How Michael Hyatt Built His Brand: Lessons for Coaches

By Hugo Sanchez

In the competitive world of coaching and consulting, learning from the best can make all the difference. I am starting a series, "How They Did It," where I delve into the journeys of top names in the industry to uncover the secrets behind their success. By examining their paths, strategies, and insights, I aim to provide you with valuable lessons to help you grow your own brand.

I am a big fan of Michael Hyatt, a leader in the personal development space. Michael is extremely generous when he shares what has worked for his brand; researching his story was pure joy!

Michael Hyatt is an American author, podcaster, blogger, speaker, and entrepreneur who has successfully built a strong personal brand in the leadership and personal development space. Here is a quick biographical rundown of Michael’s path:

Hyatt laid the groundwork for his career by earning a degree in philosophy from Baylor University. This educational background provided him with critical thinking skills that would prove valuable in his future endeavors.

While still a student at Baylor, Hyatt began his publishing career at Word Publishing. This early exposure to the industry gave him valuable experience and connections.

In 1986, Hyatt co-founded his first company, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, a publishing company. This move demonstrated his willingness to take risks and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.

Then he joined Thomas Nelson Publishers in 1998 and worked his way up to become CEO in 2005. This high-level corporate experience enhanced his credibility and provided insights into leadership and business management.

Michael founded Michael Hyatt & Company (later rebranded as Full Focus) in 2012. The company offers training, coaching, and resources for personal and professional development.

Hyatt began blogging in 2004, demonstrating an early adoption of digital platforms to share his ideas and build an audience. This move was crucial in establishing his online presence. In an interview, Michael shared that he had an email list of about 100,000 contacts by the time he started his business in 2012.

In addition to blogging, Hyatt expanded his reach by hosting a weekly podcast called "This is Your Life" (later renamed "Lead to Win"). This multi-channel approach helped him reach a broader audience.

Both the quality of the content and the size of the platform are equally important for success, Michael says. A strong platform amplifies the impact of great content.

"Content is king but platform is queen. It really takes both of those together, you know, if you want to create a kingdom and rule well.” - Michael Hyatt

Hyatt has written several bestselling books on leadership, productivity, and goal-setting. These publications have significantly boosted his authority in the field and expanded his reach.

Authoring books is extremely important for your brand, according to Michael. Here is what he says: “There’s no better way to credential yourself or to get authority in a space than to write a book. I personally think it’s more important than a PhD, it’s more important than tons of experience. If you have a published book, that, in this culture, kind of says you’ve arrived and you’re an expert in your category. If that’s all you’re trying to do then I think self-publishing is fine. It becomes kind of a glorified, very nice business card that could pave the way as you go out and try to do other things whether it’s booking speaking or writing additional books or whatever.”

Michael is clear on this: people don’t care about you nearly as much as they care about their problems. The focus of your blog—and all your content—must be your readers: What are their needs? What are their pains? How can you help?

Then, you can create value with an experimental mindset. “I’ve done stuff that’s worked and stuff that hasn’t worked but one of the things I’ve always tried to cultivate is sort of an experimental mindset. Whenever I approach anything, a business launch or whatever, I approach it as an experiment.”

Michael is also a big fan of adopting multiple streams of income. “Whatever horse you are in now is probably going to reach the saturation point,” he says. For example, this clearly happened with blogging, online courses, and now it is happening with Online Communities.

”We said, ‘We think that people are desperate for live experiences that even though they’ve got all this virtual capability, people want to be face to face and have real human encounters.’ So we started our live events and that went crazy.”

In 2017, Hyatt launched the Full Focus Planner, a physical planner designed to help people achieve their goals. This product became the #1 business for their brand, and it is now an 8-figure business.

As you adapt, it's necessary to retire old, successful projects to make room for new growth. This requires courage and strategic thinking. “It’s kind of like cleaning your closet,” Michael says. “If you want new clothes, sometimes the first thing you have to do is get rid of the old clothes.”

Michael’s strategy has evolved over the years. While he initially relied heavily on organic traffic, the changing landscape of social media has led him to embrace paid advertising. He recognizes the necessity of paid media in today’s environment, particularly due to the restrictions on organic reach imposed by social media platforms. You can check out the ads they put in this link and get some inspiration.

One of Michael’s key lead generation tools is the use of assessments. He finds that assessments are highly effective because they tap into people's natural curiosity about themselves. This method not only captures leads but also provides immediate value, which helps in building trust and engagement from the start. "Assessments have been very good for us because people seem to have unbelievable curiosity to find out more about themselves. It’s their favorite topic, right?"

After capturing leads through assessments, the next step in Michael’s funnel is to invite them to a free webinar. This step is crucial as it allows potential clients to engage with his content in a more interactive and personal way. The webinar serves as an opportunity for Michael to provide substantial value and establish a deeper connection with the audience.

The final step in Michael’s funnel is to transition from the webinar to scheduling a discovery call. This call is positioned as a valuable consultation where potential clients receive personalized advice, further solidifying their trust and interest in Michael’s services. This step is critical for converting leads into high-value clients, particularly for his coaching programs. "We will identify for them the three top priorities that as a business they need to focus on if they want to scale as rapidly as possible."

Michael uses both automated and live webinars. While he recognizes that live webinars have better conversion rates, he suggests having both. Full Focus, Michael’s company, uses Demio for automated webinars.

Michael’s journey from a philosophy student to a leading figure in the personal development and leadership space is truly inspiring. We can learn from him the power of early adoption of digital media, the importance of consistent and high-quality content, and the value of diversifying one's approach. By embracing an experimental mindset and being willing to pivot when necessary, Hyatt has created a robust and adaptable brand.

Building a strong personal brand is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay committed to delivering value, remain adaptable, and always focus on the needs and pains of your audience. With these principles in mind, you can achieve long-term success and make a meaningful impact in your field.

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