I’ve been freelancing for five years this month, and I’ve learned a few things along the way. So to celebrate my five years as an independent writer, here are my five secrets to a successful freelancing career.
1. Do Good Work
It sounds simple, but so many people don't do it. A freelancing business is built on referrals and networking, and delivering bad work is the fastest way to sink your ship.
So I’ll say it again: if you want to be successful as a freelancer, you’ve simply got to be a good writer. That means learning to research, edit, rewrite, redo, tear up, whatever…until you get it right. Over time you’ll gain the ability to do this more quickly, but it’s always going to take some time. And you need to be prepared to work hard.
2. Be Organized
You can’t be a successful writer if you can’t keep your commitments straight. Before you even start freelancing, figure out a system to keep yourself organized. Whether it’s plain old pen and paper (I'm quite partial to my day planner) or something more sophisticated like Outlook reminders or a smartphone app, figure out what you need to do to keep on top of your work.
You will lose clients if you miss deadlines, fail to communicate, or forget about projects. Don’t be one of those people. I’ve met some terrific writers who come across as flaky or MIA, and they can’t succeed in the business.
3. Cultivate Relationships
Nobody wants to work with a robot (ok, most people don’t want to work with a robot!). Yes, we are writers and introverts. But we are also business people who are forming relationships with other people in order to get a job done.
How can you fully understand a client or a company if you don’t get to know them? How can you develop trust and rapport if you don’t move beyond rote greetings and churning out of content? How can you create a great feature story if you don't understand the publication or the deeper goals of the people running it?
Don’t be a writing service, be a writer. Be a human being. Be someone you would want to work with.
4. Specialize Without Limiting Yourself
If you’ve got an area of specialty, use it. When a company seeks outside help with technical writing, they're more likely to hire someone who says "I specialize in technical writing" over someone who says “I’m a general freelancer.” So figuring out what type of writing you're good at or what particular industry you excel in is to your advantage.
With that said, don’t limit yourself either. I have found a lot of value in being flexible and in cultivating a wide range of writing styles. So I think the ideal balance is to have a couple of specialty areas, but to still maintain diversity in your work. Not to mention it keeps your job fun and challenging.
5. Don’t Accept Low Rates
If you want to go bankrupt in about a month, go ahead and accept those $2 fees for a 500 word blog. Heck, go ahead and accept the $15 or $20 fee. You'll quickly learn that you won't be able to buy groceries or pay your electric bill, and you'll be left searching for a new job before you lose the roof over your head.
Low rates devalue the entire market and are the fastest way to job burnout, low quality work, and an inability to manage your time. Any client should pay you enough money to do the job well (that means researching, writing, rewriting, editing, etc.). The fee should also cover your taxes, allow you to pay yourself, and let you take time to do the administrative tasks necessary to stay in business - stuff like invoicing, communicating with your clients, networking for new business, etc.
It may take time to find the clients that pay, but take the time. Don’t settle for anything less.
Freelancers, do you have a helpful tip you'd like to add? Please leave it in the comments!
Being an entrepreneur takes a certain type of person and a big dose of tenacity. Here's what I've learned along the way.
1. It's Hard Work, Sort Of
If you thought you worked hard in your old job, be prepared to work even harder as a business owner. While that might sound like the opposite of what you were going for (weren't you trying to get a handle on that life-balance thing?) it's actually not as bad as it sounds.
The thing you get as an entrepreneur that you can't really get as an employee is a sense of illusion about it all. That hard work doesn't actually feel like an energy drain. It's usually enjoyable and rewarding, which makes it feel completely different than any other job you've ever had.
2. You'll Want to Quit
Even the most ambitious, determined, confident people will have moments where they will wonder what they got themselves into. Those first few years equate to a highly questionable income stream and feelings of almost constant instability.
Eleven months out of the year you'll be ok with it all. But there will be those 30 days or so, conveniently dispersed during times of high stress or financial hardships, that will cause you to question everything about yourself and your dreams.
3. Customer Service is Key
If ever you needed to aim to please, now is the time to do it. When you're getting going with your business even one negative review or interaction can set you back weeks or months. Get enough of them piled up and you're completely done.
I've seen some fairly talented entrepreneurs struggle to stay afloat because they have a terrible bedside manner. They come across as disorganized and flighty or, even worse, inconsiderate and rude. Talent doesn't rule when it comes to small business - relationships do. So make sure you know how to manage yours.
4. Processes Are Essential
This is a business, remember. That means you need processes for everything - for maintaining records, for soliciting prospects, for tracking projects or sales, for backing up data, and for invoicing (to name just a few).
Don't launch your business until you have implemented ways to keep yourself on track. Otherwise you're going to fall victim to customer service problems because you'll be flustered (see #3 above). Some of my favorite process helpers are CRM applications, a good filing system, spreadsheets, and automatic data backup services like Carbonite.
5. It's Not a Level Playing Field
The truth is that some businesses are easier to start than others. Some have very high capital expenses and will take years to turn a profit, while others have very low start-up and overhead costs and can become profitable in the first year.
It's also true that depending on the sector, it may be hard to compete. Some industries are very saturated, some require specific niche skills to even play the game, and some require so much initial cash investment that they are out of reach for many people.
My advice if you're going to start a business? Create a business plan. Do your research. Educate yourself. Prepare financially for a tough couple of years. And create a reserve of confidence and determination that you can pull from on a rainy day.
What are your thoughts on being an entrepreneur?
As Facebook continues to make marketing activities more cumbersome (and expensive), have you tapped into Google+ for your social media activities? If you haven't checked it out yet, here are some reasons to take a look:
Much like Facebook used to be for businesses, Google+ is completely free. All you need to do is set up your profile and get started. You can post for free, promote links for free, promote products for free. Everyone who follows you will see everything you share without you having to dole out any cash.
A free way to extend your market reach? I'll take that!
Perhaps the most annoying part of Facebook is its new way of censoring news feeds. Your customers only see what Facebook decides to let them see, not what you want them to see and certainly only a fraction of what you actually post. (Unless, that is, you pay for it.)
Google+ goes back to the days of information being available to everybody. No censoring, no selective sharing, no feelings of having your activities controlled and skewed by a social media company. If you post something for the public to see, well by golly there it is! It's almost like a breath of fresh air to realize you can post something and people will actually see it.
Grow Your Network Through Communities
Just as social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook have set up discussion groups that you can join, Google+ has done this as well (they call them "Communities"). Targeting small businesses? There's a community (or 20) for that. Targeting artsy/crafty folks? There are general and niche communities for that too.
Communities are open to everyone and so far I've seen no restrictions on joining. So go out there, find some virtual communities that are most relevant to your industry and marketing goals, and get to networking. Building relationships is always the best way to grow any business.
A Great Platform for Content Marketing
Facebook used to be a great way to share blog posts and other content marketing initiatives. But now you have to pay for the exposure, and it's only gotten worse over the last six months.
Google+ lets you share content freely with your network - no fees, no restrictions, no funny business. The only restrictions you are subject to are the restrictions set forth by individual group moderators. So if they say no promotion, be a good human being and don't post promotions there. Instead, use the group to connect with people on a more personal level and then share your content within your profile that they follow. Simple as that.
Thinking About Joining?
Is Google+ able to dominate the market in the same way as Facebook and Twitter? No. Will it work for everyone and every type of business? No.
But are there people using it? Yes! And these people are pretty strongly devoted to it, and may not be on your other social networks. So why not give it a shot and see if it works for you?
I've had a great experience using Google+ to grow my network and reach more people. It's a simple interface that is easy to use, ad free, and one of the few remaining open communities where you can still control where and how your information is shared. And besides...if nothing more, you'll just have lost a few hours of your time trying out something new.
Have you had a good experience on Google+? I'd love to hear about your tips and tricks in the comments!
Need to write some website content, emails, or marketing materials for your business? Here are 10 quick tips to get you going.
1. Know Your Audience
Are you writing to a group of scientists or to stay at home moms? This is the first question you should ask yourself before you get started. Think about how differently the brains of these two groups of people operate, and be sure to compose your content accordingly.
2. Be Clear and Concise
Nobody wants to wade through a bunch of embellished fluff to try to figure out what you mean. Say what you mean, and say it well, and then stop writing. Extra fluff doesn't sell. That's why it's called fluff.
3. Know Your Output
Are you writing a brochure or website copy? Are you writing instructions or a press release? How you format and write your content will vary widely depending on the final output. Take a look at a marketing brochure and then take a look at a press release for that same product, and you'll see the difference.
4. Watch Your Tone
Every business has a tone. An amusement park might have a whimsical tone while an IT company would have a professional one. Make sure you choose the right words and construct your sentences in a way that conveys the tone you're after. Do you want to say, "We bring top quality service straight to you!" or do you want to say, "We pride ourselves in providing the highest quality service to our customers." There's a difference, isn't there?
5. Don't Plagiarize!
Why risk your credibility or even a lawsuit? While it's easy to plagiarize these days, it's equally easy to sniff it out in seconds using free tools online. So just don't do it. Period.
6. Be Engaging
In an age of sound bites and tweets, you only have a few seconds to draw your audience in before they close their browser or trash your email. Make sure your content is engaging, especially in the first sentence or two, so that they'll stay for more.
Hint: Writing engaging content starts with Tip #1 (knowing your audience).
7. Write with Purpose
The worst thing you can do is put words on a page just to have words on a page (to somehow give the appearance of authority or knowledge without it really being there). Everything you write needs to have a purpose, both for SEO and for your marketing strategies. And don't forget that "be engaging" thing. You can have all the purpose in the world, but if it sounds terrible (or worse, is illegible) it won't sell.
8. Don't Inflate Content
Google's crawlers don't need you to artificially inflate your copy with keywords or links. In fact, they will punish you for it these days. So be smart, not superfluous. If you aren't sure how to properly use keywords for SEO, do some research or hire someone to help you.
9. Edit Your Work
If you want to almost guarantee a disaster, write something up quickly and just send it out the door. As a professional writer I will tell you that the first draft is never good, the second draft is often not good either, and the third draft usually still needs some work. And don't forget about grammar mistakes. Typos are a no-no! So be sure to take the time to read and re-read whatever you write. Maybe have someone else read it too.
10. If You Can't Write, Then Don't
Let's face it, not everyone was cut out to write. Some people are brilliant at math, others are brilliant at sales. If you aren't a writer please hire someone to do it for you. Your business will thank you for it, and you'll spare yourself a painful undertaking that will likely not produce any ROI.
What are your best tips for writing when it comes to business? Is there anything I left out? Please leave them in the comments below!
Need a good writer but not sure where to look? Let me offer some suggestions to help get you going. Here’s my rundown of the good and the bad when it comes to looking for a good freelancer.
Your Network – YES!
The first place to look is your professional network. If you know a graphic designer or marketing professional, chances are they already have a freelance writer in their network. And because good writers are so hard to find (ask anyone about their freelancer frustrations and you’ll see what I mean), you’re better off getting a recommendation from someone who has worked with the writer already.
Questions to ask:
Remember that writing for businesses is different than writing for consumers, just as writing for social media is different than writing for training purposes. Good writers are pretty diverse and can write for just about any medium or audience, but do your research to make sure they've got what it takes.
LinkedIn – YES!
You can often find a writer by searching LinkedIn for freelancers and seeing if you have any connections in common. This is the next best thing to a personal recommendation from your network, because you can check out their professional presence and get a feel for how they interact with others in a business setting. Most career freelance writers will have a solid profile on LinkedIn.
Be sure to take a look at how well connected they are and how thorough their profile is. It’s a good indicator of how they run their business and if they do, in fact, run their writing business as a business. If you’re looking for a writer that will get the job done, you need one who is serious about what they do.
Freelancing Sites – NO!
If you want bottom of the barrel writing that generally requires massive edits or rewrites, then go to a freelancing site like Elance or Freelancer. I have worked with many clients who initially hesitated to pay for professional writing, and instead went to one of these sites and hired cheap help. Can you guess what happened for most of them? It wasn't pretty, and in some cases it was downright ugly.
The reality is that it often takes a hard lesson like getting completely dropped from Google or a sharp decline in conversions to make companies realize that writing is powerful and worth paying for. You’ll hear this story time and again when it comes to graphic designers, too.
But here's what you need to know. A writer who works through a freelancing site is likely to be:
Think about it this way: if a writer is only charging $5 or $10 to write a blog post, how many of those do they have to write a day in order to buy their groceries? And do you think the writing will be thoughtful, targeted, powerful, and solid? Or will it be slapped together as quickly as possible?
Professional writers charge fair fees that allow them to take time to understand your business, draft the copy, edit it, and make sure it's effective. You simply can't get this level of work for $5 or $10 (or $25 or $50, for that matter).
Agencies – NO!
Agencies like Creative Circle will most definitely offer high quality talent, but you will pay a whole lot more for it than you would if you just worked directly with a writer. And to be honest, a lot of professional writers choose not to work with agencies because they take such a huge cut of the fees. I am one of those.
I think an agency is fine as a temporary fix or as a last resort if you can’t find someone a different way, but remember that the hit to your budget will be significant. Agencies always have a steep markup for any type of contractor they source; it's how they thrive. But luckily, freelance writers almost always work 1099. So why not save yourself some money by cutting out the middle man?
But what if I need to hire someone as a vendor, you ask? Does this mean I have to go through an agency?
The answer is absolutely not! Just look for a writer who has an LLC or something smiliar, because they will have an EIN and you can bring them on as a vendor without any issues. Problem solved.
Google – MAYBE.
Google can be notoriously difficult for freelance writers because we really don’t have heavy website traffic like news or retail sites do. So while you can use Google to find a writer, beware that the great ones may still be buried somewhere in cyberspace.
Sometimes writers will pay for ads and sometimes they’re lucky enough to make it onto page 1. But I find that of all the independent professionals I know - from design to photography to writing to personal training - none of them are easily found on Google. So working your network is still the best way to go.
Craigslist – MAYBE.
I admit that I’ve posted my information on Craigslist more than a few times over the years. So yes, I think you can find a good writer that way. But I also think you have to be very selective, because most of the writers you find there will be similar to (or a step above) the ones on the freelancing sites.
Here's what to look for on Craigslist:
Writers who say, “I’m a great writer! I can write anything!” are probably not the ones you want. Desperation and lack of career focus, with only a subjective opinion about themselves to back up their qualifications, are not what you should be looking for in a writer.
Your Best Resource is Your Own Investigation
To sum everything up in one sentence, the best way to find a great writer is through word of mouth or by researching them yourself (without a middle man like an agency or freelancing site).
But maybe you've found a great resource for writers that I haven't listed. Would you like to share it? Add your favorite spots in the comments below!
LinkedIn has been my best resource for connecting with and securing new clients as an independent business owner. But it takes a bit of savvy to use it well. Here are some of my best tips.
Do Some Cold Emailing
I hate cold calling. I’m a writer and most of us writers are introverted by nature. But what I do enjoy is cold emailing, and LinkedIn is a great platform for it.
Here are my steps for successful cold emailing:
As a writer, I look for marketing directors, creative directors, marketing managers, or HR personnel. Other businesses may want to look for IT directors, purchasing managers, or the like.
At this point you have two options:
The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the easier this process becomes. Because you will find that more people will become second degree connections (which you can connect to for free) rather than third degree (which require a paid upgrade).
Join Some Groups
I encourage business owners to not only join small business groups on LinkedIn, but to also join other groups related to their particular industry. Once you’ve joined, don’t just be a lurker. Post actively to discussions, create topics that generate conversation, and take every opportunity to share your “expertise” when you can.
You never know when a connection to another person will land you a job (this happened to me when a client saw me connect with one of his current writers), or when you might have a lurker who is either in need of your services or knows someone at their company who is.
Plus, sometimes people don’t even know they need you or that they have the option for your type of help – that is, until they are made aware that you exist!
I use my feed to quietly promote myself and my work. I do this as unobtrusively as possible, by mixing it up with other non-promotional posts that offer interesting information or something for a laugh. If you just self-promote non-stop, people will most surely delete your updates from their feeds. I have done this with some of my contacts!
How to avoid this blunder? If you’re strategic about it and include other information on a regular basis that people either don’t mind seeing or don’t get annoyed by, you can throw in little tidbits about your current projects, successes, or website updates without totally turning people off.
And yes, this does work. One client hired me because she said she was impressed with how I engaged in self-promotion on LinkedIn.
Enjoy a Professional Image
Without a doubt, business owners need to be viewed as professionals if they want to be respected and earn top fees for the work they do. Because LinkedIn is the type of network that every CEO, VP, Director and the like is a part of, you need to join the club too.
Spend some time updating your profile so that you look polished, educated, and great at what you do. Then when people go to research you, or you try to do that cold email thing that I talked about earlier, you’ll have a better chance at success.
How Has LinkedIn Helped You?
Have you had success networking through LinkedIn? What has worked for you? Share your experiences in the comments.
It's inevitable that some clients will want me to quote an hourly rate. But in most cases I prefer to charge by the project rather than by the hour (at least for shorter-term projects). Why? Let me explain.
Writers Have a Process
Writing is an entire mental, creative process. And this process can vary depending on the day, subject, format, audience, and any number of other factors.
The reality is that some pieces are easier to pull together and others are more difficult. And sometimes we don't know this until we get there. When you ask a writer to work by the hour you're essentially asking them to interrupt their natural process and conform to requirements for a specific payment time frame.
And what this means is that sometimes you won't get their optimum product. Why? Because if a piece proves more challenging than expected, you force the writer to make shortcuts to stay within time limits. And is that what you really want when you're paying for professional copy?
Writing Times Vary
Every project is different, and when I quote a flat fee I'm agreeing to write until the job is done. This frees me up to spend as much time as I need to on a project without having to worry about it costing more than expected for the client. Because honestly, sometimes targeted writing is a slow process that requires time to do well. And as a professional I want to be able to take that time.
Let me give you an example. I write quite a few book jackets these days that require me to not only wade through books and pull information together, but to write copy that targets a specific reader and sells the book effectively. My client pays me by the project and not by the hour, which gives me the freedom to write in the way I need to. So completing each book jacket looks something like this:
If you look at my process, I've actually spent several hours of my day getting this project done. But my client has given me the freedom to break up my writing in the way that allows me to produce the best copy without me having to worry about tracking time and staying within a certain limit. So what he receives is the best copy I can produce.
If I were to charge him by the hour I'd have to eliminate the "gelling" time in between writing and try to pump it out in one or two sittings. Which means he'd get a sliver of my full writing potential, and in the end it would negatively affect his ability to sell the book and undersell myself as a professional.
Which brings me to...
Things Need Time to Gel
As writers we need the freedom to step away from a project (sometimes multiple times) to let it gel together. We write all day long, and sometimes our brains need a break to figure out how to pull the final copy together.
Have you ever heard about the importance of downtime for creativity, and how the most creative insights come when you're not actually working? This is especially true for writers. Sometimes I will write something that just doesn't work and I won't be able to fix it in that sitting. So I'll have to step away for a while to let my brain detach, refresh, and come up with something new.
It's just what we do.
So when I have to worry about time and hourly fees this freedom is mostly taken away from me. And I end up having to focus more on the clock and less on the writing, which isn't good for anyone.
Have more questions about my process? Feel free to reach out and ask! Or browse my website to learn more about some of the projects I've worked on and what I can do for you.
Infographics are increasingly being used for business communications and consumer marketing. But what is an infographic, how should it look, and what tools do you need to make one?
The Infographic Defined
An infographic is a visual representation of information in the form of charts, pictures, graphs, etc. The goal is to present complex information in a clear way, but more specifically in a way that can be digested quickly by the reader. In fact, some studies show that infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than traditional text presentations.
Infographics are more interesting to look at and take less time to interpret than traditional text reports or presentations. They have been used for years to represent scientific or mathematical data, and only now are becoming more widespread in popular media. Because they are more dynamic and colorful, they seem to be more attractive to a culture that no longer has the patience to read long articles.
Infographics Are Everywhere
You can find infographics in your everyday life just by picking up a newspaper or book.
Take a look around. Any picture you see that conveys information and isn't there just for cosmetic purposes is likely an infographic.
I have pulled some images from Creative Commons to help you see infographics in action. The first one is from The Children's Museum of Indianapolis:
The next one is from the Oregon Department of Transportation:
A final example is from Intel Free Press:
As you look at these examples, think about how much information is being conveyed in only one picture. It's quite a bit! Your ability to create a successful infographic depends on how successfully you can incorporate all of your information into a limited space, and in an interesting way.
Creating Your Own Infographic
There are plenty of ways to create infographics. PowerPoint is a great tool for doing so, and most people already have the program installed on their PC. You can use it in conjunction with a powerful program like PhotoShop to create really beautiful graphics that catch the eye.
You can also use other desktop publishing tools like InDesign or Publisher, or use an online tool like Infogr.am. It might also be useful to purchase an editing tool like SnagIt so you can create a .jpg or .png from your PowerPoint deck or publishing program. Licenses are only about $50, and you can do a free trial that gives you full access to all of its functionality.
Working off-site is frowned upon by some companies, who insist on the "security" of having someone sitting across the room. But this antiquated mindset limits your talent pool severely. And for most writers, you SHOULD let them work off-site. And here's why.
It's a solo pursuit.
Writers are creative people. Even the most analytical writer spends a lot of time in his or her brain figuring out what to write, what to omit, how to say it best, etc. So the reality is that writing is a solo activity. And that means we need lots of solo time to produce great material. And honestly, offices can be a big distraction.
We gather information, then run with it.
Once we gather our information from SMEs or other resources, we don't need to interact with people much anymore. We only need to circle back when a question arises, a draft is ready for review, or a status update is required. Most of what we do from that point on is just sit down and write. And this can be done anywhere.
I find that in most projects I spend about 10-15% of my time interacting with people. This might be through SME interviews, review cycles, or project status updates. I spent many a year in corporate America at my computer, in my cubicle, writing all day...and not interacting with anyone unless it was for some water cooler chat.
Did it really matter that I was sitting in the office? Not really. I could have easily done the same thing remotely and saved the company some overhead.
We need a creative environment.
Which brings me to point number three: We need an environment that allows us to be creative. For many of us creativity doesn't come within office walls, meeting interruptions, or standard 8-5 hours. Sometimes writers need the freedom to stop and do something else, then come back to the project. Sometimes writers work best in the middle of the night while the candle burns. It all depends on the individual.
For me, I need access to a window. I need an environment that isn't sterile or cubed in. I need to have my cat purring on my lap while I work, which is what she's doing now. I need the freedom to stop when my brain is tired, and start again when it's ready to go. Because sometimes you just run out of juice and need the freedom to stop so that you can come back and polish your work into something spectacular.
Does this mean I watch TV all day? No. I turn the TV on during lunch for about 10 minutes, and back to work I go. Working off-site just means I have the flexibility to work in a way that allows me to produce my best material. And my work environment isn't dictated by someone else who isn't in my brain.
You will find better employees if you are open to off-site work.
I think the most important thing to remember is that work ethic determines how hard you work, not physical location. So I would advise companies to focus more on finding candidates with a good work ethic rather than candidates who can be on-site all the time.
I sometimes see jobs posted indefinitely because the work location is a bit off the map, but the client insists the candidate be on-site. The result? They don't get any work done, the job sits open, and they lose out on good talent when someone like me could come in and knock it out.
So if you're ready to re-examine off-site consultants or employees, start looking! There is so much talent out there, ready to work hard and knock those projects out of the ballpark. And it's a great ROI for your business to hire the best person you can, regardless of their physical location.
How many of your visitors are viewing your website through a mobile device? If your website isn't optimized for mobile viewing, you may be losing customers.
Do I Really Need to Optimize?
Yes! These days it isn't enough to have a website that displays beautifully on the web.
With the invention of smart phones and tablets, more and more people are viewing web pages on a device other than a computer. And those devices don't have a mouse, can't display Flash, and don't have the screen real estate of a regular computer.
Have you ever tried to view a non-optimized website on your tiny smartphone screen? How easy is it to click links, read text, and use the functionality? Not very.
How Many Mobile Users Are Out There?
If you haven't checked in a while (which I hope isn't the case), take a look at your site visitors and what technology they are using. Roughly one third of my visitors view my site from a mobile device. And depending on the industry you're in, you may have even more.
Let's put this into a real-life scenario. Let's pretend your website doesn't have a mobile version yet.
...and that's only if your mobile viewing percentage is at 10 percent! What if your website mobile viewing is at 40 or 50 percent? At 50 percent you may have lost 1500 potential customers.
Good Mobile Optimization vs. Bad
So you've got your website set to display on a mobile device. Great! Have you gone through this checklist of common issues?
Bottom line: Your website needs to cater to the mobile viewing trend, or you're bound to lose out. If you've built your website using a tool that doesn't automatically create a mobile version (or simply don't have a developer to help you), look online for assistance. There are many tools available to create a customized mobile version of your site, or many companies that can be hired to do it for you.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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