I’ve always been a do-it-yourselfer. I’ve taught myself a great many things by taking this attitude.

When I bought my first house, I completely gutted it – down to the timbers in most rooms. In other places, we removed and moved walls. For instance, I created a large, walk-in closet in our huge bedroom where there was once a little coat room.

When it came to moving plumbing, rerouting and adding electrical, drywall, replacing subfloor, moving my toilets and bathtub drains – I basically did it all. And in most cases, I took to each project never having done it before.

But at some point, you have to live in your house. And that means it has to get done.

For me that time came as we neared the birth of our first child. As the first trimester led to the second, I had to make some choices. I’d remodel the kitchen later, for instance.

Well, two kids and four years later, the kitchen hadn’t been finished. Yet I wanted to redo the kitchen. It had been one of the main reasons I moved in the house – a huge dinning room adjacent to a tiny kitchen. The remodel was a no-brainer.

This time, the do-it-yourself Dawud gave way to the asking for help. I called in favors when it came to moving the plumbing and installing the cabinets and countertops. And I hired a contractor to do the electrical and new lighting. The demo (remove a wall, tear out old kitchen), drywall, flooring and painting I’d do myself. And in less than 8 weeks, we completed our kitchen – for the most part (there’s some odds and ends left to do).

What I learned in the process was something that I’ve seen many small business owners struggle with in their business – they don’t ask for help. They don’t seek people to help them with tasks in their business. Rather, they try to do everything themselves. This usually means one of a number of things happens: They either don’t grow very fast because they can only do so much work or their business goes backward because – well – they can’t do so much work.

But when you outsource tasks in your business, it supports your business in a number of ways. One, it frees up some of your time so that you can focus on the tasks in your business that need your specific attention – such as referral marketing or creating new products and services to sell. Two, it creates space for you to take on new projects because you have more time on your hands. Three, it allows you time to clean up the things that have gotten neglected in your business. Four, it starts the process of handing off even more tasks because once you can trust one person with managing a part of your business, you can trust others. And five, outsourcing lets you share your success with another person – helping them become more successful.

If you’re struggling with the idea, or if it seems that it’ll cost too much, don’t let that stop you. You can manage how someone else completes tasks in your business. And managing takes far less time than doing. And consider the costs not on what you’re paying out versus your revenues. Rather, consider the costs in relation to how much more productive you can be in creating more revenues streams in your business. Paying someone $20 an hour to manage your email, for instance, is nothing when you can generate $50 or $80, $350 or more with that same hour.

Outsourcing is one of the keys to growing your business. So allow yourself a chance to ask for help. There are plenty of virtual assistants out there, for instance, that do all sorts of things – from general office work to executive resources to web and graphic design to marketing. Just find the one that best fits your needs.

And be sure you know when to ask for help.

As a small business owner, are you outsourcing in your business? If so, how’s it working out. And if not, why not…what stops you from asking for help?

Let’s talk about it.

(note:  image from  jen_maiser on  Flickr,   some rights reserved)

Reader Interactions


  1. Bert Mahoney says

    Great post Dawud. I find myself going back and forth on this. I get busy and outsource to freelancers, then I will take everything back on when things are not so busy. All the while there are aspects of business that do get put off. Thanks for the reminder on the impact it can make.

  2. Amaterashu says

    if you have a problem.. any problem. you should ask for help to people close to you. don’t push yourself too hard

  3. wilson says

    Well, I think we’re sharing the same similarity here, Dawud. I’m also learned to deal with all the household things, since I live by myself…

    I’ll only get some helps from others, when I was really sick…

  4. Peggy Collins says

    Great article! Thought I’d let you know you’re part of a near epidemic in our country – the inability to ask for help or delegate cause no one else can do it as well.

    I’ve written a book on the subject of what I call The Self-Sufficiency Syndrome and its entitled Help Is Not a Four-Letter Word: Why Doing It All Is Doing You In published by McGraw Hill.

    You’re right, the rubber meets the road when the small business owner needs to ask for help. After all – it directly affects the bottom line to do things that take valuable time and could be done by someone else!
    Peggy Collins
    Speaker, Trainer, Author

  5. JBO says

    I think this is some sound advice – your own persoanl learning can also greatly be increased by getting someone who is an expert in teh field to show you how they do it.

    “jack of all trades, master of none” is a term that springs to mind. Asking for help can accelerate the whole process and better yourself in the long run.

  6. alan says

    I outsource quite a bit of work. Takes a little while to get used to it and discover who is good and who lets you down. The price I pay is very low compared to giving the work out to a UK firm.

  7. search channel says


    I just started working for a new company that doesn’t have an office and always has its meeting in Coffee shops. I think its a little crazy. Have you seen models where a business could get going like this?

    thanks for advice

  8. Dawud Miracle says

    Ever consider starting with something small?

    I do a similar thing. Sometimes I still believe I can do it all alone. Odd thing, something all of us solopreneurs have to get over I guess…

    I agree, and don’t you feel that sometimes it’s necessary – and perhaps more effective – to hire a professional to help in your business?

    What stops you from getting help when all the time?

    Sure. Learning is fine. And sometimes I’ve found it’s important to just give the work to someone else so I can focus on what I’m great at.


    Oh, I don’t have a problem asking for help at all. Rather, I enjoy learning so much that I often like to do things myself just for the experience of it.

    But as a business owner, I’m well aware of the necessity to outsource anything that doesn’t meet the value of my time. So I outsource a lot in my business. And I focus my time specifically on taking care of my clients and growing my business.

    What do you outsource in your business?

    Exactly! I say outsource anything that you don’t ‘have’ to be doing (and that’s often most stuff, if your honest with yourself) and anything that doesn’t directly pay you for your efforts.

    How have you found the ‘right’ people to work with?

  9. rummuser says

    Dawud, I have got butter fingers! If I tried to do anything around the house, I will end up either hurting myself or causing a great deal of damage. I therefore hire professionals to do whatever needs to be done.

    I have also been a great getting doner rather than a doer. That really translates to taking help from others. I have not had any problems so far!

    I however know of a number of cases where people find it extremely hard to delegate and end up harming themselves and their businesses. Sad, but a fairly common occurrence in SMEs.

  10. Yee Wei - body, mind and soul says

    For those who are hands on type, i believe they like to do thing by themselves, money is a secondary factor to them even though they could outsource it.

    But it is always good to get external help if time is a crucial factor in getting thing up and running, that is what i believe.

  11. Peggy Collins says

    Dawud, as a professional speaker and trainer, I utilize the “experts” for my website and updates, a virtual assistant for many of my email marketing campaigns, sending packets etc..

    I also have quite a support team of other small business owners (a mastermind group) that I call on when I need to get an opinion on a new idea or to brainstorm new marketing approaches. Of course, I reciprocate.

  12. kotak credit card says

    Outsourcing work is not a bad idea but you must also choose the right company or person for otherwise you will loose both money and time. Moreover at times by taking help from other people you tend to learn about new things and methods about which you were not aware before.

  13. Kristina says

    Know it all 🙂 Yes, I have the opposite. Asking a lot of questions, scared to take risks.
    Thanks, Dawud. A nice article. I need to be encouraged to continue asking questions, until I become more confident.

  14. Dawud Miracle says

    It is. Any advise on how people might get over their concerns around asking for help?

    search channel,
    Absolutely. If the team is focused and goals are being set and met, than why would you need a boardroom?

    Why do you think that is?

    Yee Wee,
    There is. How do you get help in accomplishing the tasks of your business?

    Sounds excellent. How’s masterminding worked for you?

    I agree. I always suggest taking it slow – remembering that outsourcing can become a long-term relationship. No need to rush, then, don’t you think?

    Never stop asking questions. I ask questions all the time. In asking – you find out what you don’t know. Why would you feel that’s not a good thing?

  15. rummuser says

    Dawud, I am not an expert but I would expect such behavior to be due to be basic insecurity. An unwillingness to trust others. I can point this out to my clients and friends when I see this happening but, to get over it, I believe that they need psychiatric help. I would not dare suggest this to my clients. Would you?

  16. Peggy Collins says

    Dawud, we’ve got quite a discussion going here.

    Before I answer your question, I’d like to comment on rummser’s last post.

    Many of us have been raised with the belief that it’s a weakness to ask for help and if we do ask – we feel we’ve failed. Others of us DO have trust issues cause maybe we didn’t learn to trust.

    As for masterminding – I’ve found it incredibly valuable! If you’re reciprocating, you don’t feel like it’s asking for help, many heads are better than one and I feel like I’ve got consultants at my finger tips any time.

  17. Yee Wei says

    As a home biz, I will try to learn from others and do research online, while under employed previously, used to ask and get help from colleagues, if situation permit.

  18. Investment Property says

    Absolutely great article. In my business, I have few workers with me. I need help because I can’t do everything. When customers started to come, I can’t assist them all anymore. So, help is needed. If I don’t, these customers will leave and no ideas if they will ever come back.

  19. inbound call center says

    Do You Know When To Ask For Help?
    when i cant solve any problems in my life, thats when i need to ask for any help..:)

  20. Dawud Miracle says

    Not sure about the psychiatric help – though could be helpful. I simply think people need to not take their business so personal – especially in the beginning stages.

    My masterminding experience have always taught me something valuable about myself and my business. Wouldn’t trade them – and the relationships I’ve built – for anything.

    And I say to heck with issues. Sure, some of us get stuck there from time to time. But don’t focus on the issues – focus on what you want from your business and create that.

    Absolutely. You want to do what you’re best at in your business. That means to grow you have to do more of it – and less of everything else. That’s why we all need to ask for help – that is, if we really want to grow.

    Nice. Get the help where you can, that’s what I say. Just be sure it’s serving your overall and forward-thinking needs.

  21. Business Letter says

    Outsourcing has helped out my small business so much it is crazy. Before I would have to write articles about random things that I have on my sites, it took so much time, thinking, and effort I didn’t even have time to post it or do anything else. Now I have a girl from china paying her a really really cheap price and she gets it done much faster and it is good money for her. If you can spend a little money to make a whole lot more money and save time why not do it? Good luck to all you other small business out there!

  22. Kristina says

    Thank you Dawud for the reply, maybe have a feeling that questions will sound irrelevat but I get to learn that there are no stupid questions at all, if I want to expand my knowledge about a particular subject.

  23. Suzanne Stephens says

    Great article Dawud! There are often hidden pitfalls to any do-it-yourself endeavor that an amateur might not be aware of. In fact, since you used your home-remodeling story; I’ll mention that my father, an electrical engineer but not a licensed electrician, replaced the electrical panel in a home I was updating. A few years later, the sale of the house was put in jeopardy because the home inspector refused to pass electrical work that had not been done by a licensed electrician.

  24. Wailana says

    Hi Dawud, thanks for posting about this. I was thinking about this tonight.

    I agree with Rummuser on it- it comes from a sense of insecurity- which sprouts from yet another- pride. Seems to me that pride prevents us from reaching a lot of our goals… it keeps us from asking other people who may know more about a certain thing we’re struggling with- for help.

    Anyhow, for how I am going with my small business- my first reaction is that, “Oh of course I can do it on my own. I’ve gotten through so many other things..” etc etc. But then later on I really have to ditch this attitude… yeah so it’s basically that sense of pride that “I can do it on my own, I don’t need help.” That has held me back and prevented me from asking help and getting my business going real well and steady.

  25. Ice Rabia says

    This is specially true at this time and age… As a small or starting business owner, you have little resources… Hiring yourself a staff will kill your finances but outsourcing is entirely different. There are numerous outsourcing companies out there,not including those who do freelance work. They charge really cheap, just for all to afford. Most are from Asian countries that’s why they charge cheaper…I totally agree that outsourcing will help small businesses thrive…

  26. Erica- Copywriters Needed/Make $200/hr says

    uhhhhh- I hate asking for help!LOL maybe its because my moon sign is LEO or something, but anyway,

    you are right. I spent three years of college not asking for help from free tutors and had a hard time keeping up with my grades. It is important to not let your ego get the best of you in Business. Besides, having a business mentor can save a you a lot of time, stress and money.

  27. Shweta Jha says

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  28. Debt Reduction says

    Nice Post. I am new here but will be visiting more often as you have done a good job.

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    I really appreciate the work. Keep it up…..

  29. BonScott says

    for me its really hard to ask for help.
    I may struggle and struggle but something in my EGO dont let me to give up nor to ask someone whos better than I am in something.
    I understant thats pretty stupid behavior and by asking I may save lots of time and energy finding out and solving things but its my way and somehow I menaged it to work for me.

    Great post again 🙂

  30. UggAussie says

    It’s really quite amazing timing that I came across this blog post today.
    Just yesterday, my wife and I were walking around the track at our local rec center talking about how I now need help with my business. I run my own business, and I too like to think that I can do everything myself – but this week it came to a head, and my plate overflowed. It is affecting my productivity and my mood. I decided to get help with some of the more menial, but important aspects of my business to free myself up with the larger picture.
    Our conversation also was about things at home – instead of fixing the broken toilet myself, which might take 4 hours, we hire a plumber to do it in 1 hour.
    My mood is already improving!
    The ego makes it hard to ‘let go’ and let someone else take the wheel, at least for a bit.

  31. Steve Sildon says

    I learned early on in my business that the “easier, softer” way was to ask for help. I got over the DIY thing very quickly. The bottom line is that having a DIY attitude in your small business can be much more costly than just hiring a professional to do the job.

  32. Annie says

    When there’s some new task in the office and I’m not familiar at it. I just tend to ask my friends in the office who knows and they are very much willing to help me out.

  33. Karl says

    i totally know what you mean, i have sometimes found myself reluctant to outsource even when it will benefit me financially, i guess i am a bit of a control freak in that respect… its hard to let go sometimes!

  34. Shared office space NYC says

    Hopefully this short discussion will encourage some of you to get motivated and start looking for and working with some of the available resources. But I don’t think we are quite done yet. You see, one of the most important principles of growth is that it is never best to attempt it alone. This is true in virtually every area of life, and especially true in business.
    There are many resources for small business than ever before. Literally hundreds of websites, newsletters, cable television, and radio programs are focused on small business issues. Government funded assistance programs and non-profit programs are available in virtually every community in the country, but are often underutilized. Since most of these resources are free, it is sometimes hard to understand why they are not used more. I think some of reasons for this are lack of time and lack of awareness, and maybe even a little pride.

  35. Pinpoint Benefits says

    I’ve written a book on the subject of what I call The Self-Sufficiency Syndrome and its entitled Help Is Not a Four-Letter Word: Why Doing It All Is Doing You In published by McGraw Hill.

  36. Small Business Newbie says

    Most small business owners like to do everything themselves, that’s why they started their own business. But as this article points out that’s just holding you back. For your company to grow, you need help. So get it and learn to let the help pay off. Very good advice all around, it hit home with me.

  37. Criminal Justice Degree says

    Doing things yourself is rewarding and can feel like you’re saving by not hiring it out, but I have learned that my time is valuable and I can offset the cost while I’m working at the same time. It’s not like I’d hire someone to work while I do nothing productive.

  38. workforcedevelopmentservices says

    Some great resources to ask for help are S.C.O.R.E., sba.gov, and Small Business Development Center in your local city our county!

    “If you don’t ask then the answer is always No!”

    Thanks for the great post!

  39. remodeling says

    If in doubt always ask, keeping your mind open to ideas is essential. It would be more efficient and effective to try and ask for advice especially from the experts.

  40. SYOBO_Works says

    Outsourcing is just another word for delegating. And when you’re starting your own business this function is critical.

    But we must know what delegation really stands for.

    Delegation is the authority we allow others to bear on our behalf in completing work which they can do as good as or better than we can.

    Any time we assign others work which we alone can do, we’ve failed in the function of delegation.

    It is therefore crucial for new, inexperienced business owners to understand the areas in which they are not competent, that they may seek out for those who are far more competent and delegate to experts the work to be done.

    Often the success of the business depends on it.

  41. 8a Certification says

    Our clients are very small businesses struggle with outsourcing for services. Mostly they think they should do it themselves to save money but in the end they find out it costs them time and money. We feel into this same trap when trying to market our own website. We thought we could do it ourselves but end the end hired a company that specialized in internet marketing. Progress has been slow to see results but we have a developed a plan now that is proven rather than assumed.

  42. Alison Moore Smith says

    Funny how we outsource TONS of things, but have a hard time doing so with our businesses. It’s not different than buying packaged food from the store instead of growing and canning it ourselves.

  43. Sydney industrial electrician says

    I’ve enjoyed reading, interesting content there are lesson to learn on this article. Two head is better that one, getting proper knowledge or source can take your small business to the next level. Proper decision making by turning those problem to opportunities.

  44. IB School Activities says

    hi…i just go through your post.it’s really awesome. i think here is the place where people can share their knowledge easily. Thank you for sharing such a nice Information.

  45. Adarsh Thampy says

    Great post.

    I am a small business owner as well as a marketing consultant.

    When it comes to my business, I outsource most of the technical part.

    As a small business marketing consultant, I have seen small business struggling with deciding whether to outsource their business process or not.

    We cant blame them. No body wants to give control of their business or even part of it to someone else.

    The best thing we can do is, let others know why it’s better to outsource some part of your work and then hope people understand

  46. Timothy St Leon says

    When I had my first business, I told myself that I won?t need to ask help from anyone. But as the days go by, I noticed that my sales are plummeting down. I got scared. Then that?s when I thought, I think I need help. I need assistance. The first person I talked to was my mom, then my dad. I didn?t ask for finances. What I need are advices coming from experienced people. Do ask for help I f you think you cannot have it on your own. Thanks for your wonderful post!

  47. Elysse Parsons says

    This has been my problem ever since. I don’t delegate tasks for the reason that I want it to be done right. And I can only trust myself. Thanks for this article, I learned a lot. I’ll grow more and fast if I start asking for help and outsourcing. Thanks.

  48. buy facebook page likes says

    Very useful publish. I have been beforehand looking at your handling a web page website for your Calendar month or so and also have situated a lot of successful awareness. I am starting to operate my quite individual web page even so This indicates to be its too continuous and I need to focus more.

  49. Beth says

    learning to ask for help and outsourcing comes with learning to let go of your “baby”. It is hard if you are working for yourself and you control every aspect of your business. However, learning to let go of the smaller tasks will free up time for you to leverage larger more lucrative projects. Thanks for the great post Dawud.

  50. chronic says

    Completely agree with you Dawud, outsourcing work is generally a good idea because it saves your money and time both.

  51. Phone service says

    Very informative post, many people hesitate in asking for help, as they think it will be demeaning for them to let others know that their business is not working. Your post will give a positive boost.

  52. Steve Klein says

    I often try doing everything myself but asking for a little help can speed up the time it takes to achieve want you want to do.

  53. band-t-shirts says

    This is a useful article. You do not distinguish between asking for help and outsourcing…are they the same? Asking for help is a sign of strength, yet it is often seen as a sign of weakness. The term “outsourcing,” on the other hand implies empowerment. Getting a mentor is one way to learn and grow a business. Yet, I doubt that this is outsourcing.

  54. Social Media Marketing says

    Hey dawud, appreciate the help but I can tell you from my standpoint, balancing the need for outsourcing and the need for money is a hard decision. I try to balance the family time but in a hard economy sometimes you gotta dig deep. Cheers

  55. Misha Krasnotsvetov says

    Exactly what I am struggling with right now. Doubting about outsourcing the SEO for the website, but think it is a good investment after all. You need to hire specialist and concentrate on your core business. Good luck in 2012.

  56. Listof5 says

    Great suggestions. I’m planning to start my own small-scale business soon, so will keep these in mind. Bookmarked your article for future reference! 🙂

  57. Cactus Types says

    Its sad that most people in our society expect themselves to be able to do it all and have a life. Its time for me to start asking for help in my business. Thanks for the reminder!

  58. Thomas Rosenstand says

    Well.. Even though I preach to my clients constantly to outsource I seem to forget about taking my own medicine 😉 A good reminder tio stay focused on what I do best Thanks and Happy New Year!

  59. carb Diet Supplement says

    Well i never think the way you put idea for me.
    I am small business owner at Idhao with nutritional supplements.I believe keeping in mind these perspective i do need to analyze and get it done myself.

  60. Scleritis Dan says

    Always the same story, stubborn people (especially men) just can’t see that asking for help is in their natural interest. Its natural, small business owners don’t know everything. But consultants, window cleaners, anyone, obviously know best… Aside from the common sense solutions at times.

  61. Kryddersnapse says

    I have always asked for help at anything and all of the thing that has to be done in my company that is not my key competence is outsourced. That is the most importent thing I have done in my time as a business owner. I can highly recommend it to anybody.

  62. Moin Khan says

    I am a business man, just read the post about “Small Business” great and great informative this blog for new business man, really i am your fan, and i will read your post regularly..

  63. Website Designing in Tiruppur says

    I had a experience once while outsourcing that i have to share here, one of my customer asked me to design a website for his school, with some advanced features in like log-in section for all students so that parents can view the kids performance in school. Being a basic website designer, i went for outsourcing, Googled few designers in the nearby city and found one. I spoke with him and the order was confirmed. He did the initial work and i paid the advance. When the work is done and full payment is settled, his mobile went to busy mode and there was no assistance in minor changes and correction.

    I mean outsourcing is a good option but we have to learn with the outsourcer on what work is done. Or if the outsourcer is providing good service then no problem.

    The critical thing is we don’t know who is the good guy and who is bad guy.

    Dawud if you can provide us any tips in judging them it will be helpful.

  64. baby jogger baby strollers says

    I really do appreciate the way you have presented this specific topic and it also does offer me a lot of fodder for thought. However, thanks for this phenomenal point and even though I cannot necessarily concur with this in total, I value your own mindset.

  65. cheap flights to harare says

    Nice post. I am completely agreed and I also have experienced that it is always better to outsource things you don’t know instead of taking pains to do all things at your own. This definitely makes things too much tough.

  66. Mostafa says

    Great post, I am a bit newbie in this business and I didn’t outsource before but after reading your post I noticed the real benefits of outsourcing, so I might give at shot someday.

  67. Nopal Juice says

    Outsourcing work is not a bad idea but you must also choose the right company or person for otherwise you will loose both money and time. Moreover at times by taking help from other people you tend to learn about new things and methods about which you were not aware before.

  68. Cath Freemantle : Bump, Baby & Beyond says

    I too have always been a DIY kinda girl and had been loathe to ask for help in my business. Not because I didn’t have faith in other peoples abilities, but because I had this underlying idea that if I had the time, and can learn the skills, then I SHOULD be doing it myself…. almost a guilt thing!

    Over the past few months I have been attending a small business ‘masterclass’ here in Australia specifically aimed at helping growing businesses grow without imploding – and I have learnt a huge lesson. I cannot learn someone’s else’s 30 years of retail experience by reading a book!

    After a two hour mentoring session with a retail specialist i felt so rejuvenated, so excited and so able to make changes. The ideas and suggestions that come out when brainstorming with someone from outside the business are mind blowing. Having someone external help prioritise when all i could see was an overwhelming mess has been invaluable.

    Onwards and upwards, right? 🙂

  69. Tech news says

    I am doing from outsourcing some things for my business since 2009. and i am very lucky all business things on the track with less effort. 🙂

  70. Graham Whittaker says

    Hi, this is similar theme to an article I wrote. Whatever business you are in, you need to be good at a lot of things, but know what others could do to add value, and when would be the right time to call them in.

    I provide an outsource service for solicitors, but am confident enough to know when to outsource some of my work because I would be out of my depth if I were to continue and soldier on.

  71. Adam says

    Being successful in business may include not only enjoying what you do but also creating value for others. So in addition to being profitable and enjoyable, you also need a way to gauge whether or not you are actually creating value for other people.

  72. Cheap flights to Bali says

    Wonderful! I love the story, I guess you’ve done their so much fun and you can’t imagine how is that happen. Well, that is really great story thanks for sharing.

  73. Mandrien Consulting says

    Great post, I am a bit newbie in this business and I didn?t outsource before but after reading your post I noticed the real benefits of outsourcing, so I might give at shot someday.
    This one is really a great article..Hope that has a good effect. I am so glad to see this site.

  74. Greg Barrett says

    I’m not against outsourcing certain aspects of workflow I just really depends on the level of quality control you have over the tasks performed. It also doesn’t help if you have some good relationship with your vendors. We can’t do everything all the time! As long as you are using ethical methods to completion and not compromising anything its cool with me.

  75. Mikolaj says

    I’d add one more thesis to this article – apart from asking for help at certain moments, always keep your eyes and ears open for what others say. Some of it will be useless but there will always be something that will help you optimize the way you’re running your business. Even if those saying that want to hurt you…

  76. Paul the Plumber says

    I agree with outsourcing work. I would love to outsource my accounts. The thing is I have occasional quiet days where I earn no money and should do my books lol. May be one day! Then I could outsource the cleaning, decorating dog walking …..


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