With so many resources available to help our businesses, it can be difficult to find one that provides a great value at a good price. Thankfully for me, I have found such a resource in Platform University by Michael Hyatt.
Now, I don’t expect that all of you are going to jump into Platform University - that is not my intention at all. Frankly, Platform University isn't really designed for many of my readers as it is a resource for those building online businesses, which is something I am doing with this site and my business.
The reason I am writing this article is that I wanted to take this opportunity to dissect the inner workings of this membership site and break down why it has been so valuable for me. My hope is that you will be able to take away several business hacks (summarized at the end of the article) that Michael Hyatt has used in Platform University and be able to apply them to your own business.
Discovering Michael Hyatt
I first discovered Michael Hyatt when I literally stumbled upon Michael’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. I was in Manhattan, Kansas for a week on business and was working on my first e-book in the evenings. Needing a break, I stopped at the nearest bookstore where I was randomly drawn to his book which was sitting face-out in the business section. I sat down and read it cover to cover - something I never do - and found it to be exactly what I was looking for. It provided me with a business model to launch the business I was creating.
But I wanted more.
A few months later I was at a local networking event and was exchanging favorite podcasts with another attendee. He shared with me one of his favorites: This is Your Life by Michael Hyatt. At first it didn’t register that I was familiar with Michael, but I soon put two and two together and realized that he was the same person whose book I had read in Kansas. So I began to listen to his Podcast and soaked up every bit of it.
But I still wanted more.
What I Was Looking For
While Michael’s book and podcast were amazing tools to assist me in building my online business, these tools were missing something. It wasn’t that the content was bad - in fact, it was fantastic. I just felt that the book and podcast were more foundational in nature, like an introduction course, or an appetizer. While I wasn’t sure what it would look like, I wanted to go to the next level.
Now I know that Platform University (PU) may not seem to be for every business owner as the focus is on building an online platform, but I truly believe that all businesses can benefit from understanding the inner workings of PU.
In fact, there are three reasons I love Platform University which I believe could benefit any business:
The first benefit I found in Platform University is the amazing community of members. As everyone in the community is working to build their own platform, the group understands where you are at and where you are coming from. They provide support. Encouragement. Even collaboration.
The community is cultivated and accomplished through the Platform University Forums - one of the four key elements of PU. Even though each member is building a platform in a different industry or different part of the world, every member is working to build a business. And because of this, there is a camaraderie - almost a family dynamic - that has been created between the members.
In essence, the value of the community can be broken down into three different benefits:
One of the first things a new member does when entering Platform University is to introduce themselves in the forums. When a new member does this, there is almost always a similar reaction - the existing members quickly chime in and welcome that person to the community. For example, I welcomed someone new just a few days ago and that thread now has seventeen comments, all from a five sentence introduction.
While Michael is consistently providing amazing content relevant to PU members, some of the best business advice actually comes directly from the community. With over 6,000 members, there are platform builders from all walks and stages of life. In fact, the forums are laid out in a way that caters to giving and offering business advice for other members. Forums such as the “tools and resources”, “help wanted (and offered)”, and “general platform discussion” all provide members opportunities to discuss many of the micro-aspects of the businesses.
Platform University isn’t just about getting encouragement or business advice and then being stuck to figure it out on our own. I have found that Platform University is a community that wants to collaborate. They want to help and they want you to succeed. I have seen many members assist others in many different ways such as proofreading, completing surveys, and introducing others to their connections. In fact, I have joined two different mastermind groups because of Platform University. PU really does offer many different opportunities to collaborate.
Let’s face it - if we aren’t motivated to do something, it isn’t going to get done. So for me, I don’t want to spend my time somewhere that isn’t going to motivate me to keep moving forward. At first, I didn’t think I was going to find accountability in PU as it really is up to me how much I participate. But I quickly learned that Platform University has provided me accountability in growing my platform in a number of ways.
Skin In The Game
First, I have skin in the game. While I loved reading Michael's book and have listened to most of his podcast episodes, I really haven’t committed to those resources. For me, this is also true with much of the free content I consume on the internet - I find that even if the resource is great, I rarely take action unless I have committed to the content on some level. (I even wrote a post about this several months ago - Premium Content: Why I Pay For It.) Since I pay a modest monthly fee to be a member, this alone motivates me to make sure I get my money’s worth. And since this is a monthly fee rather than an annual fee, I am motivated more frequently than if I had just paid all at once.
The second reason I feel a sense of accountability is due to the design of Platform University. At first, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to consume all of the content in this membership site. Fortunately, I quickly learned that Michael has strategically worked to make his content very digestible. To do this, he releases a major piece of content once a week. This means that instead of getting everything all at once, I am receiving the information on a regular, manageable frequency. And since I receive this information regularly, I am feeling a sense of accountability once a week.
Pioneers & Leaders to Follow
I also find accountability from other PU members and guests who are further along in their journeys. Michael does a fantastic job of having his accomplished guests explain how they got to where they are today so that new platform builders can easily relate. Just by watching others continue to grow their platform, a sense of accountability is naturally created so that a member is not be left behind.
One of my favorite aspects of Platform University is that I get to watch the strategy Michael uses to run his business. As I have followed Michael for a number of years (even getting to meet him at a SCORRE conference), I have learned to appreciate how he applies strategy to every aspect of his business. He really is intentional in everything that he does, and he shares much of this in the content on Platform University. In addition to what he shares directly, I have also indirectly learned so much about his business strategy just by absorbing the PU content on a regular basis.
Ease of Use
First and foremost, Michael has been strategic to ensure that Platform University is easy to use. And it is. New members can quickly figure out how to make the most of their membership by following four simple steps on the “Start Here” page. As I mentioned before, Michael has strategically ensured that his content isn’t overwhelming by releasing his content on a weekly basis - a frequency that is very manageable. Michael has also provided a very user-friendly website that can be easily accessed by a PC, tablet, or mobile device.
Extremely Relevant Content
In addition to finding the membership site easy to use, I have found that Michael has strategically worked to ensure that all of the information he provides is relevant to his community. It has been fascinating to watch how Michael will rotate topics such as marketing, social media, or even business strategy month over month without focusing too much on one particular area but also stretching members to look at various areas of their business that they may not otherwise think about.
One of the most intriguing things about Platform University has been to watch how Michael systematizes his business processes. I despise reinventing the wheel, so I am always looking for ways to be more efficient. To me, Michael has mastered this. I have been able to learn a lot about Michael's systems and strategy both directly from his content but also indirectly by observing how he runs his membership site.
When I first started writing this post, I had no intention of making this look like a sales page for Michael Hyatt’s membership site. That isn’t my intention at all. In fact I know that many of my readers won’t directly need this type of membership site - one focused on building an online platform - because many of my readers are small business owners who operate a physical store.
Yet, in completing this article, I am reflecting on how much value I have gained through Platform University. Therefore, my goal of this article is to share with you why I love Platform University so that you may be able to look for these benefits in your own businesses.
That said, here are a few take-aways I hope you will consider:
- Community. Find a community to support you. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely job if you try to do it on your own. A good community will encourage you, offer sound business advice, and will even collaborate with you. Once you find this, you will no longer feel like you are on an island by yourself and your work will become much more enjoyable.
- Accountability. Find a way to be accountable to yourself and your business. In business, we often end up focusing on the urgent instead of the important. Yet, the important tasks are those that are going to provide the greatest results. So as you begin to develop accountability, consider investing in something that will drive you to accomplish the important things in your business - get some skin in the game. Also, consider establishing your accountability on a weekly basis (as more frequent than this can be overwhelming and less frequent may not produce the needed results). Finally, work to find others who are also going down the same path as you so that you can find accountability with some peers.
- Strategy. Consider ways that you can be more strategic in your business. One of the best things you can do is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ensure that your value proposition - whether it is a service, software, or just your sales process - is easy to use. In addition, evaluate how relevant your products or services are for your customers and consider if there are any needs that you are not fulfilling. Finally, consider ways you can systematize your business for increased efficiencies as time is money for any business owner.