Chris Lema on pricing, product, and perserverance

Can you believe it’s been nearly three years since I last talked to Chris Lema?

Just like last week’s guest, Brad Williams, many years have gone by since we last checked-in and there’s a lot to talk about. Chris is well-known in the WordPress space for providing tremendous insight for us product and service owners. He recently exited his CTO role at Crowd Favorite and is taking to the internet to tackle new opportunities as a “freelancer.”

There’s a wealth of knowledge in this episode and I really hope you enjoy it!

Interview with Chris Lema

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The reality of running a business

It’s going to require a lot of work.

If you’ve been following along with my story (and this podcast) for the last few years, you’ll know that success in this industry doesn’t come easy. As much as the alluring internet marketing expert pushing Facebook ads might be trying to tell us otherwise. It takes more than just putting in the work too — it’s the emotional toll of running a business, that many of us aren’t ready for:

  • Bad clients
  • Hiring
  • Cash flow
  • Losing out on jobs
  • Missing good opportunities

I know I dig on “experts” a lot, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt, even though they make for good fodder. That said, one thing an expert can’t prepare you for, is the emotional side of the points I mentioned above. In my opinion, while you might be open to learning “how to run a business”, no one can prepare you for the feeling of it. You’re only going to sharpen that by going through the paces.

It’s not that I’m trying to scare you away from running a business, and owning your success, quite the opposite. Yes, there’s a lot of responsibility for owning something, but you get the creative control. Don’t want to work today? No problem. Want to launch a new twist on your marketing message? It’s yours.

Pricing advice for WordPress product owners

The answer to our pricing woes are right in front of us.

Chris is very passionate on the idea that if our customer makes money with his or her website — they should pay you for the value our product provides. I’m in, 100%.  The challenge is: traditional WordPress plugin installation and activation. There would have to be some form of SaaS (Software as a Service) baked into our products to manage non-paying customers.

Maybe your website doesn’t make money right now, but in the future it does. If owners can identify that and trigger an upgrade path remotely, everyone benefits. Customer receives more features and support, while the product becomes sustainable.

The call to action for us owners: let’s make clear(er) distinctions to our customers.

Bonus Advice: Take care of your customers

Something I’m guilty of: Keeping up with your customers.

Chris brings up a great point of keeping clear and consistent lines of communication going with our customers. Not just when we need them to re-up their license, but a consistent delivery of value.

Simply put yourself in your own customer shoes:

  • Day 1: You purchase a premium plugin.
  • Day 2: You receive a thank you e-mail and some links to documentation.
  • Day 349: You receive a warning that your license is about to expire.


What happened during the last 347 days?! Who are you again? A constant stream of connection to the customer and providing value will (should) increase your renewal rates.

Something to think about.



2 responses to “Chris Lema on pricing, product, and perserverance”

  1. Your embedded soundcloud player is off on this and other older podcasts (just showing code instead in Firefox and Chrome/No Adblocker). I was just listening and enjoying, whilst working on WordPress. Give it a fix and then delete this comment.

    1. Fixed! Recently removed Jetpack and that was a missed item.

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