That’s how Marek’s story started with MLM and the Amway company which has been and still is in the top rank in the world when it comes to direct selling and network marketing. Marek’s wife, Ilona Staszko has always been working with him. She helps with the practice as well as Amway business. Their daughter, Katarzyna works in the biggest private radio station in Poland as a presenter.
What’s Marek’s interests and hobbies? Pretty standard for a man: guitars, blues music, physical activity and lack of ability to sit still. From 1992, he’s also a business owner and speaker for e-commerce markets. First, he started in Poland but his business swiftly started growing across other countries including Ukraine, Russia and Western Europe. He has been speaking at some of the biggest business conferences with tens of thousands attendees, he’s recorded a few dozen lectures and speeches which, since, have been translated into many languages and distributed via tapes and later, CDs. Two of those speeches, “Business Project” and “Have you heard of passive income?” have been incredibly successful in Ukraine and Russia where they became best-sellers, sold in tens of thousands volumes. Read on to find out more.
Maciej Maciejewski: Why MLM?
Marek Staszko: People usually have very serious, well-thought-through answers to this question. Usually, they had some financial problems and felt they were trapped, then they saw MLM as an opportunity to solve a tricky situation. I didn’t have a real reason. Everything was going well. I wasn’t looking for anything. I laugh about it these days, when I remember how I started my journey with MLM. It was a decision based on loyalty and friendship – quite unusual reasons but life is full of surprises. Sometimes, the most difficult decisions we make at one time turn out to be completely unfruitful and sometimes, easy decisions or those who we did not deem as important turn out to be the most important you’ve made in your life.
I am from the generation where a lot of us emigrated to other countries, in the 80s. Most of my friends have ended up all over the world. I thought I would never see them again. So it happened, my best friend from school wrote a letter to me from Australia. He was coming back to Poland. He wanted to start a business upon his return and was looking for a business partner. My attitude was “You’ve got to support your friends”. Without asking too many questions, I agreed to work with him.
At the time, I was still working in my own practice which was very successful. I was very busy and financially & professionally satisfied with how things were going. But friendship is also important. I remember it as if it was yesterday, I didn’t understand anything from the described financial proposal, and I remember I didn’t care for it either. I was just excited to try something new and help my friend from childhood who just came back from another side of the world. People these days won’t understand these emotions and my thought process, our world seems to have shrunk.
I remember my wife’s face, looking at us with somewhat doubt, mixed with a worried look regarding our mental health – she thought we were crazy! Luckily, she changed her attitude and thinking once she started to see real money coming in from our venture.
Then was then, today is today. Now I understand the project and see what happened in my finances versus world’s economic trends. Personal finances – I don’t remember how much I earned while working in my own practice, and I don’t remember my patients from that time. I do know that today, I am not getting a penny off of them now, even though to this day they have the fillings in their teeth that I’ve done for them. But I remember very clearly those people who joined me on my business venture, joined my team – because they work with me to this day. What’s more, not only then but even to this day, every month I receive a pay from the very same team – although I haven’t put any work in that team for years. That’s the main difference – I’ve done it once but it keeps paying.
Even more interestingly, we need to observe how the market has changed over all these years (1992 until now). There were three major trends that hit us like big waves which impacted the market, changing it forever. First, people realised the importance of having additional or passive income. A risk is to rely on just one source of income. The second trend was people realising that working for yourself instead of someone else is more beneficial. The third, internet/web-based businesses. An MLM business fits into all those three trends. More so, it also fits in with another new trend – owning an online business in the health & wellness industry. So my decision went through three motions. First, helping a friend out. Then, financial – and it was coming in quick and significant amounts and now understanding this particular business model. I don’t even want to know what would have happened if I said no to my friend all those years ago!
Maciej Maciejewski: Why Amway Business?
Marek Staszko: I could refer to some important statistics to make my decision seem more logical. For example, Amway is number 1 on the market in terms of turnover but also taking into account all the countries the company operates in. Massive, recognised 60-year old firm. One of the very first MLM businesses which came to Poland and survived and thrived all this time. In its offer, it works with Nutrilite, the oldest and biggest producer of natural vitamins and supplements. These are all very important indications of a successful business.
But please, Maciej, do not think I’m going to just sit back and say ‘I’m here because it’s the best company in the world’. We all know all legal, operational companies are good and with each, you can meet a lot of success. How would the rest of the business owners in other firms feel if I just said ‘Amway is the only way!’ I’m building the Amway business because my friend and sponsor offered me the opportunity with this particular firm. I’m sticking with it, happily, because I built successful international teams, and I feel good about it. I grew into the business. I’m on my own turf. I’m earning money.
Maciej Maciejewski: Let’s talk about the opportunities of earning money for an average member of the public. Full time job, traditional business model, traditional franchises, network marketing… What’s better?
Marek Staszko: I think it’s pretty obvious – doesn’t everyone know this? Full time job can never be compared with running your own business because it offers completely different ways of earnings. It’s the business owners that create traditional jobs, not the other way around. The difference between an MLM business and a traditional business is that MLM doesn’t require you to invest a lot of money in it to get started, no typical overheads and access to educational material, helping you develop as a person and in your business. I’m not sure which is better. It is an individual decision to make. Depends on what you are looking for. For your average person, I’d say MLM is better. For someone who already has millions, I’d say an investment type venture would be better for those.
Maciej Maciejewski: How important is education within MLM business and how do you educate your business partners and your team?
Marek Staszko: Money doesn’t fall from the sky. Even children get this. If you want to earn good money, you will need to work for it and be a professional about it as well. In an MLM business, just like in dentistry or any other business, you’ll lose clients and customers if you’re not educated in what you do. And of course, if you lose clients, you lose money. MLM business is an easy business but not an obvious one. There’s a lot of opportunity for mistakes and failure – like in any business. Small and big mistakes can be just as damaging. In the wilderness & nature, you can be eaten by a huge predator or you can be eaten by ants if there are enough of them. One big mistake can destroy your business but so can a lot of small mistakes. Successful, profitable business doesn’t happen by accident.
For a successful business, typically you need to do these three key things. Build a stable business structure, put time and effort into personal development and the ability to use social media – and stay relevant while at it.
It’s not all about being professional. You also need to be able to have a system for educating your team and business partners. Every active person in your team should have access to the same business information and education at the same time. I never saw a successful team without an effective strategy used by all, collectively. I have seen a lot of teams fall apart due to lack of direction, too many experimental approaches and lack of teamwork or team strategy.
Imagine a kid with a razor. It’s scary what could happen, right? We take that razor away from them and are grateful we got there in time! The ‘child with a razor’ is exactly what a new team member is like when they are left without support. They really want the business to work, they have goals and dreams, they want to be active but they have no clue about how to actually build their business, how it works and what they need. So they will slowly, indirectly, destroy their business without ever meaning to. There was a time when I didn’t even educate my own team, myself. In the beginning of this journey, I didn’t know much. However, I did have a recommendation line, conferences, educational materials and a system worked out by my business up-lines.
There’s a sentence I’ve remembered all these years: “Your financial freedom and rapid growth of your business depends on your ability to introduce new people to your business”. Don’t be the know-it-all but do point them in the right direction, where to find their business knowledge themselves. So I took my team to all these places and showed them all the ways in which I learned and where I gained my business knowledge. The business grew rapidly because we all worked together as a team, using what we learned collectively and making it work for our business, and new business leaders were born within our team.
Not long after, I started getting invited to conferences all over Poland, Eastern Europe and eventually, Western Europe too. I became a speaker with practical experience, educating everyone else’s teams and leaders, which is what I still do. “Good doctors share their on-the job knowledge with new doctors” – is what I learned through my medical career. Textbooks are not enough. You can’t learn new things and not share your wisdom with the world before you leave it. It is the same for the MLM business world. You have to share your experiences. This is why I started the Academy of Healthy Business (Akademia Zdrowego Biznesu), first in Russia, and now also in Poland. I gather and share all my knowledge and experiences in the form of mini clips, blogs, articles, webinars, consultations, ebooks…
I educate my team using the ‘KISS’ method (Keep It Simple Stupid). Just keep it simple. I don’t overcomplicate things or find them miracle ways of doing something.
First, I walk them through it step by step, almost like educating a child. We practice the first steps together. We achieve first successes together, then I point them in the direction of educational materials, we often have consultations. I show them how to get more knowledge themselves and how to use it to grow their business. They learn and grow at their own pace but at least they are following the correct steps.
Maciej Maciejewski: What are the most common mistakes made by business owners in MLM? What should they be aware of?
Marek Staszko: We won’t talk about the simplest mistake which is not treating an MLM business seriously.That’s an obvious one. Hobbies don’t pay well. There’s many books talking about ignoring rules of business and not following your leaders’ advice is another one I won’t go into. Today, I’ll talk about some mistakes that don’t seem so obvious but could be just as damaging to one’s business.
First of all: short-term (one to three months) business goals. People who are just starting out with their business set unrealistic goals for themselves. Shooting for the moon before they can reach the stars. They’re unrealistic and unachievable so when people don’t hit them and succeed, it can lead to negative feelings toward the business and eventually, they give up. What’s interesting, those same people when asked to picture their business in 5 years, they set themselves very small, humble goals. Unattractive long-term goal destroys the passion for everyday routine and structure. They [new business owners/partners] stop wanting to take action and settle. Setting themselves goals in 5 years time, they forget that during those 5 years they will grow as a person, develop as a professional and broaden their opportunities. What you think is unachievable now, will most likely feel more achievable after you put in some work, systematically and consistently. It’s important to develop the ability to set the right, reasonable goals.
The second is the inability to recognise the type of person you are dealing with. To be able to tell what sort of person you can ‘click with’, share the same energy so that the business moves smoothly forward and being able to tell who will not feel those criteria. Working with people is a type of investment – either with a great profit at the end of it, or with a huge loss. Often, new business owners end up working with the ‘wrong’ people. That is a big problem. Consultations can be a God-send here. Before you make the decision on who you work with, consult with your business sponsor.
The third less obvious mistake is ignoring the concept of teamwork. The mentality of ‘it’s an easy business, I’ll talk to some of my friends, send them some stuff, some of them will sign up, some not – it’s okay’. Of course those who will sign up that way will do the same as you and therefore not grow their or your business.
MLM isn’t a business for geniuses and starts doing amazing things. It’s a networking marketing business of average people doing simple things but together, as a team. Teamwork is everything. Those who don’t understand and don’t promote that – do fail.
Maciej Maciejewski: What characteristics should one have to have a successful MLM business?
Marek Staszko: Success means different things for each individual. For one person, it could be additional income matching the national average wage. For another, it could be regularly earning millions of dollars. Those different ideals determine different personal and character challenges in each candidate to be a successful person. At one time, they did studies involving people who achieved great financial success with their MLM business. They looked at different companies and different countries. They couldn’t determine the deciding factor which would shape a ‘model’ for a ‘successful person’. This was a mix of people including very well – and not so well – educated. There were existing business owners, full time employees and unemployed. There were people of different ages, religions and beliefs. The studies showed you can’t just decide on one reason, one factor that makes a person ‘successful’. There are as many people as there are many reasons. There are as many people as there are many stories of success.
However, those studies also looked at those people’s business strategies, their approach to life and their relations with other people. And that’s where they got some interesting data which I 100% agree with. I used to see it every day and keep seeing it in all the business leaders I work with nowadays from different firms and backgrounds. It’s not about abilities. It’s about your character and the way of dealing with what life throws at you.
First of all, there are nice people. They’re empathetic, they think “we” before “I”. They’re very ambitious and have small egos. They don’t have a managerial or directorial approach. They’re great team players, they can imagine the big picture and what’s more, they’re open to learning. They’re always developing and gaining more knowledge which they know how to use. They do not shy away from responsibility for actions and results.
What do you mean nobody else can build a MLM business? Of course, they can – to a few thousand zloty per month. Large businesses are built by people who have characteristics as mentioned above.
Maciej Maciejewski: How did lockdown impact MLM business?
Marek Staszko: This may be surprising but lockdown really benefited MLM business and its marketing strategies. Not so much a rapid growth but more so, an explosion of interest and people taking up MLM. People were stuck at home and started looking into possibilities over the internet, and discovered MLM. What they deemed a weird hobby for some or direct cold sales, now they deem a viable, modern business with incredible potential, with decent financial opportunities and great products. Suddenly, the world understood that the most important product of MLM business is the business opportunity itself. And it’s accessible for everyone, from home. We are noticing an amazing increase in turnover and promotions on an international scale, across many companies. It’s a great time for MLM.
Maciej Maciejewski: What are your plans for the future?
Marek Staszko: As any business owner, I want to grow my business. I want it to be even bigger than it is, on an international scale. Different countries, different economies, different religions – and all of that pulled together to create a huge successful team. Work together on creating educational materials, training and conferences – available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Available in many languages. People are not expecting to look for knowledge like we did in the 90s. Knowledge has to be accessible within their reach, specific, up to date and ready to use. And free.
I also want to have an influence on business owners from other MLM companies, and the market as a whole. You have to share your knowledge. There’s no reason to be selfish and keep it only for yourself and your own business. I want to see the DS/MLM sector grow, there’s enough opportunities for everybody. The more people are successful in it, the better for everyone. Those successes are social proof that MLM business is worth it and here’s where I see my Academy of Healthy Business come into play.
The Academy of Healthy Business is not educating you on how to recruit new people. It’s the whole business philosophy and strategy to teach you how to work as a team, aiming to make them work as efficiently and successfully for you as possible. It’s a way of building strong teams in which anyone can succeed. It’s not just about growing your business by adding in new people. You need to also make sure those new people are also growing and developing.
It’s about the domino effect. One success feeds another and so on. It’s about building a business which is 100% predictable.
This is my goal and dream to give the market value. It’s started already. I am already working with business owners at different levels from different companies. I’m already working on their teams’ business strategies. I’m already celebrating theirs and their business partners’ successes. 30 years of good and bad experiences, problem solving, creating success, analysing reasons and results achieves one thing: gives me the ability to practically judge what will and won’t work.
I want to be a “business doctor”, specialising in promoting healthy business strategies, as well as provide hands-on approach to helping businesses get there if they are struggling. It gives me great pleasure to see people succeed and know that I’ve contributed to it in one way or another. I want the Academy of Healthy Business to be a place where you can find knowledge and support for your business, no matter what company or at what level you currently are within it. So that once they see the benefits and use it, they will pass it onto their business partners and teams and be sure they will receive the same training.
It’s very simple. You can focus on building your business teams and we will train their new business team members and partners. If anyone is interested in gaining knowledge that way and wants to implement it in their business, they can reach me by email ([email protected]) or call me on (+48) 603 353 532. You can also check out my blog: www.marekstaszko.pl. I wish all business owners and business individuals all the success in their business. It’s a good time to be in business right now. It’s the Big Game 2021 – as I like to call this year.
Maciej Maciejewski: Thank you for your time.