Growing & Monetizing Subscription Businesses

2 Weeks


Cohort-based Course

Learn where to focus to maximize the revenue for subscription & self-service products

Previously at

Uber Eats
J.P. Morgan
Booz Allen Hamilton

Course overview

Monetizing Subscription Products is About Focusing on What Matters

How I got here:

When I took over the growth team at Codecademy in 2018, I wanted to make the biggest impact that I could on the business. I spent a month reading all the core books on growth, listened to every podcast I could find on the topic, and studied how other companies had done it.

The team was super excited, we sourced ideas from everywhere, worked across the product without boundaries, and rapidly shipped A/B tests to see where we could make improvements. We waited with anticipation for the money to start rolling in...

And we failed completely.

Our work was too spread out and we weren't focused in the right areas. We'd see some small test work, but they were in parts of the product that didn't really matter. Because we had so many ideas, we wanted to test all of them, so we'd move on from good ideas too early so we could test new ones.

After a lot of trial and error, we learned where to focus and how to scale the business.

This work paid off, we 5x'd our ARR from $10M ARR to $5OM ARR and the company sold for $525M in 2021.

After the sale, I was reflecting on why we'd been successful and started to think about the lessons that we'd learned.

A friend asked me, if you were to take on that challenge again, how would I do it a second time?

This led me to start writing, which led me to advise other companies, which has allowed me to see that these lessons apply across multiple companies in a variety of industries.

What Actually Matters in Subscription Businesses?

What I eventually learned is that 5 core things really matter in a subscription business.

After you have enough product-market fit to determine that you have solved a real user problem, you should focus on the following areas:

1. Paywall & Pricing - What is the difference between your product(s) and how are you charging for that?

2. Purchase Funnel - How do users buy the product? Do they understand it and is it free from confusion, friction, and bugs?

3. Extending the LTV of your users - Once someone has decided to buy the product, how do you increase their value to you?

4. Payment Processing - How do you maximize the likelihood that you get paid from users who already purchased?

5. Churn Appeasements - Once someone wants to cancel, what can you do (ethically) to help win them back?

Additionally, we'll cover common questions that arise such as:

- To freemium or not to freemium? When is this a good idea and when is this a terrible idea?

- What type of trials, guarantees or other purchase flows work for your business?

- How much to discount annual plans? Should you offer lifetime plans?

- How long can you realistically expect users to subscribe?

Who is this course for


Founders, PMs or GMs who have a great B2B or B2C product but are struggling with revenue growth, retention, and/or churn


Products that have product market fit but have not figured out how to scale revenue reliably.


This course does not cover paid media, marketing, ads, or sale tactics. It focuses on scaling self service revenue

What you’ll get out of this course

Why you need slightly different growth tactics for subscription businesses
  • We will cover how subscription products need to be scaled slightly differently than the other business models.
  • This means that you have to plan our roadmap and company financials to account for this.
  • Why the time delay component of subscription models is so important
How to implement best practices in the 5 core pillars of subscription models
  • Ensure that your product is following the current best practices across pricing, paywalls, trials/onboarding, payment processing, and churn appeasements.
  • After you have the best practices set up, what are the other tactics that can take your product to the next level?
What order you should sequence work in to get the highest ROI?
  • How should you sequence your projects to get the fastest payback?
  • What is the highest ROI work that should be taken on first?
  • What are the harder projects that need more time and research?
Define the metrics and user lifecycle moments for subscription products
  • Make sure that you know which metrics to track, how each of the key moments should be defined, and what these may mean for your business.
Understanding Benchmarks for Your Business and Metrics
  • Based on the type of product that you are building, where are you vs the industry in your core monetization metrics?
Case Studies from leading subscription products

Learn how the best subscription companies in the world, such as Spotify, Netflix, NY Times, Miro and other handle the key parts of their product

This course includes

4 interactive live sessions

Lifetime access to course materials

9 in-depth lessons

Direct access to instructor

Projects to apply learnings

Guided feedback & reflection

Private community of peers

Course certificate upon completion

Maven Satisfaction Guarantee

This course is backed by Maven’s guarantee. You can receive a full refund within 14 days after the course ends, provided you meet the completion criteria in our refund policy.

Course syllabus

Expand all modules
  • Week 1

    Feb 12—Feb 18

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone


    • Feb


      Overview, Strengths & Weaknesses, and Where to Focus

      Wed, Feb 14, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM UTC

    • Feb


      Payment Processing & Churn Appeasement Tactics

      Fri, Feb 16, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM UTC


    • Class 1: Overview, Strengths & Weaknesses, and Where to Focus

    • Class 2: Payment Processing & Churn Appeasement Tactics

  • Week 2

    Feb 19—Feb 23

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone


    • Feb


      Purchase Flows, Trials, Checkout Pages

      Wed, Feb 21, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM UTC


    • Class 3: Purchase Flows, Trials, Checkout Pages

    • Class 4: Paywalls & Pricing

    • Optional Office Hours

  • Post-Course


    • Feb


      Paywalls & Pricing

      Wed, Feb 28, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM UTC

What people are saying

        "No one knows subscription businesses better than Dan. We more than doubled our Annual Plan mix after he completed a thorough site audit and presented us ALL of the gaps within the user lifecycle. He realigned the team with growth metrics and distilled data intuition for the whole team at Codédex."
Sonny Li

Sonny Li

Founder, Codédex

Meet your instructor

Daniel Layfield

Daniel Layfield

Founder - Subscription Index

I ran the growth team at Codecademy and helped scale ARR from $10M to $50M.

We learned all of the hard lessons along that path and I want to pass these along so that other companies can benefit.

I want to see more great products become great businesses. You can read more about my approach to subscription businesses here

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Course schedule

2-4 hours per week
  • Wednesday & Fridays

    10:00AM - 11:30AM CST

Learning is better with cohorts

Learning is better with cohorts

Active hands-on learning

This course builds on live workshops and hands-on projects

Interactive and project-based

You’ll be interacting with other learners through breakout rooms and project teams

Learn with a cohort of peers

Join a community of like-minded people who want to learn and grow alongside you

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I can’t make a live session?
I work full-time, what is the expected time commitment?
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Growing & Monetizing Subscription Businesses


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