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Home based business for dummies 2nd edition by paul and sarah edwards and peter economy

Home-Based
Business
FOR

DUMmIES



2ND

EDITION

by Paul and Sarah Edwards
and Peter Economy



Home-Based
Business
FOR


DUMmIES



2ND

EDITION



Home-Based
Business
FOR

DUMmIES



2ND

EDITION

by Paul and Sarah Edwards
and Peter Economy


Home-Based Business For Dummies®, 2nd Edition
Published by
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
111 River St.
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
www.wiley.com

Copyright © 2005 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Published simultaneously in Canada
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About the Authors
Paul and Sarah Edwards’s self-employment and career books
have sold over a million and a half copies. They write monthly
columns for Entrepreneur and The Costco Connection. They
hosted The Working From Home Show on HGTV, have been
regular commentators on CNBC, and appear frequently on
radio and TV shows across the country. Since 1988, they
have produced and co-hosted an hour-long show Working
From Home, which currently airs on The Entrepreneur
Radio Network at www.wsradio.com/entrepreneur_
homebasedbiz/. Occasionally, their show, broadcast from
their California home, is enriched by the barks of Billy, their
toy Manchester Terrier.
Paul and Sarah provide a wealth of ongoing information,
resources, and support, including updates, marketing tips,
and excerpts from their sixteen books on self-employment at
www.workingfromhome.com.
Peter Economy, who lives in La Jolla, CA, is a home-based
business author and the coauthor of Why Aren’t You Your Own
Boss? with Paul and Sarah Edwards, Managing For Dummies and
Consulting For Dummies with Bob Nelson, and Writing Children’s
Books For Dummies with Lisa Rojany Buccieri. Peter is also
Associate Editor for the award-winning magazine Leader to
Leader.
Peter combines his writing experience with more than 15 years
of hands-on management experience. He received his bachelor’s
degree in economics from Stanford University and is pursuing
his MBA at the Edinburgh Business School. Peter invites you
to visit his Web site (www.petereconomy.com).



Dedication
To the millions of home-based businesspeople whose entrepreneurial spirit
shines as a beacon, inspiring those around you and lighting a path to the success you so richly deserve.



Author’s Acknowledgments
We give our sincere thanks and appreciation to our original publishing team:
Kathy Welton, Mark Butler, and Tere Drenth. For the current edition, we thank
Stacy Kennedy, Corbin Collins, and Beverley Williams.
Paul and Sarah also extend their thanks to Peter Economy for his dedication
to this project.
Peter thanks Paul and Sarah Edwards for the opportunity to work with them
on this dynamic topic, and for sharing their extensive experience and wisdom
with him. Together, we rediscovered the joy of doing the work that we truly
love and the power of teamwork.


Publisher’s Acknowledgments
We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration
form located at www.dummies.com/register/.
Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:
Acquisitions, Editorial, and
Media Development
Project Editor: Corbin Collins
Acquisitions Editor: Stacy Kennedy
Technical Editor: Beverley Williams
Editorial Manager: Michelle Hacker
Editorial Supervisor: Carmen Krikorian
Editorial Assistants: Courtney Allen,
Nadine Bell

Composition
Project Coordinator: Maridee Ennis
Layout and Graphics: Andrea Dahl,
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Heather Ryan, Julie Trippetti
Proofreaders: Leeann Harney Jessica Kramer,
Joe Niesen, TECHBOOKS Production
Services
Indexer: TECHBOOKS Production Services

Cover Photos: Rob Melnychuk/Getty Images/
Taxi
Cartoons: Rich Tennant, www.the5thwave.com

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies
Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies
Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director, Consumer Dummies
Kristin A. Cocks, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies
Michael Spring, Vice President and Publisher, Travel
Brice Gosnell, Associate Publisher, Travel
Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel
Publishing for Technology Dummies
Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User
Composition Services
Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services
Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


Contents at a Glance
Introduction .................................................................1
Part I: Beginning at the Beginning ................................5
Chapter 1: What You Need to Know about Home-Based Businesses ..........................7
Chapter 2: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, What’s the Best Business of All?...................21
Chapter 3: Hot Opportunities Now and for the Future................................................45
Chapter 4: Marketing 101: Getting Customers..............................................................65
Chapter 5: Making the Web Work for You......................................................................87

Part II: Managing Your Money...................................105
Chapter 6: Making the Transition to Working for Yourself .......................................107
Chapter 7: Keeping Track of Your Money....................................................................131
Chapter 8: The Price Is Right: Deciding How Much to Charge .................................157
Chapter 9: Getting Health Insurance and Planning for Your Retirement ................175
Chapter 10: Getting a Grip on Taxes and Deductions................................................191

Part III: Avoiding Problems .......................................213
Chapter 11: Legal Do’s and Don’ts ...............................................................................215
Chapter 12: Using Outside Resources and Experts ...................................................235
Chapter 13: Eluding Scams, Rip-Offs, and Other Headaches ....................................251

Part IV: Making It Work: Moving Ahead.....................261
Chapter 14: Staying on Track with a Serious Business Attitude ..............................263
Chapter 15: Coexisting with Kids, Relatives, Neighbors, and Pets ..........................281
Chapter 16: Don’t Just Stand There, Grow ..................................................................295

Part V: The Part of Tens ............................................309
Chapter 17: Ten Tips to Succeed in Your Home-Based Business .............................311
Chapter 18: Ten Things to Avoid ..................................................................................319
Chapter 19: Ten Myths about Working from Home....................................................325
Chapter 20: Ten Things to Do if Times Get Tough .....................................................333

Index .......................................................................339



Table of Contents
Introduction ..................................................................1
About This Book...............................................................................................1
How This Book Is Organized...........................................................................2
Part I: Beginning at the Beginning ........................................................2
Part II: Managing Your Money...............................................................2
Part III: Avoiding Problems....................................................................3
Part IV: Making It Work: Moving Ahead ..............................................3
Part V: The Part of Tens.........................................................................3
Icons Used in This Book..................................................................................3
Where to Go from Here....................................................................................4

Part I: Beginning at the Beginning .................................5
Chapter 1: What You Need to Know
about Home-Based Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Home-Based Business Defined .......................................................................8
The Basics of Home-Based Business .............................................................9
What kind of business will it be? ..........................................................9
Managing your money .........................................................................11
Avoiding problems ...............................................................................11
Moving ahead........................................................................................12
The Good News and the Bad ........................................................................14
Reasons to start a home-based business ..........................................14
The pitfalls of home-based businesses..............................................16
Understanding when you’re ready to make the move.....................16

Chapter 2: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,
What’s the Best Business of All? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Starting Something from Scratch .................................................................22
Doing what you have been doing in a job .........................................24
Doing something new and different ...................................................25
Buying a Business ..........................................................................................26
Home-based franchises .......................................................................28
Direct-selling opportunities ................................................................34
Business opportunities........................................................................38
Identifying Which Option Is Best for You....................................................41
Finding Your Niche by Specializing..............................................................42


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Home-Based Business For Dummies, 2nd Edition
Chapter 3: Hot Opportunities Now and for the Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
1. The Maturing Population ..........................................................................45
Daily needs ............................................................................................46
Professional services ...........................................................................47
Special services ....................................................................................47
2. Great Migration South and to Smaller Places.........................................48
3. Universal Connectivity: the Electronic Environment ............................49
4. Economic Globalization ............................................................................50
5. Increasing Numbers of Self-Employed.....................................................52
6. Living off the Grid ......................................................................................53
7. Rising Physical and Property Security Needs ........................................54
8. Education for Youth and Adults ...............................................................55
9. Health Care: Up in Demand and Cost ......................................................56
10. Luxuries as Necessities ...........................................................................59
Where You Can Learn about More Home Businesses ...............................61

Chapter 4: Marketing 101: Getting Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65
Identifying Your Best Customers .................................................................65
Tapping Into Your Customers’ Needs ..........................................................67
The WPWPF principle ..........................................................................68
Carving out a niche ..............................................................................70
Marketing: Different Roads to Meeting Your Goals....................................71
Word of mouth ......................................................................................73
Referrals ................................................................................................74
Public relations.....................................................................................76
Direct marketing ...................................................................................79
Advertising ............................................................................................80
Web sites and e-commerce..................................................................81
Developing a Marketing Plan — Now!..........................................................83
Part 1: Overview ...................................................................................84
Part 2: Marketing objectives ...............................................................84
Part 3: Situation analysis .....................................................................84
Part 4: Marketing strategies ................................................................85
Part 5: Financials ..................................................................................85

Chapter 5: Making the Web Work for You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
Bidding for Work ............................................................................................87
Sites that specialize in putting buyers and sellers together...........88
Tips for winning bids ...........................................................................89
Keys to keeping clients and building your business with them.....90
Getting Listed in Directories.........................................................................90
Online business directories ................................................................91
Association memberships...................................................................91
Going local: SmartPage listings and
search-engine local listings .............................................................92


Table of Contents
Networking the Internet Way........................................................................93
Online forums .......................................................................................93
Social networking sites ........................................................................94
Online etiquette for making winning relationships..........................94
Using Your Web Site to Attract Customers and Clients ............................96
What it takes to get traffic...................................................................96
Making it easy for visitors to become customers ............................98
Building and Maintaining Your Web Site .....................................................99
Hire someone to create and maintain your Web site.......................99
Create a Web site yourself.................................................................100
Skip the Web site and create an e-commerce site..........................101
Regardless of who creates it, make your site good........................102

Part II: Managing Your Money ...................................105
Chapter 6: Making the Transition to Working for Yourself . . . . . . . .107
Transitioning into Your Home-Based Business ........................................108
Five steps to take before leaving your job ......................................109
Overview of starting a home-based business.................................111
Six Ways to Get the Cash Flowing ..............................................................120
Beginning part-time with your new business .................................120
Working part-time at your old job....................................................120
Turning your employer into your first client..................................121
Taking business with you (ethically!) ..............................................121
Financing your business with startup funds ..................................121
Piggybacking with your spouse or significant other .....................123
Sixteen Sources of Startup Funds ..............................................................123
Putting Together a Business Plan ..............................................................126
Knowing When to Move On ........................................................................128

Chapter 7: Keeping Track of Your Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131
Organizing Your Finances............................................................................131
Setting Up a Business Account...................................................................133
Accepting Credit Card Sales .......................................................................134
Choosing the Best Bookkeeping System for Your Business ...................138
Check registers and bank statements..............................................139
Financial statements ..........................................................................140
Key financial ratios.............................................................................143
Finding Happiness in Positive Cash Flow..................................................144
Treating cash as king! ........................................................................145
Finding seven ways to kick-start your cash flow............................147
Understanding collections ................................................................148
Getting a Loan...............................................................................................151
Discovering different kinds of credit ...............................................151
Getting the loan you want .................................................................153
Fixing your bad credit history ..........................................................154

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Home-Based Business For Dummies, 2nd Edition
Chapter 8: The Price Is Right: Deciding How Much to Charge . . . . .157
Figuring Out What Your Prices Must Cover..............................................158
Salary ...................................................................................................160
Overhead .............................................................................................160
Direct costs .........................................................................................161
Profit.....................................................................................................162
Sizing Up Your Potential Customers and What They Will Pay ...............163
Researching Your Competition...................................................................164
Pricing Strategies That Deliver Sales.........................................................166
Creating value for your clients .........................................................166
Setting your prices: five approaches ...............................................167
Changing your prices.........................................................................170
Deciding whether to discount ..........................................................173

Chapter 9: Getting Health Insurance and
Planning for Your Retirement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .175
Providing Your Own Benefits......................................................................176
Choosing Your Health Care Coverage .......................................................177
The spectrum of health coverage ....................................................178
Fee-for-service and indemnity health care plans ...........................179
Managed care plans ...........................................................................180
Other health care coverage ..............................................................184
Considering the Need for Other Benefits..................................................186
Income protection ..............................................................................186
Life insurance......................................................................................187
Retirement and savings plans...........................................................187
Time off................................................................................................188
Child care ............................................................................................189

Chapter 10: Getting a Grip on Taxes and Deductions . . . . . . . . . . . . .191
Understanding Which Taxes to Pay — and When to Pay Them ............192
Who has to pay? .................................................................................193
When do you have to pay? ................................................................198
How much do you have to pay? .......................................................199
When is an independent contractor not
an independent contractor?..........................................................201
Taking a Look at the Home-Office Deduction ...........................................205
Reviewing Other Important Tax Deductions ............................................207
Discovering Sometimes-Overlooked Ways to Save On Your Taxes .......208
Uncovering the Ins and Outs of Sales Tax.................................................210


Table of Contents

Part III: Avoiding Problems ........................................213
Chapter 11: Legal Do’s and Don’ts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .215
Understanding the Forms (Legal Structures) of Businesses ..................216
Sole proprietorship ............................................................................217
Partnership .........................................................................................218
Limited liability company..................................................................220
Corporation.........................................................................................220
Name Registration........................................................................................222
Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents.......................................................225
Trademarks .........................................................................................225
Copyrights...........................................................................................226
Patents .................................................................................................227
Zoning, Licensing, and Permits ..................................................................228
Zoning ..................................................................................................229
Licensing and permits .......................................................................231
Tax Requirements ........................................................................................232

Chapter 12: Using Outside Resources and Experts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .235
Establishing Trade Accounts......................................................................236
Using Support Services ...............................................................................237
Finding Good Lawyers, Accountants, and Other Professionals.............240
Lawyers................................................................................................241
Accountants ........................................................................................242
Bankers ................................................................................................244
Business consultants .........................................................................246
Insurance agents and brokers ..........................................................248
Cashing In on Barter ....................................................................................249

Chapter 13: Eluding Scams, Rip-Offs, and Other Headaches . . . . . .251
Sniffing Out the Scams.................................................................................252
Job-at-home.........................................................................................253
Business opportunities......................................................................254
Franchises ...........................................................................................255
Direct-selling, network marketing, multi-level marketing .............256
Places to Check ............................................................................................257
Finally, Be Wary of . . ...................................................................................258
A Final Word..................................................................................................258

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Home-Based Business For Dummies, 2nd Edition

Part IV: Making It Work: Moving Ahead .....................261
Chapter 14: Staying on Track with a Serious
Business Attitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .263
It All Begins with a Serious Business Attitude..........................................264
It’s what’s inside that counts ............................................................264
What’s outside counts, too ...............................................................266
Separating Your Work from Your Personal Life........................................268
Avoiding Interruptions and Distractions ..................................................270
Dealing with interruptions ................................................................270
Dealing with distractions ..................................................................271
The last resort ....................................................................................272
Routines Rule................................................................................................274
An Organized Home Office Is a Happy Home Office ................................276
Managing your office..........................................................................276
Managing your time ...........................................................................278
What’s a priority and what’s not? ....................................................279

Chapter 15: Coexisting with Kids, Relatives,
Neighbors, and Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .281
What to Expect from Your Kids ..................................................................282
What to Expect from Relatives, Friends, and Neighbors ........................285
What to Expect When Working with Pets .................................................286
Workaholics, Unite! (It’s Time to Get a Life!) ............................................287
Teaming Up with a Spouse or Other Loved One ......................................289
Knowing when to team up.................................................................290
Figuring out how to team up.............................................................291
Building a healthy, long-term relationship ......................................293

Chapter 16: Don’t Just Stand There, Grow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .295
Becoming a Success.....................................................................................296
Identifying the Upside and Downside of Growth .....................................297
Understanding why you may want to grow ....................................298
Recognizing the many different ways to grow................................299
To grow or not to grow ......................................................................300
Bringing In Partners.....................................................................................302
Cashing Out and Other Exit Strategies......................................................304
Putting a value on your business .....................................................306
Now what? ...........................................................................................306


Table of Contents

Part V: The Part of Tens .............................................309
Chapter 17: Ten Tips to Succeed in Your Home-Based Business . . .311
Do What You Love........................................................................................312
Treat Your Business Like a Business .........................................................312
Become an Expert ........................................................................................313
Don’t Be Shy..................................................................................................313
Charge What You’re Worth .........................................................................314
Avoid Unnecessary Expenses.....................................................................314
Manage Your Cash Flow ..............................................................................315
Keep Your Day Job .......................................................................................315
Build a Solid Customer Base.......................................................................316
Ask for Referrals...........................................................................................316

Chapter 18: Ten Things to Avoid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .319
Don’t Turn Your Bedroom into Your Office ..............................................319
Don’t Use Your Office as a Family Entertainment Center .......................320
Don’t Work Morning, Noon, and Night ......................................................320
Don’t Allow Paperwork and Office Equipment
to Take Over Your Home..........................................................................321
Don’t Let Housework or Hobbies Distract You
from Getting Your Work Done .................................................................321
Don’t Fill Your Cabinets and Refrigerator with Junk Food .....................322
Don’t Expect Business to Come to You .....................................................322
Don’t Expect to Be an Overnight Success.................................................323
Don’t Give In When Someone Tries to Occupy
Your Precious Working Time...................................................................323
Don’t Expect to Work Effectively with Children Underfoot ....................324

Chapter 19: Ten Myths about Working from Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .325
You Have to Be a Salesperson to Be Successful.......................................325
You Can’t Work with Kids at Home ............................................................326
You’ll Get Rich Quick ...................................................................................327
You Can’t Make Any Money ........................................................................327
Home-Based Businesses Aren’t Real Businesses .....................................328
Home-Based Businesses Are Cheap...........................................................328
There’s No Going Back ................................................................................329
If You’re at Home, You Must Not Be Working ...........................................329
You Can Write Off Everything .....................................................................330
You Can Run around in Your Pajamas All Day Long ................................331

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Home-Based Business For Dummies, 2nd Edition
Chapter 20: Ten Things to Do if Times Get Tough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .333
Save for a Rainy Day ....................................................................................333
Manage Your Cash Flow ..............................................................................334
Keep in Touch with Your Customers .........................................................335
Push Your Clients to Pay Their Bills ..........................................................335
Minimize Expenses.......................................................................................336
Offer a Special Promotion ...........................................................................336
Subcontract for Others................................................................................337
Volunteer .......................................................................................................337
Moonlight ......................................................................................................338
Refuse to Give Up! ........................................................................................338

Index........................................................................339


Introduction

W

ho doesn’t dream of starting one’s own business and being one’s own
boss? Increasingly, this dream is becoming a reality for the millions of
people who have chosen to start their own businesses at home. And it’s not
just a pie-in-the-sky dream; starting a home-based business is a reality that
has created wide-open opportunity and success for those who decided to
take the plunge — just as it can for you.
Home-Based Business For Dummies, 2nd Edition, presents and explains an
incredibly wide variety of information — all of it aimed at ensuring your
home-business success. Whether you need information on choosing the right
business opportunity, avoiding scams, marketing your business, pricing your
products and services, keeping accounts and books, understanding legal do’s
and don’ts, or growing your business, you’ll find it here.
This book provides you with the very best ideas, concepts, and tools for
starting and successfully operating your home business. Apply them, and
we’re convinced that you’ll be able to create exactly the kind of business you
have always dreamed of and find exactly the level of success that you have
always wanted.

About This Book
Home-Based Business For Dummies is full of useful information, tips, and
checklists for everyone who aspires to start a successful home-based business. Your current level of business experience (or lack thereof) doesn’t
matter. Don’t worry about not having years of it under your belt or about not
knowing the difference between direct selling and a franchise. For a fraction of
the amount you would pay to get an M.B.A., this book provides you with an
easily understandable road map to today’s most innovative and effective
home-based business techniques and strategies.
The information you’ll find here is firmly grounded in the real world. This
book isn’t an abstract collection of theoretical mumbo-jumbo that sounds
good but doesn’t work when you put it to the test. Instead, we’ve culled the
best information, best strategies, and best techniques — the exact same ones
that are taught in today’s top business schools. This book is a toolbox full of
solutions to your every question and problem.


2

Home-Based Business For Dummies, 2nd Edition
This book is also fun — it reflects our strong belief and experience that running a business doesn’t have to be a bore. We even help you maintain a sense
of humor in the face of the challenges that all home-based businesspeople
face from time to time, because we’ve been there, done that!
And one more thing: The Internet has forever changed the world of business,
and that includes home-based businesses. This book contains the latest information on e-commerce and on starting and operating a successful business
on the Internet. It’s also chock full of our own personal Internet bookmarks
for the best home-business resources the Web has to offer.

How This Book Is Organized
Home-Based Business For Dummies is organized into five parts. The chapters
within each part cover specific topic areas in detail. Because we’ve organized
the book this way, you can easily find the topic you’re looking for. Look in the
index or table of contents for your general area of interest and then find the
chapter that concerns your particular needs. Whatever the topic, odds are
it’s covered somewhere in this book.
Each part addresses a major area of the hows, whats, and whys of starting
your own home-based business. The following is a summary of what you’ll
find in each part.

Part I: Beginning at the Beginning
For most people, starting a home-based business is a big undertaking. But
every great journey begins with some small first steps. In this part, we take a
look at what you need to know about starting a home-based business and
take you on a tour of the very best home-based business opportunities both
for today and tomorrow. We consider the ins and outs of effective marketing.
Finally, we discuss how to make the Web work for you.

Part II: Managing Your Money
Money is the blood that keeps any business running: It’s how you pay for
your supplies, your computer, and other equipment and how you put something aside for a rainy day. In this part, we take a close look at transitioning
from a regular job into your own home-based business, as well as keeping
track of your money and deciding how much to charge. We examine getting
health insurance and planning for your retirement — and how to use the tax
laws to your advantage.


Introduction

Part III: Avoiding Problems
There’s more to starting a business than simply announcing that you’re “in
business.” You have to choose and register a business name, consider zoning
regulations, and set up and equip your home office. In this part, we present
the most common legal considerations for home-based businesspeople and
discuss which kinds of business relationships are most important to establish and how you can establish them. Finally, we give you our best advice on
avoiding scams and ripoffs.

Part IV: Making It Work: Moving Ahead
Creating a successful home-based business requires more than a good idea;
you need the ability to separate your business from your personal life and to
know when to mix the two and when to keep them apart. In this part, you find
out about establishing a serious business attitude and how to ensure that
your business coexists peacefully with those people you share your home
with. We also take a look at how to successfully grow your business, if you so
choose.

Part V: The Part of Tens
In this concise and lively set of condensed chapters, you can find tips to help
start and maintain your home-based business. We show you how to succeed
in your home-based business, what to do when times get tough, and much
more.

Icons Used in This Book
Icons are handy little graphic images that are meant to point out particularly
important information about starting your own home-based business. You’ll
find the following icons in this book, conveniently located along the left
margins.
This icon directs you to tips and shortcuts for making your home-based business a success.

We’ve seen some pretty interesting things while working with home-based
businesses, including our own. This icon points out some of our stories.

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