Your top 5 questions about turning a business idea into a flourishing brand

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So for the last few weeks I’ve been putting the final touches on my new one-on-one program which takes you through my step-by-step system for launching a beautiful and thriving business that is profitable, and that makes your heart sing!

And because I want to be really sure that I’m covering EXACTLY what you want and need when it comes to creating and launching an online business, I wrote a couple of posts in Facebook, asking you guys to tell me: What your top two questions are about turning a budding business idea into a flourishing brand?

Now I got lots of really fun and interesting answers, and lost of emojis. So can I just say a HUGE thank you???!!! You are honestly such a dang delight!

The response to my one-question was ah-mazing!

Again. THANK YOU!!!

So I spent all day on Monday and Tuesday going through your questions, with a focus on the 5 most popular ones…

1. How do I know where to start & what to do next?

2. How do I find a business idea?

3. How do I turn my idea into a profitable business?

4. How do I create a beautiful brand that represents me so early on?

5. How much money do I need to get started?

So, if you’re ready to start an online business. If you’ve got a big gaping hole inside of you that’s screaming to be filled – this sense of unrealised potential, of extraordinary success you know you can achieve. If you long to become the kind of woman that will rise up and lead and inspire and teach and delight the living heck out of people with fresh ideas and innovative concepts that motivate us all to make a difference in the world.

Then this is for you cupcake!

Or if you started a business 6 months ago, or 6 years ago, but it hasn't had the impact you were hoping it would. And you feel lost and overwhelmed, exhausted and sad, but you don’t know what to do. You can’t figure out which pain is greater – the pain of giving up on your dream, or the pain of continuing to create something that no one seems to care about.

You’ve been working harder and harder with relentless and persistent pursuit, believing it will happen, hoping it will happen, but tired and exhausted, and wide-eyed and open as you search for answers.

I want you to revisit that dream now. That one where you knew exactly what your life would look like, exactly what you’d do with all that financial freedom, exactly how you’d feel when you pulled it off. That dream may seem a really long way away right now. Still. It’s the dream that stops you from giving up.

This is for you!

My deepest desire is to support you in creating a business that is filled with elegance and ease, wisdom and grace, joy and laughter, strength and ambition. Support you in rising up as the Coco Chanel of your industry.

I want to help you create a business that nourishes your soul, but also your bank account.  

1. How do I know where to start & what to do next?

When we start a business we’re like a little girl in a candy shop. A beautiful, sparkly, rainbow coloured candy shop full of good ideas and wonderful possibilities and we don’t want to say “no” to a single one of them.

We want the business cards and the pretty website and those ten different programs we’re busting to create. We want to write and teach and speak and create and collaborate and lead and grow and inspire. And we want to do Facebook and Instagram. Twitter and LinkedIn. Pinterest and YouTube. Because every single piece of candy in the candy store is so good and so delicious and so darn FUN.

And the thought of having to stop yourself from having ALL this creative candy at once is excruciating. Because this is what you were born to do! It’s the gift you’ve been waiting and wanting to offer the world!

But poppet! If you say “yes” to all this delicious candy you’re going to get a stomach ache. You’re going to be sick and bloated and miserable.

So you have to understand right from the beginning that the only way to perform at your absolute best as an entrepreneur, is to take a very small handful of candy at the beginning, and then save the rest for later.

It’s the hardest part of starting a business – knowing which pieces of candy to take up front and which pieces to save for 6 months or 12 months or 2 years down the track.

We have more desires than we have capacity. More opportunities than we have time to invest in them. It’s a hard thing for an entrepreneur to accept, but until you start saying “no” to good things, you’re going to feel like a messy, hyperactive, crazy, sick-to-your-stomach failure.

You HAVE to learn to tell the difference between what is good and what is essential when it comes to growing your business.

You are wrong in thinking that you need to get more done. No you do not! You need to get more of the right stuff done. You need to make the wisest decisions when it comes to your time and your energy so that you can function at your absolute highest

We’re all aware of the ridiculous increase in choices we have today when it comes to running an online business. And because of it, entrepreneurs have lost their ability to filter what is important and what isn’t.

Psychologists call this “decision fatigue”: the more choices we’re forced to make, the more the quality of our decisions deteriorate.

But we can’t just haphazardly say “no” either. Our “no’s” must be purposeful, deliberate, calculated, and strategic. We have to ditch the obvious time suckers. But we also have to ditch some of the good stuff as well. And that’s where it can get really confusing. But if you can’t learn to do that,  you’re going to be pulled in a million different directions while making absolutely zero progress when it comes to growing your business.

1. Come up with a profitable business idea

You need to dig deep and figure out who you are. What is beautiful to you? What is beautiful about you? What do you value and what is your “Why?” Tap into that hidden universe of highly profitable expertise that exists inside every single one of us. Determine which of your ideas have the highest profit potential. Research. Find the thing that will set you apart. And then find an audience that desperately needs it. Get into your customers minds. Get to know them better than they know themselves. Validate.

2. Produce a branded photo shoot

For me, this is non negotiable when it comes to starting a business because “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And it’s true, and I’ll talk more about it in an upcoming question. But if you want to attract high quality clients, your presence online has to appear high quality. Your expert status needs to be communicated instantly, which is exactly what photography does. Having brand photos is one of the most powerful assets you can have in your business. And to do that well, you’ll need to transform the essence of who you are and what your brand is about into clothes and looks you love. Discover your personal style. Gather inspiration. Create a colour palette. Book in your professionals. Select your clothes, your accessories, your props, your location. And then create a shot list. You want to be able to optimise your brand photos as much as possible, so that as you’re ready to use them down the road, you have exactly what you need, and plenty to work with.

3. Design your website

Next you need to create a website that’s is beautiful, simple, functional, and that helps grow your business. You need to translate your style into graphics you love. Come up with a simple logo. Choose who you’re going to build your website with. I love Squarespace personally. It’s fantastic for new entrepreneurs because the design is beautiful, and it’s so clean and easy to use. No code. No plugins. No updates. It’s drama free. And the customer service is faultless. Select a template that has all the critical elements. At a minimum, your website needs 5 things – a name, your branding photos, 1 - 5 published blog posts, a prominent email opt-in form, an about and contact page. That’s it! Keep it simple!

Once your site is live, there’s a fabulous framework I want to share with you that was created by Clay Collins, the guy who build Leadpages. And I believe it’s the quickest way for you to make you first $100,000 in your business because it’s all about doing less, not more.

He calls it “Working the 5 Ones.” Now of course you can get to your first $100,000 without this framework, but the process will be far, far slower. Guaranteed.

So, I want you to ask yourself 5 simple questions and then come up with one simple answer to each. Honestly. It’s liberating. So here are the questions…

1. What’s your ONE target market? {Who is the one type of person you want to help?}

2. What’s your ONE product? {Not 10 products, but one!}

3. What’s your ONE conversion tool? {One-on-one calls, webinars, or events?}

4. What’s your ONE traffic source? {Free, paid, or partnership?}

5. Over ONE year. {Because it takes a year to get really good at all this stuff.}

And then on top of all this, I think one of the wises decisions you can make is to invest a business coach from the beginning. It’s one of the biggest regrets I have when it comes to launching Waking up in Paris. Because I thought that investing in a business coach was so that I could learn more. Problem was, I didn’t think I needed to learn more because I thought I was already pretty smart. I was very familiar with the business world and I didn’t want to pay someone to put any more information into that brain of mine. It had enough information!

But honestly, it was a huge mistake.

Because what I needed was a clear path and fresh eyes.

I needed somebody to do it WITH me?

It’s what all new entrepreneurs need. Someone to help you decide which pieces of candy you should be gobbling up right now, which pieces of candy you should hold on to for next week, and which pieces of candy need to stay in the candy store for a few more months. Or years.

Investing in a business coach is the fastest way to turn your idea into profitable business.

If you don’t have the money to hire a business coach, don’t let that deflate you! You can still do this! You can DIY your business and you can find an accountability partner or a mentor or join a mastermind. You absolutely can! And you will still succeed if you stick at it. It will just take a longer and that’s ok. It’s still worth it. Be patient with the process.

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2. How do I find a business idea that makes my heart sing?

There are lots of people who build their businesses ideas on what is desirable to the market FIRST. My dad was real good at that. My brother and my hubby are good at that too. {It could be a man thing.}

But I’m different.

I build my business idea on what is beautiful to me and what is beautiful about me FIRST. I build it around the things that make my heart SING! That’s my number one priority. Then I flesh out my business idea around that.

And you know what? I get people saying to me all the time: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone as passionate about their business as you are. You speak about your business and your entire face lights us, your entire body lights up, you GLOW!

You can find that same passion!

You CAN! You can find that one spectacular thing inside of you that’s worth fighting for. You HAVE to find it. You have to find that thing that lights you up, otherwise you won’t feel comfortable or confident speaking about it. And when it comes to online business, if you don’t feel comfortable and confident speaking about your business, then you won’t make money.

It really is as simple as that.

So the first thing you need to do is figure out – What does your heart scream out for you to do? What’s your number one strength? We all have one. It’s what I like to call our Coco Chanel ability! It’s that one thing you do incredibly well. The thing that just comes naturally to you, that’s so easy for you to execute, that doesn’t feel like work. It’s the thing you love most, that thing that makes you feel all delighted and giddy inside.

Now. If you relentlessly commit to doing that one thing, to doing what you love, your business will be a force to be reckoned with. Kay?

There is a story i heard recently that went something like this –

Two great warriors are about to fight. One of the warriors volunteered because of his undying love for his country. The other one was paid tons of money to fight. Which one would you bet on?

We always want to be betting on the person who is living out her life’s passion, not on the dude who is doing it for the money. It is the person who is living her purpose and fulfilling her heart’s desire who will see her business through the good times and the crappy times. Those that are following their path will keep going relentlessly, during the ups and the downs, even as others give up and try something else. They will be there when the paid dudes walk away. If you try to get rich by doing the next big thing, but it isn’t your passion, the competitor who really is passionate about it will gobble you up for breakfast. Passion begets persistence. And persistence begets success.

I LOVE business. And I LOVE using business as a vehicle for teaching women how to redefine beauty and pour that beauty out onto a world that is starving for it.

If you have not launched your business yet, you need to start by stopping.

That’s right! You need to start by STOPPING! This is a deep and thought provoking process because you need to discover yourself before you can successfully launch a business. You need to understand and acknowledge your heart’s desire, your mindset, your beliefs. You need to learn all about what you’re all about. And committing to a business without knowing yourself intimately, is a fool’s dream. So take the time to do this now.

One of the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is trying to figure this stuff out through trial and error. There are many things you can figure out through trial and error when it comes to business, but this is not one of them. It’s a HUGE mistake. It’s starting a business with a battle. With a fight. It doesn’t need to be that way.

And if you’re in business already and your in that battle right now – then stop and do this. It’s never too late. And it will have such an impact on you and the way you run your business.

So, here are some questions I like to ask to get you started…

1. What would you volunteer to do simply because of your love for it?

2. What activities bring you the most happiness, energy and joy?

3. What makes you lose track of time, complete tasks almost effortlessly, and come out even more energized?

4. When you are talking with friends, what is the one subject you can just go on and on and on about, until they are rolling their eyes?

Answer these questions and you’ve found your heart’s desire. And when you have found your thirst, your passion, you’re number one thing – you will have taken the most important step to launching a business that will flourish.

Because owning a business is NOT about working your ass off for the sake of trying to squeeze out life. It’s NOT about making tons of money at the expense of losing your life in the process. It IS about maximising life, about making it more beautiful and more joy filled and pouring that out onto others and blessing their flipping socks off with it.

Which at the same time, not so ironically, creates profit.

Which is fun.

If this is the type of success you want your business to have, you can have it. It all starts and ends with you. It doesn’t start with where the market is headed. It doesn’t start with the latest and greatest trends. It doesn’t even start with what you believe your clients want.

Your business starts with YOU!

When your business is birthed from your passion, from your heart, when your business is all about YOU, it will become a formidable force.

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3. How do I turn my idea into a profitable business?

Passion is the starting point! It’s the first step! If you’re not passionate about what you do, then someone who is passionate about it is going to kick your ass, and that’s going to hurt.

But before you jump in wholeheartedly! You need to figure out how this one thing is going to bring home the money. You need to bring your head into the mix and make sure that you can say a resounding YES to every one of these questions {by Mike Michalowicz}…

1. Can you make significant money doing this? Or, is it realistic that this business will bring in enough money for you to cover all your expenses, as well as popping lots away into savings?

2. Can you make money consistently? Is it realistic that this idea will bring in a regular, predictable, and growing flow of cash?

3. Can this business be started with a small amount of money? Or no money?

4. Do you want this idea to be one for an entrepreneur or a freelancer? If you want to be a freelancer, you’re simply an employee without a boss. A freelancer focuses on mastering the craft, where as an entrepreneur focuses on building the systems that support the craft.

5. Do you want to desperately consume this product or service for yourself, but can’t find it?

6. Are you aware of any other people {who aren’t friends} that have the same interests as you, that are also desperate to consume this product or service, but they can’t find it either?

7. Is this business consistent with your values?

8. Are people polarized on your concept? Meaning, are there some people who think it’s a really fabulous idea and others who think it completely sucks? Polarizing people is a major key to success because it brings recognition from both sides. The side that hates you talks about it, and the side that loves you defends you. And basically they’re both talking about your business? Which is awesome!

9. Is your business a one-shot, make-or-break it deal, or can it be flexible and pivot and change as it grows? You may not get it perfectly right on the first go and you might discover new things about yourself. A little flexibility in your business can go a long way.

If you can answer all these questions with a big fat YES! Then YAY you!

Building your business on a foundation of passion is the most important part of sustained entrepreneurial success, but passion by itself won’t make you successful. Backing it up with lots of “Yesses” to all of these market-demand questions increases your chances of success tenfold.

And now that you’ve done that, you need to start digging around in search of your dream client.

Now, lots of online business gurus teach you that this should be the starting point to launching an online business. I couldn’t disagree more. Honestly! And I’ll always stand by that! Becoming an entrepreneur is all about fulfilling your passions, your needs, your beliefs, and your values FIRST.

Once you’ve done that and passed the market-demand questions, then you’re ready to find your ideal audience.

Which should be filled with people who share the same values as you do and who kinda wanna be like you. These are the people you have the most potential of creating genuine and lasting connections with.

Now, the goal here is to start broad, and then systematically funnel down to the exact client that’ll most appreciate, connect with, and benefit from what you plan to offer.

These are the people you need to speak to so that you can learn…

Where they live? What they cherish? What they hate? What their favourite TV show is? Do they even watch TV? And why the heck not? What it is they wouldn't be caught dead doing?What’s the most important part of their daily routine? What pisses them off over and over again about your industry?Are they married or single? Gay or straight? How old are they? How old do they look? How old do they act?

If you know your dream audience better than any of your competitors then you’ll have a MUCH easier time finding them. And when they become clients, you’ll be able to connect with them on a much deeper level. You’ll be able to magnetise them effortlessly and they'll happily stay with you.

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4. How do I create a beautiful brand that represents me right from the start?

If you want to create a business that is beautiful and artisanal and that attracts high quality, high paying clients, and that positions you as the expert from day one, then you need to invest into the one asset that elevates you and sets you apart from everyone else!

YOU!

To be an entrepreneur, you have to know yourself intimately. Which begins with knowing yourself internally. It’s an ongoing process, of course, but most of us are pretty comfortable with that idea of knowing ourselves and investing into our own self development. We’re good at that.

But the part that entrepreneurs often mess-up, is that they don’t know how to articulate who they are EXTERNALLY. They don’t know how to communicate their message visually, through their website and their photography and their style and their social media and their marketing material.

And so there is a disconnect across all these different facets of their business. And it’s a mess. Which is a problem. If you do not use the external to amplify your core message, you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage before you’ve even begun.

A study done by Dr. Albert Mehrabian at UCLA, says that 93 percent of communication is nonverbal. Which means that what you’re NOT saying to your audience is responsible for how you communicate to them and how they view you and your business.

But the problem is that entrepreneurs are being incorrectly taught in our industry to spend all their time obsessing over that remaining 7%. It is madness.

They’re being taught to obsess over what to say, what not to say, how to say it, how not to say it, and their business is all about words, words, words, but they’re failing to invest into the 97%, which is all the visual stuff that powerfully represents their message and their brand and instantly connects them to the clients they dream of working with.

They’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

That quote that says: “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” is complete bat crap when it comes to business. As entrepreneurs we need to be making quick, swift, razor sharp choices, because the people that are decisive are the people who go on to become the most successful business owners.

I have been in business since I was 21 years old, I have grown up with businesses all around me, I have lived and breathed this for a very long time, and I have seen the truth of this time and time again.

And so, if you can be crystal-clear in your visual communication, if you can help your audience make the lightning-fast decision that you are absolutely worthy of their time, their attention, and their money, if you can make this process as EASY as humanly POSSIBLE for them… they will love you for it and they will come back to you again and again because you are using your external message to strengthen, not weaken, your internal message.

You must take care to align every facet of your business, your verbal and non-verbal messages so that you are communicating honestly, authentically, lovingly, and repetitively, because what you are saying is being strengthened by how you are saying it.

And people will naturally gravitate toward you because of it.

Before you’ve even opened your mouth.

It’s a gift!

And one of the best ways that you can take advantage of non-verbal communication is through branded photography. Having professionally taken photos is a huge asset for your business. Beautiful photos will carry even the most basic website. And regardless of how your business ebbs and flows {which it will as you grow}, your photos will always be representative of YOU.

Your beauty. Your heart. Your personality. Your confidence. Your professionalism. Your mission. Your WHY.

And you’ll always be able to use them as a way to communicate the message of your premium brand. They’re such a worthwhile investment when you’re starting out and when you wholeheartedly want to start well.


Now. Your website is the next best way you can take advantage of non-verbal communication. It’s through your website that you can develop a loud, clear, beautifully styled and beautifully branded message, that genuinely reflects who you are and what you’re all about.

If you create a website that looks high-end, then you’ll attract high-end clients, and be able to charge high-end prices. It’s the flow-on effect. Kay?

Your website doesn’t have to cost a million bucks, it can actually cost very little, but it can LOOK a million bucks and it can function seamlessly and help you grow your business with just a couple of weeks of work and a system to support you in doing it. It is possible!

Your first website doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles. It only needs to answer the questions: Who you are? What you do? Who you do it for? Why you do it? And how can people contact you? Simplicity is key.

Remember – your photography and your website is an opportunity for you to rise above the noise of the competition and intentionally position yourself as the go-to leader in your field from day one.

Can you even imagine the difference that will make when it comes to building momentum right from the start? Honestly. It’s priceless.

Now I know that we all want the fairytale ending, but it’s easy to forget that Cinderella didn’t show up at the ball and sweep the prince off his feet wearing her daggy work clothes and hiding in the corner wishing she were somewhere else. The mean stepsisters has fabulous gowns too, but it was Cinderella the prince fell in love with. Which proves that none of us can rely on just looking great. We have to BE great.

We need to communicate with the entire 100% of us, so that we can influence lives, inspire hearts, and impact the world! We can’t do that when were only focussed on a measly 7%!

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5. How much money do I need to start?

If you don’t have enough money to start a business – That’s great! I’m glad! If you did have enough money to launch a business, you might go bankrupt. And that would be terrible. The fact that you have no money {or very little of it} means that you will throw your heart and your head into the process COMPLETELY.

Don’t get me wrong, I want you to make a damn good living as an entrepreneur. It’s critical that your business makes cash, but it’s not critical that your business starts with cash.

So many people get caught up in the money side of business that they forget everything else that’s important. Millions of people dream of becoming an entrepreneur, but it never happens because they’re waiting until they have enough money. Waiting and waiting which is boring, and the money never comes.

And then their dreams shrivel up and die.

Don’t let that happen to you! Don’t be a bum. Learn how a lack of money can benefit your business starting today. Learn how to have nothing and generate it into something. You have to be active in the process of creating cash, not waiting and wondering if it’s going to magically fall into your lap.

Because it probably won’t. And it shouldn’t.

And if you really DO need money, to like, survive, then do the part-time entrepreneur thing. Work a job during the day and then build your business at night, or the other way around. That’s what I did with Clarissa Grace Couture. I worked at a shoe shop. Till I got fired. Then I threw myself into the deep end.

With Waking up in Paris all I started with was a computer and a phone and I was in business. It’s all you need. I could have invested, but I chose not to.

There’s always a way to succeed, and to do it with little or no money. You just need to believe you can, focus on problem solving, and then just DO IT!

A lack of money forces you to focus in a way that you don’t need to when you have it. It forces you to navigate your way around all your existing problems and obstacles. It forces you to ask better questions. It forces you to exploit the resources you DO have. It forces you to optimise everywhere and grow the RIGHT way. You’ll become more productive. More creative. More innovative. And eventually, you’ll thrive.

And the thing is that money has this weird ability of covering up a whole world of problems, and without it, you’ve got no choice but to bring your damn best to the table every single freaking day!

So if you don’t have money, stop making excuses and find a way.

If you really want to start your business with some money up your sleeve, the benefit is, that if you use it wisely it will let you begin faster and build momentum much quicker. But be unwise about it? Please! Do it with a mentor or a business coach or a Mastermind to support you in the process and to help you make calculated decisions.

If you still really want to start with a buffer of cash, then here are some places you could look for it – A personal credit card, a business credit card, an increase on your credit card, pulling some out of your 401k for my American lovelies, sell some stocks you own, sell some stuff on eBay, sell services or products, take out a private loan or a business loan, loan some cash from your family, use your tax refund, or part of an inheritance, or collect any money that people owe you.

Working with a limited amount of cash means that you need to be far more disciplined and committed, and clearly it’s a “harder” path that if you do have cash to spend setting yourself up. But the outcome can be phenomenal.

Either way. Don’t let money be the thing that stops you from starting, and holds you back from your dream. Just go for it! You’ll figure it out.

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Thanks again for helping me make this new one-on-one program FLIPPING SENSATIONAL!!!

I’ve been in business since I was 21 years old! That’s a real long time! Ha! Between my dad, my brother, my hubby and I, we’ve owned and sold loads of businesses – electrical engineering, restaurants, property development, radiology private practices, wedding stationary, custom wine racks, steel manufacturing, landscaping, adventure videography, specialist medical fitout, graphic design studio, baseball club, bridal couture label, and Waking up in Paris of course… and then out of nowhere women have started asking me for support in birthing their businesses. I didn’t expect this. Didn’t plan for it either. But oh my stars, I LOVE IT! {How fun is it when life throws magical gold dust at you like this!}

My new one-on-one beta program will help you transform your bud of a business idea into a flourishing {and profitable} brand, and it’s going to be available very, very soon! It will take you through my step-by-step system for launching your dream business and life!

So if you want to create a business with elegance and ease, wisdom and grace, strength and ambition, joy and laughter, then it might be the perfect fit for you!

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 Waking Up In Paris | Clarissa Grace | Personal Style Online | Online Fashion Stylist | Confidence Coach | Mom Boss | Fashion For Working Moms & Mompreneurs

AUTHOR: CLARISSA GRACE

As fashion designer, personal style and brand coach, and founder of Waking Up In Paris, Clarissa Grace teaches female entrepreneurs to embrace their body, redefine beauty and transform themselves through the power of personal style. She is professionally trained in fashion design, costume design, and haute couture through The Paris American Academy, and has created hundreds of couture wedding gowns for brides under her self named label. Clarissa has been splashed on the pages of Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Woman's Day, chatted on Channel 7 and Nine, and dressed some of Australia's most dazzling stars such as Isabel Lucas, Kate Ritchie, Jodi Gordon and Ricki-Lee Coulter.

 
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waking up in paris clarissa grace personal style online

Hello, M'dear!

I'm Clarissa Grace and I adore you already! I’m a personal style and brand coach, and I love helping female entrepreneurs find their dazzling core of confidence, shine bright like a damn diamond and magnetise dream clients. 

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