Doubters are a frustrating part of running a handmade business. Every maker or seller deals with them, whether they’re strangers on the Internet, your friends, or even your own family. But ultimately, you control how you respond to skepticism and negativity. You can believe the doubters, become discouraged, and derail your goals for your creative business. Or instead, you can set healthy boundaries and leverage those doubts as motivation to succeed. It’s up to you! Let’s talk about how to respond to doubts in a constructive way.

Self-Care for Handmade Sellers: Dealing with the Doubters

Hello? Hello, we’re live. I’m sorry you can’t see my face. Here we are. Hi. Welcome to Monday morning Crochet Business Chat. I am Pam Grice, the Crochetpreneur, your business coach. And I’m on a mission to help 100,000 women find financial freedom through crochet. Sorry. I had to turn my heater off. I’m glad that you’re here with us today. We are taping this live. If you’re watching the replay, go ahead and put replay in the messages below so we know that you were here. 

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Transcript: How to Handle Doubters in Your Handmade Business

[00:00:35] For those of you who are live, I think we have a good presentation today. I think this is going to help for those of you who struggle with either family members or friends who are not supporting your business endeavors as a handmade seller. 

[00:00:56] And even we’re going to talk a little bit about strangers who don’t support your business and how we respond to those people in a way that helps us get better rather than keeps us down, because so often we take that information from strangers and use it to beat ourselves up, and think about quitting, or think about how hard it is, become victims, all of that. And we don’t need to do that. 

[00:01:25] I’m going to get started talking about this. I want you to stay till the end. I do have some homework for you. And I think it will be really super helpful to help you get through this issue of having doubters in your handmade business. So let us get started. 

Doubters Gonna Doubt

[00:01:44]  So handmade sellers: dealing with doubters. Okay. Doubters gonna doubt, right? We often hear “haters gonna hate.” We’re not talking about, for the most part, people who are haters. I would say probably only 5% of people are actually haters–people who wish you bad, right? It’s a small percentage of people who would be like that and it’s probably even smaller than that.

[00:02:18] However, doubters, these are people who just don’t believe that you can make your dreams come true, who don’t believe you can build a successful business. And whether that’s out of something that they know about you or something that they fear, it’s going to happen to almost all of us. So it’s inevitable.

Resilience and Perseverance

[00:02:41] So the only thing that you can control, really, is your response to the doubt. And that will determine both the impact of their doubt and the outcome of your business. So in the end, their doubts will either motivate you to succeed or sidetrack your dreams. You get to decide. So it’s up to you, whether you choose to do it anyway, or if you’re going to spend your life pleasing others, rather than fulfilling your own destiny and mission, that sounds pretty powerful, right?

[00:03:16] It really is that big of a deal, how you respond, because if you’re constantly seeking affirmation, and you’re constantly seeking encouragement, and not able to give that to yourself, you are never going to build the life that you love, because you’re constantly pleasing other people and doing what they want you to do. And the whole time, your purpose, and your mission, and the things that feel life-giving to you are put on hold. It’s a lose, lose situation. Whoops. Okay. So we need to develop resilience and perseverance. That what’s going to get you where you want to go. If you want to succeed, you need to take action, even without the support that you really long for.

[00:04:08] So I think we’re all born into this world, longing for people who believe in us, and people who will support us, and people who will encourage us. And it doesn’t always happen. And the people who succeed are the people who do it anyway, right? Like Nike says, like Michael Jordan says, “Just do it.” Do it even without the support. Do it even without the encouragement. And eventually, that encouragement may come.

[00:04:38] And it’s important to you and your quality of life that you don’t then hold bitterness towards those people who were risk-avoidant, who feared for your future. Because really, mostly they’re doing it out of care for you. They’re doing it out of fear. And so if you go towards bitterness and say, “You know, I’m going to hold this against you forever. Now that I have the success that I want, and I’m going to hold it against you,” that is also gonna impact your quality of life as well. So it’s important to have forgiveness for those people who don’t understand, down the road. So just keep that in mind. 

The Inside Out Principle

[00:05:23] So there’s this principle of inside out. And I think that you’ll all recognize that this probably holds true for most of you. For some of you, we might move some of these tags around. But for the majority of people, we have this concentric circle of influence, of relationship, that holds family very close to the center, right? So family is close to the center. Then there’s friends as we move one step out, then there’s acquaintances, and then there are strangers. And those strangers probably have two levels as well. We might have strangers that we see in person, and we might have strangers that we see are on the internet, right? So we have a little bit of distance between those two as well, if you wanted to add another circle. 

Our Desire for Affirmation

[00:06:17] Basically, the nearer someone is to the center, the more we long to hear encouragement and receive support from them. But typically, we receive just the opposite. So we receive more compliments and more encouragement from strangers, right? Maybe people who follow us on social media are sharing more of like, “Oh my gosh, that’s amazing,” or, “Oh, you’re so talented. This is so great. Thank you so much.” Like giving you words of affirmation usually comes from the outside in. For some reason, it’s just easier for strangers to compliment strangers than it is for family and friends to encourage you. 

[00:07:01] So to bring in a biblical reference, for those of you who don’t mind that, even Jesus was rejected by the people in his own hometown, right? They were just like, “That carpenter’s kid, he thinks he’s like this big deal.” And it’s likely that this is kind of a universal law. It’s likely the same way for you, that the people who are closest to you are the ones who don’t get it. And we have to just understand that that’s the way it is and we have to … We’ll get there.

[00:07:41] Hang on. I jumped ahead a little bit. Okay. So anyway, this is the principle, is the nearer someone is to you, the more you long for their support, but the less likely it is to come in the form of verbal affirmations. Okay. So these two slides were switched. All right, whoa. All right. So anyway, there you go. There’s the original. And then this is where we went. So the nearer someone is to you. Okay. Now the next slide. Hopefully the rest of these slides are in order. They’re not. There we go. Sorry about that. 

Skepticism and Negativity

[00:08:18] Okay. So the next is skepticism and negativity hit more deeply from the inside out. And so skepticism from your family, when your parents are looking at you and you’re starting this handmade business, and they’re saying, “Well, what about your degree? What about the college degree that we helped you pay for? And now you’re going to sell crochet? Now you’re gonna make necklaces? Like, what about that investment we made in you?” right? So that kind of negativity comes, more often, from the inside out and it hits more deeply from the inside out.

[00:09:04] And it’s important to remember that, “I knew you when …” isn’t always a positive thing. Like your friends, when they see what you’re doing, they might say. Yeah, well, I remember when you were going to be a football star and you quit football, or you are going to be a tennis star and you quit tennis, or you were going to be a singer and then you quit.”

[00:09:24] The people who know you the best have seen you at your worst, right? And even, typically, your family remembers you as that child who was just learning perseverance, who was just learning to be tenacious, but not doing a great job of it because you were a child. They see you as the three-year-old old, having a tantrum when things didn’t go your way. So it’s hard for them to then internalize and see you as someone who has developed these skills, who does persevere, who is tenacious, who is going to go for it. And as long as you are not believing in you, it’s the same way for them. They’re not going to believe in you either. So remember that they might be telling themselves some stories about who you are that don’t actually match who you really are.

Setting Boundaries

[00:10:22] So, and the same way, it’s harder to then say boundaries, or even in the case of really toxic relationships, to say goodbye to people from the inside out. And I would like for you to, if you can snap a picture of this chart, use this to help you see where it’s important to set boundaries and where’s it’s important to say goodbye. 

[00:10:47] Because with strangers who are being cruel to you on the internet, so many people don’t have perspective about that and say like, “A, this person doesn’t even matter in my life so I can just let that go.” Instead, they use that person’s words to impact their day, impact their life, impact the choices they make about their business, rather than say, “Anyone on that exterior ring, you can let them go. Anybody in the next ring in acquaintances, you can let them go as well.”

[00:11:21] It gets harder to set boundaries and to let people go if they are your inner-circle people, like your dear friends, or like your family. Not all friends and family are actually good for you. And so it’s up to you to decide, like, “What do my boundaries look like with these people? Do I need to let them go if they’re super toxic? Or do I just need to set boundaries and say, ‘We’re not talking about work things. Nope. I’m not talking about that with you?’” And then you just go on and do what you need to do. So if you can set boundaries and those people can hold to those boundaries, that means that’s a healthy relationship and you don’t need to cut them off.

[00:12:06] And I’m not recommending that you just go around willy-nilly, cutting people off from your life. But there are people who are narcissistic and there are that small percentage of people who do want the worst for you. And if you recognize that there are people in your life like that, it’s okay to say no to them. That’s kind of a downer. Let’s move on to something better. 

Staying Centered

[00:12:32] Something better is you get to be the center. So we talked about all of those kind of concentric circle rings that are around you. But you and your higher power–your God, whatever it is in where you are with your spirituality–you and God are the center, right? 

[00:12:56] So it’s up to you. It’s up to the center to guard and protect your self-esteem–that’s why it’s called self-esteem. It’s you esteeming yourself–your self confidence, your confidence in yourself, and your self motivation so that you can set boundaries around the rest of those circles.

[00:13:14] Those people who are not being supportive, who are not being encouraging, who are being dream killers, you can set boundaries around them when you guard your self-esteem, your self-confidence and your self motivation. And so staying centered–really understanding that you have control over the growth of your business, as far as the strategies you employ, those kinds of things, and you get to say what you’re willing to accept and not accept in your world.

Important Steps to Take

[00:13:54] So here are some important steps to take, as you move forward with your business, recognizing that there will be doubters. There will even be haters.

Recognize Valid Concerns

Okay. So first recognize that their concerns might actually be valid. So there is risk in starting a handmade business. It’s a thing. I’m going to come over here and make sure you guys can hear me. You can? Okay. So there is a valid risk in saying, “I’m going to quit the corporate world and I’m going to start a handmade business.” There is a risk and often the people around you will feel some fear around that, on your behalf.

[00:14:41] And so If they are otherwise supportive and otherwise encouraging people, continue to just show them that you’ve got this. Again, through your own self esteem and your own self motivation, show them that you’ve got this. You could even show them the plan that you have, the strategies that you’re using, the people you’re learning from. All of those things can help them to feel less fear and more confidence. They can then catch your confidence.

Stop Trying to Convince Them and Start Listening

[00:15:13] But this is not about trying to convince them. The next step here is stop trying to convince them and start listening. So it might be that you have people in your world who have built a business and they know how hard it is. And so they do have some concerns. And rather than you constantly trying to convince them or give them, sometimes, ammunition to use against you … 

[00:15:40] If you say, “I’m going to start an Etsy shop,” and then they’re like, “Do you know how hard it is on Etsy? Do you know that the market is saturated? Do you know that they charge a lot of fees?” All of those things. Listen to their concerns and maybe you might learn from them. Or you at least get to check in and say, “Is this a valid concern and what am I going to do about it?” Right? So rather than automatically going on the defensive, get yourself into a space of listening, analyzing, and incorporating strategies to overcome these concerns. 

Set Healthy Boundaries

[00:16:23] Okay, next is set boundaries and even say goodbye to toxic people. So setting boundaries with people is saying, “I’m not going to talk about this with you. I don’t want to hear your negativity. If we’re having a conversation and it turns into something negative where you’re trying to kill my dreams, or you’re trying to demotivate me, or you’re trying to make me not believe in myself, I’m going to have to end this conversation. And if this goes on for an extended period of time, we might need to take a break for a little bit”. It’s okay to do that. It’s okay to protect yourself. 

Create an Environment That Supports You

[00:16:53] Next, create an environment that supports you as a handmade seller. So that it looks like surrounding yourself with people who are successful surrounding yourself, with people who are encouraging, creating a routine that supports your success. That means starting your day off with your CEO hour, setting productivity goals, setting success goals, those kinds of things, creating an environment that’s conducive to work and conducive to your success. Having a space for you to work is always a positive thing. 

[00:17:30] Be careful what you watch, even social media, even TikToks, those kinds of things. If you’re watching things that make you not believe in yourself, that demotivate you, you need to check in with that. Be careful what and who you listen to. There’s a lot of people out there giving advice and not all of it is good and not all of it is good for you. Not all of it is going to help you feel motivated or be motivated. And then watch what you do. So often, we have some defense mechanisms or we have some negative thoughts that cause us to do things that then sabotage our business. So check in with that stuff and be sure that you’re creating an environment that supports your success.

Don’t Give Up

[00:18:19] Next again, don’t give up. Foster resilience and perseverance in yourself. If you find that you’re a person who gives up easily or who looks for reasons to give up on things, really work on that in yourself because it does take perseverance and resilience to get to the place that you want to be in your business. 

Practice Self-Affirmation

[00:18:44] Start incorporating … Whoops, a typo. Start incorporating practices that are self-affirming and that build competence. So read self-help books, hang around with people who are encouraging, practice affirmations, those kinds of things.

Track and Celebrate your Wins

[00:19:00] And then track and celebrate your wins. Not for them. Not so you can say, “See, I told you so,” or not so you can use those wins as a way to convince them, but for your own self. The more you track and celebrate the little things, the more you’re able to do in your business. It just keeps you up. It keeps you motivated.

[00:19:24] For me, when there’s a task I don’t want to do, when I finally do it, I celebrate, right? It doesn’t have to be a financial type celebration. I don’t have to buy myself something. I don’t have to go out to a fancy dinner or anything like that, unless it’s a really big win. Then I’m happy to go spend money on that.[00:19:41] But it could be simply tracking it on your calendar, putting a pink dot on your calendar, saying, “Today there was a win. Today I did what I wanted to do.” I love using Asana because it gives you an affirmation for you. You click done and then you get to see a flying unicorn. Like that’s fun enough for me. That’s celebration enough for me. And if it’s not, then do something else. But be sure to celebrate those wins.

Affirm That You Have Agency

[00:20:15] Okay. Again, affirm, you have agency. So don’t get yourself into this victim mentality of saying, “I can’t. It’s hard. I’m never going to be enough,” all of that stuff. Use the pain of not receiving the support you long for as motivation, rather than as an excuse to feel victimized and to give up. Turn “Why me?” into “Try me.” And keep moving forward one strategic step at a time and celebrate, again, every single win.

[00:20:44] Some of you know my first craft fair story. Someone who was selling crochet was a mean girl and she was laughing at me not doing great with my sales and struggling with my display. And part of the reason that I really grew my business was because I was mad at her because she was making fun of me. And she was like, “Look at that old lady trying to do stuff.” And I was like, “Oh, really? Well, I’m going to crush you now.” Which crushing people is not a great thing to do. But for me, it was a motivation to be like, “I’m going to figure this out. And next year I’m going to have more people in my booth than you do.” Because I used her cruelty as a motivation for me to do better rather than using it as a, “Well, that was embarrassing so now I’m not going to do this anymore.” I hope that makes sense.

A Little Story About Tom Brady

[00:21:46] Okay. Some of you know that I grew up in New England, back when new England was a terrible, terrible football team. They could not win a game for anything. And that’s just the way it was. So I spent the majority of my life in New England till I was about 27. And I’ve always been a Patriots fan. 

[00:22:35] So I have a little story about Tom Brady. Whether you love him or whether you hate him, this is a good story. So here is what Tom Brady’s draft report looked like. “Poor build. Skinny. Lacks great physical stature and strength. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field. Does not throw a really tight spiral. He’s a system type player who can get exposed if forced to ad-lib and he gets knocked down easily.” Not a great report, which also led to him being drafted in the sixth round, rather than in the first or second round, which is what was kind of expected.

[00:23:23] So his response was, “What do these people know?” When he was finally drafted, like something like 169th–I can’t remember exactly but it was way down the line where he was drafted–he told Robert Kraft, the team’s owner, “I’m the best decision you ever made.” So he believed in himself and he made the people around him believe in him as well. So now he’s retiring and I just found out he’s not retiring. He’s coming back next year so he’s not retiring. But he has, so far, seven Superbowl rings and he is called the greatest quarterback of all time. 

[00:24:00] So it’s really important to look at what are people saying about you and what are you saying about you?” You do not have to agree with the negative things that they’re saying. That scattering report listed all of the negatives about him but they didn’t address the positives. See Tom Brady was smarter than everyone else. Again, whether you like him or not, ask anyone in the business and they’ll say, “He’s just a smart quarterback. So he’s smarter. He studied and studied and continued to learn while others would fall back on their talent. And he worked harder than anyone else. So because of that, he has seven Superbowl rings and he has a lot of MVPs.

Believe in Yourself

[00:24:51] If you don’t believe in yourself, how is anyone else going to believe in you? That sounds like a cliche. But it’s true. And I want to encourage you to foster that belief in yourself. It isn’t anyone else’s job to affirm you so much that you start believing in yourself. You have to make the first move because, trust me, if you don’t believe in yourself, all of the positive affirmations and all of the encouragement from someone else is not going to make you believe in yourself. The way that we are wired, if you don’t believe in yourself, all of those affirmations and encouraging words from other people are going to fall on deaf ears. Your brain will come up with reasons to disavow all of those affirmations.

Toxic People

[00:25:47] So here’s two important notes before we get to the homework for you. Toxic people will never support you. So I know there are some people who have narcissistic families, narcissistic parents, and they’re still trying to get those parents to love them and doing everything they can to get those people to affirm them. And it’s important to come to the recognition that that’s never going to happen.

[00:26:20] These toxic people take joy in your struggles and they will attempt to sabotage your success at every turn. And they’ll do that with their words and they’ll do that with their deeds. And we need to stop trying to get those people to love us and instead stop giving into their negativity because you’re only hurting yourself. You’re like following their game plan to hurt yourself with their words. So it’s important to recognize that. And it’s important to recognize who’s toxic and who’s just scared.

You Deserve a Supportive Spouse

[00:26:59] Also you deserve a spouse that believes in and supports you. I hear so often from handmade sellers, “My husband doesn’t support me. My parents don’t support me.” Or we’re talking specifically about spouses. “My spouse doesn’t believe in me, doesn’t think I can do this.” If that is the case, there’s something deeper going on. Okay. There’s something bigger going on and it is less about the handmade business and it is more about your relationship. And I really want to encourage you to at least get therapy for yourself so that you can learn to deal with this. But at best, get couples therapy because there is something bigger going on and. Your relationship deserves to be healthy. And if it’s not healthy, do something about it.

Taking a Risk Can Reveal Hidden Issues

[00:27:55] There is nothing like taking a risk to bring out all the things you’ve been sweeping under a rug. So if your relationship has been sort of just hanging in there, starting a small business we’ll bring out all of the bad stuff and it just is. So recognize that. And not just in your partnership relationship, but in your family relationships, in your friendships. If there are some negative things going on, it’s all going to come out as soon as you start a business. 

[00:28:35] So be prepared for that and have a plan for dealing with it, whether that is setting boundaries, whether that’s getting therapy, whether that’s cutting people off. It’s just that taking risks makes things hard. And find support from people who are in the business and who have been there and who can help you through those things.

Get Your Free Overcoming Doubts Worksheet

[00:29:06] Okay. There’s a link in the description [or subscribe form, below] to hop on my email list. And when you do that, I’ll send you a resource. Today has been crazy. We have like four construction crews outside. And so I meant to put together something to give you so that you can track your homework but it’s not created yet. I will send it to you if you get on my email list from the link in the description [or better yet, the one below]. If you’re watching on Facebook, I’ll pop over and add a link there as well. But I will send that to you. And if you’re watching on replay, you can simply click the link in the description [but I highly recommend using the form below] and you will receive that  little worksheet that will help you track the homework that I’m going to talk about next.

[00:29:49] Okay. And also, while we’re at it, if you’re a crochet business owner or you’re a handmade seller, and you want encouragement, and you want tips for growing a business that’s successful and is making the money that you want, be sure to subscribe. Be sure to like this video and hit your notification bell so you don’t miss a video. I have to say that because I don’t want to forget and it’s good for you. Do it!

Addressing Doubts Constructively

[00:30:13] Okay. Here’s your homework. I want you to journal. Write down all of the negative things that they and you say when it comes to your handmade business. So whether the, like, “This is super risky. This is dangerous. Why aren’t you using your degree? People don’t make money in the handmade business. People don’t buy on Etsy. The economy is really bad. People aren’t going to be …” All of those things. Write down all of the negative things.

[00:30:44] And then analyze them. Say what’s true and what’s not true. You know, put X’s and O’s or however you need to mark them. What’s true? What’s not true? And the things that are true, like the economy–or, you know, inflation is happening. People are likely not to be buying more handmade things. What strategies can you employ to make that not impact your business? You know, look at what are the true things and write down your strategies for overcoming the true things.

[00:31:17] Write down the untrue things and then write down the opposite. So if one of those things is like, “Well, you always quit things when they’re hard,” well then, you write an affirmation that says, “I have done hard things in the past and I can do hard things again.” That’s an example of like taking an untrue statement. “You always quit when things are hard.” You don’t always quit when things are hard. You’ve done hard things. So write the opposite. 

[00:31:47] And then, so you’re going to turn both of those lists–the strategies for overcoming the true statement and the opposite of the untrue statements. You’re going to turn those into affirmations. And then every day, I want you to speak and write those affirmations five times. It will help. 


[00:32:08] And did you hear when I said, “I have done hard things and I can do hard things?” I believe that about myself and I believe that about you. And so it’s so easy for me to say because it is true. I want you to speak your affirmations with conviction because they are already true. You keep on saying them until you believe them and you can say them with conviction. 

Questions and Answers

[00:32:33] Okay. I am coming back. Hello. I hope you found that helpful. I’m going to pop over. I have a bunch of people always drop off when I say, “I’m going to go look at the comments,” and then they’re like, “See ya.” But stick around. We might have something important. To read in these.

Setting Boundaries Improves Relationships

[00:32:53] Good morning, everyone. Oh, I’m so glad to see all these familiar faces. Okay. “Setting boundaries with people, especially with my mom, has been hard. But it’s been a good thing for us. Our time together now is healthier and more enjoyable. The more you set boundaries with people, the more they respect you in the end and the healthier your relationship gets.” Perfect.

[00:33:17] “The music books and podcasts you take in can really make or break your mood.” That is so true. So find encouraging … Listen to business-related podcasts that are really encouraging for you, that like speak your language. Elizabeth said, “I’m going to crush you now.” Yeah, but that’s not a healthy thing. Yes, my husband, my husband is a fan of Purge. And so that’s his phone ringtone. Yes. Positive self-talk. Tom Brady’s is a great example of positivity. Oh, Carol, I’m sorry to hear that you have toxic people in your life. Kathy, welcome. 

Spouses: Doubting Handmade Business Versus Doubting You

[00:34:08] Okay. “My husband is fine with this as a hobby, but he really doesn’t want me to do this full-time. Counseling is for us, I guess.” So there’s, there’s a difference between, “I don’t believe in handmade business,” and, “I don’t believe in you.” 

[00:34:29] So check in with that. Is this a fear thing or a risk thing where he’s saying, “Handmade businesses are hard. How are you going to do this? I don’t really want you to do this. It feels too risky,” rather than, “Handmade businesses is hard. I don’t think you can do this. I don’t think you have it in you. I don’t believe you’re going to stick it out. I don’t believe you have the talent?” All those kinds of words, that’s where you’re headed for counseling. If it is, “I have a hard time with handmade business,” well then it’s your job to then show him by your actions. Show him by your perseverance. Show him by your strategy in your business sense. And he’ll be on board. 

[00:35:17] My husband has always been encouraging of my handmade business. But you can bet the more money I made, the more onboard he was and the more he was saying, “What can I do to help? How can I serve you in your business? Do you need me to run to the post office? Do you need me to go to the yarn store and pick up yarn for you? Do you need me to take care of things in the house so that you can work?” And that’s where we are today is he’s like, “All right, I’m going to leave you alone. I know that you have a big day today. What do you need? Do you need me to make dinner?” That’s what support can look like as well. 

[00:35:55] And the more you treat your business like a business, and the more boundaries you set around your business of, “I’m working. I work until 4:00 PM so don’t bother me,” or whatever–that’s what I say–the more they’re going to get on board. So know that it’s a process but you have to be centered in yourself first.

Wrapping Up

[00:36:19] Scooby-Doo. Oh, yes. “Sometimes I put words into people’s mouths and it’s really my own doubts.” Yes. So often when we don’t hear anything from people, we make up that they’re thinking something, or they’re saying something, or they say something and we make it so much bigger than what they’ve actually said. So check in with that. 

[00:36:42] But this video has gone really long. So I’m going to let you all get back to work. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments. If there’s anything I’ve said that really resonates with you, or you have some words of wisdom to share with anyone else, again, be sure to put those in the comments. And be sure to subscribe, like, and hit that notification bell. I’ll be back next week with another self care topic for handmade sellers. All right, I’ll see you guys later.

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