A Look Back at My 2019

I’m busy. You’re busy. We always have an excuse to focus on the urgent and ignore the important. My excuses are endless. 

🔥 Client fires. 
📕 Slack attacks.
📧 My endless pursuit for inbox zero.

I rarely pause to reflect on what I have done or NOT done in the past 12 months.  Did I focus on the important?

So here’s my attempt at reflecting on 2019.

GrowthHit Named FORBES Agency Partner 

FORBES named us an agency partner. This doesn’t mean much to me. (It’s just something my Mom can understand!) What I like is that we saw 4 rounds of funding for our clients and our team got bigger and smarter.

GrowthHit hired two executive level hires and two part time contractors. We now have a rockstar senior team that’s positioning GrowthHit to be a leading CRO agency.  I’ve never been more excited about our team and future.

Finally, something my family can understand about what I do.

Highs & Lows of Being a Founder

Running a business is full of surprises.  One minute you’re closing an exciting partnership and the next minute a client loses funding and cannot pay you.  One client will sing your praises. Another client will text you at 3am with life or death emergencies.

The days can be so eventful and extreme that it makes me immune to the high highs and the low lows of owning a business.  Sometimes I feel brilliant and other times I feel like a complete moron.  

It’s hard for people to really understand the ups and downs unless they know the pressure of managing payroll and keeping a business moving forward despite your own uncertainty.  

It’s damn challenging but extremely fulfilling. 

31 Speaking Engagements in 2019

Speaking took me every where from San Francisco for a workshop with Sephora to Peoria, IL for a talk at Caterpillar.  This year I landed my first international speaking gig in … Cancun, Mexico #Tequila.  The ANA named me one of the top 3 speakers.  I love teaching but I hate being away from my family and living in airports. It’s a tough balance.

The Growth Marketer’s Playbook Turns 1

In 2018, I wrote The Growth Marketer’s Playbook and it got to #1 on Amazon for 72 glorious hours. A year later I am still seeing momentum and the book continues to open more doors than I realized. From bigger clients at GrowthHit to getting an AMA with GrowthHackers. I (finally) think it was worth the two years it took to write it.

Launched Funnel Teardowns

Funnel Teardowns is a content site that dissects the hottest 🔥 marketing funnels on the web.  We analyze the websites of VC-backed startups, direct to consumer brands, and high-growth SaaS apps. It’s the best marketing case studies on the web.

Why would we do this?

In a world with unlimited competition for attention, you must find a way to deliver value to your customer before they ever make it to your product pitch. At the end of the day, all businesses will be media companies. We’re betting on this as our form of media.

Hired an Executive Coach

As I listen to impressive founders, I noticed they have one thing in common: they all have executive coaches.  So I engaged one myself.  His name is Rick and he has been a game-changer. He has challenged how I approach problem solving by using frameworks and mental models for each issue.  

Plus, it’s nice to have a 3rd party look at my business and tell me if I am crazy or if this is just normal. 

Went All-In on “Systems

Behind every successful founder is a successful system.  It has taken 3 years for this thought to get into my thick head. But, it has finally stuck. After hiring a rockstar COO (sup Yoni!), systems and operations are my #1 priority. Here are the books that have inspired this: Atomic Habits, GTD, Traction, and Scaling Up.  

Moved Into a House #FamilyMan

After college, I went to Dallas and then to New York City.  That meant my living arrangements got smaller and more expensive.  Now that I’m married with two little girls, it was time to grow up.  

My wife and I are living in a house for the first time since we were 17.  I thought I would hate getting out of downtown Seattle but I absolutely love it. Plus, I can geek out on security cameras so I know exactly when our UberEats arrives.

Jim, Kyle, West (2) & Wren (negative 3 months old)

Basketball = My Meditation

As I break up my day into what gives me energy and what takes it away, my weekly basketball games are at the top of the list for energy creation.  It’s my meditation that helps me clear my mind.  So many founders burnout because they don’t take care of themselves. I (attempt) to build this into my calendar every week.

And Last . . . Meet Wren!

We welcomed Wren Holiday Huffman to our family this year!  According to our doctor, my wife and I went from “a couple with a kid” to a “real family of four.”  It’s a blast having two little girls. But, this dad / founder thing ain’t no joke.  It does feel that when you go all in on one you’re neglecting the other.  The four burners principle is very real.

And my oldest, West (2), is just as curious as she is hilarious. And she is always down to party. Even if that means riding around in the Shaggin Wagon on Halloween night!

Okay, back to work.

Want to see my notes from last year? Check out my 2018 reflection.

Hope you have time to reflect on everything you did!