Categories
Business School

How To Get 2,500 Email Subscribers a Month

Heeeeyyyy there!

How are things on your end? (really, you can email me and let me know). What are you struggling with most as a striving entrepreneur? Email me and let me know. I might be able to help. How about I go first…

Let me share with you one of the biggest struggles I had when I was starting out. Building an engaged audience. For me, this was a very painful struggle. Getting visitors and getting them to subscribe to my email list seemed impossible. It was even more painful because I knew that growing my email list was essential to a great business. I just couldn’t get any traction.

Luckily, I got over that struggle with a simple change in my business and today, I’m going show you exactly how you can get 2,500 subscribers or more each month as we have. Let’s begin, shall we?

This whole strategy is based on a simple mindset -Treat subscription to your website as if  it were a product. A hot product. A product you love selling. A product that runs your business…because..hey, it does.

If you consider a subscription to your site as a sale, then you need to sell. You need to sell your potential subscribers on why they should subscribe. Selling the benefits to joining your community and answering the question “Why should I?” is critical to converting visitors to members of your community.

Here are a few tactics I have used to help us get over 2,5000 subscribers a month:

1. If you’re getting started (your site is actively younger than a year) you can’t really expect tons of subscribers if your only offer in exchange for their email is getting your newsletter every week. You need to offer something compelling enough for visitors to give you their email address.

Take a look at our current landing page to gain subscribers. You might have seen it. We offer a complete video course & workbook from The $100 MBA about idea validation in exchange for the visitor’s name and email. Nailing your business idea is the most asked about topic in our market so our free gift to them is relevant and useful. It’s also compelling. Most don’t offer so much value for free. We have sold this course to other learning institutions for $35 per student.

Long story short, your gift needs to be compelling. We found “compelling” = something you could easily charge $30 or more for. This can be an ebook or a set of ebooks or a 7 day email course. Whatever works best for you but it has to be, again, something you could sell if you chose to.

2. Your landing page where you are asking for subscribers should be written and designed just like a sales page. Sell you visitor on why they should give you their email. Why should you have access to their inbox? Outline the pain your gift or offer will alleviate. Then show how by signing up, their life will be different. Take a look at our landing page again with this in mind.

This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! “Sign up and get X” is not enough. WHY should I sign up needs to be answered. What will I get? Why should I care?

3. Let others know. Guest blog, social media, write a post about your free offer, get interviewed. We did a little slick thing where we went to iTunes and searched for all the new business podcasts (you search in your niche) in the new and noteworthy section. We then reached out to them to asked if they were looking for guests for their show. We didn’t get a single “no”. We got 11 interviews and in the interview we got to share a free gift with the audience. You guessed it! We directed them to our landing page!

4. Add a link to your landing page where you are selling your gift at the end of your blog posts. Include a captivating headline to why they should click and check it out.

5. Once your visitor does subscribe, ask them to do you a solid and share your site with their friends so you can get more subscribers. We do this on our confirmation page and confirmation email.

There are countless ways to promote but what matters most is to treat your optin like a product. Sell that product, build relationships and help your audience and the money will always follow. Super cheesy, but true 🙂

Want to get out of the dark and know how to nail your business idea with our Free $100 MBA Video Course & Workbook? 

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Categories
Business School

How To Market Your New Online Business

The Internet is a crowded place. According to Netcraft, there are 644,275,754 (and counting) active websites out there. No wonder when you’re just starting online, it’s hard to get anyone to pay attention to you.

The number one fear of all business builders and owners is being ignored. No one wants to build a business and then be completely unknown to the public. You need customers to survive and you need an audience to have customers.

But there is good news. There are ways to get noticed and get your business going online. We thought it would be a good idea to show you how.

We launched a whole new course and workbook called Marketing Your New Online Business that explains, step by step, how to get visitors to your website when just starting out. I’m going to share with you some of the insights of the course right here!

Before you Market: Preparing Your Website for Visitors

It’s never a good idea to invite people over your house when you have nothing to serve them.  Many people get over eager in marketing their business’s website, that they forget that visitors need to consume something of value, to trust you before buying anything from you.

Getting your website ready for visitors is crucial to the marketing process. Don’t let your marketing efforts go to waste and have visitors never comeback again because they had nothing to sink their teeth into when they got there.

Content Marketing is Not Just a Buzz Word

It’s not. It’s has become the most effective way to market an online business. A part of this has to do with the way Google has changed their algorithm over the years but it mostly has to do with they way people buy online now.

This isn’t 1998. Your audience is a savvy Internet user and needs more than just promises to buy your product or service. You need to prove to your audience over and over that you are worth their hard earned money before you can expect them to consider buying from you.

There are many ways to market your business with content- blogging, video, podcasting, email, social media- it’s all good. The medium isn’t as important as the value of the content itself but using the medium properly is critical to maximizing your marketing efforts. We go through each one in the course and show exactly how to capitalize on each content marketing tool.

No One Does It Alone

I said this before: The lone wolf dies at the end of the movie. You can’t do this alone. Trust me, I know. I’ve learned this the hard way over the years.

You need to get in front of audiences other than your own. After all, you don’t really have a large one yet when you’re just getting started.

This is like a new comedian or performer opening for a popular name. The people in crowd are not your audience, but they will be if they like what they see.

Reaching out and working others in your marketing efforts is how you really grow. Whether it’s interviewing, guest blogging or building relationships; in the course we explain how exactly to do it.

What’s Next?

This is a huge topic and isn’t fit for a blog post. That’s why we created the course and workbook. In this 13-video course I show you exactly step by step how to do this properly. Here is a quick look at the intro video from the course itself.

The complete course on Marketing Your New Online Business is available now to all $100 MBA members. You can join The $100 MBA and get started with Marketing Your New Online Business for just $35! It’s just on of the many courses inside the $100 MBA for a flat out insane price. Join today and get LIFETIME access to all of our training, resources and community for only $100 or 3 payments of $35. Start Learning Today!

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Categories
Prices & Rates

How to Set Rates for Your Services

There are a lot of “How to Build a Business” sites and programs out there online. But if you offer a service like photography, videography, design or anything else that exchanges skill for money, there isn’t much out there for us. I mean, some of us can’t take the passive income route with what they have to offer.

As someone who does service based work (Nicole and I still do video work for select clients) and teaches business for a living, I think I should do something about this lack of information. So in the coming weeks, I’m going to be writing a series of posts dedicated to those who want to build and grow a service based business.

For the first post of the series, let’s tackle a question many struggle with- How do I set my rates? I mean really, there is no hard and fast rule about this and no real direction on where to begin.

Am I too expensive? Am I undercutting myself? I’m just getting started, what am I worth? All valid questions and let’s be honest, the idea of being a starving artist isn’t appealing. We all need to pay the bills.

So how do you set a service rate? There are some intricate and confusing ways to this but let’s stick to 2 basic ways that work. Those 2 methods are:

1. Using a market rate

2. Using a “need to make” rate (I made that up. You like?)

Let’s break down what each one means and how to go about figuring out your rate using each method.

1. Using a market rate.

Look at another business that has similar services and experience as you and use a similar rate. A rate can be an hourly rate or a set of prices for service packages.

Not sure where to find businesses with similar services? Take a look at the comments on websites you frequent in your industry. Take a look at the comments in the posts. Click through on some of the names of those who comment and check out their websites. Join forums in your niche and get to know fellow service business builders.

Here is a little exercise to help you get started on figuring out your rate using the market rate method.

List 3 businesses similar to yours and note down their rates/ packages. Rank them from highest to lowest rates. Where would you fit on this list?

  1. _________________________________________
  2. _________________________________________
  3. _________________________________________

2. Using a “need to make” rate.

We all need to eat. So lets figure out how much it costs to do so : ). Seriously though, we all have personal expenses we need to take care of in order to live. If you are offering your service full-time then you’ll need to cover those expenses and your rates will play an important role.

Follow the following steps to know how to set your rates using the “need to make” method.

Step 1: How many hours can you dedicate to your service business every week? Divide that by two. Half of your time will be spent on actually running, marketing and building your business. The other half will be dedicated to your actual service work.

Step 2: How much money do you need to make a week to cover your personal expenses? Everyone is different. Your weekly number may be $1000, $800, $500.

Step 3: Take your weekly amount of money needed and divide it by the number of service work hours a week. That’s your hourly rate.

For example: $1000 / 25 hours = $40 per hour

This isn’t an exact science but it does give you a pretty close idea of how much you need to charge. It’s always safer to lean on the higher side to be safe with this method. So with the example above, I would set my rate to $45 an hour to be safe.

Whatever rate you set for yourself, know that it’s only the start.       Setting your rates is not a one-time only exercise. Your rates should always be increasing as your experience and skills increase.

If you are doing this full-time, you should be revisiting your rates every 3 months for the first year and then every 6 months the years after that. If you are doing this on the side but picking up at least one client a month then I recommend revisiting your rates every 6 months.

That’s pretty much it! I hope you found this helpful. Either way, please let me know. The best way to do that is to tweet at me @bizrepublic. I’d love your feedback as I continue to write for this series. Until the next post, YOU GOT THIS!

Did you know that The $100 MBA has a whole video course with a full workbook showing you exactly how to Build a Service Based Business? It’s just on of the many courses inside the $100 MBA for a flat out insane price. Join today and get LIFETIME access to all of our training, resources and community for only $100 or 3 payments of $35. Start Learning Today!

Categories
Business School

Why Business Schools Are Horrible At Teaching Entrepreneurship

I know it may seem strange to suggest that business schools are horrible at teaching entrepreneurship. Many business schools today have entrepreneurship programs, heck I was a part of one!  So why do I claim that business schools are bad at teaching entrepreneurship? In order for me to make my case, we will need to hop into my time machine and take a look back at the history of business schools.  You’ll will see why I can make this claim and what it means for you as a budding business person. So take a seat in my Delorean but don’t touch the time circuits, they are a bit shaky.

So Where Did Business Schools Come From?

I got a fun question: When was the first business school founded? Why was it founded anyway?

Not until the 1880s. Wharton was the first business school- I know this because it’s the first thing they told me when I got accepted. Moreover, the first MBA wasn’t offered until 1908! Although it may seem shocking, it took quite some time for the education system to adjust to what the market actually needed.

Business Schools Were Created to Train Managers, Not Entrepreneurs

Once business schools were created, what did they teach and who taught it? Of course business schools taught management: meaning, how to coordinate, how to plan and increase efficiency. Ultimately, the challenge was to train people how to manage a large organization.

Initially, practicing managers produced the ideas taught in business schools; people like Chester Barnard, who was a practicing executive or Frederick Taylor, famous for his studies on how to increase the efficiency of labor using a stopwatch and optimization tools. As “management” became more established, gradually ideas from other academic disciplines like economics and sociology were also applied to the study of management, particularly after the Carnegie and Ford reports criticized business schools for lacking academic rigor. Gradually, business schools became even better at training managers and became a fundamental fixture of business life. But remember, business schools were created to train managers, not entrepreneurs.

But what about Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship wasn’t and still isn’t really a topic business schools have been too concerned about. Entrepreneurship only started to emerge in business schools after a burst in technical innovation. Indeed, entrepreneurship didn’t really exist in business schools until the 1990s and only recently has become a mainstream topic. Not surprisingly, the emergence of entrepreneurship in business schools has caused a huge dilemma. Who will teach it? What will they teach?  It’s a bit of an oxymoron.

What kind of entrepreneur will teach at an institution that he/she doesn’t own? How can those who simply study entrepreneurship and not actually put it in action, know what to teach and advise to others when things change in business everyday? Business schools are not too worried about these issues. Why? Because no one attending is asking these questions. Most entrepreneurial minded students are paying over $120,000 for a 2 year networking event.  This is insane.

Are There Business School Alternatives?

Many like Seth Godin and Richard Branson are pushing for alternatives to business school. They know that business principles need to be learned, then implemented in the real world, thereby learning and doing side by side. You don’t need to spend 2 years and $120,000 to excel as an entrepreneur.

The current state of business education and entrepreneurship training really bothered us as both educators and entrepreneurs. We found that there are no real, substantial alternatives out there…so we decided to create one.

The $100 MBA– a solid business education for entrepreneurs, a supportive community and the motivation you need to grow as an entrepreneur.  You can learn more about the $100 MBA here.

Want to get out of the dark and know how to nail your business idea with our Free $100 MBA Video Course & Workbook? 

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Categories
Business School

The 6 Biggest Lies Business Schools Love To Tell

As many of you know, I spent over a decade as an educator at the high school and college level. I was a middle manager and teacher trainer at the college level for 5 of those years before quitting out of frustration and pure disgust. It’s not all “shaping the minds of the future” and “preparing them for the real world”. Not even close. It’s a dirty business. And this post will prove it.

I’m also a Business School MBA dropout. I got accepted to Wharton’s MBA program and bailed after a semester. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This post will show you why.

I do have to say though, that this post isn’t just a way for me to share with you some insanely insightful information, but a way to reconcile some of my own demons from the past.

Here are the 6 biggest lies business schools love to tell, and continue to tell, to keep themselves in business. Buckle-up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

1.    MBA graduates have a better chance of success.

Top business school programs are notoriously difficult to get into. They need to be because their whole reputations is built and based on the success of their graduates. So business schools only accept those with the highest intelligence and ambition.

They know they can’t teach you anything you can’t learn for yourself – if you were a bit resourceful.  They know that any success a graduate has is not due to education they offer.  They know they don’t create successful people. They simply accept them and then take credit for their success.

The individual’s chances of success don’t just dramatically increase because they attended a $100,000, 2-year seminar. That individual was committed to success before they even stepped foot onto campus.

2.    An MBA is a great financial investment for your future.

With 2 years ahead of game in the real world and living without a $100,000 student loan packed with interested, a non-MBA graduate actually ends up taking home more money within 2 years of finishing their undergrad.

The average top MBA graduate will have to pay a $1,300 loan payment every month for the next 10 years. Interest is a killer. This means even if an average MBA graduate makes $83,000 dollars a year they only really take home roughly $45,000 after taxes and paying their student loan debt. While a non-MBA graduate with 2 years of real-world experience under their belt, takes home roughly $51,000 annually after taxes. With no, $1,300 monthly loan for the next 10 years. A non-MBA graduate is sitting pretty.

The definition of a great investment is getting a high return on your investment of money, time and effort. This doesn’t look like such a smart investment now, does it?

3.    An MBA will greatly increase your chances of getting a great job.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the effect of the 2008 financial crisis has played a major role in shifting corporate recruiting strategy. Companies have become wary about spending and have looked to trim costs. They are opting for younger employees who, in many instances, are just as talented as MBA graduates but willing to work for about half the salary.

4.    An MBA will teach you how to be a great businessperson.

According to Aaron Boyd, head of research at Equilar, reports that more than half of the 50 highest-paid executives lack MBAs. An MBA is not designed to teach you how to be a great businessperson. It’s designed to prepare you for entry-level management. Little is learned about being a great leader, innovator or entrepreneur.

Many remarkably successful entrepreneurs only hold a high school diploma like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerburg, Jack Dorsey, Michael Dell and Bill Gates.

Best selling author, Seth Godin weighs in on the MBA debate and states, “An MBA has become a two-part time machine. First, the students are taught everything they need to know to manage a company from 1990, and second, they are taken out of the real world for two years while the rest of us race as fast as we possibly can.”

5.    An MBA is prestigious and gets you respect.

This may have been true 30 years ago but nowadays people really only respect one thing. Results. Having an MBA proves nothing theses days. Except, of course, that you are able to follow instructions and have a 100 grand to burn. What you actually accomplish, what value you add to this world is what earns you respect.

Taking pride in being an MBA graduate while working at a job that you hate for the next 10 years because you are a slave to your debt doesn’t make much sense. What are you proud of? An accomplishment that put your in current miserable state?

6.    Graduating from business school is a huge accomplishment that many can’t do.

At the end of the day, colleges and universities are not a charity organization. They have stakeholders and a bottom-line. Revenue is their top priority. I know this first hand as I sat in management meetings as a head of department. Keeping up standards in teaching and learning is not really discussed.

It’s actually quite simple. A failed student is not worth as much as a passing, paying student. 90% of college and university students are on student loans, so if the student passes the college or university gets paid pretty much automatically.

Higher education institutions have what are called a percentage of “failure tolerance” worked into their accounting. This means that they take into account students that do fail, up to a certain percent. But most colleges and universities set that percentage at only 8%-10%. Anything above that is unacceptable. Period.

Many professors are told not to give discouraging grades in the first 3 weeks of classes to prevent an increase in dropout rates. The first 3 weeks are crucial because most institutions set their add/drop date (the deadline to add or drop a class before having to pay for them) at the end of the 3rd week of the semester. Students pay by the credit hour so every dropped class counts. In the biz, teachers call this “Nothing below a C before the end of week 3”.

Graduating from business school doesn’t mean you are a genius. It just means you aren’t in the bottom 10% of your intake.

As you can tell, I’m not a fan of business school, and for good reason. I was in the business of education for far too long not to know what it truly offers.  A way to extend our carefree college lives and delay learning the things you really need to learn to excel in business.

We believe in alternative education and it’s the reason why we started The $100 MBA. I hope this post resonated with you. If it did, reach out to me and let me know.

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Categories
Business School

How to Sell Like Heisenberg

Selling meth is very bad. Let me just get that out of the way from the get go. But how the main character of Breaking Bad, Walter White- A.K.A. Heisenberg, SOLD meth was pretty damn good. Sometimes, you need to look past the actual product to learn important lessons. Keep this in mind when reading this post. Proceed at your own discretion.

Heisenberg taught me more about selling a product than any other movie, documentary, training program, or T.V. show (including The Apprentice or Shark Tank). In this post I’m going to share with you how you can sell your product like the fictitious legend himself.

Heisenberg followed 5 Rules that allowed him to sell the most powerful product his industry had ever seen. I’m going to explain each rule in detail and how you can implement each one with your products.

Rule #1: Quality is Everything

There would be no Heisenberg if his product were not of superior quality. He took pride in offering the best product the market had ever seen. He was a chemist and knew his product better than anyone else. He took production seriously and didn’t just rely on marketing and sales.

At one point his distributors argued that in his market, difference in quality doesn’t matter. Heisenberg knew better. He knew if his customers tried his product once, they would never go back to any of the competing products.

Real World Example: Wellness Formula is the only thing I will take when I feel sick or feel I’m about to get sick. It’s an all-natural herbal and vitamin complex that has proven to me over and over again, it works.

I never believed in any of these voodoo, all-natural solutions before. I went straight to the antibiotics in the past. But one day, Nicole was feeling very sick and the gentleman at the health food store recommended it. I took his advice because he swore about its effectiveness like it was a miracle drug. He was right and we’ve been hooked ever since.

I’ve never seen an ad for Wellness Formula in my life but I’ve never recommended something more than I have with Wellness Formula. I must have told at least 30 people about it. 

Wellness

Offer a superior product and the sales will take care of itself.

Rule #2: Hard Work is How it’s Done

Heisenberg didn’t just sit on his ass. He wasn’t just an ideas man and talked about what an amazing product he wanted to build. He got into his radioactive suit and got to work. He worked harder on his product than anyone involved in his business.

Real World Example: When Nicole and were working on The $100 MBA before the community went live, we worked like machines every single day for 3 months. Just straight-up hustle. I think we had a total of 3 days off during that run.

We wanted to offer a product where people would say, “I love this place. It’s so worth it.” We knew that if we didn’t put in the work, we would end up with an OK product and an OK product wasn’t going to cut it. Here is a shot of us on our last day of shooting our courses before the launch.

Crazy

If you want to sell a superior product then hard work is the price you’re going to have to pay.

Rule #3: Your Brand Matters

Everyone knew Heisenberg’s product instantly. It was the only crystal meth that that had a blue tinge. The color wasn’t intentional but he kept it blue because he knew his customers wanted ‘the blue stuff’ and it was synonymous with his quality of product.

Real World Example: Over the last 128 years Coca-Cola has maintained they’re branding. They learned the hard way the significance of their strong brand in 1985. They made the mistake with changing their branding to “The New Coke” briefly in April of that year and quickly returned to their original branding 3 short months later after an uproar from their customers.

Coca-Cola customers wanted “The Real Thing” not some New Coke crap. So they made sure they gave them what they wanted.

coke

What’s your signature? What is something once seen or heard, has people thinking of you?

Rule #4: Don’t Underprice Yourself

Heisenberg never underpriced or undersold his product. He knew what his product was worth and never compromised. He knew if he was patient, his customers would buy his product at the price he is asking for.

Real World Example: One of most successful cruise lines is Windstar Cruises. Never heard of them? That’s probably because they don’t actively advertise like other major cruise lines, like Carnival or Norwegian. They don’t have to.

They also cost about 10 times as much. But they don’t care. They do very well because they offer a superior product. So when cheesy musical performances and 1,000 people lining up at buffets aren’t going to cut it for you and you want the ultimate cruise experience, you’re going to look for Windstar. They are rank as one of the most profitable cruise lines in the world because they don’t undersell their product.

wind_star_4

Sometimes at the start, we want our product to sell so badly we underprice ourselves. Don’t make this mistake.

Rule #5: Always Plan for Growth

Heisenberg always looked to the future. He always looked at how he could expand and grow his business. He always thought big and planned for it. He started out in an RV but he soon outgrew it.

He knew from the start his superior product was going to be huge and that he needed to plan for success. He knew that thinking small would keep him small.

Real World Example: When Dollar Shave Club first launched with their hilarious Internet video commercial, they were shocked at the response of the market. Everyone wanted to be a part of their shaving blade movement. They almost couldn’t handle all the orders they received.

Luckily they planed for this and had an emergency expansion plan in place.

They quickly had to expand their business and hire more people to help fulfill the huge volume of orders they received and continued to receive after their launch.

Always plan for success. If you don’t expect to be successful then why are you in business in the first place?

Final Words

Your products, your offerings are what define your business. No one cares about your witty headlines if you can’t deliver the goods. Just think about your favorite products. Why do you love them? Probably because they are better than any other of their kind. Take extra care with your products and they will take care of you.

And remember, hugs are better than drugs.

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Categories
Business School

How To Be a Successful Entrepreneur. This Might Surprise You.

Every successful entrepreneur will tell you the reason for his or her success is one thing.  They created pure crap. Whaaat??? Let me explain.

If you haven’t created something you are embarrassed about yet, then you haven’t started the journey to becoming a great entrepreneur. Nicole and I had our share of failures that make us cringe, yet these epic fails were necessary for us to make and progress as business builders. More about these failures later.

Having success in business requires learning and much of that learning is by doing.

You have to try things out and feel your way around business. In the process, you will make mistakes; you’ll create less than spectacular things. Things you hope no one ever finds. But guess what? That’s a good thing. It may not feel good but it’s the merit and milestones of a great entrepreneur.

One of the major take-a-ways of Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, is what he calls “fail fast.” It’s the concept of getting all your screw-ups out of the way. You will screw up and create less than exemplary work, so just get them done with. As the famous photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, once said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

Babies don’t just think about walking for a year and then just suddenly get up a walk like they’re Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain (Google it those under 25). They start trying and keep trying.  They fall on their face a few hundred times before they actually can take a few stable steps. The point is they don’t take ‘No’ for an answer. They keep trying and make mistakes until they get it right.

When things go less than perfect, don’t see it as a sign that you’re not cut out for this- just the opposite. It’s a sign you are on the very path all successful entrepreneurs tread.

I promised you that I would share one of our valiant efforts, turned pure dodo.  Some time ago, Nicole and I started a short-lived YouTube series called BRTV. Those 4 letters make us cringe and make us want to hide under the nearest rock in embarrassment.  It was a disastrous project. It went nowhere and it’s no surprise. My delivery makes me want to vomit: who is that guy? Nicole hates looking at the video and audio quality of this production. It’s cheesy, idiotic and just plain horrible. The only upside of the video is that it shows us how far we have come.

As much as this pains us, we share this video with you to show that this is just a part of the experience. You have to have a handful of cringe-worthy projects that teach you who you are as an entrepreneur and how to become a successful one. Go ahead, I know you are dying to press play.

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