Michael Bartlett is an accomplished leader with expertise in finding creative solutions to complex problems. Increasing User Generated Content and qualified data capture for Brands are complex problems, but that’s just the start.
His current mission at MyTime is to become the world’s most recognized and trusted social competition platform. MyTime offer brands growth without the growing pains, strategy without the rules, and a destination for consumer collaboration where ideas come to life and imaginations run free.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Michael Bartlett: I have spent the past 16 years in leadership roles and from those experiences and learnings I have a very real passion to provide space for people to succeed in. When I was in the high volume print industry it was about providing employees a safe space to explore, improve and push process boundaries to find productivity increases. Whilst I was a business consultant it was about providing business owners the opportunity to explore different ways to be financially stable without having to do all the work themselves. And during my time in the world of watches of both volume and luxury, it was about providing the space for employees to push the boundaries of technology to improve the service we provided to our customers. The best results always come from employees, not the leaders.
My current project is to provide a space for brands and consumers globally to come closer together in creativity. This involves creating a platform where Brands can seek User Generated Content to further their reach whilst providing the consumer an opportunity to be creative, famous, and win some really cool stuff. User-Generated Content is going to make some significant inroads due to its authenticity over the next few years and I want to be a part of that.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your viewpoint, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Michael Bartlett: That’s a super complex question with so many layers. I feel that we all have thoughts, at every stage in life where we see opportunities to make things better or that can be done differently to improve life. So I believe we all have that nature to seek improvement, which is a good characteristic of an entrepreneur, However, it’s what we do with those thoughts that define if we lead an entrepreneurial life. Are we prepared to be vulnerable to take the opportunity we see? Are we prepared to seek the advice, do the research and do the hours to be a success story?
So in my mind, we are all born with at least one characteristic of an Entrepreneur, the question is what can we do to make it happen.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Michael Bartlett: I love this question, as describing yourself can be quite a challenge. I would say I am a visionary who can always see the next move. I am someone who loves to constantly improve himself on every level in every aspect of life. I may regularly fail, but I also have some good successes. I am someone who seeks to find creative solutions to complex problems. Even problems that people don’t see yet. User-Generated Content in one of them.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Michael Bartlett: We’re working with an exciting new competition platform being developed. It’s a free place where brands can create competitions and offer prizes to retrieve an unlimited amount of user-generated content. Think of it as being in the driver’s seat of going viral as each entrant shares your branded posts to their individual audiences.
Running competitions via MyTime consolidates all your social media outreach, campaigns, brand partnerships, and market insights into one hub as it completely cuts out the middleman.
Like the Airbnb model, where the platform is the world’s largest accommodation provider but owns no real estate, MyTime is essentially a platform that offers brands free data, content, and mass exposure that are purely driven by the creativity of the incentivized user. It broadens your reach to an audience that’s eager to engage and not as immediately accessible via traditional social media channels.
And this platform has changed more times than I can count. The number of ideations over the last 9 years is ridiculous and they have all come about due to changes in the market. Our overarching mission is to provide a space for success for brands and consumers with User Generated Content where imaginations can run free. And that’s a complex problem with exceptional evolution of technology, changes in consumers habits, privacy laws and not to mention global warming and pandemics,
At each stage, we have analyzed what’s happening and looked to find the simplest way to provide this space. And what we have today will never be finished. It will continue to evolve and that’s the beauty of it. What we have today is a platform ready for change.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Michael Bartlett: That’s a simple one for me. Every entrepreneur must assume that everyone else in the space you are entering is smarter, faster, stronger, and works whilst you sleep. So if you want to succeed, regardless of what that looks like, you need to constantly surround yourself with people who are those things to ensure you succeed.
The other thing to assume is that User Generated Content from your followers shouldn’t be overlooked. These people already love your business, so who is better to promote your business than your own followers?
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Michael Bartlett: 100% I did, I assumed things would happen quickly. Maybe I am impatient, maybe I am still learning but it’s probably a combination.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain.
Michael Bartlett: Get out of your comfort zone as quickly as you can, plain and simple if you say it quickly. Whilst earlier I said that a key to success is to surround yourself with good advice, as an entrepreneur you a required by default to do a lot of things you aren’t necessarily comfortable with. And the quicker you dive in, learn and get it down the quicker you get out the other side. Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens. It’s where you grow as a person, as a leader, and where your business has the best opportunity to succeed.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Michael Bartlett: This answer is never-ending and what’s not great advice for me is great advice for others. But the worst advice I have received is to wait until you are 100% ready, make it perfect to ensure you don’t lose any customers.
That’s just rubbish because if you look at history, the world and the people on it are always changing so your solution is never 100% correct. And once I realized that you just need a solution to be “good enough to go” and I prepared myself and Team to be ready to react to changes in the market, life was so much easier.
I once read that the speed of change has never been so fast, yet it will never be this slow again. So how on earth will anything be 100% correct and ready to go? Get your product, make it easy to use and then build it in a way that’s ready for any change in the market.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Michael Bartlett: COVID 19 has provided everyone on the planet challenges and with that change has come, mostly for the good. How has COVID 19 changed our assumptions about starting a business? I don’t think it has at all. I am sure there are some granular things that have changed, but as an overarching though it hasn’t. What I think I think it has done is highlight what was already there.
You must make the assumption that starting a business is hard, expensive, risky, exciting, fun, full of learning, and overall life-changing. What COVID19 has done is highlight those even more.
And what hasn’t changed? Change is certain when starting a business.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Michael Bartlett: A common myth I see and hear about is people feel that being an entrepreneur is a road to fame and freedom. And honestly it is so far from the truth is crazy. To lead the entrepreneurial life and lead a business you need an idea, the drive to research to give yourself the best chance of success, the ability to influence people to educate you or compliment your weakness, and to top it off you are required to be better than everyone else. No one can do any of that for you, that’s all on you. So prepare yourself and your loved ones for the ride ahead or you are setting yourself up for failure.
Ultimately, the only way to achieve the myth, you not only have to be excessively successful, but you also have to let your business, your baby go and allow someone else to run it. That in itself is a challenge that many can’t do and therefore they never obtain the freedom that sought on day one.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Michael Bartlett: I think to answer this well we must start with the assumption. I believe you need to assume that you will fail. That you will make mistakes, bad calls, misinformed decisions, and in some cases look silly. And from this come the traits and qualities I believe you require to succeed, ultimately it is only one. Regardless of what happens, success or failure use it as an opportunity to learn.
Every failure creates a space to learn and make yourself, your employees, and your business better, so in reality, you don’t fail, you have just taken a different path. I suggest you make it safe for yourself and others to fail and you will see some great success. And if you treat all positive outcomes in the business the same, an opportunity to learn then everything will fall into place.
You can’t be expected to know everything and be perfect, if you were it would be boring!
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Michael Bartlett: Leadership is something that many aspire to but very few truly obtain, and when those few do, it is fleeting for the majority of the few. So when I think about future challenges and how to prepare for them I would say look back into history and learn from those that didn’t change. The topic isn’t really relevant as if you look back on from the great empires of the past to modern sports teams or businesses leaders and actual businesses themselves.
Those that don’t change quickly, don’t adapt, and don’t constantly improve eventually get surpassed. Choose the topic you love and learn from those that failed and don’t make those mistakes. Sounds simple right?
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Michael Bartlett: I would be a citizen of the globe and travel as much as possible. And that’s not to the Tower of London or to the great city of New York. It would be too hard to get to places where I can immerse myself in local communities. Taste the food, listen to the music, experience the culture, learn the history….. and maybe get a few waves in on the side.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Michael Bartlett: I would add a completely smooth and flat area, empty. This is to allow everyone who views Mount Rushmore the space to imagine themselves alongside these significantly influential leaders. Regardless of age, race, gender, or socio-economic background, we can all succeed and be influential, so let’s inspire them!
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Michael Bartlett for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Michael Bartlett or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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