If you are building a platform online, you likely already know about Michael Hyatt. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling books, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, and the recently released bestseller, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.
His blog is one of the highest-ranked websites in the world, and his podcast, This Is Your Life, is one of the most popular shows around. He is also the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson publishers.
Hyatt started his career in book publishing fresh out of college and worked in every aspect of book publishing, from marketing to management to being a literary agent. He went back to Thomas Nelson in 1998, worked his way into senior management and eventually became the CEO of the company.
So how did Hyatt justify leaving such a successful career for a blog? How did he build his personal platform to become one of the leading online influencers in the world? Here Hyatt shares the secrets to his success that you can start using today.
1. Serve up compelling content.
Hyatt started blogging in 2005, and since then, his blog has evolved over the years. It was once a website with information for Thomas Nelson employees. Employees could have easily checked out the blog once and never returned, but instead, many employees continued to return to the website. Some employees would even share some of the posts with friends or family members.
None of this happens if the content is not interesting. The content has to be something that people actually want to learn about. This doesn’t happen overnight, but as you continue to work on it, your taste develops and you get better.
“You have to use whatever asset you have and the most important thing in blogging, the most important thing to grow an audience is to write compelling content.”
2. Stand out from the rest.
When Hyatt was moving through the ranks at Thomas Nelson, one thing he did to stand out from everyone else was to be extremely responsive. So when he got an email or a phone call, he would reply as soon as possible.
“When so many take a long time to respond, as their inbox is overflowing, being prompt in your response can create many opportunities -- and in most cases people think you are competent as well,” says Hyatt.
3. Staff up, fast!
When Hyatt started with his own business, he realized he needed help early on. But he didn’t want to bring on a full-time employee and the burden of payroll, not knowing if the arrangement would work out. So Hyatt reached out to a friend about virtual assistants.
He was skeptical at first but soon hired one and then many virtual assistants. This allowed him to focus on his strengths and delegate the rest of the work, a common tactic for successful entrepreneurs.
4. Seek out a mentor.
“One thing I wish I could tell the younger Michael Hyatt is to hire a coach sooner," he says. "It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
To find his first coach, Hyatt went to a conference and connected with a well-known coach that he’d heard great things about. Hyatt recommend finding a coach with a entire life -- not just business -- that you would like to emulate. Qualifications and experience matter, so take the time to find someone who is a good fit for you and where you want to go.
5. Schedule wisely.
Hyatt is a big proponent of scheduling work wisely. If he is recording his podcast, he blocks out the entire day as a recording day. He only schedules meetings on two specific days of the week. The goal is to create without interruption, as it can easily take hours to regain focus after changing gears. Hyatt combines batching by task or mode with focusing on his strengths, which clearly produces incredible results.
“I really focus on the things that I do the best, which is content creation," he says. "So that’s almost exclusively what I work on. I’m either working on a blog post, shooting a video like this, doing a podcast -- and this work is batched -- so we shoot 13 episodes in two days.”
6. Step into your fears.
Hyatt’s best advice for someone starting out is to recognize that fear is unavoidable, so as an entrepreneur, you need to get comfortable with it. Hyatt even re-frames fear, uncertainty and doubt as positive indicators.
“I want to continue to realize my potential, to expand my abilities and my skill -- and that takes trying new things.”
When Hyatt left Thomas Nelson to run his own business, he encountered all of these emotions but moved forward anyway. Clearly, his mindset about fear is working for him, because now his business has doubled in size each year.
Check out the video below to hear more from Michael about the best and worst parts of being an entrepreneur and how he finds work-life balance.