Michael Brown

Author Archives: Michael Brown

7

Niche Ideas For Affiliate Marketing Or Building A Brand

I think as entrepreneurs it’s easy to sometimes overlook the great niche ideas that sit right in front of your face.  In this training today, I am going to give you a bunch of great niche ideas to get you started on your business. Additionally, I am going to show you some sites that are already in these niche markets that I think are well put together.  These examples should help kick-start your creativity.

Whether you’re into affiliate marketing like I train about here and at my complete course here or you’re into creating your own brand like I train here (coming very soon – it’s not open yet) you can use these ideas as your own niche or you can branch off of the ideas to create something entirely new.  Find a niche market you like below.  After looking through my niche ideas below, the goal is to simply get you motivated to think about what niche you’d like to get into not necessarily these exact niche examples.

fitness niche ideasGetting In Shape Niche:

This is an evergreen niche that will NEVER get old.  Sure it can be competitive but if you really learn the subject this is something that you can get into and make a great living at.

Here are a few people that are doing an amazing job teaching you how to get in shape while making money in their niche doing it.

  • Muscle For Life – Focuses on muscle, lifetime fitness etc.  Great stuff.  Plus, he not only promotes things as an affiliate but creates his own products.  This is a great business model.
  • Kinobody – Great focus on building muscle.
  • Ice Cream Gal – Great site for women’s fitness and weight loss.
  • Muscle Old School – Brent does a great job here of focusing on real strength training using old school methods.

The sites above are just to give you some examples.  However, if you want to really niche down you can do your keyword research and find a niche based on getting in shape easily.

I.e. let’s say you drill down and go after strength training for older men or women.  Perhaps you want to focus on fat loss or a specific segment of the market like getting a 6 pack set of abs, stronger and leaner arms or even how to have a great butt.  Just in the weight loss industry alone, there are thousands of potential niche variants.

Gardening Niche Marketgardening niche

This niche is vast just like getting in shape. This can range from small to large gardening to organic and so on.  Check out some of the sites that are doing this very well.

  • Gardeners.com – They don’t just sell the products they discuss using them and gardening methods in posts.  Great site for the gardening enthusiast.
  • Away To Garden – This site is brilliant.  You can tell when you arrive there that she really knows her stuff.  Look at the information she’s sharing – it says TRUST.

Again with a little bit of effort and keyword research, you can dig into this topic and find a niche idea that makes sense to you.  The key is just to get busy and make sure you’re passionate about it.

Do You Like The Niches Ideas So Far?

I have some more interesting niche ideas for you below.

organic nicheThe Organic – Everything Niche.

As people become more concerned with GMOs (genetically modified organisms) the entire organic segment will grow larger.  Over the last decade it has already grown exponentially and I think it’s going to continue this trend.

This opens up the door for the niche segments of the organic industry.  I.e. organic skin care, organic baby care, organic foods, specialty organic diets and more.  Using a tool called Keyword Canine, I get over 1033 keywords!  Inside those 1033 are potentially hundreds of niche market ideas waiting for you to tap into.

Here are some people who I believe are doing a great job in the organic niche markets.

  • Natural Dog Care – Great resource for the organic dog food niche market.
  • Organic Candy – They are selling their own brand here but they could easily write about this niche. If they weren’t selling their own they could also be affiliates.

Being A Mom or Dad Nichemommy blogger niche

I always liked the idea of the mom/dad blogger niche.  I’ve never decided to create in this niche myself but it’s vast and there is a never-ending list of topics you can discuss in this niche; not to mention an unlimited amount of profitability.  If you’re a parent think of all the things you’ve learned as being one.  Think of all of the things you had to figure out.  Guess what?  Millions of other people are looking for the answers you’ve already discovered!

Here are a couple sites doing this niche justice.

  • Dad Blogger – I really liked the style used at this site.
  • Mom Blogger – This site is massive and well kept.  Also great work on social media here.

There are so many other great parenthood blogs out there but I just wanted to share a couple that had a different “edge” to them.

Additional Things To Help Get You In The Niche You Want To Be In

I hope you enjoyed me sharing some niche ideas that I not only find interesting but evergreen.  I wanted to make sure to share examples so you could see how people are creating content in these niche markets and give you some ideas to get you started.

There are literally millions of niche markets out there and it simply takes time, research and deep thought to generate your own niche ideas until you find the one that is perfect for you.

Once you find a niche you really like then it’s time to get started so you can be on the road to making money online.  The best thing you can do for yourself is sitting alone in silence and think of a niche you’d like to be in, one you’re good at or one you’d love to learn.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources that will help you discover a great niche.

  • 101 Niche Markets – Additional niche markets you might be interested in.
  • Another Great Niche Research Tutorial
  • Finding Your Passion – This is my advice for how and why to find your passion.  Finding a niche that matches your passion is a winning combination.  If you don’t currently have a passion you can simply get into a niche that you think you’ll be passionate about.  Once you learn more about the niche usually that passion can blossom.
  • Ways To Find Your Niche – I show you 17 places where you can find a niche without even doing keyword research yet.
  • Keyword Research Your Niche – This will help you discover how many people are searching for this information and show you who is also in this niche already.

Like the niche ideas, I shared here today?  It would mean a lot to me if you’d share this post on social media with your friends.  This helps people who need the advice and it helps me spread the word so I can keep creating the information that you want to see here!

Question or comment?  Submit it below.

10

How To Get Things Done When You Have No Time To Get Things Done

The title of this post is actually incorrect and I’ll explain why.  The question of “how to get things done when you have no time to get things done” is usually a false presumption of lack of time at best.

The cold hard facts say we have 24 hours in a day to get all the things we need to get accomplished, done.

Yet, some of us get far more accomplished than others.

We have more time than we believe we have  because we’re very good at wasting time or inviting distractions to waste our time unintentionally.  So, in a sense, you’re usually stuck believing you have less time than you really do.

As you know, when you want to build your own online business, quit your job or learn new things ( like learning my teachings in my course; Niche 60); getting things done is extremely important.

Let me show you 3 proven ways to save time and simply get more things done even if you feel like you’re already time strapped.

jouranling for time savings

Not Fancy: But It’s My Journal

Keep A Journal

Journaling.  This one is actually pretty new to me.  However, I’ve been practicing a form of journaling for years without really knowing it.

So what is it?  It’s simply the act of writing down what is trapped in your mind daily so you do not forget and allows for better mental clarity.

This can be things such as feelings and general thoughts to things that you’re looking to accomplish on a daily basis.

The few minutes you spend writing in the journal can save you hours of time later.

This saves you from wasting time by allowing quicker recall of whatever information you need.

How many times have you sat in front of your computer screen, notebook or work space and wondered what you needed to do next?  With a journal, you’ve got that information at your fingertips.

I estimate that by keeping a journal I am able to save myself around 30-40 hours per month that could have been easily been wasted.  If you start journaling you’ll no longer wonder how to get things done when you have no time because you’ll open up so much extra time for yourself.

Here’s how I use my journal for time management and to accomplish big things.

In the morning during my cup of coffee, I take 5-10 minutes and I write down anything I dreamed of, thought of immediately upon waking up and I state exactly what I am going to accomplish for the day.

I then work throughout the day to achieve everything that I stated I would accomplish.

At night, not long before bed, I write down in the same daily entry things that I accomplished, thoughts, feelings and then I list things that I want to accomplish the next day.

Yes, this means sometimes things get entered twice but this instills them into my brain even more.  Upon waking the next day, my mind is pretty much made up of what I want to do and it makes a journal entry even easier to write.

Some of the greatest thinkers in history have journaled including guys like Edison and Tesla who accomplished world changing things.  This would have been an impossible task without a journal.

If you ever want to dig a bit deeper into journaling check out this post on Medium.

Deep Work

Deep work is a term coined by Cal Newport and quite frankly if you’re not practicing it, you’re missing out on some big time savings.

Deep work can easily be summarized in the words of Mr. Newport as follows: “Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.”

I’ve discussed some of the things he delves into in the past but what he discusses and teaches is a “game changer” for those of us that live in a distracting world.

Deep work involves learning what is important and what is not and then how to direct your overall focus.

Deep work involves turning off all distractions but, more importantly, it involves being conscientiously aware of ourselves and what actually pulls us away from accomplishing the most important things of your life and where you’ll be ignoring the smaller things such as answering an email, checking Facebook or Twitter, reading texts messages etc.

When I need to get critical things, like creating a new blog post, working on a new course or building a new business I am constantly in Deep Work mode.  I highly suggest practicing it and adapting it to your daily life.

Some things I constantly ask myself before I start my day is as follows:

  • What is the most important task I can do today?
  • What is the least important task?
  • Which will help me achieve my end goal faster?

Using my journal, I create a list of the most important task of the day to the least important task of the day.  This process takes a total of 2 minutes but saves me so much time.

I then proceed to get the most important task done as early in the day as possible and I tackle the least important tasks near the end of the day or during a break point.  I.e. if I need to answer a couple of emails I’ll do this on a break from deep work mode or during my down time.

Practice deep working and I am sure it’ll pay off for you.

Quit Complaining

We all have things in our lives that we don’t want to deal with.  Some of us are more fortunate than others, some of us start with more money and some of us have outside problems that are difficult to deal with.  These outside problems can be things like family issues, health, important obligations and so on.

But one of the biggest time drains is complaining to everyone about these problems.

First of all, constant complaining that life isn’t fair makes you look weak to everyone around you.  Nobody wants to hear your daily complaints, nor has time for it.  We all have enough problems going on in our lives as it is.

Now, don’t mistake asking for advice or sharing your troubles with someone as complaining. It’s sometimes beneficial to you and to your friends to have open discussions about your troubles. I am talking more about the constant whiner; same problem, new day, without attempting at resolve, type of person.

Secondly, it wastes so much time.  It’s better to simply list your complaints in your own journal and then spend a few moments meditating on a resolution or praying about a resolution if you’re into prayer like I personally am.

That’s really all I have for this segment, but, because I’ve seen so much time wasted in complaints (and have personally wasted myself in the past) it’s something I had to mention. By removing complaints from my life, I have freed up enormous amounts of time that can be used for anything else.

Put Time Savings Into Practice

There are numerous other time-saving things that I didn’t discuss today but if you put the 3 previous things I mentioned into practice you’ll free up so much time for yourself you’ll be able to work on that business more or do great things for yourself and family that you never thought were possible.

Make a commitment to do these things and stick to them.

Hopefully once you start using these ideas you won’t wonder how to get things done when you have no time to get things done, because you’ll actually find that you do really have the time to accomplish your goals.

What about you?  Do you have any time savings tips?  Already practicing these things?  Share with us and let’s discuss it today.

Share this post with anyone you think could use this advice today or share with anyone you already know that is amazing at getting things done.

Free Stock Photos That Don’t Look Like Stock Photos

Recently I  have grown bored with most of the paid stock photography sites.  After I completed one of my recent posts, I sat back in my chair and just did not like the pictures I had in the post.  I had a couple of choices for the future at this point; keep putting up with stock photos that I hated or actually find some good free stock photos that don’t look like stock photos for my websites!

So to do this, I had to do a little research and from that research, I put together a list of places that I’ve been getting some cool pictures from.  I am going to share that with you, right now.

Here are the names of the sites which offer free stock photos that look amazing.

  1. Cupcake
  2. Unsplash
  3. Foodiefeed
  4. Gratisography
  5. New old stock
  6. Stock Up
  7. Jay Mantri
  8. Pexels
  9. Travel Coffee Book
  10. Mazwai
  11. Pixabay

Now let me break down the rights to the following sites where you can get free stock photos that don’t look like stock photos – A.K.A. awesome stock photos. Click on any of the names to visit the site.

1. Cupcake 

All the images provided by this website have been licensed by the creative commons (CCO) license. This means that you can utilize in virtually any way you wish, without having to incur any costs.  I really love this site and enjoy the photography.

2. Unsplash

Unsplash is highly noted for offering high-resolution images that can be excellent for any project you might have in mind. Unlike most other alternatives, this royalty-free stock photos database is regularly updated, with 10 fresh images after every ten days.  This is currently my favorite stock photo site of the group.

3. Foodiefeed

This website is solely dedicated to offering high-quality images that are food oriented. Foodiefeed provides an extensive database that runs in the hundreds of thousands in number.  This is a great site if you run any type of food-oriented website.

4. Gratisography

Gratisography is another one of the very best stock photography website currently in existence. These images are categorized in several collective groupings, which consists of nature, animals, urban, objects and even whimsical.

5. New old stock

This website’s uniqueness is the fact that it solely focuses on offering vintage images. All of which have been licensed under CCO.  These are not my favorite and in many cases are not functional on most sites.  However, this site may work perfectly for you.

6. Stock Up

Stock up is a highly acclaimed stock photo vendor. Essentially, this site provides a search tool, which users can utilize to access tens of thousands of quality images from dozens of online sources.  I like many of the pictures here but some of them fall into the classic “look like a stock photo” mold.  However, there are enough good looking photos here to add the site to my list.

7. Jay Mantri

This website provides numerous stock images, that have of course been licensed under the CCO act. Which means you can edit, modify or even use them with commercial motives, without having to spend a dime.

8. Pexels

Pexels boasts a large collection of royalty-free images. These photos are categorized in different categories such as business, technology, people., vehicle, vintage, black & white to mention but a few.

9. Travel Coffee Book

This website has been specifically put in place to offer exceptional travel images, which naturally are licensed by CCO.

10. Mazwai

Mazwai is a unique website where talented creatives showcase their own stock photography to users from all over the world.

11. Pixabay

This site was shared with me by my friend Kevin Riley.  So far it’s a great looking resource.  All of the pictures at this site are CCO as well.  This allows you to use  the pictures for any purpose.

The photo that you saw at the top of the page is a stock photo from Unsplash and here is another.

awesome stock photos

Looks like some awesome stock photography eh?  It just doesn’t have that stock photography feel to it.

Let me know what you think.  Do you like these sites?  Are you using a different site that you love?  Share it and I might add it to the list above.  Enjoy making your site look much better with this stock photography that actually looks amazing.

1

Finding Your Passion Leads To Profit But….

Many beginners who are looking at building their own online business will ask me if they should follow their passion or simply chase after what’s hot and profitable at the time. I’ve even touched on this in the past when speaking of finding a niche market to make money in for yourself.

We all want to get into that hot niche market and get as many sales right away.  However, my answer is always to go for the passion.

Now, I could end this lesson here and just say “Hey, go follow your passion!  End of story!” but I can’t do that.

Why?  Because the next question I’ll get from you is “How do I find what I am passionate about?”

To be completely honest this can be tough, it can be hard and it can be crippling for some.

I have been in dozens of niche markets, both new and old and I can tell you that without a doubt the markets that I have a passion in are the ones that make me the most money every single time.

I’ve struggled with finding my passions before and I’ll tell you that in the recent past I’ve pushed some of my passions off and chased the money first and it was a huge mistake.

There are a few reasons why we tend to make more money following the markets that we’re passionate about.

  • We actually like/enjoy/love what we’re doing
  • Holds our interest to follow through
  • Easier to discuss with people because you know something about it

Have you ever worked a job that you hated?  I have!  Even though you might work hard at something you hated, how likely would you be to continue doing something you hate? Probably not very likely?

This is the problem.

Because it doesn’t bring joy to us it’s easier to push away from it.  This leads to lack of interest, friction and ultimately the point of giving up.

But, on the other hand, think about something you love in this world.

When you love something it brings you to life, strikes your soul and pushes you to strive for what you want to achieve.

When you love something you’ll think about it often.

This could be a hobby like:

  • Golf
  • Building models
  • Gardening
  • Baking/cooking/grilling
  • Sports
  • Fashion
  • Photography
  • And so on…

It could be something you’re already good at:

  • Past work
  • Current hobby (again)
  • Current work
  • A skill you understand very well
  • And so on

Now let me ask you this question.  How easy is it for you to talk about these things?  Does it bring you joy to discuss your passion?  Do you find that having a conversation about these things to be much easier?

You’re likely saying yes right now.

If you’re not saying yes then maybe you simply haven’t found your passion yet.  If you haven’t found it, there is still plenty of time.  It doesn’t matter what age you are, because in this day and age we have the Internet with infinite amounts of information at our finger tips.

You could easily start by doing some research, investigating the topic and simply trying new things.

A Challenge

If you’re not doing something you’re passionate about right now I challenge you to do the following:

Grab a pen and paper (yes, it’s old school) and go into a quiet place.

Next….

Turn off the cell phone, Facebook, Twitter, Radio and TV.  Start writing about what brings joy to your life.

You might find one thing or ten things, but I challenge you to write them all down.

Continue in deep thought and find out of those you’ve listed which one inspires you the most.

That just might be your passion.

But….

If nothing comes to mind write down something you’ve always wanted to try that you think might bring joy to your life.

What would be exciting or fun to learn/try?

Write these things down and keep them for yourself, then pursue learning about them.  A simple search in any search engine will be enough to get you started.

Heck, you could even buy a book and read more about the subject.

Finish Strong

Then over the next 30 days make it a point to focus on learning the subject and seeing if it sparks a true passion in you.

If you end up with one passion or are lucky enough to have several these are the niche markets I believe you should pursue.

Have a question or comment? Do you know your passion yet? Let me know below!

If you know someone that this advice would help?  Please share on social media wherever you can.  Not only would I appreciate it, but I am sure they would as well!

Promoting Your Business On Instagram Without Spending Money & Why You Need To Now…

Last year I added a segment to my Niche 60 course showing my members how to get on Instagram.  I also show them how to get traffic and sales to their website from Instagram.  Oddly enough I never get many questions from the students about it.  This is a trend that happens with all “new” places on the Internet.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Instagram is new, but, it has largely been ignored by many marketers.

The fact, that it is now picking up steam only means that we’re about to completely ruin it within the next couple of years.  However, I think we can do some non spammy things that our audiences will like. Instagram is an extremely active place.  In fact, for my niche markets the level of activity blows Facebook away.

I am going to show you what I’ve been doing recently, with great results.

My Experimenting With Instagram

First, I’ll be honest here.  I have not been on Instagram very long and in fact, in some of my niche markets; barely at all.  That’s all going to change quickly.

Like I normally do, I experiment with something before I’m ready to march and advocate for it heavily.

So about 5 months ago I set up an Instagram account in a niche market.  The market was a new eCommerce store I setup about 1 year ago.  This market also was new to me, I had no experience in it and it also had nothing to do with the eCommerce niche or affiliate marketing.

For the first 2 months I barely used the account.  I simply added a few pictures here or there and followed a few other people in that same industry.  I really didn’t see much movement or actually even “get it” for a little while.

It wasn’t until I really started looking at the platform that it clicked how people are using it and I was able to do some cool stuff.

Here is an example of what I have been doing, by showing you how Taco Bell is doing it.

Fiesta like there’s no tomorrow. #NewYearsEve

A photo posted by Taco Bell (@tacobell) on

I do spend a little more time entering longer messages to accompany each picture/video than they do.

But, large companies like Taco Bell have the benefit of brand awareness working in their favor that you and I do not have.  I’ll cover more about my methods below.

Growth From Within Instagram

I began placing a picture on the account every 2-3 days.  The pictures I decided to use were simply pictures of products that I sell inside of the eCommerce site.  Keep in mind this can be done with affiliate marketing as used in Niche 60 as well and these products do not need to be your own.

Keep in mind for your own pictures you can also use clever memes and sayings.  I’ve been doing it in some of my niche markets that I am involved in and it works but it’s not my favorite way.  I simply prefer showcasing good products and including a little write up with it.

NOTE:  Some people place pictures on several times per day, but I don’t think that it’s 100% necessary.  Once per day or once every other day is probably enough.  However, there is nothing wrong with putting up 5-10 pictures per day if you can keep up with it.

I noticed each time I placed a picture up people would “heart it” (hearting is basically saying you like it or love it) or commenting on it.  Over the course of a few weeks I noticed a small spike in my website traffic coming from Instagram (I’ll show you how to track this in a future post as Google Analytics does not track it very well, yet).

Where I really saw a spike in traffic and even a ton of sales is by doing 3 things while also posting my own images up.

  1. Hearting other pictures/videos in my niche.  I’d simply do a search for the hashtags that made sense in my niche and then when I found cool pictures that I liked, I’d heart them.  If you really want to get the picture creators attention heart 5-6 of their images and you’ll get out on their radar the easy way.  The reason this works so well is because Instagram notifies you anytime someone follows you, hearts you or comments on one of your pictures.
  2. Commenting on other peoples pictures/videos.  Interacting is one of the best ways to gain new followers.  When I comment on a pictures/videos I get a reply about 70% of the time.  This starts a dialogue.  I never try to sell anything during this but it gets the person curious as to what your account does.  They may investigate you, which can easily lead to a new follower or sale.
  3. Following people who are in my niche.  When you follow someone it basically shows you like what they are posting.  By doing this they are likely to check you out as well.  This leads to traffic and, again, potential sales on your website.

Is Instagram Time Consuming For Promoting Your Business?

Look, I won’t sugar coat this, it’s going to take a little bit of time to use it.  This is especially true if you’re in several niche markets because you’ll need to constantly switch between accounts.  Since Instagram only works on your phone (right now) there is no trick to get around this.

But, because everything is so easy to navigate and use you can build up your followers and interactions while you watch TV, listen to a podcast, walk on the treadmill or while you’re at the doctors office waiting to be seen it only makes sense to just do it.  Most days I spend less than 15 minutes in total on Instagram but I have some great results here.

My Results In 60 Days

So with one little niche market I was able to drive around 55 sales from Instagram with less than 1000 followers and with very little work.  Over time I suspect this number will climb exponentially as I increase my followers and interactions.  I also think if I would have focused more time and energy on Instagram I would have pushed more sales in that time frame.

It wasn’t all just about getting the short term sales though.  There is something much bigger and much more important that Instagram helps you build.

Brand Awareness

One of the best things you can get is recognition for your brand; brand awareness.

This can be critical because as people learn about you, they may not be ready to buy something from you.

However, if you’re positioned as a great brand in your industry and someone is following you on social media, like Instagram, when it comes time to buy they are going to remember you.

Let’s say you had a website that sells aquaponic garden equipment and you followed the advice I mention above.

As time goes by and you gain followers and interact with those followers, release new pictures and videos on a  regular basis and answer any questions when asked, you’re going to build up people that view you as an authority in your niche.  This leads to sales, even if it’s in the future.

Go for the long term over the short term and don’t worry so much about immediate sales.  If you have a good products and you’re doing these things the sales will come.

If You Can’t Put A Link In A Post On Instagram Then How Will People Find You?

One of the early things I foolishly avoided Instagram for was the lack of ability to put a link in a single post.  The only place you can put a link is in your profile.  This means for people to find your site they need to click your profile and then go visit you.

However, you can mention your profile when you post a picture or video when you leave text.  So you could say something like “If this looks great, come see the product in all of it’s glory.  Link is in profile.”

I rarely do this, but,  it’s good to bring up every now and then when you gain followers.

I usually just include things like this with each post: “We’ve added this new product to our store.  We think it looks amazing.  Come visit us and see what you think.”

This is a way of promoting yourself without it looking like you’re promoting yourself.  You’re simply stating your opinion about a product in your store and asking for opinions.  This works on all forms of social media, not just Instagram and it works in virtually any niche market.  It also doesn’t matter if you’re running an affiliate site or running an eCommerce store.

Promoting Your Business On Instagram This Way Won’t Cost You A Dime!

It’s free.  It’s easy to create images and even videos with your cell phone.

In fact, you won’t need to spend anything to do this.  The only thing you’d ever need to spend any amount of money on is having someone creating the images for you.  I’ve tried it and personally I like my images more because I understand my niche market more so than a graphic artist does.

A Little Homework And A Little Action

Getting started with Instagram is as easy as “just doing it” and then staying with it.  Like anything, you’re not going to get an avalanche of traffic and sales from the start.  It takes time and effort to grow it.

I HIGHLY suggest looking at what other companies are doing with Instagram to get some great ideas.  By looking at what other companies are doing you can then gather ideas that might work for you.  This will allow you to determine the best course of action for your company on Instagram.

Here are a couple accounts to check out:

https://www.instagram.com/pepsi/

https://www.instagram.com/wholefoods/

Next, I suggest then looking at what other companies in your niche are doing.  Often you’ll find many companies are not using it.  It’s shocking and it reminds me of when businesses first ignored Facebook.  Now it would seem insane to not have your business on Facebook.  I feel like the same is soon to come for Instagram too.

Now, if you do see someone in your niche using it effectively or you notice they have thousands of followers and you are just starting, don’t get discouraged.  In fact, you should have the opposite feeling in your stomach.  They are there building up an audience for a reason!

You must realize that it’s working and that you need to be there too.  From this point you can grow your account and start reaping the benefits.

What are your thoughts?  Are you using Instagram yet?  Tried it but not having any luck?

Where To Get Images For Your Website

The internet is a complete goldmine for images and is saturated with so many great options that naturally begs the question: Why should I have to pay for images when I can just Google one?

Well, actually, without the consent of use and proper credits provided, using an image that is not yours or rightfully purchased by you, can become a matter of legal issues – especially for business owners using images on their website.  So spending $1 or $2 for an image is not a bad idea.

In fact, every website I build, I buy all of my images for it.

Listed below are some great (and safe) options for you to acquire images that are both professional as well as cost effective:

My Go-To Place For Website Images….

Fotolia.com

As one of the top leading image banks, Fotolia provides instant access to over 47 million images, vectors, illustrations as well as video clips to meet the growing needs of your website. What we love most about Fotolia is that they are truly affordable and royalty-free images so you don’t have to worry about any legal issues of purchasing and using the images for personal or commercial use. For pricing and monthly package information, you’ll find that at the site.

However, I do not use their subscription based model and I simply buy credits as needed.  This way I never need to spend more than I need on images for any given project.

Here Is A Simple Search Demonstration Of How Easy It Is To Find Images On Fotolia

fotolia demo

It’s as simple as typing a search term in the search box and then adding the image to your cart.

Next, Image Site….

istockphoto.com

Think of it as an ever expansive picture library that enlists the work of talented artists, photographers and designers to bring you some of the most appealing and visually stunning pictures you’ve ever seen. For as low as $40 per month, you can subscribe to get 10 images, click here for more information on various packages.

This is really similar to Fotolia but they do have some different images and packages.

 Finally, One More Place…

Flaticon.com

If you’re looking for vector icons for your website, flaticon.com is a great resource for free vectors. With over 97 thousand vector icons to choose from, the site is full of great options.

Product Images Of Your Own Products

If you need to take good product pictures to show products on your website you’re going to need some help.

Personally, I outsource this because I am not a patient person.

However, if you’re patient and you like to take your own pictures (and you want to save money!) you can do this.  The guy I follow for any camera related advice is this guy.  He reviews cameras and techniques so you’ll want to follow him too.

Where To Get A Logo For Your Business

A logo is a direct reflection of your business; it is a visual mark that connects your brand with consumers and depending on the quality of the logo – it can either help your business or hinder it. Of course I want you to succeed, in fact, it’s so important for me to help other businesses grow that I want to help you find the resources you need to create a logo that is not only visually appealing, but also benefits your brand.

This is something that is often overlooked but when you start a brand this should be done once you know what your brand represents and what the theme of your brand is.

Consider this for a moment; what brands can you easily identify just by their logo?  My guess is that most big brands are easy to spot.

I.e the Starbucks mermaid, the golden arches of Mcdonalds and the Nike swoosh are all easily recognizable even if you were to remove the words.

Here are several resources that you can look to for the creation of a logo and depending on your business objective and budget we have several options for you:

Design the logo yourself

If time isn’t an issue and you are a creative soul (or perhaps on a tight budget), consider creating a temporary logo yourself until you have the means to hire a professional.  If you have any artistic talent this will work for you.  However, if you’re anything like me this is not even an option.

Using a FREE online website called Pic Monkey anyone can create a basic logo without spending a pretty penny. While the website is 100% free to use, you can have access to supreme fonts, designs and various other effects by opting for their Royale package.

Outsource the logo

Don’t have the time or enough creative juice to come up with your own logo? Go to Fiverr.com and get someone to design it for you; with everything starting at just $5, you’ve really got nothing to lose. Do not feel shy about outsourcing some small labour; while it may take you hours and even days to come up with something decent, someone on Fiverr could do it for you.

Fiverr is a cheap way to get this done and it’s a place I’ve used several times.

Hire the help of an expert

The internet brims with many talented and artistic folks who can help you design a logo of your liking. For instance, If you’re looking for something more personalized and best suited for your taste; Sarah Decker Design is amazingly talented and provides exceptional customer service. By reaching out for help from a professional, you can be assured that the job will be done to your satisfaction. Less time worrying about your logo and brand means more time you will have to strategize on ways to make your business successful. It’s a win-win situation.

Keep in mind that as you grow your business, your logo and brand, too, will naturally change and evolve with the flow of things. While you will want to put some thought into it, you don’t want to spend too much time stressing about a logo. For now, create something visually appealing that speaks to your style and you can (and probably will) change it later on in the game.

This is typically a more expensive option and you’re likely not going to want to with an expert.

Use these tips to get a good logo made.  Remember image is important and you need to make sure that whatever design you select for your logo ultimately fits your brand.

How To Figure Out What You Want To Sell Online In Your Webstore With Just These 3 Things

When you are planning to start an online business that sells physical products you need to figure out what you want to sell online.

In learning about physical product creation and affiliate marketing I have found an immediate parallel of success in both fields.

Three Simple Things

I am going to give you some personal advice today based positive and negative results I have personally encountered.

First here are the three things that will help you find a market that will lead to success.  These 3 things will help you figure out what you want to sell online in marketplaces and your own webstore.

  1. Pick A Passion
  2. Pick Something You’ll Commit Too
  3. Pick A Market With Money In It

Now I am going to explain these things above and guide you through figuring out how to choose products that fit for you personally.

The Passion Products

This isn’t always easy but you need to determine if you’re passionate about something.  If you’re not passionate about anything you’ll struggle to communicate effectively with potential buyers and you’ll struggle to make the gains you’d like in this market.

I’ve found over the years that people are often passionate about things but think they do not have a passion.

So below is a list of things that could lead you to find your passion.

  • A hobby
  • Something you’re already good at
  • Something you have vast knowledge in
  • Something you do daily
  • Something that makes you excited
  • Something that you find fun every time you discuss it
  • Something you wouldn’t have a problem explaining to a friend over a beer,glass of wine or coffee

See the things above are often passions that many people do not recognize as passions.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you collect model trains and train sets, landscape and tracks.  You basically love building these and look forward to working on the layouts etc.

This is likely a passionate hobby you’re involved in.  How cool would it be to be able to create your own line of train sets, tracks and landscapes?  How cool would it be to make money doing that?

That was a rather easy example.  Let me give you another example based on a topic rather than a product to start with.

Let’s say you love gardening.  Every year you plant a garden and harvest your rewards at the picking season.

How awesome would it be to create your own gardening line of tools and equipment?  Again, wouldn’t it be amazing to make money doing this?

Maybe you don’t do much with gardening but you love canning fruits and vegetables during harvest season.  How great would it be to develop your own line of canning supplies?

My guess is if you’re passionate it’d be great.

No Passion Leads To Fizzling Out

Now picture creating products in a field where you are not passionate.  Think about a line of products that you would hate to deal with on a daily basis.

Sometimes all the money in the world couldn’t keep your interest if you do not like the industry.  I really try to steer clear of products like this myself.

I’ve been in niche markets that I have no interest in and the ideas start strong but my lack of interest leads to the idea of continuing that niche to fizzle out.

I wanted you to picture that because I would advise you to ignore that route.

It’s Not Just About Passion

Passion can help steer us in the right direction and passions are important, but they are not everything.

Read on and I’ll explain why.

Committing To Your Products

You must still find a market that you’ll commit yourself and time to.

You can be extremely passionate about something but also not want to commit to creating products in that field.

A quick example would be if you love discussing politics but you wouldn’t love creating products like t-shirts or books around that field.  I’m not saying that t-shirts and books are the only thing that sells in politics as there is obviously so much more.  However, I just wanting to give you a basic example to increase your understanding.

Maybe the thought of creating products in this field sounds fun but you wouldn’t want to create new products in this field over and over again?

These are questions to ask yourself before selecting the niche you’d like to be involved in.

Perhaps there aren’t many products you can think of creating in this field?  I.e. let’s say you can only think of 1 product for this particular industry.  Think long and hard about if getting into that field is worth it.

Sometimes it is.  Other times, especially if you can’t think of continuing to grow a product line, it might become simply mundane and you’ll feel it’s not worth your time.

Money Is Important For  A Product Niche

Sometimes passion and commitment aren’t the final factor.  Nope, sometimes it’s the market.  Some markets are too narrow and don’t have enough money flowing into them.

So before you jump into a market you need to see if there is some demand for it.  If there is little to no demand it might not be the best market for you.

How To Determine If There’s Money In The Market

The following factors will help you determine if an industry is making money or not.

  • Look to see if there are competitors
  • Look to see if your competitors have any “sales” interaction on social media
  • Search Google Trends for various keywords to see if there is movement
  • Pay attention to the media
  • Do a simple Google search on the industry

No Competitors Is A Red Flag

If you can’t search the Internet and find a competing website you may not be entering a good field.

Look, everything has been done before.  You’re not looking to reinvent the wheel you’re simply looking to get the wheel moving.

So if something isn’t being done at all it usually means that the market just isn’t there.

Of course, you may have a great idea for a product line that isn’t currently being addressed properly and this is good.  But, if you look around and there is no one doing anything in that field, watch out.

Sales interaction will help you figure out what you want to sell online

This is sometimes hard to find but it’s something I tend to look at.  Visit your competitors on social media and look to see what people are saying.

Are people talking about how much they love buying their products?  If so, that’s a great sign.  Just pay attention to interaction.  Look for anything that can denote that people are buying this company’s products.  If they are, this is good for you.

If you can’t find much about information about someone buying from this company it shouldn’t deter you still unless other factors I mention here are not met.

Good Ole’ Google Trends

I have loved Google Trends since it was created for the public.  Google Trends let’s you search industries via search keywords and see how much they are being searched for online.

Here is the beauty of this.

You can type in a search term in any industry and see where it’s rise  or fall have started or ended.

Check this out.

Let’s say you wanted to look for the term “buy a drone”

You simply type it into the Trends Search Box and press “Enter” on your keyboard.

google trends for products

Then, you’ll be able to see a nice graph come up showing when it started getting a number of searches and from which countries.

drone search

You’ll notice on this graph that right before 2013 people started searching for this term and it’s done nothing but climb since.

This shows that there is a market for this.  I deliberately looked at “buy a drone” because I wanted to see if people are looking to spend money on this type of product.

From this I can determine that there “IS” money in this industry.

The Media

Of course the media is an easy source to find what people are talking about.  I still remember when people first started talking about drones; the media discussed it daily.  This showed the early signs that a market was emerging.

By watching media trends and paying attention to sites like INC.COM will help you see what new start-ups are doing well and what is being predicted for the future.

A Simple Google Search

You’d be surprised at how much information you can find by just using Google, Bing and other search engines.

Try this.  Think of a market, go to a search engine now and type in “your market sales statistics.”

In my example below I search for “Gift basket sales statistics.”

search the net

Well, what do you know!  The first result is several years old but it still discusses stats.  Scrolling down a little bit I can look to see if there is anything more recent.

If all else fails I can always put this term into Google Trends and see which way the arrow is pointing.  Pretty easy eh?

A Task For You

Using everything I’ve demonstrated above make a list of topics that you are passionate about, or believe you’re possibly passionate about.

Then think about the industry.  Would you like to be in this market?

Do you think you’d like to make an entire product line here?

Then finally check to see if there is money in the market.

That’s it!

Go ahead and try it out.  If you have any questions, just ask.

Product Sourcing For Drop Shipping and Webstores Made Easy

When you are starting an eCommerce business or looking to build a new brand it’s important that you have a source for great products.

Product sourcing can be a tedious task, but through this tutorial I am going to show you some places you can source these products from, how to brand them easily and some workarounds for you if you’re low on funds and need a cheap sourcing solution.

First, let’s look at a few places you can easily source products for your business.

Alibaba

sourcing products on Alibaba

There is no surprise here and you’ve likely already heard of this site.  This is a huge Chinese company and they have thousands of businesses ready to connect with you.

Many of the companies on Alibaba offer custom branding manufacturing.  You can easily browse their entire site via keyword and you’ll typically find almost anything you need here.

The companies that sell on Alibaba are world-wide and you can even search by country for your product.  So if you’re concerned about what country you need to order products from this makes it easy.

Alibaba has many safeguards in place to help you avoid scams and issues.  I’ve only had one issue ever arise on Alibaba out of dozens of successful orders.

HKTDC.Com

hktdc

HKTDC is a Hongkong marketplace.  However, unlike Alibaba, they do not have merchants from the world-wide landscape.  In fact, they only offer 3 regions; China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.  Of course, they ship to buyers world-wide so you can still easily order from here.

I have personally never ordered anything from this site as I’ve always found a cheaper supplier on Alibaba.  However, I know many other people have had great success sourcing products for resale from here.

DHGate

dhgate outsourcing

DHgate is another big wholesale marketplace.  Just like the other wholesale and manufacturer marketplaces the more you order the cheaper the overall price of your products will be.

I believe the products here are all sourced directly from China.

MFG.Com Directory

sourcing on mfg

This is a big directory of potential manufacturers at MFG.COM.  These guys especially excel at sourcing the following categories:

  • Assembly
  • CNC Machining
  • Die Casting
  • Injection Molding
  • Die Casting
  • Investment Casting
  • Injection Mold Making
  • Fabrication
  • Metal Stamping

So if you fit any of the above needs this is a great place to start your search.  Of course, if you do not need manufacturing but would like already full created products that you can just re-brand then Alibaba is still a better bet.

Private Label Sourcing

private label products

If you’re strictly looking for private label sourcing to create your own brand(s) then privatelabelsourcing.com is a pretty good resource.  Their focus is obviously on private label product sourcing and often times you can find just about anything you’re looking for here.

You’ll find many types of machined and canned products here.

Google It!  Bing it! Search…

If all else fails just type your keywords + private label, white label, wholesale depending on what your needs are.

You can use any search engine to do this and it’s really easy to find what you’re looking for this way.

I have one very cool company I found last year that I’ve ordered thousands of dollars in products from.  Guess where I found them?  Yep, search engine search. It works.

How To Contact One Of These Vendors

When you’re looking to source products and you’re contacting a potential business that has a product you’d like you’re most likely going to be emailing them.

Here is a quick breakdown of what you should ask them in an email to save time.  Trust me you’ll want to do these things because you’re likely going to be exchanging numerous emails with them anyway.

Always ask a company the following questions.

  1. What is your MOQ.  MOQ = Minimum Order Quantity.  Some companies have very small MOQs, some have extremely high MOQs.
  2. How much is your cost per item?  Always keep this simple at first.  I know other people advise to ask what discount you can get for ordering more than the MOQ but save this for later so you can move the price down even cheaper.
  3. How long is production time? This is important because some companies can be ready within weeks, others take months.  This is also something that is important to know at the start so you can adjust your plans accordingly.

This is what I personally start with.  After they contact back I always follow up with the question:

  • Can I order a sample with my logo on it?  If there’s not a place on the product to put a logo I ask:
  • How much does it cost to add packaging with my logo on it?

This keeps the dialogue going and also it doesn’t overwhelm the merchant.  If you send an email to a company that reads like a book, you may not even get a reply.

I advise keeping it short and sweet and if you can get the vendor on a 3rd party tool like Skype, that’s even better!

Skype allows you to have discussions with the vendor in real time, saving you a lot of time and headaches along the way.

One last note on a sample.  It’s critical that you get a sample before placing an order.  I’ve read horror stories where people have ordered thousands of a product and when the product arrived it wasn’t exactly what they thought it was going to be!  Don’t get stuck wasting money; get that sample even if it costs you $100 for one sample.

What To Do If A Company Has A Large MOQ

After you get a sample and it’s time to get into ordering your products sometimes MOQ can be a real issue.

Sometimes when you’re looking for a good place for product sourcing a company will get back to you with a large MOQ.  Though it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when this happens you can always try what I do when this happens and I don’t want to lay down too much money at first.

I always ask for a sample batch.  If they can’t make a sample batch with my logo on them I just ask for a blank sample batch.  Since I am selling these online having a logo on/off the product isn’t a make or break issue.

Often times a company will gladly supply 50-100 units with a slightly higher cost.  The trade off is worth it especially if it helps you get the product created.

Here is how I word the question to them.

“I see you have a large MOQ.  However, since this is my first order with you is there anyway I can do a simple test batch.  If these sell extremely well for me, I’d be more than happy to come back on the next order and order your MOQ.  This would mean a lot to me.  I want to do business with you for the long term and this would really help me get my foot in the door with you.”

Giving them the reason mentioned above it explains why you’d want to start with a smaller order at first.  Without an explanation the company might not feel as inclined to help.

You’d be surprised how well this works.  I’ve ordered products in batches of 50-100 where the company wanted an MOQ of 1000-5000.

Of course, I’ve always come back and purchased their MOQs later after I’ve vetted the products if they’ve sold well.

Go use the sites and methods I’ve shown you above to get good product sourcing right from the start.

If you have any questions just make sure to ask.

Drop Shipping VS Affiliate Marketing: How To Figure Out What Is Best For You

I’ve been asked several times before what the major differences between drop shipping and affiliate marketing are. Having ran both types of businesses and being currently active in both I feel that I am more than qualified to answer this question.

Experience certainly helps as there is quite a bit of information that you should know about each type of business.

When we look at affiliate marketing vs drop shipping it’ll become clear that both have similar positives and negatives.  These two businesses types also have some wide differences as well.

So we’ll look at drop shipping vs affiliate marketing to see which one is better for you.

What Is Drop Shipping?

Drop shipping is a method of building a business in which you order products in various quantities and sell them on various platforms. Many people opt to create their own brand this way.

There are numerous online platforms to sell on including, Amazon, eBay, Jet.com, Etsy and of course your very own website. Of course, ultimately everyone should own their own website and never fully depend on third party platforms but third party platforms can certainly help give you a start.

With drop shipping you ultimately own all of the products you buy.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is simply promoting someone else’s products or services and earning a commission anytime you generate sales.

You do not own the products so you’re limited to where and how you can promote. I.e. you cannot list products on Amazon, eBay and so on. However, there is no customer service in affiliate marketing because you do not own the products and the company you’re promoting handles these things.

If you’re interested in affiliate marketing I have entire systems dedicated to teaching this.

Now let me break down the pros of each of these business models.

Pros Of Drop Shipping

pros of drop shippingYou own the products and brand. This means that you’re able to build a brand that people can only buy from you. Unlike affiliate marketing where people can sometimes get around going through your affiliate links. This is also why I think it’s a good idea to build a brand and create your own unique products over just ordering resalable products.

It’s a viable business model that can be built from home. Since you can build a business website easily and list your products on various other third party platforms (again: Amazon, eBay, Etsy etc…) it’s not super-expensive to get started in like building a retail shop in a physical location is.

Work your own hours (usually). You can set this business model up to work your own hours. This is critical if you’re already working another job and you need to work in your off time. The reason I say you can usually work in your own hours is because there are times where you might need to fulfil orders in times you’re not expecting it. I have taught people this business model that simply order products and work on packaging and shipping them while they sit on the couch, watching TV.

Easy to understand business model. Most people understand the process of buying and selling. It’s at the heart of every society. When you have a tangible good that someone wants/needs they’ll simple buy it from you to fulfill that want/need. Some people I’ve taught to run a dropship business have had better success at this model than affiliate marketing because they grasp the concepts easier.

Feels “more real” than certain other ways to make money. I’ve had numerous people tell me that drop shipping felt like more of a real business than affiliate marketing or even digital product creation. Again, as I mentioned above for many it’s an easier to understand business model that other methods because it’s more familiar.

Sometimes much faster to see results. Because you have the ability to list on 3rd party platforms and bank sales on someone else’s traffic it’s sometimes easier to see faster profits in drop shipping than affiliate marketing. Though I will throw out some caution here because most people fail to account for their expenses that it took to get those sales rolling in.

Can easily run advertisements. Because you are selling physical products you’re able to run Google Adwords or Bing Ad Campaigns for your website unless you’re in a prohibited market.

Pros Of Affiliate Marketing

Just like drop shipping affiliate marketing has numerous pros and benefits. Let’s take a closer look together and this will allow you to better compare affiliate marketing vs drop shipping.pros of affiliate marketing

Low entry cost. Affiliate marketing is a cheap business model to start with. For about $20 you can start up a website and start putting out content. This still holds true today. When I first started in affiliate marketing I started at a minimum cost and was able to generate quite a bit of money before I ever thought about buying anything extra for my business.

Easy learning curve. Though this business model is not as familiar as simple buying and selling, it’s easy to understand. The basic premise is build a website in a niche, write or pay someone to write good content for you, recommend products to your readers, build your audience and make commissioned sales.

Work at home. Just like drop shipping this business model allows you to work at home and work your own hours. Unlike drop shipping, you’ll have nothing to ship so there are not the unexpected shipping issues you might have there.

The ability to work at home and at my own pace was great for me when I first started in affiliate marketing. When I first started I was still working a fulltime job as a drugstore manager and usually worked well above 45 hours per week.

No customer service. This is a huge draw to many in affiliate marketing. Because you do not own the products there is no customer service to handle. The company you’re promoting for takes care of all the heavy lifting here.

Cons Of Drop Shipping

Medium level expenses to get started. Depending on what market you get into, the costs to start can be a lot higher than affiliate marketing. You’ll need to buy products and some companies won’t let you start with a small MOQ (minimum order quantity). Because of this, it’s not uncommon to have startup costs of more than $500-$1000.

It’s also usually more expensive at first because even if you accept a company’s MOQ you’re going to pay more money for their lowest tier than if you were to order more units. Many times a company will charge you a lot more if you order 100 units as opposed to 10,000 units. There is nothing wrong with this but it’s just something to be on the lookout for.

Sourcing products. Some people hate this part of drop shipping or growing their brand. You’re going to want to carefully source your products to find a great price so you’ll be able to make money in your industry. You don’t need to be the cheapest, but you need to be able to compete.

Research times can be high. I personally spend a lot of time in research. I want to find my potential competitors weaknesses and strengths and then try to produce something better. If I really feel like I can’t do something better, I usually skip the product. Having a better product than your competitor gives you an uncanny value proposition that is hard to compete against.

But because of the extensive research, it’s hard to just dive in. In fact, many products I have sourced have taken me months before releasing. I actually see this as a great thing, though many would see this as a con.

Actually takes work. This is probably not a true con but I am going to put this in here anyway because people have a tendency to believe that everything that involves making money online means that “If you build it”, sales just magically pour in. Far from it. Everything you do to build a business online or offline takes work and effort, including drop shipping.

Be ready to have some drive and determination for success. I can’t teach you drive, you’ve got to want it.

Shipping and customer interactivity. You will need to handle shipping and customer service issues in drop shipping. It’s not bad; it’s just what needs to be done. If a customer has a problem, you’ll need to handle that too. If you hate handling your own products, customer service and shipping then this is not the model for you.

Outreach. Now that you’re creating a brand you will need to find your audience, share your products with people and let the world know who you are. It’s time consuming and not really all that uncommon compared to what you’re going to need to do in affiliate marketing. However, I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that once you get everything built you need to “go knock on some doors” so to speak to generate some attention.

Cons Of Affiliate Marketing

Slow sales at first. This can drive some people nuts because in this day and age people expect immediate results. The problem is that nothing is immediate.

Affiliate marketing can be a little slower to see your first sales than drop shipping but usually the first few sales actually pay off your expenses unlike drop shipping.

Takes work to continue growth. Once you start seeing sales, you’re going to need to continue working at getting more. Sure you can switch nearly everything on autopilot but over time sales will dip or never increase if you fail to continue growing your audience.

Can have a lot of writing or content creation. Because affiliate marketing is more about creating content to connect and recommend things to your audience you’ll probably need to do some writing. If you hate writing, it can be outsourced easily but it will add to your expenses. I usually teach people to learn to write or create content on their own first before outsourcing it so they can teach their ghostwriter or content creator exactly what they want. If you’re not familiar I actually show you how to outsource writing that actually looks professional with this technique.

Finding your audience. Just like drop shipping you can’t just sit around once you have things built. You’re going to need to build an audience of people that want to hear from you and love the products that you recommend. Obviously, the larger you can grow your audience the more money you’re likely going to make.

This can be mundane and boring so you need to attack it with vigor. Think of every action you take as a building block to your business and it makes every action 100% worth it.

Again, this may not really be a con because I think to build any business this is a must!

Harder to run ads. Most of the ad networks are not affiliate friendly. It’s not a horrible thing but it does give an advantage if you own your own products. Since affiliate marketing doesn’t allow you to own the products it makes it harder, but not impossible to run ads.

Drop Shipping Vs Affiliate Marketing – A Final Look

Hopefully I have painted a realistic picture for you about running a drop shipping business or an affiliate marketing business.

Most people only give you one part of the equation but I wanted to make sure you realize that no matter what route you choose you’ll have work to do. However, do not let work scare you, because everything worthwhile takes work and practice.

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