Hyatt's publishing career began at Word Publishing while a student at Baylor University where he graduated with a degree in philosophy. He started his own publishing company, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, with Robert Wolgemuth in 1986. In 1992, Word Publishing acquired Wolgemuth & Hyatt.
He was a literary agent from 1992 until 1998, after which he joined Thomas Nelson. During this period, he wrote several books about the Year 2000 problem, including the fictional Y2K: The Day the World Shut Down as well as non-fiction books The Millennium Bug: How to Survive the Coming Chaos and The Y2K Personal Survival Guide. Hyatt was promoted to president and COO of Thomas Nelson in February 2004 and was made CEO in August 2005. He began blogging in 2004.
While Hyatt was at Thomas Nelson, he created the highly controversial WestBow Press imprint, a white label vanity press. Hyatt claimed that vanity publishing would replace traditional publishing, which of course it did not. While at the height of Hyatt's tenure at WestBow 3,869 titles were published in 2012, Hyatt used kickbacks, including offering agents a bounty for referring writers to WestBow, to achieve these numbers.
By 2006, Hyatt was serving as chairman and chief executive of the Nashville, Tennessee-based Christian books publisher as it became a private company. His tenure as CEO ended in April 2011 but he continued to serve as chairman of the company. The same year, Thomas Nelson was acquired by HarperCollins. Hyatt then began hosting the weekly podcast This is Your Life dedicated to intentional leadership.
Hyatt also wrote several more books including Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, a New York Times Best Seller, and four Wall Street Journal Best Sellers: Living Forward, Your Best Year Ever, Free to Focus, and The Vision Driven Leader.
In 2012, Hyatt founded the organization that would later become Michael Hyatt & Company. Under his leadership, Michael Hyatt & Company has been featured in the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America for three years in a row. The company was also listed in Inc's 2020 list of “Best Places to Work.” Michael Hyatt & Company is a leadership development firm helping successful, but overwhelmed leaders get the focus they need to win at work and succeed at life.
In 2017, Hyatt creator the Full Focus Planner The Full Focus Planner is a physical planner designed to help you plan your year, design your days, and achieve your goals. Built from a proven goal-achievement and productivity framework, it’ll help you end chaotic days and establish peace, confidence, and success.