Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in career development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Mike Clayton, Founder and CEO of OnlinePMCourses, located in Winchester, UK.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business has many components, but let's focus on the main one: OnlinePMCourses. The website,, sells courses and other learning resources for Project Managers. My main customers are early to mid-career Project Managers. Starting with want-to-be PMs and going all the way to fairly experienced PMs. When I started in 2016, my main effort went into building courses and marketing infrastructure. My Youtube channel was simply a marketing asset. Since late 2019, I have flipped my business model to YouTube first. Now, the website is a monetization route for my YouTube channel!

Tell us about yourself

I worked as a Project Management consultant throughout the 1990s for the London office of what is now Deloitte. In 2002, I left and set up my own training business, adding conference speaking into the mix in 2006 and then starting my writing career at the end of 2008. I wrote 14 print books for international publishers, but in 2014, I also started putting some of my live training content into video format for my own site and platforms like Udemy. In 2016, I decided to focus on my core expertise: Project Management.

What motivates me is communicating and teaching the ideas managers, leaders, and other business professionals need, to perform well, and excel in the workplace. I am, first and foremost, a communicator.

Do you have daily rituals for work / wellness / fitness / mindfulness?

Weekly – last working task on Friday, I plan out my forthcoming week using an OATS planning method (see my book ‘How to Manage Your Time’ – 2nd Edition of ‘Brilliant Time Management’). That is, I think about the outcomes I want for the coming week, and then I determine what activities I need to carry out to achieve them. I estimate the time each activity will take, and then I schedule the activities for the week around any fixed commitments. I divide my working week into five days and three blocks of work (6-9:30 am, 9:30 to 1 pm, and 2 pm to 5:30 pm). Most blocks will have one primary activity blocked in.

Each evening, I review what I will be working on the next day so my mind can work on it unconsciously, and I add any details or changes to my plan so they aren’t running around in my head after work.

I get up around 5:15, clear my emails, and then have breakfast; then my daughter and I go for a 2-mile walk. When we get back, I make her breakfast and a cup of tea for me. Then I start to work properly.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I am most proud of my YouTube Channels: OnlinePMCourses and ManagementCourses. When I see the comments, I realize the value I am delivering to people around the world who want high-quality learning but cannot afford to pay for courses and books. The biggest buzz is a comment that tells me the difference I have made in helping someone understand a concept, deliver a result, or pass an exam. Nothing beats it.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

As a solopreneur, it is motivating myself every day to create new and incrementally better content. However, My first YouTube strategy has overcome the one thing I least enjoy in business: marketing. Now, I have outsourced almost all of my marketing to the world's two biggest marketing assets: Google searches and YouTube. I post, and they find me an audience!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. There are no substitutes for hard work, diligence, and resilience. Don't believe in overnight success - most of the people selling magic formulas are peddling hope to the gullible. If you want to provide high-integrity services to people that deliver real value, you need to graft, day after day. Take the wins and the setbacks and build incrementally. I started my online business in 2014. By the grace of good timing, it carried me through the two tough years of the pandemic, and now, at the end of 2022, I no longer need my real-world live clients. They are now the icing on the cake, not my core income source.
  2. Choose something you care enough about to sustain you for years, not months. If you cannot mentally picture yourself still innovating and working on your business idea in 5 years, you'll probably run out of steam before you make it the success you dream of.
  3. Have a mindset that incorporates two key elements: constant growth and learning and generosity to your prospects and customers. Since 2002, when I left Deloitte and started my own business, I have constantly learned new things. This includes new ideas to offer to my audience and new skills to help me deliver those ideas better. The tagline at the end of every video I make for my newer Management Courses YouTube channel is 'Keep Learning.' Second, if you are constantly in a mindset of giving and sharing, then everything you get back will seem like a bonus. And, when you give a lot, the universe will see that you start to get back too. For every taker in the word, there is someone who will appreciate your generosity and repay it in their own way. Those are the people to care about. For example, one of my students asked me to make the videos in my premium course downloadable. My then-mentor said not to. It would make my course easier to steal and pirate. But there are always people who will find a way to steal. I wanted to design my business around rewarding my paying customers and community members rather than penalizing them in an attempt to thwart villains I had no interest in. I made the videos downloadable, which is a USP of my courses!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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