In his talk at Hong Kong’s Jumpstarter conference, DJ by day, angel investor by night Mick Batyske argued the case that creativity is not only beneficial but crucial to business success.
If you think a DJ can’t be an angel investor, think again. Harvard-graduate Mick Batyske breaks all the rules when it comes to making it big in your career – and he’s doing it with style. “Entrepreneurs are the link between the creative mind and the business mind,” he explains of his own success. An angel investor, social entrepreneur, brand consultant and professional speaker, his investment portfolio includes media studio Dot Dot Dash (which he co-owns), travel recommendation platform Localeur, podcast hosting app Anchor, customised wine subscription Winc, professional grooming essentials retailer Barber Surgeons Guild and customised paint supplier Backdrop. Mick has worked with Adidas, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Coach, Kayne West and Ralph Lauren as a digital influencer and spoken at Twitter, NYU and the Fashion Institute of Technology about cultivating innovation through creativity. Read his tips on how to turn your creativity an invaluable asset.
Get creative to pivot with the market
If there’s one eternal question on entrepreneurs’ minds, it’s whether they’re creating a product that people actually want. All too often, founders fall in love with their product without necessarily meeting consumer needs.
Here’s where creativity comes into play. “We create new products for existing services, and we create new services for existing products,” explains Mick. Taking YouTube as an example, he refers back to its origins as a dating app. “When they realised what people were using it for, they creatively repositioned it to be the YoutTube we know today.”
Creativity gives founders the space to pivot. More often than not, your initial concept isn’t going to take off the way you want it to. Being a successful entrepreneur is about recognising that gap and being able to creatively adapt to meet the market’s needs.
Harness creativity to appeal to a wider audience
When it comes to marketing your brand, not all of your consumers are going to like the same thing. “How do you appeal to the most amount of people at the same time?” asks Mick. “Honestly, the secret is, by combining different disciplines.”
Creativity teaches us to draw original connections: “Your favourite products didn’t just come from one idea,” he explains. “They came from taking the best of this, the best of that, and putting it all together.” Just as DJ-ing creatively combines and overlays genres to appeal to different demographics, entrepreneurship, too, can integrate separate disciplines to cater to entirely different audiences – completely different ages, races, genders – and broaden their reach.
Think outside the box to find loopholes
“A creative entrepreneur adheres to the rules
and principles only when they add value.”
Let’s face it. When you’re pioneering a brand new field, the rules aren’t always on your side. If you look at Uber, almost every legal restriction in the world was against them when they first launched, but their whole model was to keep doing everything until they got shut down.
“A creative entrepreneur adheres to the rules and principles only when they add value,” he explains. “We disrupt. We change the game. We hack things. And you have to take those risks and opportunities, and you have to look at those creative loopholes in order to really change the game for what it is that you do.”
Use your imagination to build a strong personal brand
When it comes to growing your company, how people perceive you is just as important as how they perceive your business. That’s where creating a strong personal brand strategy comes in.
“People are going to be looking to you, the founders, for inspiration on how well the company will grow internally with its employees and outwardly with its audience,” Mick relates. “And a strong personal brand can help your company establish credibility.”
In order to grow your opportunities, you should be putting your future career aspirations out there as well as your past accomplishments. Your personal brand should represent where your career is going.
Equally, as you grow your personal brand, your needs and goals will evolve as well. “Your company is going to change. Your industry is going to change. The world is going to change. And you need to not only grow your personal brand, but pivot your personal brand just as your company will pivot.”
Delve deep into your creativity to bring about the magic
“Entrepreneurship is a life you create.
But everything else is a job someone can take away.”
In today’s world, having a fantastic product isn’t enough. If you want your business to succeed, if you want people to sit up and take notice of you, you have to give them more.
“People want stories. People want magic. People want amazingness. People want to be awed,” Mick explains. Comparing Steve Jobs to Michael Dell, he breaks down how the two entrepreneurs, both hugely successful in their fields, differ in legacy because “Steve Jobs created the magic around the company. And he created the magic around his personal brand to facilitate that.”
“Entrepreneurship is a life you create. But everything else is a job someone can take away.”
For more coverage of Hong Kong’s Jumpstarter conference click here.