As I travel around the country working with small business owners (over 250 days, 10 states, 8,923 miles, 57 entrepreneurs and counting), I’m asked one question more than all of the others combined:

What’s the secret to making money?

After all, I should know. By age 22, I made more money than most people make in a lifetime, only to lose it all and then some by age 25, only to earn it back times three by age 30, and only to voluntarily “put my life on hold” and start all over with $10 and a laptop. Which leads to the second most asked question, “Why would someone ever do something so ridiculous?” The answer to this question is for another day.

But, let’s go back to the business shortcuts and money-making secrets.  Are you ready?  Here are the secrets:

1. There are no secrets to making money; and
2. There are no shortcuts. None.

You know this, yet you keep looking anyway. Stop it. I’m serious. Stop it now.

Consider spending a little less time looking for the “magic bullet.”  Consider passing up the “10 Secrets to Making Money Online” course.  Consider ending the relentless quest for making more while doing less.

You can get started by reading articles, magazines, and books.  You can find teachers to shorten your learning curve.  You can enlist mentors to help you avoid serious pitfalls.  You can even hire a consultant to get you out of a rut or take your business to the next level.

But while you can accelerate your learning curve through getting help, you can’t take shortcuts. You just can’t.

In fact, the short path often has the opposite effect on your business.  Shortcuts often:

* Delay your progress;
* Muddy your focus; and
* Sabotage your results.

Instead, realize that most success is the result of laser-like focus on a series of mundane tasks repeated over and over – all of the things we don’t want to do because we’d rather play on Twitter or Facebook.

There are no shortcuts and there are no secrets.

Starting today, commit to doing the hard work necessary.  That’s the only way to “easily” make money. You’ll look back a year from now and be glad you did.

Do you think there is an easy way or is success all about doing the hard work? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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