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I couldn't find office 2020 programs after upgrading to Windows 8. I went to Microsoft site to download the program again, but my activation code is not eligible for a free download. 13 product key finder programs. 17 Best Free Product Key Finder Tools for Your PC.
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Viewing the redeemed product keys through my support account (which don't show up currently anywhere I look) 3) Running either a visual basic or other program on the 13 computers to confirm the installed key with my records. Why Use Microsoft Office 2020? Microsoft Office 13 Product Key I purchased Microsoft Office 13 about a year ago from my campus computer store.
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It also has a community-updated configuration file that retrieves product keys for many other applications. When I started to work with SAP I got really mad about all these non-sensical 4 digit SAP transactions. Product Key Finder enables you to retrieve your Windows 7, Vista, 2020, 2020, 2020, NT, or XP product key, even if you cann't boot your computer into Windows!
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Government SIC Code system, there are a total of 1, 514 codes (included in the 2-digit, 3-digit, and 4-digit levels). Download Product Key Recovery Tools for Windows check my source. Activation is sometimes done offline by entering the key, or with software like Target Security card, Best Buy and Walmart, online activation is required to prevent multiple people using the key like Xbox Digital Code.
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Under Recommended MAKs, VAMT might display one or more recommended MAK based on the selected products. The actual key is on a certificate of authenticity (COA) sticker on your PC or its power supply. How to Find Your Adobe Acrobat Serial Number [Easy].
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When you reinstall it will pick up the Product Key and activate the system automatically. Our program allows you to recover your CD product key for Windows or Microsoft Office for use when you are reinstalling or repairing your Windows and Microsoft Office setups. It is a very simple program that claims to support over 200 programs but without a detailed listings.
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The Mac Product Key Finder is the most popular product key finder application for Mac OS X/Apple machines. If you purchased Microsoft Office 2020, 2020 or 2020 in a box with a disc, or as a product card (digital download) from a retail store, then your Product Key will be with that physical purchase - on the product card, on a sticker, on or in the manual, or on the disc sleeve. Windows Product Key Finder Professional is a software utility which allows you to find and recover your CD Product key for Windows or Office programs for the purposes of reinstalling / repairing your Windows or Microsoft Office setup.
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Best Free Product Key Finder Programs. With the award-winning Product Key Finder, you can instantly find product key and serial number from currently installed Windows, Office, SQL Server, Exchange Server and many other products. If you're familiar with Product Keys and how they work, you might assume that the Microsoft Office 2020, 2020 and 2020 Product Key is stored, encrypted, in the Windows Registry, like older versions of Office and most other programs do.
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The best Windows 10 product key finder: find all your Microsoft serial numbers; You can also add programs and keys not detected by MyKeyFinder as standard, then export the full list as a PDF. It also says the product is activated. The application comes in handy for those who lost the disc.
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Watch How CodeHS Works Everything You Need, All In One Spot. Hi @ BenjaminAbbott The product key for new computers that come preinstalled with Windows 10 has the product key stored within the motherboard firmware. You can use this SmartKey Product Key Recovery.
Finding an Apartment in Houston: Comprehensive Guide
1) Where/How to Search
- Online Resources: Apartment List, Apartment Guide, Rent.com, Hot Pads, Apartment Data, Zillow, and Trulia to name a few. Apartments.com, Apartment Finder, and For Rent are all the owned by same company. HAR Rentals has improved for apartments as well. Searching on a computer or tablet is much easier with map features than on mobile. All of these big sites are going to be very similar with their data, but may have differences with filters or their user experience.
- If price or availability are not listed on these major websites or their own you may need to call or visit. Leaving voicemails, sending emails, or inputting your information on their websites are hit or miss with getting prompt responses.
- Other Resources: Craigslist – apt/housing- map view allows you to filter out floor plans and search certain areas, NextDoor can be useful, but you have to verify your address in the neighborhood to search, and Facebook Marketplace now has a Rentals section as well.
- Hidden Gems: Driving the areas you like and looking for “For Rent” signs can work well in higher density inner loop areas like the Heights or Montrose for smaller complexes and garage apartments. These units are usually vacant and available for immediate move-in.
- Apartment locators: They can be knowledgeable about areas and complexes to give advice and may have additional resources for searching and filtering. They can take out a lot of the legwork to find exact floor plans, pricing, availability, pet policies, upfront costs, ongoing costs, etc. Not all communities work with locators or pay low commissions, so you may not get all of the options working with one. Some locators will only send options that pay the higher commissions (ex: +100% one month’s rent). Some locators won't work with clients under a certain budget (ex: $1,000/mo minimum). For the ones that do pay locators, they are compensated a percentage of rent or a flat fee by the apartment complex and their services are typically free to their clients, especially in the Houston market. Some offer kickbacks to their clients for places with high-paying locator fees.
- Relocating: Signing a lease sight unseen can be daunting. If you have time to visit before your move around a month or so beforehand, it will probably be worth it. If you don't have time to or can't visit it might be a good idea to get a hotel, Airbnb, or similar temporary living for a week or two while you find a permanent residence. There are some shared spaces as cheap as $15-20/night. It may not be ideal, but it's temporary and beats being committed to an unfavorable long term lease situation. Some locators may offer live or recorded video tours for out-of-towners.
2) When to look
- Timing: Most apartments require a 30-60 day notice to vacate for current tenants, so availability usually doesn’t show up until a month or two beforehand. A lot of the lowest advertised prices are for units Available Now. If a unit or several have been sitting and the occupancy drops below 90-95%, they’ll usually start lowering prices or offering incentives. Some complexes will let you hold units for up to 30 days, but others can increase the price drastically for pushing the move-in date back even a few days. It all depends on the property management company and complex. If your move-in date isn't for a month or two, you can ask the leasing agent to send you a notice when a unit becomes available. You may find property managers/leasing agents to be inconsistent with following up, so might take you checking back in periodically or looking online again to see if anything is available. Having a flexible move-in date helps a lot when searching. I would recommend having at least a few days if not a whole week cushion between the start of a new lease and end of your current one to give you time to move or for unforeseen circumstances like inclement weather.
- Best times: Prices historically go up in the summer compared to the rest of the year since it is the most common time for people moving.
- Pre-leasing: They don't have this in Houston for most apartments like some college towns/campuses where students rent starting in August/September for the year.
3) Types of apartments, leases, units, and amenities
- Apartments: Most newer complexes are going to be what's considered a mid-rise apartments ranging from 3-8 stories. Building code only allows wooden structures to be 4 stories tall so that is most common. A lot of the older complexes that are 2 stories and there are a handful of high rises in places like downtown and uptown.
- Lease Terms: Most long term leases are 12 months, sometimes with better pricing at 13-15 months. The longest I've come across is an 18 month lease.
- Units: Efficiencies are typically less than 500 sq ft with a smaller kitchen area compared to Studios which are usually a bit larger at 500-600 sq ft. 1 and 2 bedroom units yield the highest cost per sq ft for complexes, so naturally those are the most common floor plans. 3 bedrooms are somewhat common, but are not at every complex. For what pricing is on 3 bedroom units, it might make more since to search for a rental home, which the best resource will be HAR.com and/or using a realtor. There aren't many traditional loft style units in Houston that were converted from existing construction. A "soft loft" tries to emulate some of those features like brick/concrete walls or exposed duct work. Town home floor plans are available at a handful communities that come with a private garage.
- Amenities: Most of the above resources will allow you to filter apartments for amenities like in-unit washedryer, pool, fitness center, wood floors, pet friendly, etc. Private garages and private yards aren't very common features, but there are some out there. Units with a den/study aren't as common either.
4) Floor plansMost apartment websites should have floor plans available online. They will either have fancy made up names for the floor plans, a system where A means one bedroom and B means 2 bedrooms, or just use the square footage. For the A/B system they attach numbers with these starting with this smallest square footage (ex: A4 would be their mid-sized 1 bedroom). Leasing agents will tell you these as if you have them memorized like they do. Square footage isn't everything if it's an awkward shaped unit. Be sure to know the location of the exact unit you're looking to lease. There might be a reason certain units are less expensive, like if it has a bad view or say faces nearby train tracks. Older complexes may update certain units with things like newer appliances or back splash as tenants move out and call the older units they haven't updated their "classic" look, which typically has a lower rent price.
5) Costs involved
- Costs: You can expect to pay an application fee, administrative fee, security deposit, first month's rent, and applicable pet fees(more details below). Most property managers and leasing agents have set corporate pricing so there’s not a lot of wiggle room to negotiate. It can't hurt to ask for a discount, but you may only find this works at smaller owner operated apartments. You might have better luck asking for concessions on the up front costs.
- Concessions: For app/admin a lot of companies do what’s called a “Look and Lease” special where they’ll waive or reduce those cost if you sign within 24-48 hours. Don’t rush into if you’re not sure or not ready. Deposits can be waived or reduced with approved credit in many instances. A lot also give options for refundable or non-refundable deposits. Some offer other incentives such as gift cards, total move-in cost that include all fees and first month's rent, discounts on the first month's rent, free rent until a certain date, free month(s) up front, and free month(s) pro-rated over the course of the lease.
- Market Rent: Be aware with incentives like prorated free month(s) that your rent will be set to increase to the market rent at the end of your lease term. Renewing your lease for another long term might allow you to negotiate and is typically a lower cost compared to month-to-month market rent. They plan on your willingness to pay a higher rent instead of going through the trouble of moving
- Additional monthly costs: Many places have an additional $20-40 in monthly cost for things like pest control, (valet) trash, amenity fees, etc. that are added to the advertised rent. Be sure to ask about these and factor it into your budget.
- Pet Fees: Be prepared to pay a non-refundable pet fee, pet deposit, and monthly pet rent (per pet) at a large majority of apartment complexes. Most complexes have a limit of 2-3 pets. If you’re new to apartment living you might get sticker shock from how high these charges can be at some places. Factor it into your budget.
- Expectations: Don't have crazy, unrealistic expectations. If you think you're going to find a 2 bedroom apartment in downtown Houston with wood floors, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, and an in unit washer dryer for $1,000/mo you're going to have a bad time. Research median rent prices for the neighborhoods/areas you'd like to live and realize that additional amenities means higher costs.
6) Reddit’s 42 Rules for Apartment Searching/TouringThis LPT post is 5 years old, but most everything holds true and a lot of the same info is sprinkled throughout this post. Please remember to bring a government issued ID when touring.
- I HIGHLY recommend driving the area you plan on living, especially at night.
- Crime reports resource: HPD links you to City Protect (previously branded as Crime Reports) is pretty clunky IMO. I think the Lexis Nexis Community Crime Map is much easier to search.
- Security features to look for: Secure entrances and exits, good lighting, security cameras, security features in each apartment, on-call or 24-hour security guard. These do not guarantee there will not be any crime, but can serve as a deterrent.
- In-unit security/safety features: Texas law requires that rental dwellings have certain security devices. For example, exterior doors must generally have a doorknob lock or a keyed deadbolt, a keyless lock, and a peephole. Sliding glass doors must have a pin lock and a security bar or door handle latch. All rental dwellings must have smoke alarms installed by the owner. Hearing-impaired residents may also request installation of visual smoke alarms.
- Alarm systems: If you do opt to get one for your apartment, there are plenty of DIY options available that are easy to setup. If your system is monitored and you’re in HPD's jurisdiction, do not forget that you are required to get an alarm permit from the city that is $50/year and allows for 3 false alarms before they start fining you. Penalties for not having a permit with a false alarm are pricey and the police may not even respond to an alarm call if it is not registered and permitted. You can call to confirm your address is in the jurisdiction. Here is the one for Harris County that's $35/year with 3 false alarms too. Your apartment complex will more than likely require that they have the code if they need to access the apartment for maintenance or inspections.
- Resources: City of Houston (need to add flood hazard layer), Harris County, FEMA.
- Articles from Harvey: Biz Journals, Chron (sorry, sorry I hate their slideshows too), Reddit post trying to compile list of places that did/didn't flood
- Most Flooded Areas (based on reported info in articles):
- Spring/Tomball (3,070 units)- 21%
- Cypress/Waller (1,228 units)- 18.4%
- Humble/Kingwood (2,848 units)- 17.8%
- Friendswood/Pearland (2,368 units)- 15.8%
- Far West (4,754 units)- 15.4%
- Greater Heights/Washington Ave (2,022 units)- 14.8%
- Galleria/Uptown-(3,244 units) 13.9%
- North Central (3,048 units)- 12.9%
- Pasadena/Southeast (2,967 units)- 10.9%
- Alief (1,953 units)- 9.9%
- From a KHOU Article: Howard Bookstaff, General Counsel for the Houston Apartment Association, says landlords are not required to disclose that information to potential tenants.
“There’s no law that requires an apartment complex to notify you voluntarily whether an apartment flooded, but certainly you can ask questions,” he said.
- Chron Editorial calling for a change to this to inform renter's of flooding. House Bill 993 was written for this, but unfortunately died in committee in the middle of 2019.
- Be more cautious for apartments near bayous/bodies of water and in the flood plains. Pay attention to musty smells when touring and look for signs of mold. Ask lots of questions. You can opt for units on higher floors as a precaution for flood prone areas and it's in your best interest to have renter's insurance. See Renter's Right below if you find mold in your current residence.
9) Driving to workNative Houstonians know this like humidity: you want to live as close to where you work as possible and avoid traffic.
- Resources: Google Maps (desktop only): click directions, enter the apartment address and your work address, the default is “Leave now” that you can change to “Depart at” or “Arrive by.” Can also be used for walking, biking, and bus routes with a “Last available” option. HAR Drive time will give you a radius of houses for sale that you can use the same area to search for apartments.
- Other transportation resources: Metro Rail, Metro Bus, Park and Ride , Walk Score
10) Apartment ReviewsGoogle Maps, Apartment Ratings, and Yelp. Apartment Guide has them, but seem to be inconsistent.
I’d take all of these with a grain of salt and make sure to sort by recent reviews. One thing to look for is changes in property management. Apartment complexes are bought and sold regularly, which can be for better or worse. They often change names when they switch hands if there was a bad reputation.
11) ApplicationHere is a standard application form. A lot of places will have online applications like Blue Moon Forms that require similar information. Should have your ID of course. Have your previous addresses and landlord information ready. Some ask for personal references and always emergency contact information. Know the make/model and color of your vehicle along with the license plate number. There is typically rental history, credit, and background check. Income requirements can range, but is usually at least x2-3 monthly rent. They may ask for tax documents, bank statements, pay stubs, or an offer letters as proof of income. Be ready for app fees from $25-75/applicant which are usually charged up front. Other fees like administrative and deposits might be due up front or on move-in day. Most places have modernized to accept credit cards, but some still require personal checks, cashier’s checks, or money orders. If you don’t have a check book, a lot of banks will print a sheet of them for you for free or a small cost. Approval usually take 24-72 hours to process. In the meantime, ask to review the lease.
12) Signing a lease
- READ IT! Here’s a standard lease. Know what you’re responsible for, how to request repairs and how long they take, understand any fees or policies, community rules, guest rules and parking, pet policies, know what utilities are included or that you’re responsible for, if you can paint the walls, policies on maintenance and rules on them entering your unit, when is rent due, if you can pay online, late fees, renewal policies, subletting policies, lease termination policies, etc.
- For units that are currently available, do a final walk through and document any damages with the landlord/property manager. If repairs are needed make sure it is written into your lease and request that the repairs will be made before you move in. Take lots of photos.
- Ask for a copy to be scanned and emailed to you along with a hard copy for your records.
- Renewals: Apartments will typically reach out to you well before your lease ends to renew for another long term. If you plan on moving, your lease should have information on how much notice is required to vacate, normally 30-60 days. Renewals often see an increase in price, but could stay the same. Review the renewal and decide if you want to stay. If you fail to renew or give notice to vacate, you will more than likely move to month-to-month terms which can be an increase in rent price as well. Even in a month-to-month, you are still required to give the notice to vacate listed in your lease.
13) Moving in/Utilities
- Find out when/how you get your keys and/or fobs. Get any necessary access codes. Some complexes provide an inventory and condition form. You might have a grace period of a few days to fill this out once you get your keys. Don’t put this off or forget about it or it may cost you substantially when it comes to getting your deposit back. Again, take lots of photos. Request any repairs immediately.
- Do a change of address through the USPS.
- Learn the fire escape routes from your unit. It could save your life. Have an exit strategy.
- Renter’s insurance: call your auto insurance first and see what it looks like to add that to your policy. If not or if you want additional quotes, search online and should be able to find policies that are $15-25/mo. More places are starting to require this and costs are fairly low for the amount of coverage. Texas Department of Insurance info and Home Inventory Checklist
- WateSewage/Trash: this is almost always factored into rent or sub-metered as an additional monthly cost. If not here’s the link to Houston Water.
- Gas: most apartments are going to be all electric, which I’d assume is for safety and insurance reasons. If need to get it setup, here’s the link for Centerpoint Gas.
- Electricity: Houston is deregulated, meaning the grid is owned and ran by Centerpointe, but you are allowed to choose your retail provider. Power to Choose will allow you to put in your zip code for providers. Most apartments will probably be better suited with usage plans that have better pricing at 500kwh or 1,000kwh as opposed to 2,000kwh. If you have a 12 month lease, it’ll probably be easier to select a 12 month plan. There will be 3-6 month plans with lower pricing, but be aware if you don’t switch or get a new plan at the end of the term, you’re prices will typically jump up. It's a market so prices could go up or down. I prefer to just have it set up and forget about it, but that’s your call. READ THE FACT SHEET and know what you’re signing up for. There's a lot of gimmicky plans or ones with crazy fees. Centerpoint also has My True Cost that factors in delivery fees and usage. Search other posts in this sub about electricity prices for more input on this topic. Property managers should be able to give you a rough idea of usage from other tenants. Plan on higher costs for summer months. This is Houston.
- Cable/Internet: You might be stuck with whoever the apartment or area has with Comcast or AT&T. Ask beforehand who the providers are and try to get pricing. This will all depend on location for what’s available. Try and get this scheduled at least a week or two before move-in since there usually isn't next day appointments. Be ready for a 4 hour windows for technician arrival. You might hate these companies as much as everyone else, but please be kind to your technician. My little brother worked as one a few years back. They are on overbooked, tight schedules and get a lot of pressure from their management
- Movers: This one is tough. I’ve personally used one of the higher rated companies and had a mediocre experience. I’d still say to check Google and Yelp reviews or try to find a referral from someone. I’m not going to vouch for any of them. Just be careful not to get nickel and dimed for extra hours, additional wrapping/padding, bullied for a big tip, etc. My biggest piece of advice is to always get the FIRST appointment in the morning so you’re not waiting around if they take too long on previous jobs. Have heard countless horror stories about movers, so do your research and pray you have a good experience.
- Moving boxes: Try hitting up the Free section of Craigslist or stop by places like liquor stores and see if they have extras they’re throwing out. If you’re moving yourself I highly recommend investing in 2 furniture dollies like this and your move will go a hell of a lot smoother. Make sure the elevator is working before you move in if there is one.
14) “Aggressive” Breed RestrictionsMany of the larger property management companies have restrictions on weight limits and a list of dog breeds they consider aggressive. Emotional Support Animals are covered under the ADA and Fair Housing. Because of these rules, apartments typically cannot reject certified Emotional Support dogs based on their breed. You are still responsible for any damages your pet causes. Search Emotional Support Animal Certificate Texas if you would like to research this further. Use this information how you will.
15) Felonies, misdemeanors, evictions, broken leases, bad credit, low incomeThere are apartments out there that accept these, but might be tougher to search or filter on the websites listed above on exact policies for each complex. Most private/smaller communities will still conduct background, rental history, and credit checks, but might be more lenient than places with corporate policies set in place. There are some resources out there for companies that help with “Second Chance” leases, but be aware that it can be pricey as they require fees and deposits since they are essentially co-signing on the apartment. Criminal records are often case by case, after a certain period, and have a tendency to be more accepting of non-violent offenses. Here is an article that might be more helpful. Broken leases or evictions often require it be after a certain period, under a certain amount, and/or paid off and may also require higher deposits. Bad credit may require a cosigner, higher deposit, or a certain amount of months paid up front. Houston Housing Authority is a resource for low income housing options.
16) Renter’s RightsResources: Attorney General, City of Houston, Request to make repairs sample form, Texas Law Help, Houston Apartment Association, Texas Apartment Association. Calling 311 can also help if you need to report to the city any type of building or health code violations. If it comes to you suing an apartment complex, it will likely be through Small Claims Court. You can pursue this on your own or with the help of a lawyer.
17) Student/Senior housingI’m honestly not too familiar with these. For students, your university websites should have more information to be able to guide for on-campus living. Off-campus should be able to use the rest of this guide. For Seniors, some of the apartment websites above have options to filter for senior living and there are companies and websites geared toward this specifically.
18) Short term/Furnished/Corporate housingMost advertised pricing for apartment complexes are for long term leases of +12 months. Complexes want to stagger when leases come up so they aren’t all in the same month. You might get lucky with pricing on a 3-6 month lease, but typically you’re looking at a huge increase in price. Companies may rent a block of apartments at a complex and rent out as corporate housing and there are companies in Houston that specialize in this you can easily find on Google. These are typically pricey as well. Some of the websites listed above have filters to search for apartments that have corporate housing, but may only list prices for long term leases and require you to call for pricing. Also check out extended stay hotels and websites like Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway and look for places that offer discount for stays over a month. Craigslist also has a sublet/temporary section along with searching Facebook Marketplace Rentals.
Hope y’all find this useful. Please let me know if there's any additional information that might be helpful to add.
How we developed and launched an app while traveling South America.
Today's interview is with Danielle Johnson (u/Angel_Cookie) of Leave Me Alone, a brand that makes an email unsubscribing service
- Product: an email unsubscribing service
- Revenue/mo: $1,000
- Started: November 2018
- Location: Remote
- Founders: 2
- Employees: 0
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?Hello! I am Danielle, a digital nomad and indie maker. I am originally from the UK, but for the past 3 years I have been traveling full-time with my partner, best friend, and fellow developer James. We founded our web development agency Squarecat together while on the road and we occasionally freelance, but our main focus is on our flagship product Leave Me Alone - a service to easily unsubscribe from unwanted emails.
Leave Me Alone is super simple to use, just connect all of your email accounts to see all of your subscription emails in one place, and start opting out with a single click!
Leave Me Alone is for anybody with almost any email account who wants to clear out the unwanted noise from their inbox. You could have thousands of unread emails, be striving for inbox zero, or somewhere in between, recurring emails can be a real drain on your time! There’s no easy way to view only the subscriptions and newsletters in your inbox and be able to decide which ones are worth keeping, using Leave Me Alone makes this a breeze!
We are proud to be an Open Startup. This means that all of our metrics including our revenue, expenses, users, and much more are completely public on our open page. We also build in the open by sharing all of our decisions, progress, milestones, and failures publicly. We believe that being transparent is beneficial for both us and our customers. We are able to better understand their needs and get more useful feedback, and our customers have an insight into the people behind the product which results in a better relationship.
We launched our first version in January 2019. We made $1,186 in revenue, finished #1 product of the day and week on Product Hunt, and received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback!
It's been almost 9 months since we launched the first version of Leave Me Alone and since then we have listened to our users and improved the service to make unsubscribing even better and easier than before. At the beginning of October, we launched the official Leave Me Alone version 2.0 with improved performance, multiple account support, fairer pricing, and a much smoother experience.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?Leave Me Alone isn’t my first product, but it’s the first one that is on the right path to success. Getting there has been an interesting journey!
I loved computers from an early age but I only started coding at 18. I didn’t develop an instant passion for it and I only considered it as a career 2 years later when I went to university to study computer science. After graduating I worked at the UK government for a year, but the culture and heavy focus on climbing the career ladder wasn’t a good fit for me. I tried a stint in the startup scene in Bristol, but I wanted more freedom to work on my own projects. James and I left the UK to travel the world for a year - that was almost three years ago!
We founded Squarecat while on the road and took on freelance projects to fund our travels, but part of the reason we left the UK was because we didn’t want to work for other people anymore.
Our first product was ReleasePage - which let you create a beautiful webpage for your product release notes. We started ReleasePage before we left the UK with the intention of launching once we were at the beach. We worked on it for 6 months, implementing tonnes of features and perfecting everything but we didn’t have any users. We tried our hand at marketing on social media, emailing companies we thought would be interested, and even went so far as to pay a startup PR agency a few hundred dollars to help us. In hindsight, this was completely crazy but we after months of work were desperate to see this product succeed. In the end, we had to admit that we just didn’t have a product that people wanted, so we started over.
After the failure of our first startup, we had been sustaining our travels with client work but we hadn’t given up making stuff! We launched our first native Mac app UptimeBar - a menu bar app to get notifications when your websites go down. People bought it! When we made that first $5 it was such an incredible feeling. We felt like we were finally on the right path. UptimeBar wasn’t super popular but we made a couple of hundred dollars and learned a lot of important lessons; build products that solve your own problems, get early product validation, and be open. This was the first of our products to be an open startup with a basic open page and we got a lot of positive feedback about sharing these stats.
Leave Me Alone was born because we took our own advice and stuck to solving our own problems. We were both spending a lot of time sorting through our emails, so we went searching for a service that would help us find and unsubscribe from ones we didn’t want. We found a few which would help us for free, but a closer look revealed that they didn’t charge because they were selling all of their user's data for marketing. Faced with the dilemma of a messy inbox or all of our data being exploited, we decided to build our own solution.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.We started building Leave Me Alone while we were on a bus traveling from Argentina to Bolivia. Not the most traditional work environment, but the busses in South America are very comfortable, and doing some work is a great way to pass the 18 or so hours!
We built the first prototype of Leave Me Alone in 7 days. Motivated by our small success being open with our previous project, and mindful of our failures, we took a different approach to build this startup - we wanted to share everything, get early validation, and iterate. So we picked a name, put together a quick landing page, and started sharing it around on social media.
The response was incredibly positive! Within a few hours we had 50 potential beta users, and a load of ideas and feature requests. All this before we’d written a single line of code. The coolest part was that people were invested in the journey itself, not just the product; they wanted to follow what we were doing! We knew that our decision to be open from the start was going to be a huge benefit for us.
Writing the code is the part of building a product that we are most familiar with, and as we’re beginning to understand, it’s also arguably the least important part. We built a basic prototype that focused on the core functionality - showing users their subscription emails and letting them unsubscribe easily. The first version only supported Gmail and only showed emails received within the past week.
With something ready to use we asked people if they'd like to join the closed beta. We initially reached out on Twitter and in the maker community. The app was basic but the feedback for the concept was overwhelmingly positive.
Beta testing is a scary prospect, letting users into your app before it’s quite ready? What if things break? Well, it turns out that things do break, and sometimes they break hard. But beta users aren’t expecting a finished product, and they are surprisingly forgiving! In our case, we swapped free use of our beta product in return to listening intently to absolutely everything they had to say about the app.
As a result, we found and fixed a LOT of bugs, tweaked the UI, and came up with some new features that we hadn’t thought of that are now essential to the app. We are quite sure that without letting users loose as soon as possible, Leave Me Alone wouldn’t be half as effective as it is now.
Our first users had validated our idea, so we continued building the product, but we were careful not to include any unnecessary features. The list of great ideas we wanted to add kept growing, but we focused on making sure that Leave Me Alone performed it’s core functionality really well - unsubscribing users from unwanted emails. Everything else ended up on the “next version” task list. The first version was going to be lean.
Describe the process of launching the business.We set ourselves a target to launch before the end of January 2019 and worked really hard on both the app and social media promotion. Even before our official release, we managed to reach some incredible milestones; in the first month, we scanned a mind-boggling half a million emails!
We launched Leave Me Alone officially on 30th January 2019 - just in time to meet our target! We launched from a beach town in Peru which meant we would go live at 3 am. With our alarms set for 2:55 am the anticipation was building and neither of us got much sleep. We had experienced pretty unreliable internet in South America, but we found one cafe with good WiFi to launch from and spent all day there - it may have been a beach town, and I don’t want to shatter anyone's digital nomad dreams, but the work part is rarely done from the actual beach!
Launch day was exhilarating, exhausting, and a huge success, but we encountered several incidents that required quick thinking to resolve while the number of visitors soared. Some of the things that went wrong; our live stats showed that we had zero users, we broke payments so no one could buy scans, and our post on Hacker News caused a 15-minute server outage.
These mishaps could have been critical, but we managed to handle them and they contributed to a good story afterwards! After an exhausting day, we were beyond happy to be holding the top spot and celebrated with beers on the beach - that part of nomad life is accurate!
Overall the launch went better than we could have ever imagined. Not only did we manage to sustain a huge amount of traffic and make an astonishing number of sales, but we also got a lot of incredible feedback and support for our product.
In the past two years, we have built and launched a handful of products but none of them have been very successful. We wanted our launch of Leave Me Alone to be different, so we took a different approach to the whole process leading up to, and including the launch. Our key lessons from this are;
- Don’t waste time building a product without validating a need for it first.
- Ask users what they want instead of wasting time guessing and building redundant features - users love giving feedback.
- Build a user base and hype on social media before launching
Analytics for launch day and the days that followed
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?The best thing that has worked for us for growing our audience is building in the open and being transparent about everything we are doing. We have a community following of people invested in us and our journey to build this product who want to see us succeed.
This has helped us to stay on track, remain accountable, and provided an invaluable support network when things have been tough. We honestly attribute a large proportion of our success to the wonderful communities we are a part of who help to share our updates, promote our launches, and give us the motivation to keep going. The biggest ones are Makerlog and Women Make, but we also receive lots of support on Twitter, Indie Hackers, and recently in person from nomad coworking and meet-up groups in Bali!
All of our traffic is organic; from social media, our blog, and word of mouth since we have not yet run any advertising campaigns. We blog about a variety of topics including changes to the product, privacy, remote work, and coding. These are shared on our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles using Buffer to post twice a week. Twitter is our biggest driver of traffic, and it is also where we are most active. Recently we started reaching out to other blogs to write guest posts for each other to bring our readers different knowledge and expertise - we have had success writing for Metomic’s Privacy Bible and we hope to continue doing this.
We recently took part in a climate change event to build something which would raise awareness of climate change and facilitate action or change. We discovered that emails have a significant carbon footprint and decided to build a new feature to highlight the impact of unwanted emails on the planet and help people see how much they could reduce their carbon footprint by from unsubscribing. The landing page and blog post we dedicated to this has done really well on social media and generated some more traffic outside of our tech/maker bubble.
We have experimented with sponsoring niche newsletters, but since our marketing budget is practically zero, we haven’t seen much success from this. However, at the end of September 2019 we saw a gigantic spike in traffic and sales for a couple of days because we were recommended in this Recomendo newsletter with 28,000 subscribers. This goes to show that if we can target get the right newsletter audience, then we will almost definitely see growth in this area!
The irony of newsletters driving traffic and sales is not lost on us, but we are not anti-newsletter, we are only against unwanted newsletters. Not all subscriptions are bad, and we want our customers to hold on to the emails that they do read. This is one of the reasons we don’t have an “unsubscribe from everything” button because almost all of our users don’t want this, they just want to clear out the spam and keep the content they enjoy reading.
When we launched our product our pricing model was different to today; we used to charge customers based on how far back in time they wanted to scan for subscription emails - $3 for the past week, $5 for the past month, etc. This had many limitations, so in July 2019 we changed our pricing model from time-based to credit-based. We wrote an entire blog post about this here, but the main reasons were to make the pricing fairer, increase signup to paid customer conversions, and increase the number of returning customers.
New customers now get to use the full version of Leave Me Alone with a few free credits. This means they can see the value immediately, and once they have seen how simple it is to unsubscribe from their first few emails, are more likely to purchase package. It is fairer pricing since the packages are tiered depending on the customer's inbox size, so they only need to buy the number of credits they need. Plus, failed unsubscribes don’t cost any credits!
To further increase the number of returning customers we have a rewards system with a referral program. Customers can earn more credits for free for doing things in the app such as sharing on social media and setting a reminder to scan again. This is beneficial to us as well since it encourages people to tweet about Leave Me Alone and we get additional high-quality traffic from referrals.
The Recomendo newsletter that shared Leave Me Alone actually used a referral link which directly resulted in 624 visitors, 271 signups (43%), and 24 sales (8% of signups or 3% visit to sale) in 24 hours! This is great since the new customer gets additional free credits, and the referrer does too - that person has probably got a few thousand credits now!
Unwanted subscription emails take up a lot of time in the workplace, so we also have a Teams plan with unlimited unsubscribes for a fixed price per seat per month. If someone refers a teams customer with more than 10 users then we pay them a $50 finders fee!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?Our revenue is growing slowly, but steadily. We have had some ups and downs but overall the trend is upwards with last month's revenue almost hitting $500. Without any paid marketing we saw a 34% increase in sales, a 31% increase in new signups, and a 23% increase in revenue from packages from July to August 2019.
This month (September 2019) we hit some big milestones; 10,000 users and 1,000 sales - a conversion rate of 10%. Our revenue per customer is $0.68 and it has remained almost the same for the past 9 months. The number of signups to sales increase at the same rate, so we just need to get more traffic to get more customers!
Monthly traffic is gradually increasing too. Last month (August 2019) we had ~5.5k visits, which resulted in 750 signups (13% landing page conversion) and 82 sales (11% signup conversion) - 2.12% view to sale conversion.
Our credits pricing model is the fairest for our customers, but it is not the most stable for us to live off. Our goal is to become ramen profitable - which for me and James means reaching $2,000 in gross revenue per month. Growing our subscription customers on Teams plans is one of our priorities since recurring revenue is a more sustainable form of income for us that will mean we can continue to build and grow Leave Me Alone for all of our customers.
One of the main ways we are doing this is through direct sales. I recently listened to the Indie Hackers Podcast episode with Pat Walls (the founder of Starter Story!) where he and Courtland talked about direct sales, and how it is one of the most effective ways of growing a startup, but that nobody talks about it.
Well, I’m talking about it. I have tried direct sales in the past but with generic templates and poor attempts to add that all-important personal touch - so it’s no surprise that it didn’t work. This time I am following what has worked for Leave Me Alone all along - being honest, open, and genuine. It may sound cliche, but being myself and just reaching out to people as a real person actually works. Faking interest in someone’s business just to make a sale isn’t going to get you very far, and it goes against everything that Leave Me Alone stands for. We don’t want to be sending generic spammy emails! So, we make sure that people we reach out to can actually benefit from Leave Me Alone.
This is made miles easier because Leave Me Alone really does help people and we can demonstrate it! We have a bunch of numbers about how much time can be saved over the course of a month or year by unsubscribing from unwanted emails and we use these to show people the value they would be getting from using the service. They are a combination of our anonymous statistics and research papers on email usage which power the estimators on our pricing page and teams page. Since neither of us are marketers, doing the selling part is still outside of our comfort zone and we are still working on the pitch, but when people read our emails they respond with genuine interest.
The next step for us is to get more people interested in Leave Me Alone who are outside of our makeindie hacker audience on social media. We have started getting involved with groups and attending events in nomad hubs like Canggu, Bali to meet other like-minded people building or founding things to sustain the nomadic lifestyle. A welcome side effect of this is meeting people with whom we can share skills and knowledge, and who might have contacts that can help us. Last week we met a developer who interned at The Next Web, which gave him contacts to help grow his first app to 10 million users. As the saying goes; it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!
Our long term plans for Leave Me Alone stem from our mission statement, to help people keep control of their inbox. The current response to unwanted emails is primarily reactive - you unsubscribe if you don't need them in an ever-lasting battle. Our goal is to stop this cycle. We believe that this requires a shift from being reactive to being proactive, meaning we will be trying to help users decide which mailing lists are deserving of their attention before they subscribe to them.
We think that our Subscriber Score feature, which currently ranks each of the subscriptions in your inbox so you can quickly tell if you should unsubscribe from it, will be a powerful way of addressing this. Our next goal will be to figure out how we can apply this in a way that brings our users closer to our vision - watch this space!
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?It is still early days for Leave Me Alone, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but things are going really well!
Our biggest challenges as developers are marketing and sales. We are very much learning on the job, tweaking emails and asking for feedback on our pitch, experimenting with blog post topics and sharing to various social platforms, but we are getting better! We have learned not to agonise over the content too much, and to focus on reaching more people instead. The same goes for blog posts, after reading this article on building better writing habits, I try not to overthink the content and proofread only a couple of times before posting - even though this is difficult for me as I am very much a perfectionist!
The hardest part is not being able to work on Leave Me Alone completely full time since it doesn’t yet bring in enough revenue for us to live on.
Our single best decision was to share our journey of ups and downs, and give people an insight into our lives as we build Leave Me Alone from various locations around the world - our audience has proved invaluable when we needed feedback, advice, encouragement, and even beta testers!
However, there have been several events like this Fast Company article and being mentioned in the Recomendo newsletter which has given us a much-needed boost, and these were all luck! In fact, as I was writing this story one of our dreams came true, we were featured in Lifehacker! This is a huge win for us, as Lifehacker is one giant tech publication that we have always aspired to be featured in. Hopefully, this is the start of more press coverage and increased growth!
We have definitely learned to keep it simple. Leave Me Alone v2 has a bunch more features than when we first launched, but our main product remains the same - unsubscribing from unwanted emails. Even the unsubscribe toggle is the same as our first prototype! We get requests for features every single day and building them would be simple - it’s what we do after all. What is difficult, is to remain focused on growing and marketing, when we would much rather bury our heads in some code and keep rolling out new functionality. To keep ourselves on track we are super strict with our roadmap, and only work towards features which are improving our core offering or costing us a lot of time in support requests.
Working online and promoting your products on social media can also be a source of distraction. At the beginning I found myself spending hours looking at analytics and Twitter - they used to be pinned tabs in my browser that were open all the time so I could check them quickly. This was terrible for my focus so I have a rule where I am only allowed to look at analytics once a day (in the morning when we wake up), and I am working on condensing my time on Twitter into shorter, more meaningful sessions.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?Cookie consent: Metomic
Metomic makes data compliance and managing users' consent preferences easy. They provide us with a customisable widget that tells users what data we are asking for access to, with whom we share it, and for what.
Analytics: Simple Analytics
Simple Analytics is a privacy-focused analytics service which is open and transparent about everything from the exact data they collect and what it is used for, to their revenue and user statistics.
In-app support chat: Custom
Our chat is hosted on our servers, the transcripts are stored in the users client (never by us), and the messages are sent to Telegram. As we already use Telegram for messaging this service is a perfect privacy-focused alternative to apps like Intercom and Drift.
Error handling: Sentry
Sentry is super valuable to capture and view unhandled errors when they occur. We have made use of their webhooks to post new Sentry errors to a Telegram chat too.
Email tools: Mailgun
Mailgun is super cheap. It only costs us a few dollars to send thousands of emails a month. It’s not quite as friendly to use but are happy to send emails using our server code instead of a UI which makes it simple. Mailchimp costs hundreds of dollars for the same thing.
This tool has changed my life! We use it for a variety of things at Leave Me Alone; we fetch our open page expenses and our press coverage, and we have forms for reporting bugs, providing feedback, and gathering our Wall of Love testimonials.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?I don’t listen to many podcasts but I recommend the Indie Hackers Podcast because I love learning about other indie founders journeys. First-hand accounts of their experiences remind me that almost everyone who has found success struggled at some point to get there. Courtland interviews a huge range of people, from small side projects just getting started, to the founders of companies turning over millions!
As for books, I have a huge amount of startup books which I have never read past the first chapter because I can’t relate to them. This is not a critique of the books themselves, but they are covering business at a much larger scale than James and I are doing right now and I can’t apply the advice to our situation. The next on my list to try is Company of One by Paul Jarvis - the title suggests it might be a bit more up my street even though there’s two of us :).
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?The most important thing is to realise that the first few things you try are probably going to fail, or you might have to pivot drastically based on unexpected feedback. This is perfectly ok and normal, and will help you be a better entrepreneur if you learn from your mistakes. It takes time to find an idea that sticks. Don’t hold onto a bad idea or product just because it’s the easy option. It’s difficult to admit that something you built or are building isn’t working, isn’t getting users, and isn’t growing. If you can recognise when this is happening and be objective about it, then you will waste less time bouncing back and working on your next idea.
Imposter syndrome is incredibly real. Document your journey, publicly or in private, and when you are struggling, look at your early prototypes and blog posts to see how far you have come. Join communities, meet people, and ask for help. Being a founder can be lonely - even James and I have experienced this despite traveling and founding Leave Me Alone together. I never thought I would be featured in Starter Story, and receiving advice requests from other makers that I feel confident answering, and feeling oddly calm at the prospect of live streaming our upcoming launch - one day I will be doing even bigger things and looking back on this.
Just get out there, out of your comfort zone, and start doing. It’s scary, it’s hard work, and it’s stressful, but it’s incredibly rewarding when you succeed and you have customers telling you how much you have helped them. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Leave Me Alone. I hope you’ll follow along with our journey :).
Where can we go to learn more?
- Website: leavemealone.app
- Facebook: @LeaveMeAloneApp
- Twitter: @LeaveMeAloneApp
- LinkedIn: @LeaveMeAloneApp
- Blog: blog.leavemealone.app
- Email: [email protected]
- Personal Instagram: @dinkydani
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