John D. Rockefeller once said "If your only goal is to become rich, you'll never achieve it." Of course, as America's first billionaire, that was easy for him to say. But he had a point. If your only objective in business is to make more money, no amount will ever be enough. Beyond the trivial pursuit of wealth, owning a business offers freedom, security and satisfaction in knowing anything is possible if you work to achieve it.
That's precisely why WorldVentures IMD Eric Grzybowski became his own boss. A proud descendant of Polish immigrants, he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at an age when most boys are discovering the joys of sports, girls and video games.
The northern Minnesota native attended college in the Twin Cities on a hockey scholarship, but an injury sidelined him during his freshman year. He was home for a visit when his brother invited him along on a house-hunting excursion. Eric's brother, who had recently graduated from college and had ambitions to be a gym and special education teacher, was expecting his first child and shopping for his first home. The realtor who was showing the home suggested that he pursue a real estate license instead. Eric thought it sounded like a viable option for him, too. So the brothers forged ahead, got their license and co-founded Prodigy Real Estate when Eric was only 19. The enterprise would eventually expand to seven offices.
"My goal was to build the business until I was 45 years old, then sell it," Eric says.
But destiny had other designs.
Accepting New Challenges
After declining over a dozen invitations, Eric agreed to accompany a friend to a business opportunity meeting at the office of local chiropractor, Dr. David Pietsch, a highly respected figure in the surrounding community. An unsuspecting Eric had no idea what was in store for him. "I showed up blind," he muses. Dave Watson was there and gave a rousing presentation on earnings and personal development potential with this company called WorldVentures. Though the speech was compelling and the people nice enough, Eric was unconvinced.
"At the end, I was still not going to join," he reflects. "Then Dr. Pietsch took me aside and asked me what my plan was for my life. He said the only truly successful people scarcely take their heads off the pillow. He asked me, 'Doing what you currently do, is that even possible?' I said no. He said, 'Here it is, we can accomplish that here. I will teach you how.'"
Eric pondered the possibilities—walk away from what he's known and mastered or venture down an uncertain road in an unfamiliar industry. But, to quote another Rockefeller truism, "If you want to succeed, you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success."
Eventually, he took a step of faith and joined. It was December 2007.
So what finally sold him?
"I didn't sign up for the travel or the money," he insists. "I signed up for the people and their willingness to mentor and lead me. Dave Watson and David Pietsch made the difference. I didn't really even understand direct sales, but I liked them and their energy. It wasn't the product or the system that sold me."
Hitting His Stride
Success came quickly for Eric as a WorldVentures Representative, but that's not to say he was undaunted by opposition. About five months into the business, after he had achieved the level of Marketing Director, his brother and a partner in his real estate company called him in and gave him their spiel on why he needed to quit direct sales and stay full time with what he knew best. They made a credible case and their logic was sound, but their efforts didn't loosen the tug Eric felt to maintain his new course.
"My brother and I still had the company and, when I started with WorldVentures, I did both part time. I wanted to do WorldVentures full time," he says. "I knew I was onto something big … being able to speak all over the world and positively affect people's lives. I had a vision of Tony Robbins with a mic headset; I had never worn one before. I put that picture up so I could see it daily. That's what I wanted to do."
His time would finally come.
Refining His Strategy
"I built my business from the contacts in my cell phone, and I teach people how to do the same thing. I'm good at getting to my people's people. We help them get their first sale in 24 hours. The most important person on your team is you. Professional direct sellers understand that the second most important person is the last person who signed up. That's the lifeblood—the person with the freshest contacts."
Though he had a lot of success personally sponsoring people in the beginning, Eric concedes that he struggled to help them duplicate the process.
"I had a conversation with Byron Schrag when he came up for a training. He taught me to stop selling people and to start sponsoring people," he asserts. "He said instead of putting people in the business, sponsor someone and help that person sponsor someone else who then sponsors another person, and so on. That takes the focus off of me and makes it about other people, and it works."
Unlike many of his peers, Eric does not leverage specific promotional tools like Just Push Play, Living Proof, Voyager magazine, DriveTime University or audio CDs. His team does live presentations exclusively.
"My most valuable aid is my girlfriend, Miranda Black," he says proudly. "She takes care of everything. My business has doubled because of her. She does all the stuff that doesn't get the glory."
He also attributes his success to the personal development component of the WorldVentures experience.
"Our system of personal development and training has helped me become a better person," he shares. "When I was in business before WorldVentures, I had never had anyone stand up and talk about God in front of the company. I really liked that because that's the way I was raised. When I entered the business at age 24, I wasn't the same person I am today at 31."
Asked how he stays engaged and inspired after seven years, Eric offers the following: "I surround myself with only positive people; there are no negative people in my life. It's a million times easier for me to stay motivated than it is for someone who is around negative people. That's why I would never miss a WorldVentures event. It motivates me to see my peers go up on that stage."
And what does he do, in turn, to motivate his team?
"I look for motivated people and teach them how to be professional networkers. I sort through guppies to find a few sharks," he explains. "The toughest part is watching people quit on themselves because they're too emotionally attached and their feelings get hurt when they hear the word 'no.' Those are the short-term thinkers."
Through WorldVentures, Eric says you can go from "being overworked and underpaid to underworked and overplayed." But like any other enterprise, he adds, you have to put in the time and energy to build your WorldVentures.
"Seven years later, I work the business full time and devote 60 to 70 hours a week. I might be the most competitive person you'll ever meet. I'm happy, but I'm not comfortable. I have a strong desire to succeed," he asserts.
Asked what legacy he hopes to leave to his family and community, Eric says in summary:
"My family didn't come from money. My dad is still at the same job where he worked when he was 17 years old. A year and a half ago, I was able to get him a week off work and had my mom get him his very first passport. I flew him to South Africa to watch me speak Johannesburg. We did a safari together. My parents have been married for 38 years. Next, I'm taking them to Hawaii for the first time ever.
My goal is to be the one who changes it for the Grzybowski family. My relatives came to America on a boat, and they didn't come here so I could be minor. After me, it all changes. I'm going to create generational wealth."