EP 91 - Margarita Poluyko - Obstacles are Stepping Stones to Success Part 2
|Awesomers Origin - We'll talk to an Awesomer about where they came from, the triumphs and tribulations they have faced and how they are doing today. An Awesomer Origin story is the chance to hear the backstory about the journey our guest took on their road to become awesomer. These stories are incredibly varied and the takeaway is that awesomers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, creeds, colors and every other variation possible. On your awesomer road you will face adversity. That’s just part of life. The question as always is how YOU choose to deal with it.|
Margarita Poluyko immigrated to the United States from Belarus as a teenager and, like many immigrants before her, found starting businesses a more viable path to success than competing for entry-level jobs with American youth who had expensive degrees and existing networks. Starting out with nothing, Margarita worked extremely hard to build a life for her family in the US.
After working several traditional jobs that didn’t go anywhere, Margarita decided to pursue a life of entrepreneurship in a wide variety of fields including real estate, mortgage, insurance, and product-related business. There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, but her entrepreneurial mindset and drive to succeed allowed Margarita to move away from a dependency on employment roles for her family’s well-beings, and to take her life into her own hands.
In 2014 Margarita, along with family members, began selling physical products on Amazon. The company grew from basement operation to an 8-figure business in only a couple of years. Her experience in varied entrepreneurial fields led to an expertise in management, negotiations, product selection, and marketing.
Margarita’s story is proof that an immigrant can come to the United States and, with extremely hard work, an intelligent plan, and quiet determination, succeed beyond any expectations
Obstacles are Stepping Stones to Success Part 2
Today’s episode is part two of a three-part series with Margarita Poluyko. Margarita with her brother Igor is a brother and sister team from New York City who have been leaders in the Amazon space for nearly a decade. Here are more amazing insights from today’s episode:
The lessons Margarita learned growing up.
Why not everything is an instant success.
Entrepreneurs should focus on the bigger picture.
Steve: 00:02 Awesomers.com Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world, are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the Great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, you can have everything in your life you want. If you'll help enough other people get what they want. It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simon and I hope you will join me on this awesomer journey
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Steve: 01:16 You are listening to episode number 91 on the Awesomers.com Podcast series. All you have to do to find out today's show notes and see all the relevant details and summary Transcription, etc. Related to today's podcast. Just pop on over to Awesomers.Com slash 91. Now I'm rejoining today by Margarita Poluyko and she is in - this is a part two of a three part series where we talk a little bit about her background and that includes immigrating for Bela Reuss into the United States at a young age and, uh, finding her journey both through some traditional employment options. Then moving into the entrepreneurial options. And today especially, we talk about some of the ups and downs that go along with that process that, you know, not everything is just instant success. I know a lot of old quotes that talked about, you know, my overnight success took 20 years, but people only see the success part so they forget all the hard work and really all the heartache that goes along with, you know, trying and coming up short, whether it's an absolute fail or it's just a long time to learn and feeling stagnant.
Steve: 02:28 These are critical times for us to form information and knowledge to collect that information knowledge and put it in our equity folders. Right? So as you know, I like to talk about you have intellectual equity, you have knowledge, equity, these are things that can't be taken away from you. And Margarita is a great example of all of her experiences. All of our learnings along the way became part of her foundation to build today's very successful eight figure plus business. It's an extraordinary success story. And we're going to join this part two of three right now and you're going to love what you hear. Don't forget to listen to the whole thing.
Steve: 03:12 So at the point that you were driving along and you're listening and you know, kind of seeing this new paradigm, what did you do from there?
Margarita: 03:21 This was just at the beginning. Um, so again, going back to my story, we basically lost all our income and some time has passed by um, a friend of ours who had a, who had experience in the insurance business. He worked for an agency. He said, well, you guys had experienced in business. I haven't experience in insurance. Why don't we just, so an agent. So we jumped on the chance and we did that. And again, we knew nothing about insurance. Six months into it, he came up to us and he said, well, I'm not cut out for business so I'm going to go back to my nine to five and we will have to pick up the pieces again.
Margarita: 04:11 We worked extremely hard between learning and producing. We gave it our all, um, whenever lost money. But again, we never made enough to be able to sustain. At that point, real estate started to pick up a little bit. So we were able to manage. But from that experience, starting with doing really well, falling down, trying to get up there, several things that I learned, the first one that I already mentioned, it is really up to me and I can choose to make it work and if it's tough to me, I will make it happen. So if anything I learned from my USSR days is that you do as you're told and you better do it right the first time. So I was accustomed to doing it right. The only difference was now I had a chance to do for myself and not somebody else. So that was the first lesson.
Margarita: 05:05 The second. Of course, it's not the number of times you fall down, but it's the number of times to get up. So you've got to continue pushing and giving it your all. Now the third lesson might be a surprising one. Even though you have to continuously push and strive and as we know the difference between a winner and a loser, for the most part, it's just that one last step that you have to take to make it. Most people don't do it, but what I learned from the insurance business, you also have to know when to give up because that insurance business with this sell it eventually, but we should have died years ago and we should have taken our time, expertise, efforts and put it somewhere else. So I think there is a fine line as to pushing and then knowing when to give up.
Steve: 05:58 Again, I think a very salient point. Um, you know, we talk, I'll always about aria here. Uh, our friend Gary Vee, he talks about hashtag hustle and work hard, uh, you know, day and night, 24/7 and this and that and that, that's, that's a nice comment. Although I don't think it's sustainable, I'll be quite honest. I think that the more appropriate choice is to work really hard on something worth working on. And really I like to set milestones and I wonder what your thoughts are. How do you know at that point when you should give up or when you should carry on and persevere in the face of adversity that as you say, a very fine line? How do you know or what, what's your gut tell you?
Margarita: 06:43 You know, I thought about it a lot ever since a realization of it. Um, and I think it's, it really depends. It depends on the person. It depends on the business. It depends on the situation. But in my case, I knew in my gut a few years in that I just don't see it working. It doesn't matter what I do, it doesn't even matter what happens. It doesn't matter what opportunities I get, I just don't see it working. So I think knowing that in your gut that it's not up to you if even if you do everything that you have when you do it all right, it's still not feasible, then I think that it's time to give up.
Steve: 07:26 Yeah. I definitely think that's a really is important that we challenge ourselves to define all right if this assumption we made going in doesn't come true and the, you know, maybe it's a couple of assumptions. If those don't happen, what does that mean in terms of the viability of the business opportunity, the business, and there's also in my mind, from my experience anyway, there's a little part of you that kind of knows and when, when it's more and more bitter to wake up every day and do whatever it is you're doing, that's probably an indicator you're not, on the right path and you either need to pivot and make that thing work so that you don't hate your existence or you have to say, maybe I should exit this. Forget about the ego side of it. Forget about this appearance of failure and just say, you know, this isn't working.
Steve: 08:14 Let's get out of this and go, as you said, put your time and energy into something that can be more worthwhile and that that opportunity costs people forget about it all the time. They, they think that this is just a simple question of, you know, well, I'm gonna work hard, I'm going to be successful. Well, they could work the same amount of work in something else and be 10 times more successful. And uh, I think that's part of your point. So I think, well said. Anything to add to that, did you think that I'm right about that opportunity cost?
Margarita: 08:45 You're definitely right about opportunity to cause the only thing that I wanted to mention, my thought and idea as far as if you wake up in the morning and you just don't feel like getting up and doing certain things, I think that could be two different things. Could be because you are a one person operation at that point and you are forced to do things that you love but you're also forced to do things you don't like. So to me, it's okay. That point it's perfectly fine because eventually hopefully you'll get to a place where you are able to hire people that would do all the things either you're not good at or you don't like doing. Um, so to me it's more about business and like I said, I know if it's up to me I'll get it done, but if it's up to me and I'll get it done, but in my mind it's still will not be enough, then I think it's time to give up.
Steve: 09:39 Understood. Yep. I think that's a very good point. I'm going to just jump in here for a minute, take a quick break and be right back after this.
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Steve: 10:37 You know, one of the things that I really encourage entrepreneurs out there, sometimes they get so focused on internal objectives. I need to make this much money. And uh, let's just say for the sake of argument that somebody is in a solopreneur situation and they're making 50 or $75,000 a year, so it's not a great deal of money, you know, that's going to say that what their take home is, it's not a huge amount of money. There's certainly not in a position of freedom from a financial perspective, but in those contexts, often entrepreneurs won't take a step back and go, well, you know, if I just spent a thousand dollars a month on this resource to help me, you know, maybe it's a part time assistant or something like that. Um, they, they could actually increase their output and increase their net income over time. Sometimes I think entrepreneurs are unwilling to make those short term investments. What's your thoughts on that, Margarita?
Margarita: 11:35 I most definitely agree. Um, I just, I'm thinking back, you know, hiring our first employees and the amount all relief that that was a because a lot of manual labor I wouldn't have to do right. And a lot of things that I really have no interest and again, it's not a good return on my time investments. Uh, it's just, you, right? You have, you have so much more opportunity to look into the growth of the business. So instead of being in the business, you are working on your business.
Steve: 12:15 Very well said. And again, this premise of, you know, we can, especially entrepreneurs, we're kind of born firefighters. We, we love to solve problems and we feel actually very accomplished when we're able to solve these problems. However, if we are firefighting all day long, that's in the business that Margarita is talking about versus working on the business and thinking about the big picture strategic stuff. You know, when it comes down to the manual stuff. And believe me, I've had my, you know, houses or places full of boxes and doing my own stuff. And unloading trucks myself, uh, I've been there. The point that I want to drive home is that you know, as you find that these are now taking away from your opportunities to do bigger picture stuff. You got to find a way to try to pay, to bring in extra talent to help you out and to make your life a little better and certainly make your day to day existence a little easier. Uh, so I, I definitely agree with that. Any, any other points on that Margarita before we move on to the next bit?
Margarita: 13:20 Yeah. So just wanted to make a point that we were talking about one person operation, but um, people might be surprised to know that even when you have big companies, you can still fall into the same way. Yes, you have certain departments working on their own. But as you're expanding and as you're growing, a lot of times I find myself falling into the same route again and I have to remind myself to step back and say, okay, am I the best person for this position? Am I the best person to be doing this? Or maybe it is time to hire someone, number one more knowledgeable, and number two, who will alleviate me and again, allow me to step back and look at the big picture and concentrate on growth.
Steve: 14:04 Yeah. I think, again, it doesn't matter what stage your business is that it's because entrepreneurs, in particular, are so hardwired to do things ourselves. It is very common for us to just go, no, I can do that. And by the way, it really gets interesting when you hire somebody and the experience doesn't go as well as you expected. Right? And then your, your mind is gone. If I wanted done, I got to do it myself. Nobody can do a better job than me and it. It really is a vicious cycle that I recommend people do not try to write. Just know that proper management plus proper talent and skill, that is what leads to a positive outcome. If you ignore whoever you're assigning to do, then you have trouble. Is that your experience as well Margarita?
Margarita: 14:55 Oh yes. Most definitely. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs are control freaks. They have to control everything and uh, it is possible no one will do a certain job as well as you do it, but sometimes good enough is enough and you have to step back and allow the person perform and eventually that will step up to that level if you don't micromanage.
Steve: 15:17 Yeah. Again, very well say that. My recommendation is that, you know, people should hire people based on their attitude, right? Are they, are they curious? Are they, do they want to do a great job? There's some people in this world that you know, are just in it to kind of punch the clock and get paid and that's fine, but if you can find somebody who's just innately curious and, and somebody who's who really, you know, they want to dig into it and they want to. That's an attitude thing. You know, southwest airlines hires people based on their how friendly they are. They have a profile to determine how friendly somebody is and you know, how extroverted they are because they know that person can learn whatever the appropriate skills are. And I hope that the entrepreneurs out there listening and Awesomers, in general, know that it takes time to, you know, manage and develop people, but hiring the right people based on their attitudes, then their skills is very commonly a method that I've used it to really great people. So a Margarita, you talked about that, that kind of defining moment, um, you know, that they started to take you and put you into the insurance business. What happened after that?
Margarita: 16:30 Well, eventually, as I said, we saw the insurance business, but that's what led me into physical product world, I guess. And it really started with my brother. e had approached me and told me about it and wanted to see if we can do it together. At that time I was still running the insurance business, real estate was speaking up and I said, you know what, sometimes a sure thing is better than especially going through a dramatic experience that I have than something that's really none of us had experienced in. So. So why don't you try it and you'll let me know how that goes. So he did. And uh, he started seeing results and we teamed up and eventually teamed up and open up their businesses together.
Steve: 17:25 I love it. So again, this is a very normal thing for people, especially when you've, you've faced with adversity and challenges and, and you know that the financial housing meltdown in crisis a of around 2008, 2009, uh, that, that leaves a mark, right? So our risk tolerance kind of goes down as a result of that often. And um, I, it's impressive that you guys were able, you know, you were talking it out and you were saying, um, you know, yeah, you go ahead and check it out and let's see how it goes. Knowing that if it, if there was an opportunity there that you would hop in, but you had to maintain some stability. How did you, how did your husband like all of this at the time I'm in, you know, the insurance business and then, you know, kind of this idea of looking at this other new physical products business. Was that nerve wracking for the husband?
Margarita: 18:16 It's definitely was. But as I said at that point, you are really trying to grab onto anything, do anything, because when we, even when we did start a physical product business, I did not abandon insurance business or real estate business. So I basically was doing it all. I was, I had a fulltime insurance agency. It's Iran, uh, occasional real estate business showing houses to do for kids at the house at that point, and doing the physical products in the basement. So it was very fun.
Steve: 18:53 So what I hear you saying is you're working half days. Yeah. So you had a lot of time to relax and have naps all day. Pretty much. I think there's a lot of people out there who will identify with this idea, right? Busy moms or busy parents in general, right. You've got the kids, you've got to take care of. You got the, you know, which means all the household stuff, all the school stuff, all the activities on top of that. Now you've got your, your, whatever your day to day gig that your side hustle and then your glimmer of this new idea. Everybody's balancing. I always call it spinning plates, right? People have all these plates spinning and you don't really want any of the plates to stop spinning because then they fall off when they break. So. Oh, go ahead Margarita.
Margarita: 19:36 I was just saying at that point we needed all of it to work, but I'm also very grateful for the support system that I had. My parents are extremely, extremely helpful and of course my husband and my entire family.
Steve: 19:50 Yeah. Boy, that makes a big difference when you have a supportive family and, and uh, you know, friends and so forth, the team around you because it, it, uh, you know, I think humans are just wired to be, you know, kind of active group animals, right? We need to have people around us. We need to have that support and I'm, I'm going to guess that as you're going through this, that you know, both the highs and the lows were shared with your parents and your siblings as well. Yeah, that's a, that's good stuff. So we're going to take a quick break when we come back. We're gonna talk about some of the biggest lessons Margarita has learned, and other important things we, you do it right after this break. We'll be right back.
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Steve: 20:48 Well there you heard it directly from Margarita. so many insightful comments and I really appreciate. Margarita's ability to share with us her experiences. Uh, this is something that is near and dear to her heart. She's, she's worked her whole life preparing for the success that she's been able to achieve now and to make the life really worth living, to support her family, her siblings, or helping her and working in the business. You know, she Is able to have a lifestyle that is supportive of her family and home life. All of these things are really inspiring and really important to bear in mind. Awesomers around the world can understand how cool it is for somebody to emigrate and then figure out how to make the system work, figuring out how to build businesses and most of our persevere through the times where it wasn't going particularly Awesomer and use those pieces of knowledge is as foundation for building that future a great enterprise.
22:00 So my kudos to her. This has been part two of three. You won't want to miss tomorrow. It's part three in our three part series with Margarita. And also this is episode number 91 of the Awesomers podcast series. It's all you have to do is go to Awesomers.com/91 to see all the show notes and details about today's episode. Well, we've done it again everybody. We have another episode of the podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now's a good time to take a moment to subscribe, like, and share this podcast. Heck, you could even leave a review if you wanted. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me. Steve Simonson, our guests, team, and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.