really sure to be honest. I kind of punt the house work in order to get more hours in. I need to re-evaluate this goal for 2017.

Relationships Goal for 2017

1. Work more efficiently and set boundaries to separate work and play

I had a bad habit during 2016 of working all the time, and even when I was just “hanging out” with Jacqui (my wife), I would still have my computer or phone open with some form of work happening. I want to set better boundaries so that when I work, I work, and when I spend time with friends and family, I’m present in those times.

Health and Fitness

As for health and fitness in 2016, I was 1 for 2.

2016 Health and Fitness Highlights and Lowlights

My goals were to compete in a physique competition and to get adequate sleep. I competed in an NPC physique competition in January. Here’s one of my favorite pictures from the show:

dustin lien physique npc

As for sleeping more, I did not do great. Funny enough though, it seems a lot of my tiredness in 2015 was due more to the displeasure of working where I was working, and even with sleep not being great in 2016, I still felt more energetic.

Health and Fitness Goals for 2017

1. Experiment more with what the body is capable of
2. Pay more attention to the quality of what I’m eating and drinking

Spirituality

2016 Spirituality Highlights and Lowlights

One of my goals for 2016 was to step up involvement and leadership in the church, and I feel great about what I accomplished on that front.

I had the honor of leading the youth group at Venice Church for 6 months out of the year before a new Youth Pastor was hired, and it was extremely difficult, but extremely fulfilling.

Here’s a video of some of the kids pelting me with water balloons:

I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the kids and to serve God in that way, and I’m looking forward to more opportunities like this in 2017.

Another goal was to give back to the community in 1 big way. I’m not sure that I accomplished that. It’s kind of a vague goal looking at it now. I did a little more community service than usual, but nothing I would call big.

Lastly, I wanted to spend a little time daily in prayer and introspection. I think I did that, but I want more focused time set aside this year for it.

Spirituality Goals for 2017

1. Continue to foster growth of the youth group
2. Seek more opportunities to serve in leadership roles in the church, however I can be of use

Well, that’s where we’re at now!
2016 was a year to remember for me, I hope it was for you as well. And if it wasn’t, then well, at least it’s a new year :)

Oh yeah…my theme for 2017 is LEVEL UP.

As a business man, a husband, a friend, a servant. LEVEL UP is my theme for 2017.

About The Author

Dustin Lien

@dustinlien has a passion for helping people start businesses that are profitable by implementing content strategies, smart marketing, and good business.

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