Apaar Malik, a qualified dentist, talks about his journey from being a medical professional to becoming an entrepreneur, and how it transformed his life.
Can you tell us about your background?
I am 34 years old and an orthodontist by profession. I was born in Meerut. My father is a government employee. I studied dentistry and practiced for 2 years before my post-graduation. After my post-graduation, I opened my own clinic in Ghaziabad, in Delhi NCR and practiced for around four years.
From dentistry to business is quite a leap. How did this change come about?
Back in 2012, an old friend from my college days called me to talk to me about a business opportunity. At that point I was quite happy with what I was doing and was not really interested. But since he is a good friend I eventually agreed to meet him and he 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 was showing me the potential of earning an extra income. I felt there was no harm in trying it out on a part-time basis.
Was it difficult to go from the mindset of a dentist to the mindset of an entrepreneur?
The first month was good, and that got me excited. But after that the real struggle began. I realised that excitement gets you started, but it is knowledge that keeps you going. Unless you know what you are selling and truly believe in it, it is difficult to convince anyone else. It took me almost a year to learn about all the products, the company’s background, the direct selling industry, and everything related to it.
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 attended a training camp at Pune, which I had qualified for. The camp made me realize that more than external factors, it was internal factors that were holding me back. I came back with a changed mindset and started working on a brand new step-by-step approach to my business. After that there was no looking 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. There are people who are not mentally ready to listen, and you have to reach out to them to sell your product. That’s not easy. Then there are people who have preconceived notions about direct selling business itself and are very negative. Also, my parents were not 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 business in QNet and 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, and I feel it’s been an amazing journey. Every moment in it was worth living. Today I have a team of around 3,500 people and they all look up to me for support and guidance. That’s a big responsibility.
Teamwork and support is very important in this business. Only when your team succeeds, you can succeed. Through the interaction and challenges with many newcomers into this business, I have learnt that what you sow is what you reap. When I recall my early days, my approach, my thought process, arguments, perceptions, tantrums and how I use 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.
My parents today are the biggest supporter of my work. I’ll give an example of how perceptions have changed. Recently, one of my cousins who is a millionaire, called me to enquire about my business. I told him I am building a direct selling business. He was impressed by the fact that QNet is a white-income business, and neither GST or demonetization had any impact on my business, which had affected so many other industries.
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 I made in one year as a dentist. So, my lifestyle has definitely 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, meet the same kind of people, and that had become somewhat monotonous. Now I meet new people almost every day and that is exciting. Earlier, I would not know much beyond my profession, but today I can talk freely on any subject, be it politics, engineering, accounts, coding-decoding. My team has people from different walks of life; my exposure and understanding has increased with time.
What do you think is the main reason people are sceptical about direct selling?
It’s mainly due to lack of understanding. The problem is most people don’t spend time on educating themselves before jumping to conclusions or spreading their misconceptions to others.
Any company with long-term plans will never ever adopt a short-term policy, especially in the matter of 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 is fully compliant with them. The challenge is when people don’t invest enough time and effort to understand this business model and try to get involved in it 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 be in compliance with the law and follow ethical practices?
I suggest three vital things that need to be followed in this business. Firstly, be dependable, be trustworthy. Secondly, whatever you build, build for the long-term and therefore do it on a sustainable basis. Thirdly, there is no substitute for hard work. But the most important mantra is to ensure being in compliance with all the rules and laws set by the company and work within the framework of these guidelines.