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[ Leopard Geckos: A Beginner's Guide ]

Reposting due to the beloved u/skinkerdoodle taking a moderation break :)
Please also check out the advanced care guide after looking at this one!
If you have ANY questions after finishing this guide, feel free to ask below and I, or someone else experienced, will try and answer the question for you. We also have a discord server where you can ask questions and chat! If you're too embarrassed to post, feel free to PM me. I want this to post to be a safe space for beginners to ask questions and learn! The FAQ section may also answer some more "advanced" topics even if you're not a complete beginner. Take a look!
Also look in the comment section for the previous beginner guide posts here and here for answers to questions. Maybe your question has already been posted!
Thinking about getting a leopard gecko? Awesome! They make great pets and owning them is a very rewarding experience. You may be scouring the web and start to think "where the heck do I start"! In this guide I'll be giving detailed advice to prepare you for your first gecko.
What to buy before you get a gecko:
This is a checklist of everything you need to buy BEFORE purchasing your gecko. It's important to set up before you get your new friend just in case some items, like the heating pad, end up not working.
THE ESSENTIALS
20G long is the accepted standard tank for an adult. You can go bigger but you'll have to provide adequate cover and heat sources. Also that whole "baby geckos can't be in a big tank" thing is completely untrue! You are perfectly fine buying an "end game" tank for your gecko. Babies can still be kept in a 10 gallon tank (if you are currently short on space, etc), but should be moved once they're starting to grow older and larger so that they can be more comfortable. I always recommend to buy your adult tank right off the bat. You'll save more money in the long run. If you're okay waiting for awhile Petco has a 1$ per gallon sale a few times a year. It's a pretty good deal.
Contrary to popular belief, leos can see most colors of light (even red). Albinos are especially sensitive to bright lights. Natural room lighting is acceptable and will not mess up their day/night cycles. Your heating pad should cover 1/3rd of your tank. You want a temperature gradient. I personally use the Zoo Med brand 30-40g size for my 20 gallon long tanks. This goes under the tank. Make sure your tank is slightly raised to provide air flow.
You can also use deep heat projects, radiant heat panels, etc to heat your tank. Just keep in mind these will also need to be temp controlled to keep your leopard gecko safe. IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE LOOSE SUBSTRATE (depending on how thick/deep it is) YOU WILL MOST LIKELY HAVE TO USE OVERHEAD HEATING. This will ensure accurate surface and air temps.
YOU CAN USE LOW OUTPUT (5% or less) UVB LIGHTS. Just provide plenty of cover if your leo is albino and watch to make sure they aren't too stressed. They are optional if you are supplementing properly.
Heating sources get HOT. I mean up to 120F unregulated just for heating pads. You need to control the temperature! I personally use this thermostat. You want the floor of the tank to be 90F. Keeping it this temperature will make sure you have a happy, healthy gecko. Lower temps can cause your gecko to not eat and digest properly. This is also a good thermostat.

NO CALCI-SAND/COLORED SAND. I cannot stress this enough. These can cause impaction which can lead to death. Good beginner substrate include: Paper towels, mixed naturalistic substrate (play sand + top soil is a good starting base, you can also add in eco earth, clay) mixed with tile (on the hot side works the best) or just plain tile (no linoleum tile and it must be textured). Eco earth by itself is not a good substrate and can get too dusty/dry. Reptile carpet is just a pain to clean and your leopard gecko can get claws and teeth stuck in it.
* Three hides (Hot, moist, and cool)
You want three hides in your tank. One for the hot side of the tank (positioned over the heating pad). This will be the place your gecko spends most of it's time. Geckos tend to like very secure hides, so you want to have a hide that provides as little visibility as possible. I have found my geckos really like this hide as their hot hide. You can pick out whatever you like though! For the moist hide you want a container that can hold in humidity. This hide is to help aid shedding, so it's of the utmost importance! Many people use tupperware containers with holes cut into it. The smaller the entrance the better, as to keep the humidity in. This hide should be at least partially on the heat mat and have moist paper towel, moss, or eco earth. The cool hide should be on the complete opposite side of the hot hide. Your gecko needs somewhere to escape to if it gets too hot.
* Infrared Temp Gun
You want to double check your temperatures and make sure they're accurate and an infrared temp gun is the best way to do it! I use this one.
* Bowl for calcium/food/water
Your leopard gecko needs a source of calcium (without d3) in the tank. They'll lick it up as they need it. This is a key component of warding off MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease). Just place it in the tank and leave it be. Refresh it every once in awhile. Food bowl is self explanatory. Water bowl should be near the middle of the tank or the cool side. I recommend buying something similar to this if you want tap water to be reptile safe.
* Multivitamin & Calcium (with and without d3)
These are essential to a healthy, happy leopard gecko. These are used for dusting food. There are plenty of brands to choose from. Repashy and Zoo Med make both. Either are good!
ADDITIONAL
* Decor
Most up to you! You want the tank to have enough decor that your gecko doesn't feel exposed. Plastic plants are great for this. If you're using craft store plants make sure they do not bleed/rub off dye. File down sharp edges. Places like Petco will match their online prices, sometimes saving you a lot of money. Amazon also had good prices sometimes, so keep an eye out. If you're crafty you can always make your own decor. Just make sure you use reptile safe products.
* Leopard Gecko Emergency Kit
It should contain: betadine (for sterilizing wounds), neosporin without pain relief, q-tips, olive oil (to aid pooping if your gecko is impacted), coconut oil (to aid shedding), flour or a clotter (to stop bleeding), and tweezers. All of this should cover basic medical emergencies like minor scratches, etc.
> [This critter keeper (size depends on how many geckos). Repashy grub pie, extra supplements, uni heat (or reptile) heat packs, a fleece blanket, digital thermometer, heat tape (or maybe a mini size heating pad by zoo med as they can be used with plastic), two bowls. In some cases where you have multiple geckos, create separated areas in a larger fauna box.
Credit Sybilestial !
* Plastic container with lid
Great for saunas if your gecko is having trouble shedding and for holding your gecko while cleaning the tank!
* Tongs
If you're iffy about touching insects, this may be the way to go. Plus your gecko may be scared for your hands at first.
* Scale
This is a good way to track your gecko's weight, especially if they're young. Even for adults getting a base line weight is beneficial. I just use a food scale. Most people measure geckos in grams! I usually weigh everyone once every two weeks.
* A Journal/Calendar
Might sound a little nuts but keeping track of gecko feedings, last time they shed, etc. will make your life so much easier. I personally record the last time my geckos shed, ate, weights, pooped, etc. I also jot down any notes about their behaviors or any changes to their health. It's good to keep track of these things in case your gecko becomes ill and needs to go to the vet.
PICKING OUT YOUR GECKO
My personal recommendation is to buy from a reputable breeder or from a breeder at an expo. This generally ensures you are getting a healthy, happy gecko. Buying from a pet store is risky business as many geckos from chain stores carry parasites or have health issues. You could end up paying a hefty vet bill or with a short lived gecko. Unfortunately there are still some shady breeders too. I'll list a few warning signs:
* can't answer questions about their geckos (parents, genetics, hatch date, weight, etc)
* can't tell you the morph
* won't show you pictures of the gecko
* improper husbandry
* skinny, sickly looking geckos (metabolic bone disease, stick tail, lethargic, etc)
There are plenty of places where you can get honest reviews of breeders like the Board of Inquiry on Faunaclassified as well as a few groups on Facebook. Don't always trust facebook reviews as they can be censored! Get an opinion from actual customers. Do research. [Here's another guide I wrote on this subject.
I generally do not recommend enigma morph geckos to beginners. This is my personal opinion. There is always a chance your gecko will end up with enigma syndrome somewhere down the line. Enigma syndrome is a neurological disorder tied to the enigma gene. This leads to: balance issues, circling, stargazing, seizures, death rolling, coordination issues, and more. Feeding can become extremely difficult and I consider enigma syndrome geckos a little more advanced care. White and Yellow morphs can also exhibit a similar syndrome but it's much rarer, *as it can be bred out*. It's not tied to the W&Y gene. Lemon frosts, a rather expensive morph, has been known to grow tumors. Their health issues are so severe that many breeders have stopped producing them entirely. I don't think many beginners have 2.5k to drop on a gecko but just in case you were thinking about it, don't!
Babies can be much more skittish than adults and a little bit more delicate. If you want something more hearty go for a slightly older gecko! Babies also eat a lot of food so if you're looking to spend a little bit less money an adult is also the way to go. Babies change in color A LOT so if you are looking for a gecko of a certain color an adult is your best bet to get exactly what you want.
Leos are able to be temperature sexed and many breeders will label them TSF (temp sex female) or TSM (temp sex male). Keep in mind this is not a 100% guarantee you will get that sex. There is still a chance they will turn out to be the opposite sex. Snows are notorious for having a lower accuracy rate when temp sexed. If you want a guaranteed male or female you will have to buy older.
DO NOT PLACE ANY GECKOS TOGETHER! DO NOT COHAB. Geckos are solitary creatures and thrive when housed alone. Keeping geckos together can lead to fighting and serious injuries, and usually ends up stressing the animals out. Behavior that may look cute, like cuddling, are actually signs of aggression and dominance. Here is an example of what happened to a leo that was housed together with another gecko. Don't risk your animals. Here's a great read from one of our sub members 410cs:
It's common knowledge that Leos are territorial, regardless of Gender, they're tolerant to a point until they snap. It can be 3 minutes together, it can be 10 years. Eventually they will snap and something like this will happen. It's quite clear that, even if the cause of the break wasn't due to a fight, you need to separate them. Let's go through some of the most basic and obvious reasons why:
* Competition for the, poor quality, of food.
* It seems like you're feeding those vacuum-packed locusts, or at least some sort of dead variant. These hold next to no nutritional value.
* The food there, although dusted, is going to be fought-over and dominated, regardless of if you've ever seen this happen. The girl in the picture is awfully thin, I have no doubts that this is a major factor of this.
* 100x Easier for parasites and disease to spread.
* They eat, sleep, poop and live in the same area. This is a huge no-no when it comes to a lot of reptiles. Considering some breeders have been wiped out over using the same equipment, (tongs), I'd seriously not be surprised if every Geck in that tank has some sort of parasitical load; either a worryingly large load of Pinworm or ever worse, (Geckos can be crypto-positive even if they're not rapidly losing weight).
* The male is going to, eventually, breed with the females.
* Sometimes males just don't breed successfully when they're in-season, which might be why you haven't experienced any (Fertile) eggs yet. When they are they act like a dog in heat. The breeding stress is going to be awfully harsh on your females, it's not uncommon for females to die as a result of over breeding.
* General dominance over heat, hides, etc.
* Are your Geckos sleeping together? Are they "cuddling"? I wouldn't be surprised. You can have them in a 75 Gal with a hundred hides and there still is a chance of them doing this.
* It's not a case of if they fight, it's when they fight.
* They don't always show warning signs. They can be fine one minute and, before you know it, one won't have a limb.
Please, for the sake of the Geckos, house them individually. If they go off of food it's due to change of environment, they don't have the emotional capabilities to miss each other. I don't care if they're in 10Gals for now, just do it. For the sake of your pets. It's borderline animal cruelty.
SETTING UP YOUR NEW FRIEND & THE FIRST WEEKS
Once you have acquired your gecko and placed it in the tank LEAVE IT ALONE! You should wait at least 5-7 days before handling or messing around with your gecko. Your new friend is scared and adjusting to a big change. It can be tempting, especially as a beginner, but hold off. If you can I would wait until your gecko is eating as well before handling. You want to keep your interaction to a minimum like cleaning up poop, giving your gecko food, etc. Covering the tank with a blanket is also a good way to make your gecko feel safer. Choose a quiet place for the tank.
Observe your gecko and make sure it's not exhibiting signs of illness. If your gecko seems lethargic, isn't pooping after eating, bloated, walking irregularly, losing weight rapidly, etc go to the vet! Don't wait! Taking action as soon as possible is the best thing you can do for your gecko. Also watch for your gecko's first shed to make sure they are shedding properly in their new environment.
TAMING AND HANDLING
Patience is key to taming your new gecko! It can take awhile for them to trust you, especially if they are younger. Adolescent geckos tend to be more skittish. You want to start off by putting your hand in the tank, within sight of your gecko, for at least ten minutes a day. This is to get your gecko used to your hand and scent. Once they seem a bit more receptive (walking around, licking your hand, looking curious) you can start to try picking them up. Always scoop up your gecko from below, working your hand underneath their stomach and supporting their legs. Grabbing from above triggers their prey instinct and will scare them. Hold them over the tank at first, in case they leap or skitter off your hand, to prevent injury! Once they seem calm in your hands, then you can start taking them away from the tank. Hand feeding is also a good way to bond with your gecko and make sure they associate your hand with positive things (aka food).
Congrats! You tamed your gecko!
FEEDING
Feeding is a subject I see a ton of topics about in the subreddit so let's go over the basics!
Acceptable feeders include:
* Mealworms (can be kept in oats/bran meal in the fridge)
* Superworms (can be kept in oats/bran meal DO NOT REFRIGERATE)
* Crickets (kept in normal container, DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN THE TANK THEY WILL BITE YOUR LEO)
* Dubia Roaches (kept in normal containetank/whatever)
* Hornworms (Treat, optional, fed once a week, 1 worm)
* Waxworms (Treat, optional, fed **rarely**, only 1-2)
* Butterworms (Treat, optional, fed once a week or less, 1-2)
* Here's a nutritional feeder insect chart
Remember, variety is good for your gecko. Do not over feed treat foods! They should be a rare occurrence and you should only feed 1-2 per week or less, especially for waxworms (which can be addictive). Do not feed treat foods to sick geckos, very young geckos, or picky eaters. Only feed treat foods to healthy geckos who are eating regularly. Feel free to mix and match feeders! GUT LOAD YOUR FEEDERS. Gut loading is feeding your insects prior to feeding them to your gecko. Carrots, lettuce, etc should be fed 12 hours ahead of time. You want to give them time to eat the veggies or fruit. I usually feed them once a week besides gut loading to make sure they get the moisture they need from the food. Dusting is also another key part of feeding. Make sure the insects are lightly dusted with calcium or multivitamin.
Babies should eat every day, as much as they can eat in 15 minutes. "Teen" geckos (6-9 months) should be eating every other day. Usually teen geckos will decide this for themselves and start refusing food every day. Adults (1 year and over) should eat every 2-3 (or longer) days depending on weight.
FAQ
MY GECKO HAS STUCK SHED/IS HAVING PROBLEMS SHEDDING AHHHH
First of all, DON'T PANIC! Stuck shed happens. The easiest way to loosen up stuck shed is a gecko sauna! Take your plastic container and fill it with paper towels, soaked in warm water. Place your gecko in the container for 10-15 minutes. Then you can attempt to rub the stuck shed off with the q-tip from the gecko first aid kit. Be gentle but persistent. Your gecko may get a bit upset but this is okay. Stuck shed can lead to lost toes, tail tips, and other various problems. A little bit of stress is better than losing a toe! If this still doesn't work you can use a bit of coconut oil on the tip of a q-tip and gently rub the shed skin with it.
MY NEW GECKO ISN'T EATING AHH
New geckos are stressed out and this can lead to them not eating, so be patient and wait. Sometimes it can take over a week and even then they may still eat a bit irregularly for awhile. If your gecko seems lethargic, sickly, or is rapidly losing weight while also not eating, a vet visit is in order. Try to find a reptile vet. *ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOUR TEMPERATURES!* Low or irregular temperatures can cause a gecko to not eat.
Geckos may also delay eating if they are about to shed or have just shed. Female leopard geckos can also go off food if they are ovulating (producing eggs). Look for white oval shapes in your gecko's lower stomach. Here is an image. All you can do is wait it out until the female eats again. Males may also go off food during breeding season.
If you change around your gecko's tank or move their tank to a new location this can also cause them to get stressed and stop eating. Consider any small (or large) changes you've made to your gecko's environment when trying to figure out why your gecko won't eat.
My gecko just threw up its food! What's wrong with it?
Sometimes geckos regurgitate food when they've eaten too much too fast. Low temperatures can also lead to regurgitation. Check your temperatures and make sure your heating pad is working properly. Parasites can also cause geckos to throw up their food. If you suspect parasites, call a vet.
Do albino leopard geckos have any special care?
Their eyes are very sensitive. They may not like bright light at all or require more cover in their tank to protect their eyes. Other than that they are normal geckos.
It's cold where I live and I can't maintain the necessary temperature. What can I do?
You can buy a ceramic heat emitter. This is a bulb you put into a lamp that gives off no light but produces heat. You can hook this up to a dimmer to control the temperature or another thermostat. I've found a 45w or a 60w does the job pretty well. It should boost your temps up to an acceptable level.
What should my tank look like? What are some examples?
Here are some examples: [1](https://i.imgur.com/JDpedEy.jpg), [2](https://i.imgur.com/1NUjJ1z.jpg), [3](https://i.imgur.com/WUxiXaD.jpg), [4](https://i.imgur.com/UL7C9i7.jpg)
I have other reptiles blah blah
QUARANTINE YOUR GECKO!
Quarantining for 60-90 days is the preferable option, especially if your gecko is showing any signs of sickness. Use separate tools, etc. If you purchase another gecko don't switch around decor between the tanks, etc. Be safe and save yourself a possible heartache and cash.
My female is ovulating. What do I do?
Look for white oval shapes in your gecko's lower stomach. If your female has eggs you can make a lay box. A closed container with eco earth will do. If she lays them, they will most likely be infertile and can be thrown away. Leopard geckos can lay many eggs during breeding season. Make sure you're supplementing a bit extra, as egg laying is quite taxing. Leopard geckos can also reabsorb their eggs. Females can ovulate pretty early (think 8 months or so) depending how large they are.
My leopard gecko is waving/shaking it's tail!
Tail waving means your gecko is scared and you should leave them alone. Tail shaking is pretty common when hunting and just means they're excited. Loud tail rattling is a sign a male wants to breed.
Is my leopard gecko a boy or a girl?
See this [image]. Males will have visible pores and two hemipenes at the base of their tail in comparison to females. Leopard geckos can usually be sexed around 4 months of age, though males may take longer to mature. At 5-6 months you should be able to tell for yourself. Place the gecko in a clear, plastic container and take a look!
My leopard gecko won't eat from a bowl!
Some geckos don't like bowls. They like the hunt! You may have to tong/hand feed. You can try starving them out until they eat from the bowl, if you're really adamant about it. Or as sybilestial suggests:
>If the geckos aren't eating from bowls, try clear ones. You can find a set of clear candle holders (that do not come with a candle) at dollar stores.
How long can my gecko be left alone?
Most adults can be left a few days since their feeding schedules are spread out. Babies will need someone to watch them if you need to go somewhere, as they need to eat every day. If you can get your baby to eat out of a bowl, you can probably leave them as well. If your gecko is about to shed or looks dull, make sure you thoroughly dampen the moist hide.
I never seen my gecko! Why?
Leopard geckos nocturnal/crepuscular. They come out at night. You may not see your gecko out during the day at all. Don't worry, this is normal.
My power went out what do I do?!
There are reptile specific warmers, usually used for shipping, that you can buy and use as well. They come in different hour intervals like 40, 72, etc. Make sure you follow the instructions! If you live in an area that is hit by storms and loses power often, be PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME! If you live somewhere relatively warm year round, your gecko will be okay without heat for a day or two. Just make sure you don't feed them during this time.
What should my tank's humidity be?
40%! If your humidity gets too high I suggest a dehumidifier for the room your leo is in. If your water bowl is large, switch it for a smaller one. Don't put the water bowl on the hot side. Putting a sock filled with rice into the tank can help a little bit too.
My gecko looks pale. IS IT DYING??
No, it's just about to shed! Leopard geckos usually shed once every 2-3 weeks. In the days beforehand they'll get very dull looking. The day of they usually turn white. Shedding usually takes a day or so. Make sure you keep your moist hide damp! Leopard geckos eat their shed as they're peeling it off themselves so don't be alarmed if you don't find anything afterwards
What is MBD? You mention that a lot.
MBD is Metabolic Bone Disease. This happens in geckos who are not supplemented properly with calcium and multivitamins. Here is a good article about it. Proper supplementation is important!
My gecko is sick what do I do?
Find a reptile vet (there's a vet link in the sidebar)! In order to ensure your reptile gets the best care possible you should always use a vet experienced in reptiles. I recommend you find one ahead of time near your area. And, as always, have a decent amount of cash tucked away somewhere in case your reptile gets sick. Exotic vet care is expensive and you never know when an emergency will pop up.
Where can I find pictures that illustrate the conditions and sicknesses you talk about?
Lizardbeans on tumblr has a great guide as well, with a bunch of pictures of different leopard gecko conditions.
How do I use Betadine? If my gecko gets a minor injury what should I do?
Let's say your gecko manages to hurt it's toe. It's bleeding a little bit but otherwise it looks pretty minor.
  1. Soak the reptile in warmish chest deep water to which Betadine (povidone-iodine) has been added to color the water to a deep medium tea color. Leave in the tub for 15-20 minutes, refreshing the warm water and Betadine as necessary. If the wound is swollen and crusty, carefully pick off the scab/crusty exudates. Note that if the reptile defecates in the tub, it must be washed out, disinfected and another Betadine soak set up. Flush the wound area with fresh water before being placed back in the new bath.
  2. Remove the reptile from the tub and flush the wound with fresh dilute Betadine.
  3. At night, top the wound with triple antibiotic ointment (original ointment, pain relief free). Repeat for a week or until the wound is healing over.
  4. If there is any sign of swelling which occurs after the bathing and treatment or such swelling does not abate after a week, the animal must be seen by an experienced reptile vet.
I have found antibiotic ointment works wonders for small wounds. Nose bumps/scrapes, etc!
My gecko can't seem to shed properly. There's always stuck shed. What's the deal?
First off, make sure they're using their moist hide right. Make sure you spray it consistently, especially when they start to get dull in color preparing to shed. Keep the moist hide half on, half on the heating pad at the very least. Hot and humid is far better than cold and humid when it comes to shedding!
Also make sure you are supplementing your leopard gecko properly with multivitamins. As stated by BovieVei her gecko had problems shedding due to a Vitamin A deficiency!
>Repeated bad sheds can also be attributed to vitamin a deficiency. My Leo recently had to go to the vet for it and got a vitamin a booster shot and it was so weird last time he shed because the skin came right off where he got the injection before anywhere else. (the rest of the shed was much better than usual too). Either way you need to get this poor baby to a vet.
>Vitamin a deficiency can include lethargy and reduced appetite, bad sheds, lizard smegma (ew), and eye ulcers.
So keep up those vitamins, folks!
My gecko is big... is it a giant/super giant?
Most likely? No, it is not. If it is not labeled as a giant/super giant or is from a pet store those chances are even lower. Giants are only giants if they hold the giant gene (which is specifically bred for and highly desired). Otherwise you just have yourself a large, impressive gecko which is pretty awesome anyway! Here's a good article written by member Professional_Gecko.
What morph is my pet store/whatever gecko?
Without genetics we can only give you a guess, especially with albinos. Albino strains are impossible to 100% positively identify through just looking at them.
My gecko's eyes are different from a normal gecko's eyes?
Leopard geckos have many different eye types other than the standard grey on normals. There's [full eclipse eyes](https://i.imgur.com/VBnqmv8.jpg), which are pure black, commonly seen on [super snows](https://i.imgur.com/rNI3fdJ.jpg), galaxies, and other eclipse morphs. Pure red eyes, commonly seen on morphs like [Raptors](https://i.imgur.com/0uxvGOH.jpg), [Radars](https://i.imgur.com/6sII6ur.jpg), and other albinos. There's [snake eyes](https://i.imgur.com/SeFd6JF.jpg) which are a variant of the eclipse eyes but they are eyes which have some solid pigment but are not completely solid. There's also [brown-reddish eyes](https://i.imgur.com/I0WAREx.jpg) that are common with enigmas. The albino strains (Tremper, Bell, Rainwater) have a wide variety of eye colors.
What kinds of albinos are there?
Tremper is the most popular albino strain. It is abundant compared to Bell and Rainwater (also sometimes called Las Vegas). Bells and Rainwaters tend to be more pricey because of this. Many have albino strain specific morphs. Raptors are Tremper specific while Radars are Bell specific. Firewaters are a Rainwater specific morph.
Can I breed my two pet store geckos?
I wouldn't recommend it. Mixing unknown genetics can be a risky business as there's so many genes you shouldn't cross. Gem, tug, and mack snows should never be crossed. Certain eye types should not be crossed. Albino genes cannot be crossed. Plus you don't know what other hets (genes) the gecko is carrying as they don't exhibit this outwardly. Not to mention selling the babies will be much harder (and you're going to have a ton of them. If you are going to breed, do it right by buying to geckos with known genetics!

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It is a notable brand far and wide. William slope was established in 1934. They have a fabulous inclusion of live football matches and different games. Their bet slip is splendid as well, allowing you full usefulness in controlling your wagering alternatives. You can make installment and withdrawal through various techniques.
9-Betvictor
Betvictor began its capacities during the 1940s. Through quality organizations, they have grown an enormous nearness in the online business. Betvictor isn't constrained to sports wagering, and they are likewise running some non-sports markets. They have entirely broad sportsbook which incorporates rugby, snooker, volleyball, cricket and darts.
10-22bet
22bet was set up in2017. Their sportsbook is an incredible fascination towards clients. Football, cricket, golf and tennis are the principle zones to take a gander at. 22bet is exceptionally liberal when discussing welcome rewards. Their clients must be 18+ to enroll themselves.
11-Paddy Power
Paddy Power is one of the most famous brands which is perceived all around the globe. They began their administrations in 1988 when three Irish bookmakers met up. There is a gigantic mean acknowledge in the Paddy Power sportsbook.
12-Unibet
Unibet is one of the well known brands in Europe and India. It was established in 1997. Their sportsbook spread tennis, football, b-ball just as chess, futsal, floor ball, bandy and surfing. They likewise offer a cash back reward for new clients. They offer a gigantic scope of wagering markets.
Unibet is probably the most seasoned game bookmaker around the world, set up in 1997, serving a large number of web based wagering account holders. It is notable all over Europe for its superb games wagering, online gambling club and poker stages.
13-Betfred
Betfred is a British bookmaker. They offer their administrations for India also. Betting power licenses them. The Betfred Empire starts working in 1967. They are offering a noteworthy edge on football wagering. You can either utilize their versatile application or site to make the most of their administrations.
14-888sport
It is an European based wagering stage which acknowledges the clients of India also. It is one of the perceived brands in odd markets. They are covering numerous games like rugby, soccer, cricket, tennis, horse dashing golf, boxing cycling and numerous others. You can make the most of their liberal invite offers.
15-Coral
When discussing Indian bookmakers, Coral is among the primary names you can consider. Coral was established during the 1920s, and it is one of the most well known brands when talking about excellent items and offers. They show top European nearby soccer with stunning highlights. Numerous different games have been presented, including football classes.
16-Royal Panda
Illustrious Panda is a worldwide stage which is offering their administrations all around India. They are advancing on the web gambling clubs, not the sportsbook. You can utilize their versatile application and site to make the most of their inventive rewards. It is one of the strictest betting locales. They are offering a wide scope of wagering markets. They are covering circuitous 40 games and a lot of classes.
17-Smarkets
Smarkets is an online stage which was established by a little gathering of speculator. They are acclaimed for their propelled exchanging stage and 25th quickest developed organization in Europe. Smarkets is exceptionally simple to utilize. They are sans offering wagers for their new clients and welcome rewards. Their essential center is noteworthy games like football tennis, golf, baseball and cricket.
18-Leovegas
It gives a gigantic portable wagering experience. Leovegas assumes an indispensable job in Indian wagering site. As we enter the landing page of Leovegas India, the primary thing we see slider is a slider in the focal point of the screen, publicizing for the most well known games and advancements here on Leovegas. Leovegas offers a clean and userfriendly stage.
19-10cric
As an ever increasing number of wagering locales are beginning to focus on the imperative Indian market, it is turning into somewhat hard for players to choose which spot is most appropriate for them. One of the most common issues is by all accounts how to get to these sites
20-Bet365
Bet365 is celebrated for being one of the greatest and best-wagering locales on the planet. Be that as it may, what makes Bet365 great? That response to this inquiry is that Bet365 has taken the internet wagering industry to an uncommon new level. They give the best betting involvement with all territories. They have the most gigantic assortment of gambling club games and sports wagering. They offer the best portable wagering experience, the best reward on wagering and simply the most amazing live betting experience generally.
Be that as it may, the point which makes Bet365 the world's greatest wagering site is the notoriety for unwavering quality that they have worked for themselves in years. Bet365 is a wagering site you can trust. They generally pay what they owe, and they put incredible significance on their notoriety is the thing that makes Bet365 a genuinely extraordinary bookmaker.
21-Sportsbet.io
Sportsbet.io is a worldwide games wagering organization that was established by individuals with an energy for sports. When you enter the site of Sportsbet.io, you get the inclination that this whole site is committed to sports wagering. It doesn't have the equivalent lavish impression that you jump on an old wagering site like Unibet or Betway. It's more Spartan and old school.
Then again, this isn't really an awful thing. They don't attempt to push ads or advancements at all of you an opportunity to achieve client's consideration. It's an entirely reliable spot for individuals who simply need to put down wagers and not need to stress over something over the top.
22-Bodog
Bodog is an old wagering bookmaker really among the most seasoned on the planet which has as of late opened up and began tolerating Indians players.
They have set up the procedure of the wagering site principally to serve bettors from India, where they endeavor an assortment of live cricket wagering alternatives, give helpful choices of storing cash and permit Indian money.
On the off chance that you appreciate sports wagering and club games or poker sitting, at that point you will in all likelihood appreciate Bodog India.
Bodog begins from Europe, yet it has an Indian site that is customized to suit the flavor of Indian players. Consequently it is of nothing unexpected to discover that the Bodog India Sports wagering is wealthy in cricket wagering.
The sportsbook incorporates all the noteworthy universal cricket competitions and arrangement, just as the well known classes like the Indian Premier League and the huge slam group Australia.
23-1XBET
1XBET Bookmaker is a youthful and quickly developing wagering site. Established in 2007, earlier it worked distinctly in the region, with more than 1,000 wagering bookmakers in Russia, and later started the experience in the online market. 1XBET is viewed as the main global bookmaker, in India the genuine speculators know it for quite a while in light of the fact that he underpins Indian rupee (INR) and has a Hindi language Version.
1XBET is mainstream for Indian expert punters, yet before long will be known in each edge of India, for the straightforward reasons that its installments segment is adjustable. So you can pick INDIA (from the rundown of nations) and see the techniques for stores and pulls back are accessible, obviously, don't missing Neteller and skrill all simple and clear.
24-BET WINNER
On the off chance that you are searching for a bookmaker that gives the best chances on the most famous games, the Betwinner might be the wagering site you are searching for.
Wager victor is a moderately new wagering site, however they have just become famous as the spot to be with regards to finding the best chances.
Wager victor is a moderately ongoing theorist that start its tasks in 2016 in the wake of accomplishing an administration permit from (Curaçao eGaming) for working on the web. Betb2b.com fabricated this site, and it is a similar program that is adding to 1xBET (acclaimed administrator of Russia) since 2007.
25-COME ON
Regardless of whether it is their online club activity or their games extend, COMEON India perseveres freely from others, through their broad inclusion and activities. They spread 29 classes of sports and offer a few other elective markets. This sportsbook underpins practically all standard installment designs and gives an incredible reward to new clients.
When you join as a part, you get an invite reward, and you can pick the alternative for the prize that you like. You can store cash once you sign in to your record by essentially tapping on the decision of store. ComeOn India offers the accompanying choices to store your cash
MasterCard
Visa Card
Paysafe Card
Skrill
Neteller
MuchBetter and the sky is the limit from there
26-Pinnacle
This is something we appreciate prescribe when you are simply beginning on another game. Start by playing for no particular reason, and once you've seen that you can bring in cash at this game, at that point toss in some genuine and unique rupees.
Genuine wagering is a zenith with brilliant highlights and extraordinary advancements
At Pinnacle, we know about definitely what Indian players search for in an amazing on the web gambling club. That is the reason we've accumulated a breathtaking mix of the most reliable online gambling club clubs around. Additionally, determinations of incredible table games don't stop there and make your life agreeable and simple we likewise offer a colossal assortment of store strategies for Indians gambling club players.
27-MELBet
Our consideration is currently redirected to the focal point of the screen where we see an advancement slider. It is where Unibet features all the present advancements that they are running. They are very brave advancements going on, which we will investigate later. One thing we notice is that all the costs are named in euros.
Beside the live wagering segment, we notice a catch named "supertoto'", and we choose to look at it. It ends up being another uncommon capacity, which is truly remarkable when contrasted with Unibet. Supertoto is a basic method to put down a wager on sports. The objective is to wagered on the result of whatever number matches as could be expected under the circumstances. You can wager on a success, lose or draw.
28-Matchbook
Matchbook offers a total sportsbook with in excess of 40 distinct games classifications to bet on, including cricket, football, tennis, horse dashing and practically all the famous games, just as e-sports, expert wrestling and different less normal games. You have a decision of live wagering on each live match that is occurring right now, and numerous competitions can even be live-spilled with liberated from cost office. The main standard is that you include put down a wager inside the most recent 24 hours. That gives you full access to the live spilling capacity.
29-Betfair
Betfair is one of the world's biggest global online games wagering specialist co-ops. Betfair has more than 2,000 utilizes around the world. Betfair holds betting permit in Malta, Gibraltar Italy, Tasmania and the United States. Betfair is promising in conveying exclusive expectations of respectability and has ensured more than 40 Memoranda of Understanding with the administering groups of sports.
Betfair is the most significant wagering bookmaker on the planet, offering a wide scope of wagering items including exotics wagering markets and extraordinary games, huge poker networks, arcade games and a gambling club.
30-Dafabet
Something that make Dafabet one of a kind is that they were made to serve the Asian market. All things considered, we can see that they are doing a great deal to interest Asian players, and particularly Indian players. For instance, we realize that they acknowledge Indian cash stores. They additionally offer loads of well known Indian games, for example, cricket, tennis and kabaddi. As an Indian player, it is pleasant to feel like you are esteemed as a client. There is likewise a lot of European games and well known Asian games and gambling club games accessible.
31-Rizk
It is an energizing and one of a kind internet betting webpage having a place with the European island naming Malta. The site is special it might be said that it depends on a superhuman topic which is an uncommon thing we have seen on some other wagering site previously. This current bookmaker's appeal is a hero naming Captain Rizk, and his topic can be discovered everywhere throughout the site.
32-Meridian BET
Meridian Bet is a main worldwide supplier of on the web and land-based games wagering arrangements with 700+ wagering shops in 35 nations around four landmasses? Their most noteworthy accomplishment is the steady income development pace of 20% over the most recent three years. They likewise offer an every minute of every day client assistance by means of live talk, telephone, email or informal community.
33-SBOBET
Inside an incredibly solemn methodology towards security and visitor administration, SBOBET is a main web based gaming brand. They have won the Asian Operator of the year grant for 2009-10. SBOBET offers you a quick and secure player condition with prompt winning outcomes, fast installments and simple access to nonstop web based wagering.
34-Winamax
This webpage is among the world's biggest online poker rooms and sports wagering destinations offering phenomenal chances to its players. Its immense number of enlisted genuine cash players has surpassed 3,000,000. This site gives dependable gaming instruments to make poker protected and a good time for the players.
35-5DIMES
This site is known to be the highest quality level in internet gaming. It offers on the web and via telephone wagers for open parlays. Owning the business for over 15 years adds to unwavering quality. This site gives the player's cashback rewards, diminished juice wagers, free play remunerates and significantly more.
36-ADJARABET
Situated in Georgia, this organization is the main site in the nation. Players can play gambling club games on the web or entertain themselves with sports wagering at this bookmaker website.
37-Planetwin365
Planetwin365 is Europe's quickest developing wagering and gaming administrators. This site is working with a large number of subsidiary accomplices over the world. More than one million wagers are handled day by day, and it additionally supplies in excess of 1300 retail outlets. The brand planetwin 365 is claimed by the SKS365 gathering of organizations which holds online licenses alongside land-based licenses from seven nations in Europe.
38-Red Sport
Red game is a worldwide games betting organization. It started to include in sports sponsorship in 2010. This organization is among the first non-US online games wagering organizations working in the United States. It is additionally an individual from ESSA, which is the European wagering uprightness body.
39-Cloud wager
Cloud wager directs the wagering business through a chain of authorized shops that are situated in Ireland and the UK. It offers online games wagering, online club and poker, online bingo and numerous other web based games.
40-POKER SPORTS
Once in the past known as Party Bets, is presently possessed by one of the biggest poker locales on the net, Party Poker. Authorized from both Gibraltar and UK, the site offers a wide scope of sports and great client care. To stall out in, the site gives a broad scope of games. Customers are very much provided food for, and every single significant game occasions are secured. Football is the most mainstream and secured sport by a wide margin, as the site is an European confronting bookmaker.
41-SPORTSPESA
Sportspesa, a games news innovation, was established in 2014, offering web based games and lotteries. It is a games news innovation with around 500 workers and has put resources into the advancement of the nearby games groups and competitions in Tanzania and Kenya. It works in relationship with TGP in the UK.
42-NOVIBET
Claimed by Logflex MT constrained, NOVIBET.com is a completely enlisted web based betting site. Playing with Novibet isn't simply fun however is sheltered and secure on the grounds that it holds licenses from MGA, which make the site obliged to keep all customers assets in trust accounts. The site offers a dependable gaming strategy and is focused on limiting the unfavorable impacts of issue betting and is resolved to advance positive betting practices.
43-BETPAWA
Offering different sorts of bettings on numerous games from over the world, BETPAWA is the most present day and quick wagering site in Zambia. This site is a creative bookmaker that offers the most reduced value wagers. It leads a wide assortment of pre-coordinate and in-play wagers on football alongside different games like b-ball, tennis and so on. You can choose from an immense scope of wagers on the site and can likewise decide on live wagering.
44-MISLI
As a piece of Fold gadgets gaming and distributing, MISLI was established in 2009. This site is situated in Istanbul. MISLI is a participation based site which offers online games wagering and lotteries. This site offers wagers on an assortment of games, particularly supporting soccer. It likewise gives the clients to play the national lottery. This site as of now utilizes 36 innovations. MISLI.com has been positioned 12,027 among the worldwide sites dependent on the huge number of its month to month guests surpassing 4,115,485.
45-Sky BET
Sky wagering and gaming, a British based Canadian organization, has offered a wagering division as Sky Bet. It possesses 1,628 representatives and is evaluated sixth among the ten highest contenders. This organization is the world's driving internet gaming and wagering organization which has the most noteworthy number of clients than any other person. Lion's share of the tasks of Sky Bet are led from Leeds. They offer to wager through their site, phone or portable applications and so forth. AGCC licenses the organization. Sky Bet likewise had a TV channel on Sky Channel 864 which quit working on February 2012.
46-Bet SAFE
With regards to online club and wagering, and Bet Safe is a rumored name. This website is a bookmaker and online gambling club which was established in 2006 and is possessed by a notable Swedish organization. 400 fifty thousand clients profit the ideas from 100 distinct nations around the globe. The dependability and unwavering quality of the site are apparent by the tremendous number of clients it possesses. Wager Safe is an easy to understand site offering an enormous assortment of games and items. It gives an astounding client assistance program and its simple to store and pull back cash. This site gives its clients the best web based gaming experience.
47-1xBit
This site offer betting stage for Bitcoin and digital money was established in 2016. Wagers are offered day by day more than 1000 games. Live online club games and in excess of 3000 openings are likewise accessible. A selective element is that it gives its games too. All client accounts bolster numerous monetary forms, and it empowers the players to wager utilizing in excess of ten cryptographic forms of money. Clients are additionally offered an assortment of rewards. A 100% first store reward is the most extreme preferred position. A bug assists with multiplying and right away pull back the main store reserves. Client's perspectives recommend that their client care is dependable and accommodating. It is being seen as the best reserving site for crypto. It offers high chances to the players when contrasted with comparable sportsbooks.
48-Mozzart BET
Since 2000, Mozzart has been a specific piece of the gaming business. This organization offers around 10,000 chances day by day for around 500 games. As of late, Mozzart has led its ground activity with more than 900 retailer shops and has seen a high development rate in its online administrations. One ought to be over 18 to wager on the site Mozzartbet.com. BCLB has given the permit to the site. Live wagering on games is offered including football, ball, tennis and other critical occasions. You can observe live spilling of your preferred round and put down online wagers.
49-Boyle SPORT
Ireland biggest and free bookmaker is known as BoyleSports. They contribute in the online space by adding the top of the line applications to the google play store which offer web based wagering, club, gaming, wagering and lottery administrations. By 2004, they had 77 shops, and in 2006 they opened their 100th store.
50-BetChris
In 2019, BetChris declared to enter the United Kingdom retail advertise with the popular bookmaker Gilbert. The organization's activity was extended in Northern Ireland which made the nation Ireland's biggest retail bookmaker.
submitted by BetBarter to u/BetBarter [link] [comments]

[ Leopard Geckos: A Beginner’s Guide ]

If you have ANY questions after finishing this guide, feel free to ask below and I, or someone else experienced, will try and answer the question for you. We also have a discord server where you can ask questions and chat! If you're too embarrassed to post, feel free to PM me. I want this to post to be a safe space for beginners to ask questions and learn! The FAQ section may also answer some more "advanced" topics even if you're not a complete beginner. Take a look!
Also look in the comment section for the previous beginner guide posts here and here for answers to questions. Maybe your question has already been posted!

Thinking about getting a leopard gecko? Awesome! They make great pets and owning them is a very rewarding experience. They even come in a bunch of colors! You may be scouring the web and start to think "where the heck do I start"! In this guide I'll be giving detailed advice to prepare you for your first gecko.

What to buy before you get a gecko:
This is a checklist of everything you need to buy BEFORE purchasing your gecko. It's important to set up before you get your new friend just in case some items, like the heating pad, end up not working.

THE ESSENTIALS

20G long is the accepted standard tank for an adult. You can go bigger but you'll have to provide adequate cover and heat sources. Also that whole "baby geckos can't be in a big tank" thing is completely untrue! You are perfectly fine buying an "end game" tank for your gecko. Babies can still be kept in a 10 gallon tank (if you are currently short on space, etc), but should be moved once they're starting to grow older and larger so that they can be more comfortable. I always recommend to buy your adult tank right off the bat. You'll save more money in the long run. If you're okay waiting for awhile Petco has a 1$ per gallon sale a few times a year. It's a pretty good deal.
Contrary to popular belief, leos can see most colors of light (even red). Albinos are especially sensitive to bright lights. Natural room lighting is acceptable and will not mess up their day/night cycles. Your heating pad should cover 1/3rd of your tank. You want a temperature gradient. I personally use the Zoo Med brand 30-40g size for my 20 gallon long tanks. This goes under the tank. Make sure your tank is slightly raised to provide air flow.
You can also use deep heat projects, radiant heat panels, etc to heat your tank. Just keep in mind these will also need to be temp controlled to keep your leopard gecko safe. IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE LOOSE SUBSTRATE (depending on how thick/deep it is) YOU WILL MOST LIKELY HAVE TO USE OVERHEAD HEATING. This will ensure accurate surface and air temps.
YOU CAN USE LOW OUTPUT (5% or less) UVB LIGHTS. Just provide plenty of cover if your leo is albino and watch to make sure they aren't too stressed. They are optional if you are supplementing properly.
Heating sources get HOT. I mean up to 120F unregulated just for heating pads. You need to control the temperature! I personally use this thermostat. You want the floor of the tank to be 90F. Keeping it this temperature will make sure you have a happy, healthy gecko. Lower temps can cause your gecko to not eat and digest properly. This is also a good thermostat
NO CALCI-SAND/COLORED SAND I cannot stress this enough. These can cause impaction which can lead to death. Good beginner substrate include: Paper towels, mixed naturalistic substrate (play sand + top soil is a good starting base, you can also add in eco earth, clay) mixed with tile (on the hot side works the best) or just plain tile (no linoleum tile and it must be textured). Eco earth by itself is not a good substrate and can get too dusty/dry. Reptile carpet is just a pain to clean and your leopard gecko can get claws and teeth stuck in it.
You want three hides in your tank. One for the hot side of the tank (positioned over the heating pad). This will be the place your gecko spends most of it's time. Geckos tend to like very secure hides, so you want to have a hide that provides as little visibility as possible. I have found my geckos really like this hide as their hot hide. You can pick out whatever you like though! For the moist hide you want a container that can hold in humidity. This hide is to help aid shedding, so it's of the utmost importance! Many people use tupperware containers with holes cut into it. The smaller the entrance the better, as to keep the humidity in. This hide should be at least partially on the heat mat and have moist paper towel, moss, or eco earth. The cool hide should be on the complete opposite side of the hot hide. Your gecko needs somewhere to escape to if it gets too hot.
You want to double check your temperatures and make sure they're accurate and an infrared temp gun is the best way to do it! I use this one.
Your leopard gecko needs a source of calcium (without d3) in the tank. They'll lick it up as they need it. This is a key component of warding off MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease). Just place it in the tank and leave it be. Refresh it every once in awhile. Food bowl is self explanatory. Water bowl should be near the middle of the tank or the cool side. I recommend buying something similar to this if you want tap water to be reptile safe.
These are essential to a healthy, happy leopard gecko. These are used for dusting food. There are plenty of brands to choose from. Repashy and Zoo Med make both. Either are good!

ADDITIONAL

Most up to you! You want the tank to have enough decor that your gecko doesn't feel exposed. Plastic plants are great for this. If you're using craft store plants make sure they do not bleed/rub off dye. File down sharp edges. Places like Petco will match their online prices, sometimes saving you a lot of money. Amazon also had good prices sometimes, so keep an eye out. If you're crafty you can always make your own decor. Just make sure you use reptile safe products.
It should contain: betadine (for sterilizing wounds), neosporin without pain relief, q-tips, olive oil (to aid pooping if your gecko is impacted), coconut oil (to aid shedding), flour or a clotter (to stop bleeding), and tweezers. All of this should cover basic medical emergencies like minor scratches, etc.
This critter keeper (size depends on how many geckos). Repashy grub pie, extra supplements, uni heat (or reptile) heat packs, a fleece blanket, digital thermometer, heat tape (or maybe a mini size heating pad by zoo med as they can be used with plastic), two bowls. In some cases where you have multiple geckos, create separated areas in a larger fauna box.
Credit Sybilestial !
Great for saunas if your gecko is having trouble shedding and for holding your gecko while cleaning the tank!
If you're iffy about touching insects, this may be the way to go. Plus your gecko may be scared for your hands at first.
This is a good way to track your gecko's weight, especially if they're young. Even for adults getting a base line weight is beneficial. I just use a food scale. Most people measure geckos in grams! I usually weigh everyone once every two weeks.
Might sound a little nuts but keeping track of gecko feedings, last time they shed, etc. will make your life so much easier. I personally record the last time my geckos shed, ate, weights, pooped, etc. I also jot down any notes about their behaviors or any changes to their health. It's good to keep track of these things in case your gecko becomes ill and needs to go to the vet.

PICKING OUT YOUR GECKO

My personal recommendation is to buy from a reputable breeder or from a breeder at an expo. This generally ensures you are getting a healthy, happy gecko. Buying from a pet store is risky business as many geckos from chain stores carry parasites or have health issues. You could end up paying a hefty vet bill or with a short lived gecko. Unfortunately there are still some shady breeders too. I'll list a few warning signs:
There are plenty of places where you can get honest reviews of breeders like the Board of Inquiry on Faunaclassified as well as a few groups on Facebook. Don't always trust facebook reviews as they can be censored! Get an opinion from actual customers. Do research. Here's another guide I wrote on this subject.
I generally do not recommend enigma morph geckos to beginners. This is my personal opinion. There is always a chance your gecko will end up with enigma syndrome somewhere down the line. Enigma syndrome is a neurological disorder tied to the enigma gene. This leads to: balance issues, circling, stargazing, seizures, death rolling, coordination issues, and more. Feeding can become extremely difficult and I consider enigma syndrome geckos a little more advanced care. White and Yellow morphs can also exhibit a similar syndrome but it's much rarer, as it can be bred out. It's not tied to the W&Y gene. Lemon frosts, a rather expensive morph, has been known to grow tumors. Their health issues are so severe that many breeders have stopped producing them entirely. I don't think many beginners have 2.5k to drop on a gecko but just in case you were thinking about it, don't!
Babies can be much more skittish than adults and a little bit more delicate. If you want something more hearty go for a slightly older gecko! Babies also eat a lot of food so if you're looking to spend a little bit less money an adult is also the way to go. Babies change in color A LOT so if you are looking for a gecko of a certain color an adult is your best bet to get exactly what you want.
Leos are able to be temperature sexed and many breeders will label them TSF (temp sex female) or TSM (temp sex male). Keep in mind this is not a 100% guarantee you will get that sex. There is still a chance they will turn out to be the opposite sex. Snows are notorious for having a lower accuracy rate when temp sexed. If you want a guaranteed male or female you will have to buy older.
DO NOT PLACE ANY GECKOS TOGETHER! DO NOT COHAB. Geckos are solitary creatures and thrive when housed alone. Keeping geckos together can lead to fighting and serious injuries, and usually ends up stressing the animals out. Behavior that may look cute, like cuddling, are actually signs of aggression and dominance. Here is an example of what happened to a leo that was housed together with another gecko. Don't risk your animals. Here's a great read from one of our sub members 410cs:
It's common knowledge that Leos are territorial, regardless of Gender, they're tolerant to a point until they snap. It can be 3 minutes together, it can be 10 years. Eventually they will snap and something like this will happen. It's quite clear that, even if the cause of the break wasn't due to a fight, you need to separate them. Let's go through some of the most basic and obvious reasons why:
Please, for the sake of the Geckos, house them individually. If they go off of food it's due to change of environment, they don't have the emotional capabilities to miss each other. I don't care if they're in 10Gals for now, just do it. For the sake of your pets. It's borderline animal cruelty.

SETTING UP YOUR NEW FRIEND & THE FIRST WEEKS

Once you have acquired your gecko and placed it in the tank LEAVE IT ALONE! You should wait at least 5-7 days before handling or messing around with your gecko. Your new friend is scared and adjusting to a big change. It can be tempting, especially as a beginner, but hold off. If you can I would wait until your gecko is eating as well before handling. You want to keep your interaction to a minimum like cleaning up poop, giving your gecko food, etc. Covering the tank with a blanket is also a good way to make your gecko feel safer. Choose a quiet place for the tank.
Observe your gecko and make sure it's not exhibiting signs of illness. If your gecko seems lethargic, isn't pooping after eating, bloated, walking irregularly, losing weight rapidly, etc go to the vet! Don't wait! Taking action as soon as possible is the best thing you can do for your gecko. Also watch for your gecko's first shed to make sure they are shedding properly in their new environment.

TAMING AND HANDLING

Patience is key to taming your new gecko! It can take awhile for them to trust you, especially if they are younger. Adolescent geckos tend to be more skittish. You want to start off by putting your hand in the tank, within sight of your gecko, for at least ten minutes a day. This is to get your gecko used to your hand and scent. Once they seem a bit more receptive (walking around, licking your hand, looking curious) you can start to try picking them up. Always scoop up your gecko from below, working your hand underneath their stomach and supporting their legs. Grabbing from above triggers their prey instinct and will scare them. Hold them over the tank at first, in case they leap or skitter off your hand, to prevent injury! Once they seem calm in your hands, then you can start taking them away from the tank. Hand feeding is also a good way to bond with your gecko and make sure they associate your hand with positive things (aka food).
Congrats! You tamed your gecko!

FEEDING
Feeding is a subject I see a ton of topics about in the subreddit so let's go over the basics!
Acceptable feeders include:
Remember, variety is good for your gecko. Do not over feed treat foods! They should be a rare occurence and you should only feed 1-2 per week or less, especially for waxworms (which can be addictive). Do not feed treat foods to sick geckos, very young geckos, or picky eaters. Only feed treat foods to healthy geckos who are eating regularly. Feel free to mix and match feeders! GUT LOAD YOUR FEEDERS. Gut loading is feeding your insects prior to feeding them to your gecko. Carrots, lettuce, etc should be fed 12 hours ahead of time. You want to give them time to eat the veggies or fruit. I usually feed them once a week besides gut loading to make sure they get the moisture they need from the food. Dusting is also another key part of feeding. Make sure the insects are lightly dusted with calcium or multivitamin.
Babies should eat every day, as much as they can eat in 15 minutes. "Teen" geckos (6-9 months) should be eating every other day. Usually teen geckos will decide this for themselves and start refusing food every day. Adults (1 year and over) should eat every 2-3 (or longer) days depending on weight.

FAQ

MY GECKO HAS STUCK SHED/IS HAVING PROBLEMS SHEDDING AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
First of all, DON'T PANIC! Stuck shed happens. The easiest way to loosen up stuck shed is a gecko sauna! Take your plastic container and fill it with paper towels, soaked in warm water. Place your gecko in the container for 10-15 minutes. Then you can attempt to rub the stuck shed off with the q-tip from the gecko first aid kit. Be gentle but persistent. Your gecko may get a bit upset but this is okay. Stuck shed can lead to lost toes, tail tips, and other various problems. A little bit of stress is better than losing a toe! If this still doesn't work you can use a bit of coconut oil on the tip of a q-tip and gently rub the shed skin with it.
MY NEW GECKO ISN'T EATING AHHHHH
New geckos are stressed out and this can lead to them not eating, so be patient and wait. Sometimes it can take over a week and even then they may still eat a bit irregularly for awhile. If your gecko seems lethargic, sickly, or is rapidly losing weight while also not eating, a vet visit is in order. Try to find a reptile vet. ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOUR TEMPERATURES! Low or irregular temperatures can cause a gecko to not eat.
Geckos may also delay eating if they are about to shed or have just shed. Female leopard geckos can also go off food if they are ovulating (producing eggs). Look for white oval shapes in your gecko's lower stomach. Here is an image. All you can do is wait it out until the female eats again. Males may also go off food during breeding season.
If you change around your gecko's tank or move their tank to a new location this can also cause them to get stressed and stop eating. Consider any small (or large) changes you've made to your gecko's environment when trying to figure out why your gecko won't eat.
My gecko just threw up its food! What's wrong with it?
Sometimes geckos regurgitate food when they've eaten too much too fast. Low temperatures can also lead to regurgitation. Check your temperatures and make sure your heating pad is working properly. Parasites can also cause geckos to throw up their food. If you suspect parasites, call a vet.
Do albino leopard geckos have any special care?
Their eyes are very sensitive. They may not like bright light at all or require more cover in their tank to protect their eyes. Other than that they are normal geckos.
It's cold where I live and I can't maintain the necessary temperature. What can I do?
You can buy a ceramic heat emitter. This is a bulb you put into a lamp that gives off no light but produces heat. You can hook this up to a dimmer to control the temperature or another thermostat. I've found a 45w or a 60w does the job pretty well. It should boost your temps up to an acceptable level.
What should a set up tank look like? Can you give me some examples?
Here are some examples: 1, 2, 3, 4
I have other reptiles blah blah blah
QUARANTINE YOUR GECKO!
Quarantining for 60-90 days is the preferable option, especially if your gecko is showing any signs of sickness. Use separate tools, etc. If you purchase another gecko don't switch around decor between the tanks, etc. Be safe and save yourself a possible heartache and cash.
My female is ovulating. What do I do?
Look for white oval shapes in your gecko's lower stomach. Here is an image. If your female has eggs you can make a lay box. A closed container with eco earth will do. If she lays them, they will most likely be infertile and can be thrown away. Leopard geckos can lay many eggs during breeding season. Make sure you're supplementing a bit extra, as egg laying is quite taxing. Leopard geckos can also reabsorb their eggs. Females can ovulate pretty early (think 8 months or so) depending how large they are.
My leopard gecko is waving/shaking it's tail!
Tail waving means your gecko is scared and you should leave them alone. Tail shaking is pretty common when hunting and just means they're excited. Loud tail rattling is a sign a male wants to breed.
Is my leopard gecko a boy or a girl?
See this image. Males will have visible pores and two hemipenes at the base of their tail in comparison to females. Leopard geckos can usually be sexed around 4 months of age, though males may take longer to mature. At 5-6 months you should be able to tell for yourself. Place the gecko in a clear, plastic container and take a look!
My leopard gecko won't eat from a bowl!
Some geckos don't like bowls. They like the hunt! You may have to tong/hand feed. You can try starving them out until they eat from the bowl, if you're really adamant about it. Or as sybilestial suggests:
If the geckos aren't eating from bowls, try clear ones. You can find a set of clear candle holders (that do not come with a candle) at dollar stores.
How long can my gecko be left alone?
Most adults can be left a few days since their feeding schedules are spread out. Babies will need someone to watch them if you need to go somewhere, as they need to eat every day. If you can get your baby to eat out of a bowl, you can probably leave them as well. If your gecko is about to shed or looks dull, make sure you thoroughly dampen the moist hide.
I never seen my gecko! Why?
Leopard geckos nocturnal/crepuscular. They come out at night. You may not see your gecko out during the day at all. Don't worry, this is normal.
My power went out what do I do?!
There are reptile specific warmers, usually used for shipping, that you can buy and use as well. They come in different hour intervals like 40, 72, etc. Make sure you follow the instructions! If you live in an area that is hit by storms and loses power often, be PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME! If you live somewhere relatively warm year round, your gecko will be okay without heat for a day or two. Just make sure you don't feed them during this time.
What should my tank's humidity be?
40%! If your humidity gets too high I suggest a dehumidifier for the room your leo is in. If your water bowl is large, switch it for a smaller one. Don't put the water bowl on the hot side. Putting a sock filled with rice into the tank can help a little bit too.
My gecko looks pale. IS IT DYING??
No, it's just about to shed! Leopard geckos usually shed once every 2-3 weeks. In the days beforehand they'll get very dull looking. The day of they usually turn white. Shedding usually takes a day or so. Make sure you keep your moist hide damp! Leopard geckos eat their shed as they're peeling it off themselves so don't be alarmed if you don't find anything afterwards
What is MBD? You mention that a lot.
MBD is Metabolic Bone Disease. This happens in geckos who are not supplemented properly with calcium and multivitamins. Here is a good article about it. Proper supplementation is important!
My gecko is sick what do I do?
Find a reptile vet (there's a vet link in the sidebar)! In order to ensure your reptile gets the best care possible you should always use a vet experienced in reptiles. I recommend you find one ahead of time near your area. And, as always, have a decent amount of cash tucked away somewhere in case your reptile gets sick. Exotic vet care is expensive and you never know when an emergency will pop up.
Where can I find pictures that illustrate the conditions and sicknesses you talk about?
Lizardbeans on tumblr has a great guide as well, with a bunch of pictures of different leopard gecko conditions
How do I use Betadine? If my gecko gets a minor injury what should I do?
Let's say your gecko manages to hurt it's toe. It's bleeding a little bit but otherwise it looks pretty minor.
  1. Soak the reptile in warmish chest deep water to which Betadine (povidone-iodine) has been added to color the water to a deep medium tea color. Leave in the tub for 15-20 minutes, refreshing the warm water and Betadine as necessary. If the wound is swollen and crusty, carefully pick off the scab/crusty exudates. Note that if the reptile defecates in the tub, it must be washed out, disinfected and another Betadine soak set up. Flush the wound area with fresh water before being placed back in the new bath.
  2. Remove the reptile from the tub and flush the wound with fresh dilute Betadine.
  3. At night, top the wound with triple antibiotic ointment (original ointment, pain relief free). Repeat for a week or until the wound is healing over.
  4. If there is any sign of swelling which occurs after the bathing and treatment or such swelling does not abate after a week, the animal must be seen by an experienced reptile vet.
Taken from this. I have found antibiotic ointment works wonders for small wounds. Nose bumps/scrapes, etc!
My gecko can't seem to shed properly. There's always stuck shed. What's the deal?
First off, make sure they're using their moist hide right. Make sure you spray it consistently, especially when they start to get dull in color preparing to shed. Keep the moist hide half on, half on the heating pad at the very least. Hot and humid is far better than cold and humid when it comes to shedding!
Also make sure you are supplementing your leopard gecko properly with multivitamins. As stated by BovieVei her gecko had problems shedding due to a Vitamin A deficiency!
Repeated bad sheds can also be attributed to vitamin a deficiency. My Leo recently had to go to the vet for it and got a vitamin a booster shot and it was so weird last time he shed because the skin came right off where he got the injection before anywhere else. (the rest of the shed was much better than usual too). Either way you need to get this poor baby to a vet.
Vitamin a deficiency can include lethargy and reduced appetite, bad sheds, lizard smegma (ew), and eye ulcers.
So keep up those vitamins, folks!
My gecko is big... is it a giant/super giant?
Most likely? No, it is not. If it is not labeled as a giant/super giant or is from a pet store those chances are even lower. Giants are only giants if they hold the giant gene (which is specifically bred for and highly desired). Otherwise you just have yourself a large, impressive gecko which is pretty awesome anyway! Here's a good article written by member Professional_Gecko
What morph is my pet store/whatever gecko?
Without genetics we can only give you a guess, especially with albinos. Albino strains are impossible to 100% positively identify through just looking at them.
My gecko's eyes are different from a normal gecko's eyes?
Leopard geckos have many different eye types other than the standard grey on normals. There's full eclipse eyes, which are pure black, commonly seen on super snows, galaxies, and other eclipse morphs. Pure red eyes, commonly seen on morphs like Raptors, Radars, and other albinos. There's snake eyes which are a variant of the eclipse eyes but they are eyes which have some solid pigment but are not completely solid. There's also brown-reddish eyes that are common with enigmas. The albino strains (Tremper, Bell, Rainwater) have a wide variety of eye colors.
What kinds of albinos are there?
Tremper is the most popular albino strain. It is abundant compared to Bell and Rainwater (also sometimes called Las Vegas). Bells and Rainwaters tend to be more pricey because of this. Many have albino strain specific morphs. Raptors are Tremper specific while Radars are Bell specific. Firewaters are a Rainwater specific morph.
Can I breed my two pet store geckos?
I wouldn't recommend it. Mixing unknown genetics can be a risky business as there's so many genes you shouldn't cross. Gem, tug, and mack snows should never be crossed. Certain eye types should not be crossed. Albino genes cannot be crossed. Plus you don't know what other hets (genes) the gecko is carrying as they don't exhibit this outwardly. Not to mention selling the babies will be much harder (and you're going to have a ton of them. If you are going to breed, do it right by buying to geckos with known genetics!
Will add more if asked or if I think up some more. If you have anything you'd like to add to the guide, let me know.
submitted by skinkerdoodle to leopardgeckos [link] [comments]

$30k/mo SaaS in 1 year.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Shai Schechter of RightMessage, a SaaS.
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi! My name's Shai Schechter and I'm one of the co-founders of RightMessage.
RightMessage is a segmentation and personalization tool that helps online businesses increase conversions across all stages of their sales funnel.
You know how a good salesperson learns a bit about what you need and then talks about how what they're selling helps you—rather than just reading off a script? We make it point-and-click easy to have your website and your automated emails do exactly that.
RightMessage connects your existing email marketing software with your existing website, lets you segment your audience using on-site survey tools and our behavioral tracking engine, and then gives you a new superpower: displaying the right calls-to-action to exactly the right people based on who they are, what they need from you, and what they've already bought.
We ran a limited beta at the end of 2017, and launched to the public in January 2018. A year later RightMessage is installed on over 1,000 websites and bringing in $30k/mo.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I've always loved technology and I ran a few online businesses from my bedroom as a kid.
I founded an events company at university (when I should've been in lectures), and my love of software meant we were able to launch some pretty unique events… like a "Wall Street" nightclub where we installed screens and hacked the cash registers to make the drink prices rise and crash throughout the night. People loved it.
I started taking a lot of interest in online marketing, as a way to scale the web and events businesses… which eventually led to me transitioning the web consultancy to more of a marketing consultancy.
Again I'd bring those programming skills to the marketing space, and it gave me this powerful edge over other consultants.
I’d do things for clients like writing a few lines of code to make a marketing site show a more premium call-to-action to visitors who had already completed the basic one… and it drove these huge upticks in conversion rate.
Meanwhile, my friend Brennan (co-founder) had grown this huge online community for freelancers.
He's very much a marketer, but like me, he also had a programming background and had been hacking his site to do similar things with personalization. Like, he'd make his website ask visitors why they wanted his free course… and then use whatever reason they picked when promoting his paid course.
And like my clients, he was seeing his conversion rates skyrocket. 2x or 3x conversion rates on our first attempts weren’t at all unusual.
He was tweeting about all the things he was trying and the impact it was having, and a lot of marketers started following along. So he decided to launch an online course to teach marketers how to do similar things on their own sites.
It sold incredibly well.
People loved the concepts.
But when it got to the more technical parts they struggled to follow along. At which point the bigger companies would hire him to implement it for them… but most couldn't afford to. So he’s like:
Brennan and I started talking about packaging up the kinds of things we had been custom-coding for clients into a point-and-click tool any marketer could use on their own, and we agreed to team up and make it happen.
It was meant to just be a tiny side project: I'd build the tool, he'd bring his existing course audience, and we'd both keep running our existing companies full time.
Validation
We said we weren't writing a line of code unless we could get $10k of preorders in the bank… and thanks to the audience we’d built up through tweeting; a small amount of blogging; generally ranting about how things could be better to anyone who’d listen, we were able to make that happen in a matter of days. 6 weeks after that we had an incredibly crude but functional app to give them.
We worked closely with those preorder customers to refine the product over the following 6 months, building in public as much as possible to build up the audience, and officially launched to our list in January 2018.
And as the feedback started rolling in we started to realize we might have something bigger on our hands than a little evening project…

Take us through the process of building the product.

Like a lot of people who have been in the SaaS game for a while, I learnt the hard way (a product I built a few years back that I was sure would be the next Facebook and kept the idea secret and built in the dark for over a year before launching it to…crickets) that there's a lot to be said for building in public, keeping assumptions to a minimum, and iterating based on what you learn from your audience and their needs.
So we kept communication as open as possible with those early customers. Constantly showing them what we were doing, and trying it out on them as we built.
It taught us so much about what the product needed to be, and more importantly what the product didn't need to be yet. For example, where we were looking to build a super powerful editor that would let you personalize anything on your site, it turned out customers were far happier having simple “recipes” to pick from, that were more limited in what they could do but made it easier to get started from scratch.
The close communication worked really well—though I wish we'd done even more of it.
What we're doing is so new (nearly 100% of our customers aren't switching from any competitor), and so we're still learning the best way to describe the benefits to our potential customers and to make it super easy for them to get results.
The product is still evolving, and its focus is totally different than it was a year ago… but it's getting ever easier to attract and retain customers, so we feel like we're at least moving in the right direction.
Bootstrapping vs investment
Brennan and I both had existing businesses (bootstrapped, like we'd both always done), and we kept running them alongside building RightMessage.
That was our income streams before RightMessage had any recurring revenue. The early traction suggested RightMessage could eclipse them both, but the plan was to keep relying on our existing businesses for revenue in the short term, and transition to income from RightMessage as it grew.
Before our official launch, the CEO of one of our first preorder customers (Teachable) got in touch to try and persuade us to take investment.
He knew we were both bootstrappers through and through—and that's what we told him. We put together a list of the reasons we aren't keen on investment…
…and he wrote back with a way to work around each one.
...
"We don't want a board overruling us."
"I hear that. You'll keep full control."
"Pitching investors is time consuming. That's time we could be spending building and marketing."
"OK, I'll put together a syndicate of investors. You won't have to lift a finger."
We want to do what's best for our customers, not serve a bunch of shareholders.
"Yep. We won't have any say in the day-to-day running or direction."
...
And so on.
We were never anti-investment. We were just anti- those knock-on consequences we'd seen typically come with investment.
But with those negatives out of the picture—we couldn't see a reason not to.
So we accepted.
We used the Y Combinator safe ("Simple Agreement for Future Equity") as our investment agreement, which is becoming pretty standard and therefore easy to get signed and get back to work shipping a product.
We ended up raising a little over $500k, and used it to hire on both the marketing and the product sides to accelerate the journey.
Another thing that accelerated us, on the product side, was Laravel Spark. In fact, the entire reason we used PHP at all for the backend of the product was that Spark existed. It gives you all the stuff that every SaaS needs (registration and login, teams, billing and invoicing, API, UI scaffolding, etc) out of the box.
I wrote a bit about this here, but essentially I believe tools like this are absolutely game-changing in leveling the playing field and letting everyone compete. As a conservative estimate, I’d say it saved us weeks of building.
International co-founders
Brennan's a US citizen in the US, and I'm a British citizen in the UK. This made a lot of the mundane company formation stuff pretty challenging.
I won't go into the painstaking detail here, but the tl;dr is we ended up incorporating in the UK, but then re-incorporating in the US when we took investment in order to make various things about the investment (and subsequent US hiring) more straightforward.
For the US incorporation, we used Stripe Atlas to streamline, well, pretty much everything. Like Laravel Spark it takes something that just a few years ago was a significant barrier to entry, and magics it away behind a few clicks in a web browser. We're living in an incredible age!

Describe the process of launching the business.

We'd built up an email list of about 1,500 people in the months leading up to January 2017.
This was mostly from Brennan tweeting about the mistakes we were seeing a lot of in online marketing, the big impact personalization can have, and the cool ways you can get started with it, and then pointing them to a landing page.
The landing page was some long-form copy about what we were doing, with four or five dropdown boxes where you could choose things about yourself (business type, email marketing tool you use, and so on) and see the copy update in real-time, as an example of the sort of thing personalization could do. It was simple, but it did the trick.
We made about $40k in that launch (mostly annuals). We were happy, but we knew there was still a lot of work ahead!
The biggest thing we learned post-launch was just how new the concepts we were enabling were to most of our audience. We'd got rid of the need to be able to code to make these powerful things happen on your website, but people were still overwhelmed.
The most common objections? "This sounds amazing, but I wouldn't know where to start..." or "I don't have time right now".
Reading between the lines, there was this perception that personalization was a big scary radical overhaul of your entire website—when the reality was that taking a few minutes to make one simple change to a headline was already enough to, in some cases, double conversion rates.
We knew we'd need to simplify the product, and do a lot more educational marketing, to really make this work.
Partly for that reason, we decided to keep sales high-touch for a while after launch: we didn't open up self-signup until the second half of 2018. In hindsight, this was a really good move, which I'll talk about later.

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

High touch
Selling high-touch (getting on the phone with each prospective customer, giving them a demo) in the early days worked really well for us.
We literally didn’t allow self-signup through the website at all for several months after launch.
Those demos took a ton of time and energy, but it meant we were able to test out different ways of describing the product and were able to see firsthand what was confusing for people and what led to that "a-ha" moment where the lead suddenly saw how they could benefit from what we were offering.
I'd highly recommend doing live demos for as long as possible, and then codifying what you learn into more scalable marketing as you learn.
Scaling marketing
We're only now taking everything we learned from that and turning it into more scalable forms of marketing—starting to ramp up our content and email marketing, for example.
Our approach is simple: just try to be as educational and informative as possible.
We’re teaching everything we know, and everything we figure out along the way, about best practices, things that work to level up the things our audience care about (typically more subscribers, more sales, and a happy audience), and so on.
And we don’t do the hard sell: as far as possible we show how you could get the results we’re talking about without using our product at all. Once readers are on board with the concepts, and think they’d benefit, then we can mention how they can often make those things happen a lot quicker and more easily with our product should they choose to.
Partnerships
Partnerships are a big thing for us as well.
There's so much value in tapping into existing audiences—guest podcasting, joint webinars, and so on.
Look at what products you complement or integrate with (for us that's primarily the email marketing tools and website builders)—and work with them to share the benefits of what you do with the audience they already have. This is something we'll be continuing to do in a big way in the coming months.
Retaining existing customers
We knew from the beginning that we had the sort of product that someone would stay with forever if they see results, and churn pretty fast if they didn't.
In fact, our first hire was someone to help with customer success. Their job was literally to go through every account, see whether it was set up properly and seeing results, and reach out and offer to help if it wasn't.
Again, this taught us a lot about what people needed. It was another thing that we made sure to keep manual for as long as possible. A year later we're just starting to test the waters of automating parts of it—but proactive customer success will still be a big part of our strategy.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Moving from a bootstrapped mindset to taking investment was an eye-opener (though Brennan and I still operate like bootstrappers in a lot of ways!) But at the end of the day if you decide to take the money you have to spend it.
Mostly due to hiring, we went from profitable to losing tens of thousands of dollars a month almost overnight. We're now very close to breaking even again, 15 months after taking the investment.
We’re still figuring out where in the market we want to sit. We have customers paying $19/month and we have customers paying $5k/month, and ultimately that lack of focus could make it harder to keep scaling longer term, so it’s something we’ll be keeping a close eye on.
RightCTA
One thing we’re rolling out now that’s generating more excitement than anything we’ve done until now is RightCTA: a suite of on-site widgets that can ask questions to learn about your visitors and then pitch the perfect offer to suit what they need, what they’ve already bought, and so on.
Whereas most companies we speak with don’t already know what they’d personalize on their site, they all know what they want to pitch to whom.
Almost every website is still pitching their newsletter or free course to their existing newslettefree course subscribers…
…because they just don’t have the tools to make their ideal situation (right offer to the right visitor) happen, or to track how effective it is.

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

Building an audience first is huge
Building up an audience first, before there was even the slightest hint of this becoming a product, was a massive help.
Immersing yourself in a market and looking for pain points that come up, again and again, is a great way to find a legitimate product idea.
And talking about the problems you do see will help build that captive audience to sell to once you do have something to sell.
Customers paying you isn’t always enough
People often say that validation is when people actually pay you, not just when they’re saying they would pay you…
Which is true—but that doesn’t mean that once they do pay you’ve validated everything.
Money validates that you’ve touched on a pain point…
But it doesn’t validate that your product solves that pain point, yet.
Work as closely as you can with those customers, one-on-one, to make sure you’re actually solving their problem and delighting them.
Until you’re providing a ton of value, to the point that that customer is raving about your solution to everyone they know, you’ve still got work to do!
We could’ve worked even more closely with even more potential customers at the start.
Some of what the early bird's value isn't necessarily what later users need, and it took us a while to figure that out and adapt as we grew.
Early adopters are always going to be at a later stage of customer awareness than the market as a whole, and so it’s important not to bet all your customer validation on what early adopters are saying.
Every time we’ve been able to simplify / lower the barrier-to-entry in terms of how much pre-existing knowledge you need to get going with the product, we’ve seen a big uptick in interest and MRR.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I mentioned Stripe Atlas earlier, but it’s worth repeating. It abstracts away so much of the hassle of incorporating in the US, especially with a non-US founder.
We used to keep all our internal documentation in Google Docs, but we’re now loving Notion for a lot of this instead.
One challenge we had with tools was how to get a single cohesive view of a person as they move from being an inbound or outbound sales prospect to a customer; reactive customer support & proactive customer success; and so on. There are some tools out there trying to do all the communication in one place, but we didn’t find anything that worked for us.
Instead, we’re currently testing out using dedicated tools for each task (Help Scout for customer support; Drip for marketing emails), and then using Pipedrive as our official “person database” and Zapier to tie them all together.

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

For me, the thing that's more influential than any book or podcast has been getting out and going to conferences.
Not the massive 10,000 person industry conference, but more intimate (100-300 people) single-track conferences targeting small business owners, where everyone is genuinely interested in what each other is doing and are eager to help one another.
It's been invaluable for business, but I've made fantastic friendships too. MicroConf is a great place to start.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Minimal Viable Products don’t have to be apps.
Our MVP wasn’t something you could log in to: it was the consulting gigs I was doing for clients. And the course Brennan was selling.
And then we iterated to some custom code we wrote bespoke for each of our early access customers as one-offs, stored on Amazon S3 (effectively a consulting gig, just with very fixed deliverables), hooked up to Mixpanel behind the scenes because we hadn’t built any kind of reporting code of our own.
There still wasn’t an app, at several $k MRR.
That’s the kind of thing that helps you launch quickly.
Sometimes it pays to think outside the box and look for any quicker ways to validate what you’re offering without spending too much time building what you think the ultimate solution will be.
Resist the urge to automate everything
It can be tempting to automate all your marketing, all your customer success, and so on.
“We can set an email to go out after signup asking for feedback!”
But there’s a lot to be said for doing things manually first.
That human touch can be really powerful, and you’ll learn so much more by starting real conversations.
Eventually when you hit on a formula that works, and you’re growing, you can automate certain things away.
But early on you’re in learning mode, and automating your best guess of how things should be doesn’t help you learn.
Look after yourself
It’s so important to have a network of people you can chat to; get advice from; be supported by (both from a business perspective and a personal perspective).
Have downtime from work.
Be honest when things aren’t going well.
Don’t work and relax in the same place.
Sherry Walling is the guru on this: follow her.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We're fortunate to have by far the most awesome team I've ever worked with…
We're not hiring right now—but we likely will be later in the year across customer success, marketing, and product. Follow us (TwitteFB/email below) to stay in the loop.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
submitted by youngrichntasteless to EntrepreneurRideAlong [link] [comments]

$30k/mo SaaS in 1 year.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Shai Schechter of RightMessage, a SaaS.
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi! My name's Shai Schechter and I'm one of the co-founders of RightMessage.
RightMessage is a segmentation and personalization tool that helps online businesses increase conversions across all stages of their sales funnel.
You know how a good salesperson learns a bit about what you need and then talks about how what they're selling helps you—rather than just reading off a script? We make it point-and-click easy to have your website and your automated emails do exactly that.
RightMessage connects your existing email marketing software with your existing website, lets you segment your audience using on-site survey tools and our behavioral tracking engine, and then gives you a new superpower: displaying the right calls-to-action to exactly the right people based on who they are, what they need from you, and what they've already bought.
We ran a limited beta at the end of 2017, and launched to the public in January 2018. A year later RightMessage is installed on over 1,000 websites and bringing in $30k/mo.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I've always loved technology and I ran a few online businesses from my bedroom as a kid.
I founded an events company at university (when I should've been in lectures), and my love of software meant we were able to launch some pretty unique events… like a "Wall Street" nightclub where we installed screens and hacked the cash registers to make the drink prices rise and crash throughout the night. People loved it.
I started taking a lot of interest in online marketing, as a way to scale the web and events businesses… which eventually led to me transitioning the web consultancy to more of a marketing consultancy.
Again I'd bring those programming skills to the marketing space, and it gave me this powerful edge over other consultants.
I’d do things for clients like writing a few lines of code to make a marketing site show a more premium call-to-action to visitors who had already completed the basic one… and it drove these huge upticks in conversion rate.
Meanwhile, my friend Brennan (co-founder) had grown this huge online community for freelancers.
He's very much a marketer, but like me, he also had a programming background and had been hacking his site to do similar things with personalization. Like, he'd make his website ask visitors why they wanted his free course… and then use whatever reason they picked when promoting his paid course.
And like my clients, he was seeing his conversion rates skyrocket. 2x or 3x conversion rates on our first attempts weren’t at all unusual.
He was tweeting about all the things he was trying and the impact it was having, and a lot of marketers started following along. So he decided to launch an online course to teach marketers how to do similar things on their own sites.
It sold incredibly well.
People loved the concepts.
But when it got to the more technical parts they struggled to follow along. At which point the bigger companies would hire him to implement it for them… but most couldn't afford to. So he’s like:
Brennan and I started talking about packaging up the kinds of things we had been custom-coding for clients into a point-and-click tool any marketer could use on their own, and we agreed to team up and make it happen.
It was meant to just be a tiny side project: I'd build the tool, he'd bring his existing course audience, and we'd both keep running our existing companies full time.
Validation
We said we weren't writing a line of code unless we could get $10k of preorders in the bank… and thanks to the audience we’d built up through tweeting; a small amount of blogging; generally ranting about how things could be better to anyone who’d listen, we were able to make that happen in a matter of days. 6 weeks after that we had an incredibly crude but functional app to give them.
We worked closely with those preorder customers to refine the product over the following 6 months, building in public as much as possible to build up the audience, and officially launched to our list in January 2018.
And as the feedback started rolling in we started to realize we might have something bigger on our hands than a little evening project…

Take us through the process of building the product.

Like a lot of people who have been in the SaaS game for a while, I learnt the hard way (a product I built a few years back that I was sure would be the next Facebook and kept the idea secret and built in the dark for over a year before launching it to…crickets) that there's a lot to be said for building in public, keeping assumptions to a minimum, and iterating based on what you learn from your audience and their needs.
So we kept communication as open as possible with those early customers. Constantly showing them what we were doing, and trying it out on them as we built.
It taught us so much about what the product needed to be, and more importantly what the product didn't need to be yet. For example, where we were looking to build a super powerful editor that would let you personalize anything on your site, it turned out customers were far happier having simple “recipes” to pick from, that were more limited in what they could do but made it easier to get started from scratch.
The close communication worked really well—though I wish we'd done even more of it.
What we're doing is so new (nearly 100% of our customers aren't switching from any competitor), and so we're still learning the best way to describe the benefits to our potential customers and to make it super easy for them to get results.
The product is still evolving, and its focus is totally different than it was a year ago… but it's getting ever easier to attract and retain customers, so we feel like we're at least moving in the right direction.
Bootstrapping vs investment
Brennan and I both had existing businesses (bootstrapped, like we'd both always done), and we kept running them alongside building RightMessage.
That was our income streams before RightMessage had any recurring revenue. The early traction suggested RightMessage could eclipse them both, but the plan was to keep relying on our existing businesses for revenue in the short term, and transition to income from RightMessage as it grew.
Before our official launch, the CEO of one of our first preorder customers (Teachable) got in touch to try and persuade us to take investment.
He knew we were both bootstrappers through and through—and that's what we told him. We put together a list of the reasons we aren't keen on investment…
…and he wrote back with a way to work around each one.
...
"We don't want a board overruling us."
"I hear that. You'll keep full control."
"Pitching investors is time consuming. That's time we could be spending building and marketing."
"OK, I'll put together a syndicate of investors. You won't have to lift a finger."
We want to do what's best for our customers, not serve a bunch of shareholders.
"Yep. We won't have any say in the day-to-day running or direction."
...
And so on.
We were never anti-investment. We were just anti- those knock-on consequences we'd seen typically come with investment.
But with those negatives out of the picture—we couldn't see a reason not to.
So we accepted.
We used the Y Combinator safe ("Simple Agreement for Future Equity") as our investment agreement, which is becoming pretty standard and therefore easy to get signed and get back to work shipping a product.
We ended up raising a little over $500k, and used it to hire on both the marketing and the product sides to accelerate the journey.
Another thing that accelerated us, on the product side, was Laravel Spark. In fact, the entire reason we used PHP at all for the backend of the product was that Spark existed. It gives you all the stuff that every SaaS needs (registration and login, teams, billing and invoicing, API, UI scaffolding, etc) out of the box.
I wrote a bit about this here, but essentially I believe tools like this are absolutely game-changing in leveling the playing field and letting everyone compete. As a conservative estimate, I’d say it saved us weeks of building.
International co-founders
Brennan's a US citizen in the US, and I'm a British citizen in the UK. This made a lot of the mundane company formation stuff pretty challenging.
I won't go into the painstaking detail here, but the tl;dr is we ended up incorporating in the UK, but then re-incorporating in the US when we took investment in order to make various things about the investment (and subsequent US hiring) more straightforward.
For the US incorporation, we used Stripe Atlas to streamline, well, pretty much everything. Like Laravel Spark it takes something that just a few years ago was a significant barrier to entry, and magics it away behind a few clicks in a web browser. We're living in an incredible age!

Describe the process of launching the business.

We'd built up an email list of about 1,500 people in the months leading up to January 2017.
This was mostly from Brennan tweeting about the mistakes we were seeing a lot of in online marketing, the big impact personalization can have, and the cool ways you can get started with it, and then pointing them to a landing page.
The landing page was some long-form copy about what we were doing, with four or five dropdown boxes where you could choose things about yourself (business type, email marketing tool you use, and so on) and see the copy update in real-time, as an example of the sort of thing personalization could do. It was simple, but it did the trick.
We made about $40k in that launch (mostly annuals). We were happy, but we knew there was still a lot of work ahead!
The biggest thing we learned post-launch was just how new the concepts we were enabling were to most of our audience. We'd got rid of the need to be able to code to make these powerful things happen on your website, but people were still overwhelmed.
The most common objections? "This sounds amazing, but I wouldn't know where to start..." or "I don't have time right now".
Reading between the lines, there was this perception that personalization was a big scary radical overhaul of your entire website—when the reality was that taking a few minutes to make one simple change to a headline was already enough to, in some cases, double conversion rates.
We knew we'd need to simplify the product, and do a lot more educational marketing, to really make this work.
Partly for that reason, we decided to keep sales high-touch for a while after launch: we didn't open up self-signup until the second half of 2018. In hindsight, this was a really good move, which I'll talk about later.

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

High touch
Selling high-touch (getting on the phone with each prospective customer, giving them a demo) in the early days worked really well for us.
We literally didn’t allow self-signup through the website at all for several months after launch.
Those demos took a ton of time and energy, but it meant we were able to test out different ways of describing the product and were able to see firsthand what was confusing for people and what led to that "a-ha" moment where the lead suddenly saw how they could benefit from what we were offering.
I'd highly recommend doing live demos for as long as possible, and then codifying what you learn into more scalable marketing as you learn.
Scaling marketing
We're only now taking everything we learned from that and turning it into more scalable forms of marketing—starting to ramp up our content and email marketing, for example.
Our approach is simple: just try to be as educational and informative as possible.
We’re teaching everything we know, and everything we figure out along the way, about best practices, things that work to level up the things our audience care about (typically more subscribers, more sales, and a happy audience), and so on.
And we don’t do the hard sell: as far as possible we show how you could get the results we’re talking about without using our product at all. Once readers are on board with the concepts, and think they’d benefit, then we can mention how they can often make those things happen a lot quicker and more easily with our product should they choose to.
Partnerships
Partnerships are a big thing for us as well.
There's so much value in tapping into existing audiences—guest podcasting, joint webinars, and so on.
Look at what products you complement or integrate with (for us that's primarily the email marketing tools and website builders)—and work with them to share the benefits of what you do with the audience they already have. This is something we'll be continuing to do in a big way in the coming months.
Retaining existing customers
We knew from the beginning that we had the sort of product that someone would stay with forever if they see results, and churn pretty fast if they didn't.
In fact, our first hire was someone to help with customer success. Their job was literally to go through every account, see whether it was set up properly and seeing results, and reach out and offer to help if it wasn't.
Again, this taught us a lot about what people needed. It was another thing that we made sure to keep manual for as long as possible. A year later we're just starting to test the waters of automating parts of it—but proactive customer success will still be a big part of our strategy.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Moving from a bootstrapped mindset to taking investment was an eye-opener (though Brennan and I still operate like bootstrappers in a lot of ways!) But at the end of the day if you decide to take the money you have to spend it.
Mostly due to hiring, we went from profitable to losing tens of thousands of dollars a month almost overnight. We're now very close to breaking even again, 15 months after taking the investment.
We’re still figuring out where in the market we want to sit. We have customers paying $19/month and we have customers paying $5k/month, and ultimately that lack of focus could make it harder to keep scaling longer term, so it’s something we’ll be keeping a close eye on.
RightCTA
One thing we’re rolling out now that’s generating more excitement than anything we’ve done until now is RightCTA: a suite of on-site widgets that can ask questions to learn about your visitors and then pitch the perfect offer to suit what they need, what they’ve already bought, and so on.
Whereas most companies we speak with don’t already know what they’d personalize on their site, they all know what they want to pitch to whom.
Almost every website is still pitching their newsletter or free course to their existing newslettefree course subscribers…
…because they just don’t have the tools to make their ideal situation (right offer to the right visitor) happen, or to track how effective it is.

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

Building an audience first is huge
Building up an audience first, before there was even the slightest hint of this becoming a product, was a massive help.
Immersing yourself in a market and looking for pain points that come up, again and again, is a great way to find a legitimate product idea.
And talking about the problems you do see will help build that captive audience to sell to once you do have something to sell.
Customers paying you isn’t always enough
People often say that validation is when people actually pay you, not just when they’re saying they would pay you…
Which is true—but that doesn’t mean that once they do pay you’ve validated everything.
Money validates that you’ve touched on a pain point…
But it doesn’t validate that your product solves that pain point, yet.
Work as closely as you can with those customers, one-on-one, to make sure you’re actually solving their problem and delighting them.
Until you’re providing a ton of value, to the point that that customer is raving about your solution to everyone they know, you’ve still got work to do!
We could’ve worked even more closely with even more potential customers at the start.
Some of what the early bird's value isn't necessarily what later users need, and it took us a while to figure that out and adapt as we grew.
Early adopters are always going to be at a later stage of customer awareness than the market as a whole, and so it’s important not to bet all your customer validation on what early adopters are saying.
Every time we’ve been able to simplify / lower the barrier-to-entry in terms of how much pre-existing knowledge you need to get going with the product, we’ve seen a big uptick in interest and MRR.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I mentioned Stripe Atlas earlier, but it’s worth repeating. It abstracts away so much of the hassle of incorporating in the US, especially with a non-US founder.
We used to keep all our internal documentation in Google Docs, but we’re now loving Notion for a lot of this instead.
One challenge we had with tools was how to get a single cohesive view of a person as they move from being an inbound or outbound sales prospect to a customer; reactive customer support & proactive customer success; and so on. There are some tools out there trying to do all the communication in one place, but we didn’t find anything that worked for us.
Instead, we’re currently testing out using dedicated tools for each task (Help Scout for customer support; Drip for marketing emails), and then using Pipedrive as our official “person database” and Zapier to tie them all together.

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

For me, the thing that's more influential than any book or podcast has been getting out and going to conferences.
Not the massive 10,000 person industry conference, but more intimate (100-300 people) single-track conferences targeting small business owners, where everyone is genuinely interested in what each other is doing and are eager to help one another.
It's been invaluable for business, but I've made fantastic friendships too. MicroConf is a great place to start.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Minimal Viable Products don’t have to be apps.
Our MVP wasn’t something you could log in to: it was the consulting gigs I was doing for clients. And the course Brennan was selling.
And then we iterated to some custom code we wrote bespoke for each of our early access customers as one-offs, stored on Amazon S3 (effectively a consulting gig, just with very fixed deliverables), hooked up to Mixpanel behind the scenes because we hadn’t built any kind of reporting code of our own.
There still wasn’t an app, at several $k MRR.
That’s the kind of thing that helps you launch quickly.
Sometimes it pays to think outside the box and look for any quicker ways to validate what you’re offering without spending too much time building what you think the ultimate solution will be.
Resist the urge to automate everything
It can be tempting to automate all your marketing, all your customer success, and so on.
“We can set an email to go out after signup asking for feedback!”
But there’s a lot to be said for doing things manually first.
That human touch can be really powerful, and you’ll learn so much more by starting real conversations.
Eventually when you hit on a formula that works, and you’re growing, you can automate certain things away.
But early on you’re in learning mode, and automating your best guess of how things should be doesn’t help you learn.
Look after yourself
It’s so important to have a network of people you can chat to; get advice from; be supported by (both from a business perspective and a personal perspective).
Have downtime from work.
Be honest when things aren’t going well.
Don’t work and relax in the same place.
Sherry Walling is the guru on this: follow her.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We're fortunate to have by far the most awesome team I've ever worked with…
We're not hiring right now—but we likely will be later in the year across customer success, marketing, and product. Follow us (TwitteFB/email below) to stay in the loop.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
submitted by youngrichntasteless to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]

$30k/mo SaaS in 1 year.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Shai Schechter of RightMessage, a SaaS.
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi! My name's Shai Schechter and I'm one of the co-founders of RightMessage.
RightMessage is a segmentation and personalization tool that helps online businesses increase conversions across all stages of their sales funnel.
You know how a good salesperson learns a bit about what you need and then talks about how what they're selling helps you—rather than just reading off a script? We make it point-and-click easy to have your website and your automated emails do exactly that.
RightMessage connects your existing email marketing software with your existing website, lets you segment your audience using on-site survey tools and our behavioral tracking engine, and then gives you a new superpower: displaying the right calls-to-action to exactly the right people based on who they are, what they need from you, and what they've already bought.
We ran a limited beta at the end of 2017, and launched to the public in January 2018. A year later RightMessage is installed on over 1,000 websites and bringing in $30k/mo.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I've always loved technology and I ran a few online businesses from my bedroom as a kid.
I founded an events company at university (when I should've been in lectures), and my love of software meant we were able to launch some pretty unique events… like a "Wall Street" nightclub where we installed screens and hacked the cash registers to make the drink prices rise and crash throughout the night. People loved it.
I started taking a lot of interest in online marketing, as a way to scale the web and events businesses… which eventually led to me transitioning the web consultancy to more of a marketing consultancy.
Again I'd bring those programming skills to the marketing space, and it gave me this powerful edge over other consultants.
I’d do things for clients like writing a few lines of code to make a marketing site show a more premium call-to-action to visitors who had already completed the basic one… and it drove these huge upticks in conversion rate.
Meanwhile, my friend Brennan (co-founder) had grown this huge online community for freelancers.
He's very much a marketer, but like me, he also had a programming background and had been hacking his site to do similar things with personalization. Like, he'd make his website ask visitors why they wanted his free course… and then use whatever reason they picked when promoting his paid course.
And like my clients, he was seeing his conversion rates skyrocket. 2x or 3x conversion rates on our first attempts weren’t at all unusual.
He was tweeting about all the things he was trying and the impact it was having, and a lot of marketers started following along. So he decided to launch an online course to teach marketers how to do similar things on their own sites.
It sold incredibly well.
People loved the concepts.
But when it got to the more technical parts they struggled to follow along. At which point the bigger companies would hire him to implement it for them… but most couldn't afford to. So he’s like:
Brennan and I started talking about packaging up the kinds of things we had been custom-coding for clients into a point-and-click tool any marketer could use on their own, and we agreed to team up and make it happen.
It was meant to just be a tiny side project: I'd build the tool, he'd bring his existing course audience, and we'd both keep running our existing companies full time.
Validation
We said we weren't writing a line of code unless we could get $10k of preorders in the bank… and thanks to the audience we’d built up through tweeting; a small amount of blogging; generally ranting about how things could be better to anyone who’d listen, we were able to make that happen in a matter of days. 6 weeks after that we had an incredibly crude but functional app to give them.
We worked closely with those preorder customers to refine the product over the following 6 months, building in public as much as possible to build up the audience, and officially launched to our list in January 2018.
And as the feedback started rolling in we started to realize we might have something bigger on our hands than a little evening project…

Take us through the process of building the product.

Like a lot of people who have been in the SaaS game for a while, I learnt the hard way (a product I built a few years back that I was sure would be the next Facebook and kept the idea secret and built in the dark for over a year before launching it to…crickets) that there's a lot to be said for building in public, keeping assumptions to a minimum, and iterating based on what you learn from your audience and their needs.
So we kept communication as open as possible with those early customers. Constantly showing them what we were doing, and trying it out on them as we built.
It taught us so much about what the product needed to be, and more importantly what the product didn't need to be yet. For example, where we were looking to build a super powerful editor that would let you personalize anything on your site, it turned out customers were far happier having simple “recipes” to pick from, that were more limited in what they could do but made it easier to get started from scratch.
The close communication worked really well—though I wish we'd done even more of it.
What we're doing is so new (nearly 100% of our customers aren't switching from any competitor), and so we're still learning the best way to describe the benefits to our potential customers and to make it super easy for them to get results.
The product is still evolving, and its focus is totally different than it was a year ago… but it's getting ever easier to attract and retain customers, so we feel like we're at least moving in the right direction.
Bootstrapping vs investment
Brennan and I both had existing businesses (bootstrapped, like we'd both always done), and we kept running them alongside building RightMessage.
That was our income streams before RightMessage had any recurring revenue. The early traction suggested RightMessage could eclipse them both, but the plan was to keep relying on our existing businesses for revenue in the short term, and transition to income from RightMessage as it grew.
Before our official launch, the CEO of one of our first preorder customers (Teachable) got in touch to try and persuade us to take investment.
He knew we were both bootstrappers through and through—and that's what we told him. We put together a list of the reasons we aren't keen on investment…
…and he wrote back with a way to work around each one.
...
"We don't want a board overruling us."
"I hear that. You'll keep full control."
"Pitching investors is time consuming. That's time we could be spending building and marketing."
"OK, I'll put together a syndicate of investors. You won't have to lift a finger."
We want to do what's best for our customers, not serve a bunch of shareholders.
"Yep. We won't have any say in the day-to-day running or direction."
...
And so on.
We were never anti-investment. We were just anti- those knock-on consequences we'd seen typically come with investment.
But with those negatives out of the picture—we couldn't see a reason not to.
So we accepted.
We used the Y Combinator safe ("Simple Agreement for Future Equity") as our investment agreement, which is becoming pretty standard and therefore easy to get signed and get back to work shipping a product.
We ended up raising a little over $500k, and used it to hire on both the marketing and the product sides to accelerate the journey.
Another thing that accelerated us, on the product side, was Laravel Spark. In fact, the entire reason we used PHP at all for the backend of the product was that Spark existed. It gives you all the stuff that every SaaS needs (registration and login, teams, billing and invoicing, API, UI scaffolding, etc) out of the box.
I wrote a bit about this here, but essentially I believe tools like this are absolutely game-changing in leveling the playing field and letting everyone compete. As a conservative estimate, I’d say it saved us weeks of building.
International co-founders
Brennan's a US citizen in the US, and I'm a British citizen in the UK. This made a lot of the mundane company formation stuff pretty challenging.
I won't go into the painstaking detail here, but the tl;dr is we ended up incorporating in the UK, but then re-incorporating in the US when we took investment in order to make various things about the investment (and subsequent US hiring) more straightforward.
For the US incorporation, we used Stripe Atlas to streamline, well, pretty much everything. Like Laravel Spark it takes something that just a few years ago was a significant barrier to entry, and magics it away behind a few clicks in a web browser. We're living in an incredible age!

Describe the process of launching the business.

We'd built up an email list of about 1,500 people in the months leading up to January 2017.
This was mostly from Brennan tweeting about the mistakes we were seeing a lot of in online marketing, the big impact personalization can have, and the cool ways you can get started with it, and then pointing them to a landing page.
The landing page was some long-form copy about what we were doing, with four or five dropdown boxes where you could choose things about yourself (business type, email marketing tool you use, and so on) and see the copy update in real-time, as an example of the sort of thing personalization could do. It was simple, but it did the trick.
We made about $40k in that launch (mostly annuals). We were happy, but we knew there was still a lot of work ahead!
The biggest thing we learned post-launch was just how new the concepts we were enabling were to most of our audience. We'd got rid of the need to be able to code to make these powerful things happen on your website, but people were still overwhelmed.
The most common objections? "This sounds amazing, but I wouldn't know where to start..." or "I don't have time right now".
Reading between the lines, there was this perception that personalization was a big scary radical overhaul of your entire website—when the reality was that taking a few minutes to make one simple change to a headline was already enough to, in some cases, double conversion rates.
We knew we'd need to simplify the product, and do a lot more educational marketing, to really make this work.
Partly for that reason, we decided to keep sales high-touch for a while after launch: we didn't open up self-signup until the second half of 2018. In hindsight, this was a really good move, which I'll talk about later.

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

High touch
Selling high-touch (getting on the phone with each prospective customer, giving them a demo) in the early days worked really well for us.
We literally didn’t allow self-signup through the website at all for several months after launch.
Those demos took a ton of time and energy, but it meant we were able to test out different ways of describing the product and were able to see firsthand what was confusing for people and what led to that "a-ha" moment where the lead suddenly saw how they could benefit from what we were offering.
I'd highly recommend doing live demos for as long as possible, and then codifying what you learn into more scalable marketing as you learn.
Scaling marketing
We're only now taking everything we learned from that and turning it into more scalable forms of marketing—starting to ramp up our content and email marketing, for example.
Our approach is simple: just try to be as educational and informative as possible.
We’re teaching everything we know, and everything we figure out along the way, about best practices, things that work to level up the things our audience care about (typically more subscribers, more sales, and a happy audience), and so on.
And we don’t do the hard sell: as far as possible we show how you could get the results we’re talking about without using our product at all. Once readers are on board with the concepts, and think they’d benefit, then we can mention how they can often make those things happen a lot quicker and more easily with our product should they choose to.
Partnerships
Partnerships are a big thing for us as well.
There's so much value in tapping into existing audiences—guest podcasting, joint webinars, and so on.
Look at what products you complement or integrate with (for us that's primarily the email marketing tools and website builders)—and work with them to share the benefits of what you do with the audience they already have. This is something we'll be continuing to do in a big way in the coming months.
Retaining existing customers
We knew from the beginning that we had the sort of product that someone would stay with forever if they see results, and churn pretty fast if they didn't.
In fact, our first hire was someone to help with customer success. Their job was literally to go through every account, see whether it was set up properly and seeing results, and reach out and offer to help if it wasn't.
Again, this taught us a lot about what people needed. It was another thing that we made sure to keep manual for as long as possible. A year later we're just starting to test the waters of automating parts of it—but proactive customer success will still be a big part of our strategy.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Moving from a bootstrapped mindset to taking investment was an eye-opener (though Brennan and I still operate like bootstrappers in a lot of ways!) But at the end of the day if you decide to take the money you have to spend it.
Mostly due to hiring, we went from profitable to losing tens of thousands of dollars a month almost overnight. We're now very close to breaking even again, 15 months after taking the investment.
We’re still figuring out where in the market we want to sit. We have customers paying $19/month and we have customers paying $5k/month, and ultimately that lack of focus could make it harder to keep scaling longer term, so it’s something we’ll be keeping a close eye on.
RightCTA
One thing we’re rolling out now that’s generating more excitement than anything we’ve done until now is RightCTA: a suite of on-site widgets that can ask questions to learn about your visitors and then pitch the perfect offer to suit what they need, what they’ve already bought, and so on.
Whereas most companies we speak with don’t already know what they’d personalize on their site, they all know what they want to pitch to whom.
Almost every website is still pitching their newsletter or free course to their existing newslettefree course subscribers…
…because they just don’t have the tools to make their ideal situation (right offer to the right visitor) happen, or to track how effective it is.

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

Building an audience first is huge
Building up an audience first, before there was even the slightest hint of this becoming a product, was a massive help.
Immersing yourself in a market and looking for pain points that come up, again and again, is a great way to find a legitimate product idea.
And talking about the problems you do see will help build that captive audience to sell to once you do have something to sell.
Customers paying you isn’t always enough
People often say that validation is when people actually pay you, not just when they’re saying they would pay you…
Which is true—but that doesn’t mean that once they do pay you’ve validated everything.
Money validates that you’ve touched on a pain point…
But it doesn’t validate that your product solves that pain point, yet.
Work as closely as you can with those customers, one-on-one, to make sure you’re actually solving their problem and delighting them.
Until you’re providing a ton of value, to the point that that customer is raving about your solution to everyone they know, you’ve still got work to do!
We could’ve worked even more closely with even more potential customers at the start.
Some of what the early bird's value isn't necessarily what later users need, and it took us a while to figure that out and adapt as we grew.
Early adopters are always going to be at a later stage of customer awareness than the market as a whole, and so it’s important not to bet all your customer validation on what early adopters are saying.
Every time we’ve been able to simplify / lower the barrier-to-entry in terms of how much pre-existing knowledge you need to get going with the product, we’ve seen a big uptick in interest and MRR.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I mentioned Stripe Atlas earlier, but it’s worth repeating. It abstracts away so much of the hassle of incorporating in the US, especially with a non-US founder.
We used to keep all our internal documentation in Google Docs, but we’re now loving Notion for a lot of this instead.
One challenge we had with tools was how to get a single cohesive view of a person as they move from being an inbound or outbound sales prospect to a customer; reactive customer support & proactive customer success; and so on. There are some tools out there trying to do all the communication in one place, but we didn’t find anything that worked for us.
Instead, we’re currently testing out using dedicated tools for each task (Help Scout for customer support; Drip for marketing emails), and then using Pipedrive as our official “person database” and Zapier to tie them all together.

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

For me, the thing that's more influential than any book or podcast has been getting out and going to conferences.
Not the massive 10,000 person industry conference, but more intimate (100-300 people) single-track conferences targeting small business owners, where everyone is genuinely interested in what each other is doing and are eager to help one another.
It's been invaluable for business, but I've made fantastic friendships too. MicroConf is a great place to start.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Minimal Viable Products don’t have to be apps.
Our MVP wasn’t something you could log in to: it was the consulting gigs I was doing for clients. And the course Brennan was selling.
And then we iterated to some custom code we wrote bespoke for each of our early access customers as one-offs, stored on Amazon S3 (effectively a consulting gig, just with very fixed deliverables), hooked up to Mixpanel behind the scenes because we hadn’t built any kind of reporting code of our own.
There still wasn’t an app, at several $k MRR.
That’s the kind of thing that helps you launch quickly.
Sometimes it pays to think outside the box and look for any quicker ways to validate what you’re offering without spending too much time building what you think the ultimate solution will be.
Resist the urge to automate everything
It can be tempting to automate all your marketing, all your customer success, and so on.
“We can set an email to go out after signup asking for feedback!”
But there’s a lot to be said for doing things manually first.
That human touch can be really powerful, and you’ll learn so much more by starting real conversations.
Eventually when you hit on a formula that works, and you’re growing, you can automate certain things away.
But early on you’re in learning mode, and automating your best guess of how things should be doesn’t help you learn.
Look after yourself
It’s so important to have a network of people you can chat to; get advice from; be supported by (both from a business perspective and a personal perspective).
Have downtime from work.
Be honest when things aren’t going well.
Don’t work and relax in the same place.
Sherry Walling is the guru on this: follow her.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We're fortunate to have by far the most awesome team I've ever worked with…
We're not hiring right now—but we likely will be later in the year across customer success, marketing, and product. Follow us (TwitteFB/email below) to stay in the loop.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
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