Lessons in Building a Business from Michael Hyatt

In support of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015, we are featuring conversations with authors, founders, leaders, and visionaries. We hope their insights and experience inspire you to propel your own ideas into action.

Author. Entrepreneur. Marketer. Speaker. Evernote champion.

Around these parts, Michael Hyatt needs no introduction.

Michael has been a big supporter of our work for a long time. Chances are, you may have started using Evernote after listening to his podcast or implementing his goal template.

For the record, he is a big fan of tags. He also suggests sending email newsletters from your inbox directly to Evernote.

We recently had an email conversation about the themes of entrepreneurship. Here’s what Michael has learned from years of experience writing and leading others.

How did you find success as an author?

I started while I was still gainfully employed. My blog was initially a hobby. Then, as the traffic grew, I started taking advertising and even created a few products. I didn’t leave my day job until such time as I had critical mass. At that point, I was at a fork in the road. I really couldn’t do justice to both, so I followed my heart and made the leap.

What is the best information an author or entrepreneur needs when they first start out?

You need to know that there is a market for your product or service. That’s the great thing about blogging. You can test the waters for very little investment. You can begin to attract a following and build trust.

An audience that trusts you is the single greatest asset you can have as an author or an entrepreneur.

What’s your process for taking an early idea and evolving it into something more?

Everything in my world starts out as a blog post. My blog is my intellectual workbench. If a post gets traction, then it becomes a candidate for further development. It might become a podcast, a webinar, a book, or an entire course.

If you were starting a new book project today, what would be the first item on your to-do list?

Survey my audience and make sure I am dialed into their FACs: frustrations, aspirations, and challenges. The frustrations are their pain points. Their aspirations are what would become possible if they eliminated the pain points. Their challenges are the obstacles that stand between their pain points and their aspirations.

Where do you find inspiration for your work today?

Mostly in reading, listening to podcasts, and talking with other authors and entrepreneurs.

What is the best advice/lesson you got from a mentor or leader?

Integrity is making your actions line up with your words. If you give your word to something, deliver on your promise—even if it is inconvenient, uncomfortable, or expensive.

What drives you? What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The opportunity to create a business environment for my employees that is second to none. My goal is to make my company the best business experience they have ever had or will have. I want them to be able to win at work and succeed at life.

Who are you following right now that is inspiring to you — authors, advisors, businesses or brands? 

Tony Robbins continues to be a daily source of inspiration. His commitment to big goals and his belief that anything is possible motivates me. I am really inspired by Chalene Johnson’s work. We share similar values—faith, family, integrity, and hard work. Dan Sullivan helps entrepreneurs experience freedom by simplifying their business models and systems. He has been a huge help to me this year.

What’s in your toolkit? What are the resources you can’t do without?

My Apple computers, of course, along with amazing productivity Evernote, Nozbe, Fantastical, and Slack. I also use a lot of little helper apps like Text Expander, Alfred, SnagIt, and Bartender that I can’t live without.

What was the last book you read?

The Martian by Andy Weir.

Any parting advice for entrepreneurs that are just starting out?

The most important thing to do is to START: Schedule The Action Required Today. You don’t have to do everything. You certainly don’t have to wait until you have figured it all out. Just do the next most important thing and keep moving.

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