A Secret Project I’ve Been Working on for Months

With the publication of my new book last year, I introduced to you the importance of building a platform and shared a framework for doing so. It was an exciting time. The book hit the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

Click here to watch

More meaningful to me, I received thousands of e-mails and social media messages from readers who were inspired to start building their platform. Evidently, my book created the possibility and pointed the way.

But that was just the beginning …

This year I want to provide even more help to those who are truly committed to growing their platform and impacting the world. I can’t wait to share with you what we’ve created. We’ve been working hard for months on this project. We’re just about ready to unveil it.

But first, I thought I’d share some of the backstory behind what really happened in the early years of building my platform—and how it grew to the point it is today with over 350,000 monthly readers.

To do that, we’ve created a three-part video series called, “Behind the Platform.” I really think it will inspire you. Best of all, it’s free! If you like it, you can opt-in to receive the other two videos. You are also welcome to share them with your friends.

In this first video, I talk about:

  • My early days in publishing and my love affair with books
  • How I accidentally started blogging and why the initial days didn’t look very promising
  • What it was like to become the CEO of Thomas Nelson in 2005
  • My secret struggle with fear and self-doubt
  • The triple tsunami that threatened to tank my company—and our industry
  • How these very obstacles become the catalyst for changes we needed to make
  • How they also setup the career move I had always dreamed of making
  • A showdown with my board and a choice I needed to make
  • What really motivated me then—and what still motivates me today
  • And more …

As I said, you can watch the first video for free. (The other two are free too; you just have to opt-in.)

By the way, I usually ask you to comment here—and you can if you want. But I’d be grateful if you would leave me a comment under the video when you click over to watch it. Thanks.

Finally, I want to thank the team that has made the dream of Platform University come alive:

  • Stu McLaren, co-founder of WishList Member. He’s the one who had the original vision for this project, created the team, and overseen every aspect of the creative development.
  • Dean Rainey, who was our producer/director for the videos in this project. He is a master story-teller with a long pedigree of big league experience.
  • Megan Miller, my oldest daughter and the project manager on my side. She has handled the thousands of administrative details that a project like this requires.
  • Others also contributed, notably, Che Wai Wong, our cinematographer; John Morris, our web developer, and James Dalman, our designer, and last but not least, my managers, Joy Groblebe and Brian Scheer.

Thanks, guys! I love working with you.

Get My New, 3-Part Video Series—FREE! Ready to accomplish more of what matters? 2015 can be your best year ever. In my new video series, I show you exactly how to set goals that work. Click here to get started. It’s free—but only until Monday, December 8th.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Leesa Renee Hall

    I love Stu McLaren and he hinted about this project to those who belong in the Wishlist Insider community (of which I’m a member). I can’t wait to see what Platform University looks like once it’s up and running. 

    • http://twitter.com/StuMcLaren Stu McLaren

       You’re awesome @a58da0c09fc3f0ee04008bae13beda53:disqus … you just made my day :)

      • Leesa Renee Hall

        @twitter-14202781:disqus you know I’m a HUGE fan of Wishlist Member. I think I was one of the first to buy a license back in 2009. Thanks for the awesome plugin. It has made WordPress that much better. 

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    Michael, this is awesome. I’m signed up and can’t wait for the next two. Thank you for sharing your story!

    I love the shots of Pinkerton Park too…brings back memories. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It’s a great place to run. ;-)

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great behind the scenes look at the process. Bottom line… never give up!  Thanks for all you do.

    • http://www.spencermcdonald.net/ Spencer McDonald

      I have given up hundreds of times, yet I never stop. I get up and learn one more thing. Maybe this time my one more stand up will be the one that matters. 

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    Michael, FYI there is a typo in the video. 

    Tip #2 – Make it about the audience
    Tip #2 – Get involved in social media.

    Two tip #2’s 

    • http://twitter.com/StuMcLaren Stu McLaren

       We’re on it… thanks Matt!

  • BMoore

    Love the blog.

  • http://www.philippknoll.com/ Philipp Knoll

    Michael, I loved the video and didn’t expect anything less from you. You can find a longer comment at the University page.

    I was about to tweet about the PU and share the video but want it to be as effective as possible. Therefore, have you chosen an official hashtag for the PU to use on twitter? It would be great to follow the discussion that way.


    • Megan Hyatt Miller

      Philipp, thanks for your enthusiasm and encouragement. We are using #platformu as our PU hashtag. We look forward to having you as a part of our conversation!

      • http://www.philippknoll.com/ Philipp Knoll

        Thanks, Megan! I’m happy to spread the word. PU already looks fantastic and will be a valuable resource. You and the rest of the team did a great job.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Philipp!

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    This video series and companion workbook is an outstanding, high-value informational offering! I know individuals who would charge north of $299 for this content, yet in true Michael-Hyatt-fashion it’s being given away for FREE -unbelievable!!! Michael, thanks for setting the pace for those of us who seek to follow in your steps!

    • Megan Hyatt Miller

      Tor, thanks for your kind words. We sincerely hope this content encourages and inspires our audience as they work toward building their platforms in 2013. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Tor. I so appreciate your enthusiasm and affirmation. Very encouraging!

  • http://twitter.com/jamesdalman jamesdalman


    First, I love your book and highly recommend it to anyone who has not read it. 

    Second, I also appreciate the opportunity to serve you and work with you on the design of Platform University. It’s a great honor and I cannot wait until we launch. Stu McLaren is amazing and I know that this venture will be awesome and successful.

    Thank you for the mention and I look forward to meeting you in person soon!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You’re welcome. I look forward to meeting as well!

  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

    Bravo! I will comment over there later but, as usual, this is awesome. You continue to inspire and point the way.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Skip. I appreciate your continued encouragement!

  • SHusk

    Thank you for this first video. You are encouraging to newcomers.  I am working on building a following/connection on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn.  Please keep giving us tips and tricks and paying it forward to new authors as you are. Blessings.

    • Megan Hyatt Miller

      You can count on it! That’s what Platform University is all about. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Like Megan said, that’s what Platform University is all about. Thanks!

  • Alex

    Thanks for this resource!

    I just wanted to point out that the HTML title tag has tags inside it (including a br and span tag)… I’m guessing that wasn’t intentional; the site is probably getting the content for the title from the same place where the HTML is for the h1 header in the body.

  • Baldwin

    Thanks so much for making this series.
    Just like your platform book, it is enormously valuable. Your book really helped my take my platform to a higher level.
    As you mentioned you were interested in hearing about what we are doing to build out platforms, I thought I’d share what I am up to.

    The platform I am currently building is http://www.bd-insider.com “great ideas for business development”. It is a place for business developers in the services industry. It aims to help these people excel in a increasingly connected and global world.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. I’m glad it was helpful.

  • lhoenigsberg

    Hi Michael.  Although I became a psychotherapist (dream #1) I always knew I have a message that can help thousands (dream #2).  “Seeing” them one at a time in sessions is not going to make that happen…so I started a “memoir” blog and and then read your book, Platform.  It’s fantastic!  I have followed your blog ever since.  I’m going to “attend” a course on podcasting from your friend, the Podcast Answer Man.  I am also going to be attending SCORRE and Launch Conferences as soon as possible, and am also attending the Mt. Hermon Writers Conference in March.  You make this so exciting, and I am so happy you are out there sharing your wealth of knowledge.  Thank you Michael…so grateful.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. I look forward to meeting you. You can’t do better on podcasting that Cliff Ravenscraft!

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Have you read my book, Platform? I talk about this in the last section of the book.

  • Linda Aalderink

    Thank you for all the great information. I have learned so much following you and reading your book. The timing was perfect for me because my first book was released October 12. My platform is reaching families/friends of children with Down syndrome. My book is Immeasurably More, More Hope, More Joy, Embracing Life with Down Syndrome. Thanks for being my on-line coach!

  • Lynn Morrissey

    Mr. Hyatt, what an encourager you are, and overflowing with practical wisdom to boot. I wrote a book for a major Christian publishing house eight years ago, but it was published at an awkward juncture, when some of the transitions of which you speak had sprung onto the writing-industry scene, seemingly overnight. Platform then was basically accepting interviews, doing booksignings, and public speaking. It was a miracle that this major house published me, considering that my platform was  fairly small. In the end, the book was not well-marketed, and unfortunately,  social media and blogging had not yet blossomed, so it was difficult for me to promote it on my own. The book basically died (though it is still in print). Coincidentally, the publishing house was bought out by a  larger house right about that time, and God concurrently led me to put down my pen (a very painful ordeal for me to obey). But recently, I have sensed His prompting to pick it up again, and your video (I just watched # 1 so far), has given me great inspiration and instruction. You are lighting a flame, Mr. Hyatt, and I want you to know how grateful I am. You make me believe anything is possible, even though I’ve not written formally for a number of years. I wish you godspeed as you continue to build a platform from where Christ is glorified and upon which other authors can build! Your platform is being lifted high, in the name of Jesus, because it’s built on Him,  the solid Rock. God bless and thank you! I wish you all the best and a Happy 2013.
    Lynn D. Morrissey

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Lynn. This makes me very happy!

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Thank you! I’ll cont. to follow your blog and recommend it!

  • Lynn Morrissey

    P.S. I also love your Life Plan workbook. You are amazing to offer all this life-changing information gratis. I can’t thank you enough for your generosity!

  • Russ Stalters

    Great video Michael. I started my platform back in early 2006 and was getting very successful until I had to put everything on hold in May of 2010. I am now ready to restart my platform and leverage what you learned to make my re-entry more effective.

    I write about managing information and the challenges or translating data and informatio into knowledge and insight. You can take a look at: http://www.betterecm.wordpress.com.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I look forward to meeting you in person one day.

  • Alex Close

    Michael, thank you for all you have provided. I am always inspired and challenged when I read your material or listen to a podcast. I truly feel as if I am getting personal one on one coaching when I interact with your resources. Thanks for sowing your experiences into so many. Best regards to you and your team!

  • Kyle Witt

    Michael, if I could only keep one person on Twitter and read one Blog it would be yours. Reading, watching, and listening to you is like sitting down with a Wise Old Friend. I always look forward to your next post. God bless you and the awesome work that you do.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Kyle. Very kind of you to say so.

  • http://covenantoflove.net/ Derek Ouellette

    Michael, you’ve been such an inspiration for me. Your book, Platform, has given me so much direction and recently I purchased Standard Theme, which is one of the best moves I made since I started blogging.

    Keep up the good work!

    • http://covenantoflove.net/ Derek Ouellette

      P.S., I can’t wait for your GetNoticed theme!

  • http://twitter.com/jmicoaching John Murphy

    Thanks. Michael. I am looking to build my platform as an executive coach and I would appreciate any hints

  • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

    I’m so grateful for all the time and energy you put into this information. Thanks for helping us grow!

  • Aura Mitea

    This is great. Thanks so much. I just started  my platform, Joy Acoustics, and your advice is very helpful.
    I am trying to build a joy platform – presenting the little things that make me happy every day so that others will be inspired and will stay focused on the positive side and  on the great things life has to offer.

  • http://twitter.com/swoodruff Steve Woodruff

    Finding your blogging voice by just doing it – this is tremendous advice. It’s taken my over 6 years to finally feel like I’ve gotten there – and it’s only by getting out there and trying stuff. And it’s been fun watching you develop over the years, Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Steve. I wish it were easier!

  • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

    I really enjoyed your video. You have a knack for making things accessible. 

    My niche is really soul care (spiritual formation, growth, vocation, discernment) for those who create and communicate. I’ve been blogging since 2006 but after getting my Masters Degree at seminary in Spiritual Formation I found my voice. (my undergraduate is a BFA, so I have a heart for creators/artists/modern prophets, both visual and vocal). Things have improved since 2009 when I started my wordpress blog and started better using twitter and FB to build an audience and connecting with others (writers/thinkers/ministers) …but I have yet to hit a noticeable inflection point. 

    You gave me some courage to hang in there.

    Now I’m getting a 2nd Masters Degree in Christian Leadership that has a heavy spiritual formation focus and foundation (lots of classes over lap with ones I’ve already taken)…so I see a shift happening with my platform to include leadership development….not the typical kind, but more in the Henri Nouwen vein, servant-leadership underscored by qualities of Christlikeness.

    Here’s the kicker…I’m the least prepared to do well by this more now than ever. I find myself drawn into a spiritual obscure period. A “dark night of the soul”. (Which, until recently in Protestantism, many have thought of as a problem of bad thing.) So, now I have to decide how and when this should be a part of my platform.

    Looking forward to learning more at PU. Thank you for the excellence, Michael. It’s a blessing.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Lisa. I am really interested in soul care and spiritual formation too. I look forward to seeing how you work all this out in the context of a platform!

  • Kathy Kuhl

    The video’s tone is just right: engaging, natural, clear, earnest. I’m eager for more. But I wonder how a platform can motivate people to do hard things. Helping parents help kids with learning challenges is my passion, http://learndifferently.com/ Many discouraged kids and exhausted parents cannot find the right school setting, and they don’t know homeschooling can work, and even reduce their stress. It’s not easy, and many people would rather climb Everest than homeschool these special kids. But for some of kids and families, it’s a life saver. How do can I grow my platform to reach those few “mountain climbers,” encourage those already on the trail, and maybe help a few day-hikers on the way? Kathy Kuhl

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Kathy. I appreciate your kind comments.

      With this kind of audience, be 100% transparent. The main thing they need to know is that they are not alone. If you can create a safe space for people to share their real struggles (with a little encouragement and a few victories), they will flock to you.

  • http://TheTouchMarketing.com Kathy Hogeveen

    Thank you so much for your consistency in sending the same message.  

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  • http://www.lincolnparks.com/ Lincoln Parks

    Can’t wait to follow your Lead and complete the building of my platform. It just goes to show that with everything we need a Team in order to pull off any project. Its never about the platform builder, but about the team that surrounds you. 

  • http://twitter.com/BryanPettet Bryan Pettet

    I’m very excited about your new project and the timing is spot on for me.  Your previous writings inspired me to start a blog (I’m a Christian coach, missionary, etc) and this is the end of the first week of posting.  I’ve had almost 100 visitors so far but there is much to be done to improve it.  I look forward to your new work on Platforms.  If I would ever have the chance to get some feedback from you I would love it!  

  • http://twitter.com/CarlonLScott Carlon L Scott

    Now I know why the GetNoticed! WordPress theme isn’t ready yet! Which actually gave me time to build my content, “tool shed” and structure. Awesome videos! Thanks again!

  • melanie withey


  • http://www.spencermcdonald.net/ Spencer McDonald

    I look forward to seeing what you have to offer in your Platform University. Thanks Michael.

  • Mark

    Michael who do you use to do your auto-responding  specifically with attachments pdf /ebook automatic delivery of other  e-products both  pay and or free products       ( aweber, mailchip,? ) any suggestions  – Mark Goodrich at   mcgoodrich@verizon.net

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      We don’t use attachments. Instead, we direct them to a download link. Unfortunately, I had my developer set it up, so I can’t give you more detail. Thanks.

  • Diana Pope

    Thank you for sharing your passion. I will definitely share this video with others. I appreciate the tips and the honesty in what you shared, and especially the encouragement to practice, not give up, and keep experimenting.  I have found a love for writing and journaling and sharing with those who are interested … but haven’t yet ventured into a blogging platform. You have inspired me to think about possibilities and I’m excited to see what happens :-)

  • Loren Bruce

    Great video!  Very powerful presentation.

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  • http://sevensentences.com/ Geoff Talbot

    Oh this is really cool. Thanks for putting this together… I am sure this will help a lot of people. Is it primarily going to be a video series or will there be an “online learning” component?

    That would be cool.Congrats for thinking outside the square…Best
    Seven Sentences

  • Wkroeplin

    Hi Michael,
    The video was wonderful and encouraging.  It inspired me to keep pressing on…thank’s for that!
    Side note: The video quality is so high, it’s difficult to stream.  Both my high-speed Internet and my 4G have trouble. 
    Can you reduce the file size just a bit?  
    thanks for all you do!

    • jayabharath

      You can always click on the Youtube icon and watch at youtube. I believe that should enable you to get a option at youtube to select other bitstreams. (More http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=91449) ps: I dont know if these options actually showup on your mobile device – but worth a try.

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