Notes from my talk at Wordcamp PDX

This Saturday I had the opportunity to speak at Wordcamp PDX. I spoke on my experience running Paleo Plan, a subscription website using WordPress. Below are my notes.

Running a subscription site on WordPress

  • First of all, running a subs site on WP isn’t that different than anywhere else.
  • We’ll be talking about subscription sites in general, with a small focus on opportunities explicit to WP.
  • I’ll be speaking out of personal experience, but obviously, your results may differ
  • If you’ve heard me speak before, you’ll recognize a few themes. These are things I find especially valuable.

If you only take away two things, here they are. (after this you can take a nap)

  • First: Just get started
  • Second: Avoid PayPal

You’re ready.

What I’ve learned:


  • People are willing to pay for convenience
  • People believe they need customization, many don’t
  • Get creative
  • Rethink older business models
  • Give away custom/special content
  • Look for partnerships
  • You don’t have to cater to all of your audiences desires


  • Merchant accounts are worth it
  • Find somewhere with good service, and online capabilities
  • PayPal’s website is super slow and terrible, but at least everything is possible.
  • I hate using it, but it does function
  • Chargify is awesome. WP-Chargify functions, but there’s more to do.

If you’ve ever heard me speak before, you know that I am a big proponent of figuring it out as you go. I believe in bare minimum upfront, prove the model, then improve.

Paleo Plan

Getting started

  • three weeks
  • hired out original content
  • wordpress theme (freshthemes)
  • campaign monitor
  • adwords


  • After 2 months, I went back and finished the design
  • I’m now working on third wave of design
  • I never did get a logo
  • Talk about requests for customization of menus


  • Partnering with CrossFit gyms
  • Current discussions with Dr. Cordain

Plugins I’ve used

Membership Plugins

Bike Math

I’m really interested in getting the newly announced Transition TR250. With some simple gorilla math, the bike–with the build kit I want–would cost ~$5000.

That’s a lot of money to spend on a bicycle. While talking with my brother-in-law, I mentioned that this is going to be a hard sell to my wife. He pointed out some very important math to keep in mind. I give you his notations below:

* Note, I currently have a used Santa Cruz VP-Free, valued at *around* $2000. I have also spent several hundred dollars a year in maintenance on the bike, as it’s ridden hard and is a few years old. I am also in the middle of a bet to lose 20 pounds with said brother-in-law.


“Good news. I can get 20% off of your fork from [NEVERMIND] and the build kit, so you need to think around $4,500 all in. We should discuss and I will find out what they can do. I go down there on Wednesday. I am thinking Saint groupo and boxxer world cup fork.

Here is the plan.

Total Bike Cost $4,500
Selling the Santa Cruz ($2,000)… that puts you at $2,500

Every year at Whistler you spend $400 on your bike. You are going to own this bike for three years. That is $1,200 you are going to save on maintainence.

$2,500 minus $1,200 = $1,300.

In order to lose one pound, you need to burn 3,500 calories. There are 204 calories in one pint of PBR. In order for you to lose 20 lbs you are going to NOT have to drink 343 PBRs. At $3 per pint, that saves you another $1,029.

$1,300 minus $1,029 = $271.

Losing 20 lbs will put you into a different bracket regarding your insurance, reducing your overall annual cost by $528/yr.

$271 minus $528 = $257 in your pocket.

After you run the math, NOT getting a new Transition450 is going to cost you $257. What kind of husband would you be if you knowingly cost you and your wife $257?

Seems like the solution is simple to me.”

Did I mention I love my wife’s brother?