Apaar Malik, a dentist, talks about his journey from being a medical professional to an entrepreneur. He recounts the multiple ways in which it transformed his life.
Can you tell us about your background?
I was born in Meerut. My father was a government employee. I studied dentistry and practised for 2 years before my post-graduation. After my post-graduation, I opened my clinic in Ghaziabad, Delhi NCR and practised for around four years.
From Meerut-based dentist to business is quite a leap. How did this change come about?
In 2012, an old friend from college called me to talk about a business opportunity. At that point, I was quite happy with what I was doing and was not interested. But since he was a good friend, I eventually agreed to meet him. He was the one who explained the direct selling business opportunity available through QNET. I honestly did not understand much at that time. But I trusted this person and felt that his intention was good. He showed me the potential of earning an extra income. I felt there was no harm in trying it out part-time.
Was it difficult to go from a dentist’s mindset to an entrepreneur’s mindset?
The first month was good, and that got me excited. But the real struggle began later. I realized that excitement might get you started, but the knowledge keeps you going. It isn’t easy to convince others unless you know what you are selling and truly believe in it. It took me almost a year to learn about all the products, the company’s background, the direct selling industry, and everything related.
The more I learnt about the business and the company, the more I was convinced about the growth potential I had with this opportunity. Also, I loved the products the company offered, especially the watches. After 14 months of starting this as a side business, I qualified and attended a training camp in Pune. The camp made me realize that internal factors held me back more than external factors. I changed my mindset and started working on a new step-by-step approach to my business. After that, I didn’t have to look back. Within 3-4 months of that training camp, I gave up my practice and became a full-time direct-selling entrepreneur with QNET.
What challenges did you face while doing the business, and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me was to convince people. You must reach out to people who aren’t mentally ready to listen to sell your product. That’s not easy. Then some people have preconceived notions about the direct selling business and are very negative. Moreover, my parents weren’t happy that I gave up a secure life as a dentist and switched to business.
Fortunately, I got immense support from my seniors in this QNET business. They didn’t let me give up. That is the reason I could achieve my goals. Today, when I look back at my five-and-half years with QNET, it’s been an amazing journey. Every moment in it was worth living for. Today I have a team of around 3,500 people. They all look up to me for support and guidance. That’s a big responsibility.
Teamwork and support are very important in this business. Only when your team succeeds can you succeed. Through interacting with many newcomers in this business, I learnt that you would only reap what you sow. When I recall my early days, my approach to the thought process, arguments, perceptions, tantrums, and how I used to handle things, I see a reflection of myself in many of them. I tell them that I have travelled on the same road. My mentors managed to deal with all of this, and now it is my turn to help a new generation of entrepreneurs succeed.
Today, my parents are the biggest supporters of my work. I’ll give an example of how perceptions have changed. One of my cousins, a millionaire, recently called me to enquire about my business. I told him I was building a direct selling business. He was impressed by the fact that QNET is a white-income business, and neither GST nor demonetization, which had affected so many other industries, had any impact on my business.
How different is your life now from when you were a dentist?
I have seen massive personal and financial growth. After nearly six years of hard work, today, I make more in 1 week than in one year as a dentist. So, my lifestyle has changed. But it’s not just the lifestyle. I have also grown and matured as a person. As a medical practitioner, I would go to the same places and meet the same kind of people. That had become monotonous. But now, I meet new people almost every day, which is exciting. Earlier, I would only know a little beyond my profession. But today, I can talk freely on any subject, be it politics, engineering, accounts or even coding-decoding. My team has people from different walks of life; my exposure and understanding have increased with time.
What do you think is why people are sceptical about direct selling?
It’s mainly due to a lack of understanding. The problem is that most people don’t spend time educating themselves before jumping to conclusions or spreading their misconceptions to others.
Any company with long-term plans will never adopt a short-term policy, especially concerning compliance. QNET has made all the rules clear to us from day one. Initially, the Govt. of India did not have any regulatory framework for direct selling. But today, we have guidelines given by the central government, and QNET fully complies with them. The challenge is when people don’t invest enough time and effort to understand this business model and try to get involved without really understanding what they are getting into. That’s when the trouble begins, and the rumours start spreading about the nature of this industry.
So what should new entrepreneurs do to comply with the law and follow ethical practices?
I suggest three vital things that need to be followed in this business. Firstly, be dependable and trustworthy. Secondly, whatever you build, build for the long term and therefore do it sustainably. Thirdly, there is no substitute for hard work. But the most important mantra is to ensure compliance with all the rules and laws set by the company and work within the framework of these guidelines.