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It’s hard not to look at often instant-celebrities on YouTube or the many quick-risers who star on reality TV shows and not start to think that maybe you are doing something wrong. That whole argument about get-rich-quick schemes not being real seems to fall flat when you look at the massive amount of money an elementary school student makes by opening toys in front of a camera.

When it comes to making your business plan work, however, there really is no secret to success behind the reality in front of you. There are plenty of schemers who will happily take your money with promises that it will pay off big in the end, but the reality is that by paying them, you are supporting their business model—not your own.

If there is a secret to success in the business world, it lays in an old fundamental truth: hard work pays off.

The FOUR letter word: WORK

Hard work is a concept that no one really likes to talk about. The idea that you can achieve your dream without having to put in the time and effort is irresistible. It doesn’t matter how much you know it isn’t possible, or how much you realize that the shortcut isn’t going to work—the temptation is still there.

The problem is that to really bring your business goals into reality, you have to be ready and willing to put in the hard work yourself. There are plenty of people out there who are looking to support their own business goals by exploiting the interests of others, but these programs are likely to cost you a lot, and won’t necessarily bring you the same result that you would have on your own.

You are the only one with your best interest in mind. You are the only one who truly knows your objectives and your interests. Attempting to find shortcuts by buying into programs that are one-size-fits-all may actually set you back more than they will speed you up on your quest to meet your business goals. Dedicating yourself now to the hard work and perseverance necessary to make your goals a reality can spell out long-term success. Seven years of non-stop focus now could mean major success 27 years down the road.

But what does this hard work look like? It looks like whatever it has to look like. It looks like late nights with your laptop when everyone else is either out having fun or asleep in bed. It means missed television shows and social engagements because your work comes first. It means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone so that you can become the face and brains of a successful business.

Start looking for ways that you can make your name and face more visible both online and within your community. Consult with your chamber of commerce and become involved in any outreach programs that they may have. Seek out and join business professional social groups, within your field and in general. Schedule meetings with influencers in your area, and seek out speaking engagements at local galas that will get your face and your message out there. The more visible you are, the more visible your company is, and this can help you to take your business to the next level.

Getting out there and pushing yourself to be public like this isn’t easy. This is why it is called hard work. However, this is the only way that you can reach your goals. Don’t wait for someone to come along with a shortcut that will make all the difference. Genuine business success comes from accepting the fact that you have to do the hard work now to experience the payoff later. Do what isn’t fun, spend time laying the foundation for success. In the end, it will all have been worth it.

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