This blog series, posted in partnership between HYPE and reSET, offers a platform to showcase the commitment that Hartford entrepreneurs have for their work and this city. It examines how entrepreneurs have chosen their work, and provides examples of the ways in which they are having an impact in Hartford. In this edition, we interviewed Matt Thieleman of Golden Bristle.


1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

I was born in Detroit, MI and bounced around a bit before landing in Hartford. The first 9 years of my career were spent helping businesses and organizations to communicate like humans in their marketing, with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies and world-renowned universities to single-owner small businesses.

I founded Golden Bristle in 2015 to help leaders and teams unleash their awesome on the world. The idea was driven by seeing how quickly technology has taken over our lives, and through witnessing people around me stressed and unhappy despite profound abundance. Suddenly, marketing wasn’t fulfilling and I needed to do more. Regarding my services, I offer practical ways for people to incorporate mindfulness into life, to help them do their best work and live their best lives. That includes speaking, writing, consulting and individual coaching. It’s a pretty fun job.

And if anyone is interested in mindfulness but not quite sure what it’s about, I love to talk about it.


2. Why did you decide to be based in Hartford?

I met a girl. I started Golden Bristle while living in Nashville, and just a few months after launch, I started a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend. After a year it was clear that she wasn’t moving to Nashville, so I quit my job and headed up to Connecticut to work on Golden Bristle full-time. So far, so good.


3. How do you think your work has impacted the community and vice versa?

My work involves offering people tools to help them be closer to themselves (little-known secret). So the greatest impact is when I hear someone tell me they see things in a new way after a workshop, that working with me is just what they needed that day, or that they’re now more focused on something like self-care. I know their life was changed, hopefully in a lasting way.

That’s also the greatest reward for me — to know that someone is going to begin a practice after working with me. Because I know the profound impact it will have on their lives in the long-term. I’m here to help people do their best work. That’s all I want.


4. What words of wisdom would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who may be hesitant to take the plunge into entrepreneurship?

I‘m coming from the angle of a service provider, though I think some of these thoughts will appeal to tech startups as well. Most aspiring entrepreneurs are closer to having something to sell than they think. You don’t need a website or business cards to have a business, you just need one customer. Spend less time planning the perfect product or service before asking people if they’d buy it. Go see what sells first. That means you also don’t have to quit your job when you launch (and probably shouldn’t). Finally, small steps of progress every day are the key to success. 


5. What’s it like being an entrepreneur in Hartford?  What are the benefits, but also what are the difficulties and challenges?

I’m excited to be in the city. It’s small enough that I feel like I’m getting in on the ground floor, with a lot of cool things happening. I saw Nashville become a boomtown and I want the same for Hartford.

I purposely sought out reSET when I moved here because of the mission and community they’ve built. It’s important for me to be a part of something larger and to be around people making things happen. Of course, on the minds of many people are the city’s financial issues. But I was born in Detroit, Michigan, so I’ve seen a city face hardships. I’m not scared off and I don’t think others are either. If anything, it’s room for more opportunity to make positive change.


6. What’s your vision for your business and personal development over the next five years?

I’m thinking a lot about what leadership looks like in the next 5 or 10 years. The world is changing more quickly than many of us appreciate and I think businesses will need the right types of leaders to be successful. For me, that means continuing to refine my framework for mindful leadership and ensuring the programs I provide for clients are extremely valuable. I’m working with more individual clients, coaching them to incorporate mindfulness into their lives and do great work. Two new channels for me in the coming years will be books and online courses.

My future focus on the personal side is on living intentionally: Doing what I’m meant to do, growing as a person so I can make more impact and prioritizing the things that matter most to me. My goals are centered around the number of people I reach through my work and spending meaningful time with loved ones.


7. Is there anything else that you’d like to share with the reSET and HYPE communities? 

I produce a nice email newsletter that’s sent out twice a month. It really is my best work and my goal is to make it valuable for people. It would mean the world to me if those of you reading this sign up here and check it out (and if you hate it, just unsubscribe). 


The following are links for Golden Bristle online:

reSET COVID-19 Update: reSET is open for Coworking, but our staff is working remotely, accessible via email or phone. All events have been cancelled through April 30. Impact Accelerator, Food Incubator, and Student Incubators have moved to a virtual learning environment. More detailed information on reSET’s COVID-19 policies and resources for small businesses here.