I know I haven’t written an article for awhile, but how was your 2020? If it went well, congrats. I hope you take some time to celebrate your wins! And if it was rough? Well you’re not alone.

This year was my roughest year in entrepreneurship. Why? I lost my biggest client, my relationship ended, and I had to fly back to Boston for a bit to help out with my mom’s tumor. Thank god it was benign.

So yeah. 2020? Rough year.

If you’re new, I’m Kevin. I’m a former pharmacist, YouTuber, and business consultant. Three years ago I left pharmacy to deep dive in the world of personal branding, digital marketing, and closing.

So with this website, I love sharing cool people, strategies, and tools to help us live a happier, more productive, kickass life.

And if you’re reading this, chances are that you are probably an entrepreneur, aspiring business owner, or productivity junkie. So if you want to kick off the new year strong, keep reading.

Because today I’m sharing how I’m planning my Year End Planning Retreat for 2021.

What is a Year End Planning Retreat

A Year End Planning Retreat is simple. It’s a pattern interrupt.

You escape your normal environment to end the year strong and prepare for the next year. Most companies and business owners try to do it annually for a mental reset.

But why is a mental reset important? Two reasons. It’s a chance to:

  1. Rest up and celebrate your wins
  2. Disconnect from your normal rhythm and routine to inspire new ideas

You can go to the beach, AirBnB, or even a hotel. The point is to get away for at least 2 nights. For me, I’m planning to do it locally at the W in Boston. It’ll be my first company retreat!

And of course it’s a chance to binge on snacks, stay up late, sleep in, and ball out on room service. Did I mention the tax deductions for your business? 😂

Why do a Year End Planning Retreat

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Ever hear this saying?

In previous years, I was caught in reacting to the whirlwind of work. Instead of proactively planning, I was playing catchup. At the time thought I needed to hustle harder. But in reality it just led to burnout.

The truth is your best ideas will never come while you’re in the whirlwind. I mean seriously. Are you really ask yourself what do I want my business goals to be for next year when you’re scrambling to hit deadlines?

Hell no. I wanted to take a step back out of my current environment to plan. The reality was I wasn’t disciplined enough to sit down, plan shit out, and execute with intention.

So that’s when earlier this year I bought my Panda Planner, built out systems for my morning routine, and time blocked my working hours with Deep Work Focus Sessions. Best decision ever.

It worked for my day-to-day, but I wanted something more macro and was introduced to the Year End Planning Retreat from Graham Cochrane.

The reason why I’m doing this is that I want clarity going into the new year and to walk away with a roadmap. Why? So I always know where I’m headed and not thinking – what’s next?

By having a clear roadmap, I can 100% focus on execution of my business.

How to do a Year End Planning Retreat

There’s 7 steps of a Year End Planning Retreat:

Celebrate the wins

My business coach, Terry Rice, always tells me… celebrate your wins. This is tough for me. In Asian culture, especially Chinese culture, there’s always this dissatisfaction or theme of never being good enough.

As I’m getting older and getting therapy, I realize this isn’t healthy for my mental health. And it explains why I constantly feel burnt out.

So to keep my sanity I’m documenting my wins for the year. But more importantly from a business standpoint, I’m trying to figure out:

  1. What worked well this year in this business?
  2. What didn’t work this year in my business?

The goal is to do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t working. Some of the things I’m personally going to be looking at are:

  • Revenue – Where were the dips and spikes? What were some of the factors for those?
  • Email List Growth – Which lead magnets performed well? Which one’s didn’t perform?
  • YouTube Analytics – What are the top 10 keywords I’m ranking for? What are the top 10 sources I’m being recommended from?

Content Planning

So now that you have a clear picture after looking at what worked and what didn’t work, it’s time to plan out your content for the rest of the year. Content marketing is key in any business or personal brand. Why? It builds trust with the brand and product organically. And plus it’s fun!

The magic behind planning content on your retreat is that you’re fresh. Because you’re not pressured to pump out a video, you can come up with better ideas for content.

And even if you map out content calendar and do nothing with it, it still feels powerful knowing that you have a plan. For myself, I’m planning to map out the rest of the year for my YouTube content, newsletter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Promotional Calendar

Graham in his video says – don’t scramble. Have a plan! And that’s the one thing I didn’t do.

This year with Refugee Hustle, I built out a few programs including Kickass Investing, YouTube Marketing Consulting, and my One-on-One High Ticket Sales Coaching program.

But the problem was I didn’t promote any of these products. And because of that missed out on revenue because I didn’t have a promotional calendar.

So my goal during my retreat is to plan a launch quarterly at a minimum for those products. Hell if I’m feeling really ambitious I might consider monthly.

Plan your work schedule

My work schedule is showing up and working 24/7. And let’s be real. That’s not a schedule or sustainable. It’s just inefficient and stupid. And it’s one of the reasons why my relationship didn’t work out.

So on my retreat, it’s my goal to build out a real schedule. No lie – I was really inspired by Graham Cochrane only working 15 hours per week running both his businesses.

So in terms of planning my work schedule this year, my goal is to to:

  • Reduce my working hours every year
  • Spend more time on work that feels like fun (YouTube and Coaching)
  • Spend more time on real fun (Jiu Jitsu)
  • Time block using Deep Work Focus Sessions

So 2021, I’m done running back to back with my meetings. I want to enjoy my time on this earth instead of working myself into my grave.

Vision (5 Year Plan)

Real talk – I struggle with putting my vision to paper every time. So I’m changing that.

Will my vision change? Absolutely.

But there’s something powerful about creating a plan. For me, it gives me a sense of focus and direction. And as I do more things, I find that my vision gets refined with each iteration.

So my goal during this retreat is to start putting the pen to paper ask myself – where do you want to be 5 years from now? Financially? Health? Relationships?

Education Goals

Out of all these steps, this is the one I’m looking forward to the most. This is where you plan out and how you’re planning to invest in yourself over the next year. The feeling I get is like a choose your own adventure book.

Some questions to ask might be:

  • What books are you planning to read?
  • Which courses or programs are you investing in this year?
  • What type of coaching or you going to have? Therapy? Life coaching?

This year I’m planning to take an inventory of all the programs I invested in over the last few years and revisiting those resources.

I’m also planning to invest into more coaching and therapy for my mental health as well. You can’t replace the human element of accountability and mentorship.

Specifically I’m planning to continue my business coaching with Terry Rice, Ali Abdaal’s Part Time YouTube Academy, and my Rich + Niche Digital Marketing Mastermind. If you decided to work with them, tell em Kevin sent you. They’ll take care of you 😎


The purpose of this is to inspire new ideas and revisit old ones.

What I’m planning to do is read these books from front to back and take notes on the most powerful ideas. Perhaps I’ll do a YouTube review on each of these books on my YouTube channel as well.

In terms of selection of books, I like to think about the “big idea” books. This year I’m focused on launching my coaching business, masterminds, and scaling up my current offers. Also I want to focus more on my health and mental health this year as well.

So in terms of books I’m picked a selection of spirituality books, personal branding, coaching, business systems, productivity, and storytelling books. Whatever it is for you, get back into reading what makes you feel excited.

Here are some of the books that I picked up from Graham’s recommendations and a few of mine that I’m bringing along:

  1. Psycho-Cybernetics – The classic personal development book that Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, and Brian Tracy pay homage to and something I can benefit from. This was Graham’s recommendation.
  2. The Big Leap – Currently I’m transitioning from agency work to consulting, coaching, and to double down on my personal brand. It wasn’t an easy decision, but ultimate that’s what makes me happy. However I feel a lot of doubt so I want to read this book so I can reset my mindset. The goal is to serve more people and make bigger impact. Also Graham’s recommendation.
  3. The Prosperous Coach – This is book is for coaches looking to build a practice with a small number of high-performing, high-paying clients, which is my goal for this year. Also Graham’s recommendation.
  4. Think and Grow Rich – Ok. I’ll be real. This book was always really boring in my opinion. But what I realized was that I never really sat down and committed to reading it. This apparently was one of the first books on creating masterminds and thinking bigger. I need that so that’s why I’m picking this up again. And because Graham recommended this book too.
  5. The Richest Man in Babylon – Believe it or not, I’m in the personal finance space with Kickass Investing and never read this book. It’s probably time to pick it up. Graham’s recommendation.
  6. Atomic Habits – This book has really blown up over the last year. I first read this book during quarantine, but I’m hoping to pick it up again so I can focus on the identity habits in my life, especially for my health, wealth, and relationships. Although I’m better this year about execution, somethings like showing up to jiu jitsu, eating clean, and sleeping on time are things I currently struggle with.
  7. The Universe Has Your Back – This year I did a deep dive into spirituality. Believe it or not – both my personal trainer and neurohacking coach recommended it to me. So I picked this book up at Amazon Books along with You Are the Universe. Since then I had my tarot reading, printed out my birth chart, signed up for Co-Star and the Pattern, and started sequential numbers and all that. Is it real? Who knows. Either way I feel better and less drained.
  8. Building a Storybrand – Unlike previous years, this year I really dug deep into personal brand and business brands. I want to apply this to my personal brand and Refugee Hustle.
  9. Storyworthy – This book was recommended my YouTube coach Ali Abdaal. One element that I’m incorporating into all my videos this year is the element of stories. One of my “unfair advantages” I’m not taking advantage of is the ability to tell stories of vulnerabilities. I want to share more “eat a dick” moments and build my personal brand.
  10. Primal branding – This was also recommended by Ali Abdaal. Building a powerful personal brand goes deep. It’s about all the elements that go into to building the look and feel of a person or brand. Since taking Part Time YouTube Academy, I’ve written out a whole document about this to add to my YouTube videos. Planning on expanding on it.
  11. The E-Myth Revisited – Also recommended by Ali Abdaal. Going into 2021, I want to focus on systems that build assets – not doing these repetitive tasks. One of the major game changers for me is building a YouTube Content Dashboard with templates. So I started thinking – what other areas in my life can I systemize to reduce the friction in my life and business?
  12. Paid to Speak – This year I got invited to speak three times. Crazy right? Speaking is a great way to build authority and monetize your backend courses and coaching products. I’m planning to do more speaking to promote my coaching and programs as well. Recommended by Mike Kim.
  13. Necessary Endings – All things come to an end right? This year some friendships ended, my relationship ended, and came to the grips that I need to let go of my identity as a pharmacist for my YouTube. And even at the moment, I dropped all my clients to focus on my personal brand and assets this year. This transition wasn’t and still isn’t easy. Recommended by Mike Kim.
  14. The Nuclear Effect – Everything high ticket related from the marketing to the sales. Scott Oldford actually was the one that taught me how to structure high ticket programs. Because of that I was able to sell a lot more. While many of my friends don’t like Scott, but in my book he’s cool and still one of the go to thought leaders in the industry.
  15. 5 Day Weekend – This book is geared toward 9-5er who wants to escape their job. I’m not in that category. So why would I pickup this book? Because I’m hoping that it’ll give me more clarity about what I want in my life and building that vision.

Are you doing a Year End Planning Retreat?

So what is your Year End Planning Retreat going to look like?

As mentioned before the goal of the Year End Planning Retreat is to feel reset and refreshed with clarity about your quarterly goals for the next year.

Don’t underestimate the power of momentum.

So this is what the first Refugee Hustle company 2020 retreat is going to look like. You can feel free to add or remove elements. I’d love to hear from you – what is your Year End Planning Retreat going to look like?

Feel free to directly reply to this email. Or you can forward this email to a friend as well. If you’re not already, stay subscribed here for an update on how the retreat is going 😎


PS… Here’s Graham Cochrane’s video if you want to check it out here.