How Dee Clayton Created an Online Course and Got 150 Clients From Her First Soft Launch

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  • Who: Dee Clayton
  • Website:
  • Course Topic: Presentation Skills Training
  • Interesting Stats: 150 students from a soft launch

Who are you and what course have you created?

I am the lead trainer and Director of Simply Amazing Training. We are passionate about bringing out the best in leaders and their teams. We focus on presentation skills training and management training. My main course is Maximizing Work Communications.

What market does your online course serve?

Our course is perfect for business professionals who want to:

  • Improve their personal impact at work to make more of a difference and achieve better results.
  • Reduce silo working and improve cross-functional relationships reducing conflict and increasing innovation.
  • Manage and motivate their team members to increase satisfaction and improve results.

What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?

Dee Clayton PhotoEveryone is biased! We all have our preferred ways of doing, learning and saying things. We show the participant why this works, how it impacts them and what to do about it. Understanding these basic rules of engagement are critical to all work relationships and vital to improving any less than perfect relationships.

Misunderstandings, conflict, and problems are often caused by one, two or three of the issues below. In our program we take the participant step by step through each stage, explaining in-depth concepts with our simple explanations, memorable visuals, and unique examples.

  • We aren’t aware of our own biases. We assume everyone else is like us and wants to be treated as we want to be treated. NOT TRUE! We share the four personality styles and help you identify which are your preferred styles.
  • We aren’t aware of the biases within colleagues. Once we become aware of our styles, to achieve better results it helps to learn about the communication styles of others and find some common ground. We show you step by step why you’d want to do this and how to do it. How to build rapport (and how not to lose it!).
  • We don’t know how to bridge the gap between their biases and ours. Towards the end of the course, we show you how to get better results from the people you work with and we focus on three key practical areas with a video on each.

These include:

  1. How to improve communications via email and the written word.
  2. Improving conversations and phone calls using the spoken voice.
  3. How to improve face to face meetings by improving your body language and other techniques.

The course is made into bite-sized chunks so it is easy to do alongside a busy job. You can do just one chunk at a time ranging from 2-14 mins.

Simply Amazing Training Options

How did you get into the market?

There is very little in the way of widely available follow-up support on personality styles because most of the techniques are branded like Insights Discovery, DISC, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

In my book “High Performance Presentations” Public Speaking Tips and Presentation Skills To Engage Persuade and Inspire, I created a non-branded Presenter Personality Style, so readers (from novice to experts) could understand their personality style and see how it impacted on their ability to present and understand the styles within the audience better.

Later I saw that in live training programs, participants loved the topic of personality styles and like all live training, the challenge was to keep the learning fresh after the training days are complete. There were no existing books or courses covering the topics I knew were really important – how to implement and use this learning in practice. So I set about creating my own.

The program was initially developed to support and follow up participants from the live training. To give keen participants the opportunity to learn more and to give managers tools and topics to discuss at their staff meetings.

Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?

As the economic climate became more challenging I anticipated that companies and individuals may be looking for more “budget-friendly” ways to train their staff.

And as the feedback was so good from the initial launch. I wanted to make the materials more widely available. For individuals interested in developing their own management and interpersonal skills, for managers who wanted to learn with their team, and for HR Leaders who wanted to share knowledge across the business.

Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?

I found it harder than I thought to create the course even though my main skill is presenting and speaking for a living! That was the easy part! The planning took longer than I thought and later I still found out I hadn’t planned enough and had to reshoot a few things. It was definitely harder than I thought because like many people I was doing it alongside many other projects rather than it being the main project.

Simply Amazing Training Course

If so what made you turn it around and do it anyway?

Happily, I had a client deadline to meet so that always is a motivator! Eighty people waiting to watch your course. If you’ve heard of the phrase “I’ve started so I’ll finish” – on this project that had to be my mantra.

What’s your online course like?

The course consists of 9 bite-sized videos along with three handy downloadable “cheat sheets”. When a company or HR leader buys I also offer a free team meeting guide for use to support discussions of each video at team or departmental meetings for example spread over 4–6 months.

Most of the videos are with me, Dee Clayton talking to the camera with PowerPoint visuals and animations used to illustrate key points. I invite the listener to make notes and write down key concepts as we go through.

All the videos have subtitled and not subtitled versions to choose from – important when most people will be watching from the office and might not want to be seen with headphones in. - Dee Clayton Click To Tweet

Dee Clayton Video

How long did it take you to create your course?

I think I learned how not to develop a course! I’m delighted with the end result and I’m sure when I do my next course it will be much easier!

The development spanned across 6 months but I’d hoped to take more of a sprint approach and do it within a month. There were two main phases – the first to hit the client deadline and the second to make it a program available to everyone, whether they have studied personality styles with me or anyone else before or not.

The second phase was tough. I knew if I stopped then all the prior work prior was a waste. Plus I wouldn’t have achieved my goal to reach more people and help them bring out their best.

Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).

The launch was piloted within the client and the remainder of 2019 was a soft launch on our website and social media with a sales page.  Our main marketing focus for 2019 was our second book mentioned earlier. In 2020 we will look to support a full launch.

Do you have a lead magnet?

We don’t have a lead magnet yet but I’d like to show some samples or clips of videos. For instance maybe an audiobook so the participant can see the quality of the full course.

Simply Amazing Training Book

What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?

We have yet to focus on this area, most of the traffic is coming from my website and social media posts in addition to already existing clients.

What online course platform are you using?

I am using a bespoke platform from my video company.

It is good enough for what we need at the moment. When we look to expand the offering then we will revisit the course platform requirements for our company.

What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?

It was fully managed by the video company and that is what I needed at the time.

Simply Amazing Training Content

What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to becoming a successful business owner?

I previously used Jigsawbox to develop a presentation skills training course. It was extremely detailed and had many facets – videos, quizzes, downloadable sheets – the full works. So I had taken several of their free guidance programs and done research a long time ago. But that course didn’t work without my personal input so it didn’t achieve one of my goals – to leverage my time and skills.

Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?

In hindsight, it would have been a smoother process this time around if I’d done more research and preparation before diving in with the filming.

Because I develop training courses for a living I didn’t fully appreciate how different developing online courses were from developing live courses. - Dee Clayton Click To Tweet

However because that project wasn’t my main priority at the time, I also chose to apply the 20:80 principle to my work and identify the 20% of tasks that would deliver 80% of the results. I’m happy with the results but I’d prefer it was even more efficient next time.

Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.

Most of my sales during this soft launch have been an add-on to live training programs, used as course materials for mentoring or used alongside team coaching webinars.  The additional revenue generated has covered initial costs and over 150 people have accessed the courses. After a hard launch, I hope to have some bigger numbers to share.

What has creating your course done for you personally?

I’m very proud of the work I’ve done and I feel like I have the foundations in place to make a big difference to many people whilst leveraging my time – something we all strive for.

Dee Clayton Twitter

Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?

A team of participants took the course and the leader told me that he’d worked in his previous organization for over 30 years and been on many many training courses. But he had never come across anything as practical as this course which showed him step by step exactly what to do and how to get better results.

He runs his own business now and said he feels this program has contributed to his continued success and some real transformations within his team. One lady went from being shy and worried about speaking to people to more confident and assured.

Feedback like this spurs me on to get going in 2020 to reach a wider audience.

What advice do you have for people just starting out?

Do some research, not too little and not too much.

Do some prep, not too little and not too much.

Make a cheap, quick pilot and see what you like and don’t.

Show it to others and look for input from your target market.

Get on and make your course, you can always change it later.

Learn more about Dee and Simply Amazing Training:

Lisa Parmley
Lisa Parmley

Lisa Parmley is the founder of After gaining a Master's degree, she worked in research for about seven years. She started a training company in 2001, offering a course helping people pass a professional exam. That course has earned multiple 7 figures. She created SEO and authority site building training around 2007 which went on to earn well into the 6-figure mark.

She has 22+ years of experience in the trenches creating and selling online courses. Get help starting and growing your online course business here.

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