How REALTORS use the Value Equation to get more listings and clients

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Here’s another strategy the most successful REALTORS® are using.

It’s a simple equation, but when we unpack it you’ll come up with lots of ideas that can build your business.

There are many versions of the so-called Value Equation, but they all work something like this:

(Dream x Perceived Chance of Success) / (Time x Difficulty or Required Effort) = Value

In other words, the perceived value of working with you increases as a potential client has a bigger dream and a stronger belief that you are capable of helping them fulfil their dream.

It decreases by the length of time it takes for you to fulfil their dream and the amount of effort the prospect has to put into it.

All four of these factors are largely determined by the prospect’s perception. This is where you get to work your magic.

You see, you have the power to shape their perception.

The Dream

Let’s start with the Dream. For most real estate clients, this is pretty well understood.

A buyer’s dream is to buy an affordable property they love, which checks all their boxes.

A seller’s dream is to sell the property to a good buyer, quickly and without any hassles, on the seller’s terms, at the price the seller wants or higher.

Now, there are some professions where you could dramatically increase your chances of getting the client by helping them envision a bigger, better dream.

Coaching and entertainment come to mind.

But it doesn’t work that way in Real Estate. If anything, at some point you’re going to find yourself bringing your client back down to earth, telling them certain things aren’t possible.

As a REALTOR®, the dream is the place where you have the least amount of leverage, and yet many agents waste the bulk of their time and energy here.

Let them slam their heads into that brick wall a few more times. We’re going to move on to greener pastures.

Belief in Success

Now the second part of the equation is the prospect’s belief that you can fulfil their dream. This is where you can have a big impact.

Position yourself as an expert and an authority. Show your potential clients that you listen to them and you care.

Do more than merely staying visible on social media. Constantly provide useful information and advice that shows your level of competence.

Publish PDFs, white papers, and videos with valuable tips for home buyers and sellers.

Be encouraging and reassuring when you meet prospects in person.

Build your authority, expertise, and trust. This is the best and quickest way to create a top-heavy Value Equation.

Value from the Bottom

Now, a lot of REALTORS® are hitting the credibility button on the Value Equation already. It’s worth doing, but you can really get in under the radar by focusing on the bottom half of the equation.

You see, all the power of the client’s dream and their faith in you is divided (and dramatically reduced) by their perception of how long it will take and how hard it will be.

Buying or selling a home can be a major pain in the ass.

There’s a lot you can do to make the process faster and easier. The final piece is to make sure prospects know that you’re making it faster and easier.

The Curse of the Online Portals

According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2021, 43% of homebuyers looked at homes online for six weeks or longer before they even considered talking to a REALTOR® (1) I suspect that number is much higher, and it’s certainly going up.

Last year, more than 70,000 homeowners sold their homes to an iBuyer such as Zillow or OpenDoor.(2)

These portals are creating a huge challenge for REALTORS®, but there’s also real opportunity here.

These websites are taking off because they make the initial part of the sale—the listing or the home search—fast and easy.

The bottom of the Value Equation is shrunk down to almost nothing, and this creates almost infinite value.

However, at some point, clients have to leave the digital realm and deal with the real world. In real estate, this means repairs, inspections, remodeling, cleaning, and all the legwork of seeing homes in person.

If you can demonstrate that you know how to speed up the process or make it easier, you can have a real edge.

You can do this by offering checklists and guides, explaining aspects of the sale in videos, specializing in a specific type of property or transaction, actively helping buyers get financing (and actively publicizing the fact you do this), building relationships with contractors and other venders who can spruce up a property for a better sale, showing a buyer fewer homes that are a closer fit to what they want, working directly with other agents before you’re in contract…

There’s a whole lot more, and all it takes is some creativity.

Real Estate is one of the few professions where the clients are more excited about the transaction than you are. The dream side of the equation takes care of itself.

If you can actively work on the other three factors in the Value Equation, you’re going to be one of the top performers in your area.

Notes

(1) National Association of Realtors. 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report.

(2) https://www.inman.com/2022/03/02/ibuyers-purchased-over-70k-homes-in-2021-doubling-previous-record/

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How do you deal with the fear of failure?

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Are we heading for another recession?

I guess it’s possible.

I don’t think it’s going to happen for two big reasons. But let’s look at what a recession would mean for you, just in case.

If you cut capacity, cut back on marketing, lay off your best people and retreat into a shell like a box turtle, you might be able to ride out the storm.

But you have the same odds if you innovate and adapt, build new partnerships, and discover creative ways to stay afloat when your competitors are shrinking and running for cover.

Fortunes are made when there is blood in the streets. Recessions require courage.

We all know this, but it’s hard to keep walking your path when fear commands you to turn back.

Believe me, I know it’s hard. In the last recession, I chickened out. I closed up shop and became a science teacher for a few years.

The other day I took a walk in the forest to think about this problem.

I literally bumped into the answer.

The Worst Recession Scenario

Why is it that so many people, myself included, let irrational emotions stop us from living our best life?

Fear of failure is the invisible hand that constantly pushes back against growth and progress. Why do we allow it to do this to us?

Out there in the woods, I saw what this fear really is. I encountered the face of failure.

A redwood tree had fallen, maybe hundreds of years ago.

Before that, it had lived maybe a thousand years or more.

Then it came crashing down, like a broken dream, shattering branches and crushing other trees and plants in its way.

The ultimate disaster. The ultimate failure. The End.

But what do your failures really look like, when your best plans fall in a noisy and destructive mess?

That tree is now covered in moss and sorrel. Ferns and mushrooms grow out of its top.

It is now a “nurse log,” with a new western hemlock tree rising 20 feet from the decomposing wood.

Inside this dead tree are insects, mycelia, dens and burrows for small animals, and hundreds of gallons of stored water.

They say a “dead” tree contains more than twice as many living cells as a live one.

The catastrophic crash led to new life, new growth, in rich and exciting ways nobody could have imagined.

Keep this in mind when you’re facing fear. What is the worst that could happen?

The biggest loss or failure is the start of many new opportunities and beginnings.

The best thing you can do is move forward with your most inspiring plans. If you fail, you will only give birth to new plans that you never would have dreamed about.

This is twice as true if there’s recession in the next year or so. But let’s look at what’s really happening now.

Consumers can’t get enough of the goods and services they want to buy.

Companies can’t hire enough employees.

We’re facing shortages of many things, but there’s no shortage of customers.

As we start to fix the supply chain issues, it’s going to be like a bursting dam, with new spending, new growth, new deals being made all around the globe…

Kind of the opposite of a recession.

So, keep your chin up. Don’t be afraid of failure.

When everything seems to be crashing down all around you…

It means this is your time to do something awesome.

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Why big goals are overrated

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If you’ve known me for more than a minute, you know I once had a big goal to bike the entire Appian Way, from Rome to Brindisi.

You also know that I never stop talking about it.

But you might not know that when I finally arrived at the end of the Appian Way in Brindisi, I fully understood the meaning of the word “anticlimactic.”

The pillar marking the end of the road was badly neglected, imprisoned behind cracked plate glass. Two teenagers sat on the steps leading up to it, completely absorbed in their phones and entirely uninterested in the historic monument behind them.

When I popped into a nearby bar to celebrate, a friendly sailor with adventures of his own candidly told me, “Nobody gives a bloody shit about your travel stories.”

My hand was stinging from poison ivy. My heart was stinging from the feeling it had all been a waste of time and money.

I spent months thinking, “What is wrong with me?”

You reached your goal. Now what?

You reached your big goal. You should be celebrating. You raised the bar, and you cleared it.

But after a short burst of euphoria, you don’t know what to do.

This feeling is important information. It shows you that it’s time to think about goals in a new way.

By itself, reaching a big goal can be confusing or even depressing.

Once you hit your goal, all the focus and motivation that were guiding you along suddenly evaporate. Your brain shuts off the dopamine and norepinephrine.

You’re on your own, possibly suffering withdrawal symptoms, and now you have to navigate your way between two fatal traps:

The first trap is endlessly reminiscing about your experience, obsessing so hard on what is now past that you’re not enjoying the present. (I’ve been guilty of this many times!)

The second trap is to immediately set another big goal so you can recapture the excitement you felt just a short time ago.

The second trap can look like a good thing from the outside. You’re constantly pushing the bar to achieve more and more. You look like a winner, and your deeds get bigger and better after every success.

But this can be an endless treadmill of rush and crash. Eventually it’s going to take a toll on your relationships with other people and your own mental health.

How do you navigate between this Scylla and Charybdis of post-goal suffering? You need a new paradigm.

Evolve and move forward

Imagine a person who commits to running their first marathon. This person isn’t an athlete. In fact, they might have bad knees or an extra 50 or 60 pounds on their body that they don’t want.

Running a marathon isn’t a goal for this person. It’s an adventure.

This quest is going to take a long time to achieve. Along the way, our runner will dramatically change their habits and their outlook.

Long before they run the marathon, our protagonist will notice improvements in their overall health. They will probably have more energy, which could improve their work life and possibly change the way they show up for friends and family.

They will become more thoughtful about what they eat and drink. They’ll almost certainly feel more self-confidence. All of these changes are likely to trigger introspection and some personal revelations.

On the day our adventurer runs their first marathon, they will already be a new person in every aspect of their life.

This transformation is the mark of a true adventure. You’re not simply checking off a box for something you did. Your adventure changes you and your circumstances. It may even have an impact on the world.

Adventures are larger, more sweeping, more transformational than mere goals. Goals should be steps along the way to the completion of your adventure.

When you finish the adventure, you won’t feel the need to dwell on it or immediately repeat the experience, because you won’t be the same person who needed the adventure in the first place.

You have evolved and moved forward, so it’s not hard to move on.

Goals change your circumstances. Adventures change your life.

What’s your next adventure?

 

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Millions of entrepreneurs face obliteration. You hold their salvation.

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If you’re passionate about helping others, there’s a good chance your profession is based on two essential human skills that have built fortunes and improved lives for thousands of years:

  1. Listening and observing until you understand another person’s fears, problems, dreams, and potential
  2. Applying your knowledge and talent to allay their fears, solve their problems, help them fulfill their dreams and guide them to realize their potential

These two activities are essential for a fulfilling life, but let’s talk about doing them for a living. These two skills are practically the job description for REALTORS®, coaches, marketers, sales professionals, and most entrepreneurs.

If this is you, there’s a reason to be afraid right now.

“Entirely obliterate the middleman”

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 84% of new home buyers will spend weeks looking at homes online before they even think of talking to an agent.

An agent’s local expertise, understanding of the market, and instincts honed by multiple transactions are perceived as less valuable than a digital portal. One of my clients, a REALTOR in California, is convinced that websites such as Zillow and Redfin are going to replace most brokerages in the near future.

Ten years from now, if you don’t already know someone who is an agent, you’ll end up with a random person who paid for leads and was selected by the algorithm. If you’re an agent, you’ll have to pay to play, accept a smaller commission, and give up a healthy chunk of that commission to the web portal you’re representing.

There’s a way out of this mess, but it’s not through denial. If you don’t think this scenario is possible, try to find anyone under 30 who knows what a travel agent used to do.

Web portals, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are triggering disintermediation in real estate, the insurance industry, and retail. Any industry where the two essential human skills are employed could be disrupted by the next app, portal, or technology.

In a recent article about the future of real estate, Peter Diamandis said, “VR tours and AI agents are absorbing both sides of the coin to entirely obliterate the middleman.”

The word OBLITERATE leaves no room for ambiguity.

The other word, “middleman” (woman, person, etc.) includes almost anyone who uses the two essential skills for a living. These are the people who work in the middle zone between a client and the product they want.

“Middleman” is also a close translation of a popular French word: Entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are facing OBLITERATION. But there’s a simple solution.

The Survivors of Obliteration

Travel agents aren’t completely gone. There are still boutique, bespoke travel agents who are passionate and skilled at creating personalized, high-end experiences for their clients.

Obliteration is coming in a hundred different ways, but only for the standardized, dispassionate, dial-it-in crowd. That’s not you.

Whatever industry you’re in, you can choose to create a personalized, high-end experience for your clients. You can do it in a way that can’t be reduced to an algorithm and can’t be imitated by anyone else.

You can market yourself as original, unique, and exceptional in your industry.

You may have to change the way you think about your business and your work. You’ll probably have to change the way you speak about your work. You’ll certainly have to do a few things in new and original ways.

Your Authentic Advantage

Come with me on an adventure, a quest to find and optimize your Authentic Advantage.

Your Authentic Advantage is the set of qualities and actions that set you apart in your industry. It’s an advantage because nobody else is doing it and the algorithms can’t imitate it. It’s authentic because it is fully aligned with your goals, your passion, and your deepest values.

Your Authentic Advantage is so important that I’m giving a free, interactive masterclass about it twice a week for the entire month of February. (Go to JacobBear.com/Masterclass to learn more)

If you’re not seeing the results you want, you probably haven’t made the full use of your Authentic Advantage. That’s not an option anymore.

If you don’t find a way to play to your greatest strengths, the Rise of the Machines will terminate you.

At the very least, you’ll have to work a lot harder to maintain the income you want. At worst, you’ll be cut off from the very people you want to serve.

But there’s a much brighter future for you and for anyone else who dares to put their heart and soul into their work. You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule, where 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results. Let’s tap into that 20%.

Exponential Growth

One of my first clients was an aircraft mechanic with a creative idea. He wanted his customer’s planes to look good on the inside. He envisioned silk and leather seat covers, hand-stitched embroidery, and other luxurious features that were expensive to execute.

Since he had to compete on price, he never got to do the work he wanted.

I did some research, and borrowed ideas from Yacht Life and boat shows. Tom provided a flood of photos, and we produced a glossy full-color brochure that used language around luxury, craftmanship, and adventure. Within two weeks of sending out the brochure, Tom got a contract to refurbish the interior of a private jet.

Instead of a mere technician, Tom was now an artist. The budget for this new project was greater than any of the work he had done before by an order of magnitude.

Tom’s passion and creativity were his Authentic Advantage. Once he expressed this in his marketing, he was paid a lot more to do work that he loved.

Unleashing your Authentic Advantage is one of the most high-leverage activities you can do. It’s better than obliteration. And when you do it, you immediately set an example and inspire others to find their own Authentic Advantage.

Doug Floyd said, “You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.”

Find a way to move in the world that is both unique and meaningful.

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Why I Focus on Big Goals

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Mamma mia, what a year!

A lot of bad things happened, but I’m blown away by all the good things.

Near the end of every year, I reflect on what I learned. This year, I noticed that the bigger my goals were, the more likely I achieved them.

Too many people try to play it safe by playing small. But when you’re chasing down big, audacious goals you’re going to feel more excitement and energy. You’re going to attract the interest of other people, and maybe attract forces that we don’t currently understand.

A year ago, my wife and I were researching online for places we could afford to buy a few acres of land and move out of Los Angeles.

First, I wanted to get out of debt and re-establish myself as a copywriter (after a few years of taking a detour to teach science). We thought we could make the move sometime in mid-2022 if all went well.

As I write this in December 2021, we now own and live on a 4-acre farm in a beautiful location. We’re a 15-minute walk from groves of ancient redwoods, and I can ride my bike to the beach in less than half an hour.

I already have 2 months of writing work booked for the year ahead, and I expect to be debt-free by the end of March, if not sooner. I also lost weight this year and hit a lot of my personal physical goals.
I’m not writing this to brag, but to show you the power of focusing on the big goals.

There’s a lot of research in neuroscience showing that the combination of novelty, challenge, and genuine interest can trigger several physiological benefits that help you reach your goals faster.

For example, when things are in a state of flux and uncertainty, but you simultaneously have a clear vision of the outcome you want, a region of the brain called the Substantia Nigra/Ventral Tegumental Area (SN/VTA) lights up and leads to creative thinking.

So, think big as you plan for the new year. It may sound counterintuitive, but the more ambitious your goals are, the better your chances of reaching them.

I’m giving a free online masterclass about setting adventurous goals that will lead you to your Original Advantage. You’ll learn how to 10x your productivity, and how to deal with 2 uncomfortable truths that are probably holding you back.

If you’d like to participate, just go to Jacobbear.com/Masterclass and you can sign up for the next one.

Until next time,

Use your head, follow your heart, and always seek adventure!
Jacobbear.com/masterclass

 

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3 Important Questions for the New Year and Beyond

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Tim Ferriss frequently says the solution to most problems is a better set of questions. Here are three new questions for you (plus, why am I dressed like that?):

I learned two important things in 2021.

First, when you approach your problems and ambitions with a spirit of adventure, a lot hard stuff starts to become easy. (I’ll be talking about this a lot in the near future.)

Second, say less and ask more. I lost two fantastic clients this year because I made too many assumptions and didn’t ask enough questions to find what they really needed. It stings, but I’m grateful for the lesson.

But speaking of questions, some of the most important questions are the ones you ask yourself. (And if you’re asking yourself why I’m dressed like the Unabomber in the above video, we’ll get to that.)

Here are three questions that I guarantee will help you live your best life in 2022 and beyond.

If you’re in any kind of business or profession that serves other people (that’s essentially all of us), you will find new clarity, energy, and commitment in everything you do when you have a solid and sincere answer to these three questions:

1. Do I truly believe that each person is here on this earth for something profoundly important?
2. Do I believe that I’m here for something profoundly important?
3. Based on my answers to the first two questions, how am I going to act and show up in the world from this point on?

There’s a bonus fourth question: Why is Jacob dressed like the Unabomber?

The short answer is we just bought a new home,  and the new home office has bad lighting and no insulation. It’s cold here.

But check out the room! I literally have a new business under construction. The office is unfinished but ready for some rapid positive change. I hope you are, too.

 

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A shimmering ball of energy that leads to higher levels of success

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You’ll often hear people telling you to let go of your past. I think most of us need to do the exact opposite.

You might go through difficult periods in your life when something that already happened is weighing you down, but this is usually just a temporary situation.

For most of the time, for most of us, our past really doesn’t get in the way. Our memories just aren’t that good. 

Now here’s a new and exciting thought. What if your past isn’t a lead anchor that weighs you down, but a shimmering ball of energy that takes your success and happiness to levels you never dreamed of?

With this possibility in mind, I have a few questions that I want to ask you.

What did you love most, want most, dream about when you were twelve years old? What about when you were twenty? Is there a hidden, neglected passion that could become a part of the work you want to do or the life you want to live today?

What about the hard times in your past? What struggles did you overcome? What failures did you have? What did you learn from them? How can you apply that knowledge today, right now?

Here’s a final bit of homework for you. Go through your attic, your basement, your closet or your storage unit and find an important relic from your past. It might be a photo or a toy, a piece of jewelry or clothing. 

Take it out and put it somewhere in an honored place where you will see and touch it every day. Use it as your talisman, a constant reminder of all the treasures you have stored up in your past. 

Mine is a clay ocarina in the shape of a turtle. I wore it on a silk cord around my neck when I traveled around the country on freight trains, and when I traveled around the Mediterranean as a tour director and an English teacher. 

For years I kept it in a drawer, but now I’m wearing it again. Every time I hold it I get feelings of excitement and optimism. 

What treasures from your past experience are waiting for you to rediscover them? 

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Give your business or career an instant upgrade!

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Are you ready to take on more challenges, assume more responsibility, and reap greater rewards? You can upgrade your energy, resilience, skills and creativity almost instantly with a simple shift in your thinking. I’m going to show you how in my next masterclass, Finding Your Fire.

Click Here to register for this free event. I hope to see you there!

I’ve been working hard on this one for weeks.  If you join me, you’ll learn the formula for an inspired vision that will radically transform your business and your life.

I’ll share two uncomfortable truths that are probably keeping you from reaching your highest potential, and show you how to reclaim an extra hour of productive time each day. 

We’ll also shine a spotlight on the culprit that is killing your productivity, stopping sales, and undermining the skills and talents of your team.

Click Here to register for this free event. I hope to see you there!

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In Ideas

You are on a journey

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Nothing looks better than blinking and taking a breath as the camera starts to roll…

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In Ideas

How your audacious vision can become a wealth magnet

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This is what my 2021 is going to be all about. I ramble a bit, but it’s sincere. Think of it as the first draft that you never get to read. There’s an explanation after the video.

First, a quick history lesson. There was a time when the Roman Empire was a small business.

The story of their growth has something that might help you. 

You see, back when Rome was just a large village in the middle of Italy, when fierce enemies lurked a few days’ journey away, back when Roman roads were just dusty pathways in the summer and streams of mud in the winter, way back in the days when the southern third of Italy was part of Greece, someone had an audacious vision. 

A Roman Censor named Appius Claudius initiated a project that caused a lot of people to shake their heads. 

He built a road. A real road. The first true Roman Road. Nobody had ever done anything like this before.

The road was paved with multiple layers of stone and interlocking hexagon plates of hand-carved volcanic rock that was almost indestructible. Drainage ditches were dug to keep the water off. He set up outposts along the road to provide travelers with food, water, and fresh horses.

You might think a road like this would go somewhere important, but it didn’t. It just led into the wilderness and sort of petered out. A lot of people shook their heads.

This project bankrupted the treasury, which probably caused even more people to shake their heads. But you know what happened next.

With this infrastructure in place, the Romans could move their troops, supplies, and messengers year round with startling speed. Soon they controlled the Italian peninsula, and then they copied this system on every shore along the Mediterranean sea. 

I wrote about this a few months ago on Medium, in an article titled, “How Appius Claudius Invented Rome.” It’s been getting some attention, and I think I know why. Many people are asking themselves the same question:

What could you accomplish, if you were willing to make a few people shake their heads?

No matter where you are in your life, in your business, you can benefit by having an audacious vision. When you have an audacious vision, something happens. You will find yourself inspiring others. You will have energy and power behind your every move. Decision-making becomes easy.

Best of all, you gain an unfair advantage over your competitors.

Dan Kennedy once listed 26 “Wealth Magnets” used by many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. (There are really 27 of these, but the last one is hidden. Wealth Magnet #15 is Passion. #16 is See What Isn’t There. The 17th magnet is No Boundaries. 

My favorite, Wealth Magnet #10, is Do Something. 

If you have an audacious vision, take massive action to bring it into the world. Heads will shake, but soon you’ll have four wealth magnets, and you’ll be on your way to activating others.

Over the weekend, I had my own Audacious Vision. I’ll be sharing it with you a little bit in these emails, or you can find out about it on the video at the top of this post.

But meanwhile, what is your audacious vision? Go on! Make my head shake!

About Jacob Bear In a digital world filled with endless distraction, the key to success is to become so excited about something that you attack every obstacle and light up the path for your followers. As a copywriter and marketing coach, Jacob has been guiding entrepreneurs to uncover their unique story since 2006. In his new talk, “Finding Your Fire,” he shows you how to cultivate a sense of adventure that brings energy and originality to everything you do. His free Social Media Cheat Sheet shows you how to create authentic, perpetual content in nine steps. You can find the Cheat Sheet and other tools at JacobBear.com/FreeStuff.

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