Leave Me Alone / Productivity / Remote / $ 500 MRR

Unsubscribe from spam emails - Story of Leave Me Alone

Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on?

Hello! My name is Danielle, I work remotely with my partner James. Together we founded Leave Me Alone.

Leave Me Alone is a privacy-focused service which makes it easy to unsubscribe from spam emails.

What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?

James and I find managing emails a huge drain on time and productivity. Spam emails plagued us daily and we wanted a service which would show all of the email lists we were subscribed to and allow us to unsubscribe easily.

Although there a few services which would help us for free, a closer look showed they didn’t do everything we wanted:

1. Privacy is important to us but services like Unroll Me are free because they make their money by collecting the metadata AND content of your emails and selling it - this was a big no for us.

2. Many of the other services who did respect our data just move subscription emails into folders or automatically delete them before you see them. This means we would still be subscribed to that mailing list and would start receiving spam emails again if we stop using that tool - this wasn’t good for us and the senders wouldn’t know that we actually wanted to opt-out.

Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?

We discovered a problem and we needed to determine if it was something that bothers other people. So we picked a name, created a quick landing page, and started sharing it around on social media.

The response was overwhelmingly positive! Leave Me Alone was to become an ethical and privacy first email unsubscription service. 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.

We decided that going forward we would get community feedback on every decision we made. This included features, design, colours, domain names, and even bits of copy.

We whipped together our ideas and in a few days had a working prototype. Leave Me Alone scanned a users Gmail inbox for marketing emails, and allowed them to unsubscribe from them with a single click.

It was important to get the product in front of people as quickly as possible. Our beta testers gave us incredible feedback, 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.

Since the beta was so successful we soft launched to Twitter and other social media. Again, we had received tonnes of positive feedback and we hoped we were on to something which could be successful.

We launched Leave Me Alone on Product Hunt roughly 6 weeks after the idea was born and it was an incredible day. We reached #1 product of the day with nearly 1,000 upvotes and made $1,186 in sales.

The idea was validated and it was time to build on the MVP. We spent the next 5 months working on improving the product...

...and we reach today!

Leave Me Alone has been growing steadily and we couldn't be happier! Both James and I have worked really hard to make the service faster, the UI better, and unsubscribing easier.

We are very excited have released a brand new major version - Leave Me Alone v2!

The product our customers know and love is still the same but with some awesome new features to make the experience better;

⭐️ Credits to unsubscribe

? Enterprise plans

? Multiple email account support

☕️ Improved mail list UI

? Password login + 2FA

?️ Subscriber Score

? Redesigned homepage

? New .app url

You can read the full breakdown of the new features here

So now development is paused and our focus will be on marketing to get more users and grow our enterprise customer base to achieve sustainable MRR!

What has been your biggest failure or struggle?

The hardest thing for us is marketing. As developers it's something we struggle the most with and are trying to improve upon.

And what has been your biggest achievement or success?

Getting our first payment was a huge achievement for us. This really validated that there was a need for our product and people were willing to pay for it.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We haven't done much marketing yet so most of the traffic has been from Twitter and our blog. We listen to all of our customers and work to continually improve the service.

We also have a referral scheme where users can invite people to use Leave Me Alone. Both users will get free credits to unsubscribe with.

Describe the process of launching the business. 

We launched Leave Me Alone on Product Hunt from Ecuador. The time difference from San Francisco meant we were up at 3am for the launch!

We spent the day replying to comments and promoting our launch on Twitter, Hacker News, Indie Hackers and other communities.

You can read more about our launch here

Did you use Betalist or PH or other Startup Launching Platform for Launching ? How was that experience ?

We used Product Hunt for our launch. We were able to prepare our launch before hand, preview how the post would look, and be sure what time it would go live. They featured us and tweeted about Leave Me Alone which helped too!

What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?

When we launched our pricing model was time-based - users would pay for how far back in time they wanted us to search for subscription emails. This didn't show users immediate value and meant they may not return for 6 months.

We changed our pricing to credit-based and now charge a small amount for each unsubscribe. 1 unsubscribe = 1 credit - users purchase packages of credits to fit the size of their inbox and only pay for what they unsubscribe from.

New users start with some credits so they can start unsubscribing which immediately demonstrates value. Customers don't feel any pressure to unsubscribe from everything in one go. The credit-based pricing encourages users to return more often and ditch several emails each time rather than clearing their entire inbox in one mammoth sitting.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?

Learning how to rest and recover has been paramount to the success of Leave Me Alone. When we started Leave Me Alone we were also doing several freelance projects and almost burned out. It's hard to take time off you're eager to ship but we learned that it can have a negative effect on our work and personal lives if we don't take time for ourselves.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

We have learned the value of being open and transparent in every way we can. Connecting with our customers and getting real feedback has been the best way to grow and build a product people want and will pay for.

Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?

Sahil Lavingia the founder of Gumroad & Josh Pigford the founder of Baremetrics

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I love reading founder stories. Both Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton and Shoe Dog by Phil Knight were very inspirational and show that the road to success is difficult even for the biggest companies.

What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?

Don't be afraid to fail and accept that you will always be learning - building a product is easy but getting users is hard. However, it's all worth it when you get positive feedback and customers tell you that your product is amazing and that you've made a real difference to them

We need to make some money from our products so that we can continue working on them full time, but the real satisfaction comes from building something people love!

About The Author : Binu Mathew

Binu Mathew is the CEO of itmarkerz technologies. It has been catering to the custom software needs of SMEs in India and abroad since March 2011. Binu started his programming and freelance carrier at the age of 17. over around 13 years of experience in startups, startup visas around the globe, and Blogging. You can reach him on Twitter or LinkedIn