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How To Buld A Business Alongside Full-Time Employment

Balancing full-time employment around trying to make your business work in the background is by no means no easy feat. So firstly, if this is you, I want to say give yourself a massive pat on your back. Often as we get more focused on our goals and our business grows the tasks needed to be all things to all people can get a little overwhelming to say the least. At 1 Less Stress Connect we work with clients daily on productivity secrets and how to build a business that works and can grow around a job family and their commitments effectively (believe me it is possible).

Simply put, if you are not finding great ways to make it all work then chances are overwhelm is creeping in, and a confused mind will often walks away or procrastinates. Now I do not want any of those two things to be the path you take so I am going to share my top 5 secrets to help you build your business around employment and more importantly make it work. Before I get on with this guest blog for The Write Copy Girl, I encourage you to get your pen and paper to the ready and more importantly get ready to start implementing.

Setting Clear Business Goals

Building a business around employment requires a lot of focus to make it work, however without clear goals your focus will be somewhat blurred. Think of driving a cart and looking through a smeared windscreen it will take you a lot longer to reach your journey. This is why you need to set clear goals with clear time frames and chunk it down by adding milestones that you can measure your progress.  You would be surprised how many clients we speak to that do not even know how much they want their business to bring in income wise on a monthly basis. This is the start of not having clear business goals. Without clear goals you will be easily taken off course and come the end of the year feel like you have made little progress.

Value-Rank Your Ideas

As entrepreneurs, we often have an idea a minute well if you are anything like me. Sometimes these ideas are brilliant, but everything has to be in it’s season. Jumping from project to project will take you off course and result in you not giving your focus to any one thing. As they say focus goes where energy goes, so if your focus is split all over the place you will never master anything. Our tip is to value rank your ideas and place them in what we call an ideas bucket. I have this in my notes on my phone and my online business system and revisit when the time is right.

Have Themed Mini Days

It is so hard to stay on track and efficient when you have a multitude of tasks and commitments. What we suggest is have themed days that will enable you to have set days to complete specific days. i.e. Monday: admin day, Tuesday: new client lead generation day and so on to meet your business model and objectives. Having themed days will ensure all areas of your business are being given time and ensure productivity reducing that all easy trap of being busy but not productive.

Free Up Your Time By Automating Certain Areas Of Your Business

We used do a lot of manual tasks that take hours every week. One of them was tracking performance of our products. However, now we have built in automated systems in our website which has these key functions to keep tabs on all our products and the analytics behind it to give us more informed insights which helps steer future projects or new releases. Have great automated sales funnels in place help ensure clients come to you instead of the other way around, this will save you lots of time.

Consider Hiring Or Outsourcing Certain Tasks

This might not be for everybody. But for those of you who are bogged down with a lot of repetitive work, you might be losing valuable time that you can instead invest in more strategic matters or just time to re-energise yourself.

Try hiring somebody to take a lot of your manual work and you can focus on generating more income for the company. There are many websites that you can find freelancers like UpWork,  PeoplePerHour, Fiver (we promise you will feel so much better in the long run).

Take some time out weekly to work ON your business and not IN your business to start getting the jigsaw pieces of your life and commitments fitting perfectly together, do this and you will be well on your way. If you would like further help on maximising your efficiency in your  lunch hour then download our free e-guide…

The Rebellious Muse: On The Nature Of Creativity And Entrepreneurship

Hi, darlings!

This week we’re looking at creativity and entrepreneurship and a little concept I like to call the Rebellious Muse.

Now, for those of you don’t know your classical mythology and the muses were the inspirational goddesses of Greek myth. They presided over literature, science, and the arts, and were highly esteemed as a source of all the knowledge held in the poetry, songs, and myths of the ancient Greeks and a lot of the cultures and societies that came before them.

Now by some accounts they were the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods of Olympia, by other accounts they were the daughters of Gaia, the great earth mother. Either way that’s some fairly astonishing parentage, and they were very important in the Greek Pantheon even though they weren’t individually recognised as major daisies.

I should probably explain why I’m talking about Greek myth. I spent quite a lot of time talking about mythology and the psychology that kind of goes with mythology. Anyone familiar with my Divine Blogging Design, which is my signature method of blogging, knows that it’s based on archetypes, and the notion that, psychologically, all humans conform to one of about twelve archetypes. If you can identify your audience and narrow it down to a specific archetype, and write specifically for that particular archetype, you will totally nail your copy.

That’s the Divine Blogging Design in a nutshell.

The Rebellious Muse: On The Nature Of Creativity And Entrepreneurship

The Rebellious Muse…

The Rebellious Muse is a concept I came up with while I was thinking about the particular kind of creative flair entrepreneurs have and how it differs from other forms of creativity. There are a lot of incredibly creative, incredibly intelligent people in the world, and not all of them are entrepreneurs. But what I’ve noticed from spending a lot of time with other entrepreneurs is that there’s a particular type of creative thought that tends to come with being an entrepreneur.

I think this is one of the reasons a lot of people become entrepreneurs, because they have this whimsical creative flair in them, and it doesn’t really fit into normal jobs and career tracks. It’s the thing that makes us not really like the nine to five grind, working in an office, not being your own boss, and not really getting to channel those passionate creative energies we have, and don’t really know what to do with otherwise. I know a lot of women, especially, start businesses because they had that in them and they have no outlet for it at all.

Everybody has creativity. It’s not a trait that’s exclusive to entrepreneurs. But there are very different kinds of creativity, there are certain personality types that are more creative than others, and entrepreneurs tend to be the creative bunch. I think it actually works the opposite way around. The creativity turns us into entrepreneurs, due to the inability to find an outlet for that creative energy anywhere else. This inspires us to create our own businesses.

But it’s a double-edged blade, because for all the times you have that insane creative insight, when you have loads of energy, know exactly what you’re doing, can see each aspect of everything you want to do, and you’re just working and working…for every day like that, you have days when you just can’t get it at.

Your Light…

There’s a light in your head. Some days it’s on, some days it’s off.

When it’s on, it’s great.

When it’s off, you’re screwed.

The trouble with that creative spark is it’s really rebellious by nature. In a sense that’s a good thing, because that rebellion made you say, “Nope, no normal job for me. I’m going to start a business!”

On the other hand, however, it’s a total bitch, because there are days that light is not on and you can’t do anything. You sit and stare at your computer screen, nothing happens. You try to do all the things on your To Do list, and it takes you all day to just get one thing done. Either that, or nothing you try works and everything goes wrong.

Those days are really frustrating.

The thing you have to remember about the Rebellious Muse is that you owe her a lot. If it wasn’t for that creative spark, that creative flair, you wouldn’t have your business. You wouldn’t be the wondrous thing you are. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, or how you’re doing it, the way you are doing it is a way that nobody else could, and that’s because of your personal crazy ass creative spark.

It’s yours. It’s unique.

It’s the thing that makes you so much better at what you do than everybody else.

But the thing with gifts like that, is at some point, you have to pay the piper.

So, what are we actually meant to do about this? Just, not work on days when the lights off? That’s not going to help your business.

The way I look at it is that there are days when I can work on creative things, things that require that particular light, and there are days when, for whatever reason, I have to accept that light isn’t there.

It will come back at some point, but today it’s not there.

And while it’s gone, there is no point trying to do the things I can only do when I have that light.

For example, in my case, writing is where my creative energy is. If my creative energy is absent, for whatever reason, trying to write anything…anything at all…is just a No Go!

I just don’t do it.

There are three reasons for this…

Creative Talent…

You have talent. If you’re not really careful with it, you will burn it out completely. If you push it on days it doesn’t want to work, it’s saying, “Nope, it’s not happening today!” it will burn out.

And it will take you forever to get it back again.

On those days you just have to say, “Right, I just need a break.”

Take a step back and do something else. Otherwise you’ll lose your spark for a lot longer.

Quality Killer…

The quality of what you do on days when you’re trying to force it is not going to be good. It’s just not. In particular, if you’re doing something for a client and the work is for somebody else you are doing them a severe injustice.

You’re not going to give them your best, you’re not going to give them what they paid you for.

They paid you for your talent, and your talent is absent.

So Much Stress…

You are just going to stress yourself out so much. I’ve had days when my To Do list is a mile long, I have stacks of things I have to get done, and there’s just no way I can take the day off. I absolutely must get those things finished, I have to write.

I’ll sit there and force myself to write. And I will get words written, but I will know that they’re bad. It will take me so long, and I will have this anxiety in me that just builds and builds.

The more I try to force myself do it, the more I understand that what I’m doing isn’t even worth writing.

It’s substandard.

It’s crap.

So all I’m doing is stressing myself out, to the point that it’s even harder for me to write well, for the sake of producing something that isn’t good enough to use anyway.

And Finally…

Don’t resent the rebellion. Don’t resent the fact there are days when you can’t find your creative juices, because the days when you can make up for it tenfold. The fact you have that talent is a gift.

It is a huge gift.

And there’s this old saying about gift horses, and mouths, and not looking at them…

Don’t hate the Rebellious Muse, embrace her.

That rebellion, that difference, that creative spark which nobody else has is the thing that’s going to make your business soar. It’s going to make you successful, it’s going to make you happy, it’s going to give you a sense of fulfilment, it’s going to do all the things that you know a normal nine to five job can’t do.

Some days it’s not there.

That’s just the way it is.

Find something else to do on those days. Make sure you know what tasks you can do on days when your creativity is absent, when the lights not there. There has to be something else you can do. It might be doing cash flows, your budget, invoices, it might be a million different admin jobs, or it could be something totally different.

How about spending the time networking?

Or learning.

If you’ve got courses you’ve bought and never got around to doing.

On days when your own #mojo is gone, learn from somebody else’s!

Do you have a rebellious muse?

Or does yours actually do what you want her to, and turn up when you want her to? I’d love to know! Comment below, like, and share the video, and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already!

8 Lessons About Being An Entrepreneur Writing A Book Taught Me

I’ve been writing and publishing books for years now, but last year marked a new mile stone for me: I published my first non-fiction book. The Uber Author Planner is very different to anything I’d done before, and I caught the bug. I wanted to write a business book, dedicated entirely to my specific niche, my zone of genius: writing. How I write, blog, and publish is my own particular brand of awesome. There’s nothing unique about being a writer, or a blogger, or having a book or two out. But nobody does it quite like I do, which means there isn’t a book out there that can teach you the things I know. So I decided to write one. I also though I’d share the lessons about being an entrepreneur I learnt in the effort…

Writing is my passion. You might call it my obsession.

My fictional books are my darlings, but it was time I put my mind to creating a different kind of baby: one that would teach you how to do what I do. Things I learnt through trial and error, success and failure. They’re methods born of creative imagination, a classical education, considerable teaching experience and a bipolar brain that is never, ever quiet.

Early this year I started planning my book. It was a good time to be doing it. I was in the middle of a re-brand, shifting the focus of The Bookshine Bandit so that I was centred on helping business women with their blogging and corporate stories. These two topics intermingle, but exist as separate entities. I needed one book for each, so the project was split in two.

The Tao of Corporate Storytelling is now well underway and will be unleashed on the world in the new year (if you’d like to be the first to read you can sign up to get Chapter One, free, ahead of the launch here!). The second book, The Divine Blogging Design is planned, and will be written once the first book has been released.

I was surprised by the number of lessons about being an entrepreneur that I’ve learnt so far. As my first full-length non-fiction title (academic papers not withstanding) I expected a fair few lessons on writing, but I got considerably more than I bargained for…

Lessons About Being An Entrepreneur

#1 Refuse To Settle

Early on in the process I sketched out eight chapters for The Tao of Corporate Storytelling. The narrative of the book centres on an old Chinese proverb about a dragon and a phoenix. Each chapter focuses on one element of the lesson drawn from that proverb. I knew I wanted illustrations. I had in mind beautiful, traditional water colour images that depicted the various stages in personal and professional development that the book guides you through.

I love art, but water colours are not my thing. This was well outside my skill set, so I set about looking for an illustrator. 

With a fixed budget for the illustrations I immediately ran into trouble. All the illustrators I wanted were too expensive. I needed eight illustrations and could find nobody I liked who worked for less than £150 per image.

This was beyond my budget, and more than I was willing to invest in an element of the project that was pure indulgence on my part – I didn’t require illustrations. I just wanted them.

I’m a fantasy author and there was talk of dragons and firebirds, what can I say, I’m a slave to my inner fantasist.

Eventually I found a wonderful artist who did pen and ink images of animals that I absolutely loved. She was very enthusiastic, and her prices were very reasonable.


Or so I thought.

Except it didn’t work out.

Disappointed, I looked again, and finally got hold of an illustrator friend. We discussed it, he asked what I’d been paying the first illustrator, and agreed that was fine.


Except it wasn’t.

Back to the drawing board AGAIN. Thoroughly pissed off by this point, I spent a full day researching and reviewing portfolios and finally contacted a German artist through DeviantArt. Her prices were more than my budget could handle, but she was exactly what I wanted and not as high as they could have been.

I ordered two of the eight illustrations I wanted, and low and behold she delivered perfection. 

The Lesson

There was nothing terribly wrong with the first illustrations, but the artist wasn’t the right fit. Everything was wrong with the second, but by that point I almost felt compelled to accept them because of the time and effort I’d already wasted. Fortunately, like Goldilocks, I found the solution on the third try. The artist was a perfect fit, the art was how I wanted it, and the level of professionalism displayed couldn’t be faulted. Lesson learnt.

Never settle.

Even if it means trying some mediocre porridge until you find a bowl that’s just right.

Even if it means reassessing your priorities and deciding to get a smaller amount of a much higher quality.

Never. Ever. Settle.

I have two illustrations rather than the eight I originally wanted, but they’re gorgeous, and two quality images are infinitely better than eight of poor quality, or the wrong style.

Waking the Dragon, Illustration from The Tao of Corporate Storytelling by Hazel Butler, Copyright Hazel Butler 2016 - Copywriting, Business Narratives, Content Marketing, Soulful Selling lessons about being an entrepreneur

When the Phoenix Dances, Illustration from The Tao of Corporate Storytelling by Hazel Butler, Copyright Hazel Butler 2016 - Copywriting, Business Narratives, Content Marketing, Soulful Selling lessons about being an entrepreneur

#2 Always Speak Your Mind

My experience with the illustrators led to a bit of an epiphany. I had reservations about the first when I saw the concepts, worrying that her style of art wasn’t suited to what I wanted after all. I quashed my fears and forged ahead.

In hindsight, I should have listened to that reservation. The artist herself later said she’d harbored exactly the same concern but, like me, had forged ahead instead of speaking her mind.

There was no issue with the concepts from the second artist, the problem was his professionalism. I’d worked with him once before and he’d been impossible to get hold of, missed every deadline (though he set them himself). I never felt I could voice my concerns, because he’s a friend. I worried on hiring him that I’d have the same problems again, but this time, he was the one with an issue with me. He felt I wasn’t paying what his work was worth. I’d have paid him more had he asked, but he didn’t, instead choosing to do a poor job.

The Lesson

All the stress and disappointment with the first artist could easily have been avoided had either of us brought up our mutual fear: her style wasn’t suited to the job. She was an excellent artist, it just wasn’t the right fit. In the second instance, the problem would have never arisen had the new artist told me the problem and asked me to pay him more. Which leads me to lesson number three…

#3 Pay People Their Worth

The lack of communication with the second artist was a two way street this time, as the issue arose from the amount I was paying him. He had asked what I was paying the first illustrator and I had told him, expecting him to ask for considerably more. He hadn’t. I assumed he was giving me mates rates as a favour and, knowing how much he loves to draw, didn’t think it an issue. He, however, resented it from the start, and reached a point where he decided I wasn’t paying enough to justify the time spent, so he half-arsed it. The result was appalling. He knew it, I knew it, but it wasn’t until he gave the me first image and I was forced to raise my concerns about the quality that he finally told me what was wrong. By that point it was too late – neither of us wanted to work together. Knowing why he did it, I almost can’t fault him for it, because he was right – I wasn’t paying him anywhere near enough. Yet he had every opportunity to tell me the problem so we could solve it, and he didn’t…which of course leads back to Lesson #2.

The Lesson

Pay people their worth.

I’m not saying offer people a shed load more than they’re asking for. Assess the job you need doing and get a realistic idea of the amount it will cost for the level of skill you want. Expect to pay that price, possibly a little more. Then look for someone with the level of skill you want, in the price range you have predetermined is fair, and affordable.

Don’t complain when you have to pay what someone is worth, because that’s what you want. You’re in control, you decide the quality and quantity of what you ask for.

If you want quality, you have to pay for it.

#4 Value Yourself As You Would Others

The money train is a two way street. Just as I learnt that I needed to pay people their true worth, so too did I suddenly comprehend that I was guilty of doing exactly what my friend had done. I knew the value of my work, yet my rates at the time did not reflect that value at all. My rates were a third of what they should have been based on my skill level and experience. And I resented certain clients for paying me below the odds. I felt they were being unfair, yet what else were they going to do? I’d never asked for more. I’d never told them they were getting a special price. They were not experts in my field and had nothing to compare it to.

The Lesson

Value yourself, your skills, and your time, for what they are truly worth. Expect to be paid that amount. Ask for that amount. People will either pay it, or they won’t. When I finally found my artist, I understood her value. I didn’t run at her prices because I knew she was worth it. Paying her was a no-brainer, she was solving a huge problem for me and doing it in style. When I put my prices up, I flinched. I didn’t put them up to where they should be, but met them half way. Still, they felt terrifyingly high.

“Nobody’s going to pay me that!” I thought. “I’m not worth that much.” All evidence points to the contrary – my years of experience, my glowing testimonials, my list of happy clients etc. yet still, even now, there is a voice in the back of my head telling me, “You’re not worth that much.” That’s a really difficult voice to silence, or even ignore. Believe me, I know, I’m really trying to kill it.

But the thing is, when my prices went up, nobody batted an eyelid. I didn’t have a single complaint, not one word was said on the subjects. I simply notified existing client what the new price would be, and when it would take effect, and introduced new clients to my services at my new prices.

Ridiculously easy.

Totally painless in fact.

Why the fuck* didn’t I do it years ago?

Here’s the thing: the people who understand your value will pay what you ask them to pay. Ask for what you are worth. The people who tell you you’re too expensive, or try to wrangle you into giving them a lower price, do not understand your value. It doesn’t matter how low you go, they will always think you’re over priced. So do yourself, and them, a favour – send them on their way.

They’re not a good fit.

#5 Get Out Of Your Head

I got really stuck in my own head on this project. I’m ridiculously pleased with how the written content of the book turned out, it’s exactly as I envisioned it, but the rest… well…

I had a really clear idea of what I wanted for illustrations. I had a really specific, narrow view of how my book would look. Sometimes clarity of vision is a godsend. Other times, it’s a curse. On this particular project it was a double edged sword. My clear vision for the book allowed me to write it exactly as I wanted, and the end result is something I’m very proud to claim as my own. But the creative elements – the illustrations, the cover design, even the title… these things were problematic.

You see, I’m a fantasy author. I’ve been writing fiction a lot longer than I’ve been writing non-fiction. I only started blogging and professional non-fiction writing in my early twenties. I’ve been writing fiction for as long as I’ve been able to hold a pen (or a crayola). The Tao of Corporate Storytelling is the first full non-fiction book I’ve ever written. The Uber Author Planner has written content, but it’s sparse, the majority of the book consisting of planners, templates, outlines, and writing aids.

The Tao of Corporate Storytelling is a full length non-fiction piece, and the only creative elements in it are the cover, illustrations, and title.

And if I’m honest it doesn’t need illustrations. The addition of traditional water colour illustrations was a pure indulgence on my part, especially as I was illustrating the story element of the book – the fantasy – and not the factual element. But to me, this made sense: it’s a book about storytelling, about the creation of narrative in a business context. The odd juxtaposition of the fantasyesque illustrations and the corporate content was fitting.

But I was stuck in my own head.

My head is a fantastical place full of dragons and firebirds and magic. It is not the typical mind of a business person. Most entrepreneurs are extremely creative, but not that many are fantasy authors.

Which means not that many will appreciate the high fantasy elements I was bringing to the book.

The original title for the project was Copywriting for Female Entrepreneurs: Soulful Selling Through Stories. The more I wrote, the more I came to hate that title. The book is about finding yourself, your stories, finding your magic and power. My personal strength and stories are drawn from fantasy, and I really riled against the sensible nature of that title.

It bored me.

And thus I assumed it would bore everyone else.

So I changed it, to When the Phoenix Dances: Soulful Selling Through Stories. I loved this title, and merrily went on writing, ordered my illustrations, and when the phoenix image finally arrived, happily created my cover.

Then I got The Fear.

Because something I should have realised much sooner had suddenly become blindingly obvious: it looked nothing like a business book.

I posted it on social media and asked for opinions, only to have my suspicion confirmed: everyone either thought it was fiction, or was simply confused by it.

Had it been a fiction book I could possibly have got away with confusing them – enigmatic covers are often appealing to fiction readers. But this isn’t a fiction book, and the impression the cover was giving was the exact opposite of what I wanted. In my quest to not be boring I’d come across as something I wasn’t, and I was presenting the book as something it wasn’t.

Hardly in keeping with the spirit of authenticity.

But I was so stuck in my own head, I just couldn’t see it. 

The Lesson

Even if you are 100% convinced you’ve nailed it. Even if you’re completely certain you’re on the right track, that what you’re doing is exactly what your ideal clients want, that it’s going to go down a storm and make you millions.

We are not omnipotent. We are not our ideal client. We are not the answer to life the universe and everything. We are but individuals, one, not many. The view of one is narrow, the view of many is broad. GET FEEDBACK.

#6 Be A Duck

Accept criticism and comment, even if you disagree, even if it makes you fuming mad, even if it makes you vomit. Accept it. Let it run right off you, the proverbial water sheeting down upon the back of the equally proverbial duck.

Feedback is water.

You are the duck,

Ducks don’t sweat water, they love it.

Be the duck.

You will resist what people are saying to you at first. Even if they’re being nice and very helpful, even if they’re agreeing with you or saying they love what you’re doing. They will say something, use some inflection, phrase, word, or emoticon, that convinces you they hate you. Or they think you’re shit. Or they think you’re stupid. Or maybe they’re stupid. 

All this is normal. 

All this is water.

Be the duck.

After you’ve been kicking around in the pond for a while you’ll start to see patterns forming, ripples. These are SHARED OPINIONS. If the shared opinion of your ideal clients is that your title is misleading, your cover is confusing, and you need to scrap both and start again, you’d damn well better listen.

The Lesson

They won’t care if you ignore them. 

Really, they won’t.

But they’re your ideal clients, you want them to love your stuff, and they’re telling you, very clearly, that there’s something about it they don’t love. Something not quite right. If you listen very carefully they will tell you exactly what it is and how to fix it. But if you’re so busy squawking about the fact you’re getting wet you won’t be able to hear them!


#7 It’s Okay To Change Your Mind

No matter how far you get into a project, no matter how much you’ve promoted it, no matter how much people have seen of it, it’s okay to change your mind. I made two huge changes to this project off the back of the wonderful feedback I received. One was to change the title to The Tao of Corporate Storytelling: A Guide to Copywriting and Business Narratives. The other was to completely change the cover. 

At this point nobody but my friends and people in a business group or two on Facebook had seen the cover idea I originally had, so that wasn’t a big deal.

The title on the other hand…was.

For weeks I’d been tweeting quotes from my book, sharing them on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, all with the title included, all with the hashtag #WhenThePhoenixDances. It wasn’t a minor tweak to the title, it was a total change. Aside from ‘the’ and ‘through’ every word had changed and the entire feel of the title had changed.

That was good.

That was needed.

It was also bloody terrifying!

The Lesson

But it’s okay. It’s okay to decide something isn’t working and change it so that it is.

It’s okay to decide a project just isn’t right for you at all, and give it up as a bad job. Shelve it. Put it on the back burner. You can always come back to it later, if you want, but it’s better to stop, not waste any more time, or worse still release something into the world that’s totally wrong for you. 

Change is good…

When The Phoenix Dances: Soulful Selling for Female Entrepreneurs by Hazel Butler lessons about being an entrepreneur

The original cover and title.


The Tao of Corporate Storytelling: A Guide to Copywriting and Business Narrative by Hazel Butler lessons about being an entrepreneur

The revised cover and title, based on feedback from my Tribe and potential ideal clients.


*You must forgive me the occasional F-Bomb. It’s my way. I have a terrible potty mouth. I keep a lid on it most of the time for work, as I know some people find it offensive, but just occasionally it’s necessary for emphasis. If you’re wondering, no, I don’t swear while writing other people’s copy – unless they specifically ask me to, in which case they are usually pleased by the extensive range of expletives in my arsenal.

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