Kosta Gharagozloo, one of the top earners at a global health and lifestyle network marketing company, believes in second chances. After all, his livelihood—and in fact, his very life—have depended on them. Today he is a multimillionaire, but if not for his unshakable belief in himself and his ability to adapt to foreign circumstances, he might not be here at all.

As a child, Gharagozloo was caught in a historical uproar when a revolution created totalitarian rule in his native country. His parents tried to smuggle him out of the country, but he was caught and punished by the authorities. He tried another escape at the age of thirteen, evading police by traveling on horseback for sixteen hours and walking over forty hours through harsh mountain terrain.

Gharagozloo fled to Turkey, then made his way to Greece with no friends and only $75 to his name. His mother and sister joined him two years later, and he supported the family doing menial jobs.

“I cleaned toilets and scrubbed the bottoms of ships. Whatever it took to survive, that’s what I did. We were so poor, when I was promoted to busboy in a restaurant, I felt like I had won the lottery!”

When Canada offered sponsorships to refugees in 1991, the family jumped at their second chance to build a better life and immigrated.

Beginner’s Mind

Gharagozloo quickly realized that success in the West would require not only hard work, but also education. He worked overnights as a hotel receptionist while attending high school, earn-ing high marks despite his grueling schedule. Thanks to his hard work he won a scholarship at a nearby university, where he studied electrical engineering while continuing to support his family working overnights at the hotel.

His mother, concerned about the toll Gharagozloo’s schedule was taking on her son, told him about a network marketing opportunity she had heard of from some friends. He was skeptical, but decided to check it out.

Kosta met with two men who were launching a lifestyle products company. He was unsure of what to expect, but impressed by the many luxury cars in front of the mansion where the men lived and worked. His interest was further piqued when the men explained how he could make money while helping others do the same.

“I fell in love with the concept,” Gharagozloo recalls. “I’d never heard of anything like it, and honestly, I didn’t really understand. It seemed remarkable to me that you could make a living this way. But their success spoke for itself.”

Fighting Turnover

His family wondered whether he was throwing away a chance at the good life when he decided to quit school to pursue the network marketing opportunity—and for a while, it seemed they might be right.

“I thought I was going to be an instant millionaire,” Kosta laughs. “And I did everything wrong that you can do.”

With a youthful enthusiasm and naïveté, Kosta recruited anyone and everyone he could find. “I wanted more for my people than they wanted for themselves,” he says. “I was pulling people across the finish line to get them to sign up, and as a result, my business was a revolving door.”

He successfully recruited ninety-six people, but at the end of the year, only four remained. His earnings that first year were barely enough to allow him to survive. Despite his family’s concerns, Gharagozloo continued his attempts to build hisbusiness.

His income increased only slightly in his second year. In year three, it seemed his persistence would pay off when he recruited a vacationer from Thailand. Her enthusiasm for the opportunity inspired Gharagozloo to follow her back to her country, where he found similarly receptive recruits. Before he knew it, Gharagazoloo’s business exploded in Thailand. His income increased tenfold, allowing him the freedom to return to school while maintaining his business.

His early success was short-lived, however. While Gharagozloo was earning a comfortable living, no one in his downline was making money and his business became a revolving door yet again. His income—along with his motivation—plummeted as his overseas recruits abandoned the business. Gharagozloo resigned from the company and returned to his studies to prepare for a traditional business career.

“I said to myself, ‘Never again,’ and walked away feeling like a failure,” he says. “I had promised my downline a dream life and I couldn’t deliver it to them. I was convinced network marketing didn’t work.”

After graduation, he started his own tech company and acquired business with Microsoft and Intel. He married and settled into a comfortable life. Again, the good days were numbered.

On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center collapsed and in its wake, so did the high-tech business. All of Gharagozloo’s clients cancelled their contracts, leaving him with nothing but $250,000 in debt.

“I was completely wiped out,” Gharagozloo recalls. “I had a new wife, and no way to support her. Our cars were repossessed; we almost lost our home. We were selling our wedding gifts just to survive. We lost almost everything.”

New Commitment

A friend suggested he give network marketing a second try, but Gharagozloo wasn’t interested. He attended an opportunity meeting only out of courtesy, he says, expecting to leave quickly without joining.

However, he was pleasantly surprised to hear his friend emphasize the importance of relationships and support while building a team. He ended up staying for the entire meeting.

“I realized that a strong connection to my upline was what had been missing at the first company,” he says. “The support offered by this new company and the upline leadership convinced me to try again.”

With their last few dollars of credit, Gharagozloo and his wife traveled to San Diego to meet the company’s top earners. The warmth of the people and their promise to help him convinced Gharagozloo to give the profession another chance.

“My wife and I made an eighteen-month plan,” he says. “We vowed that no matter what happened, we would not give up during that time.”

Gharagozloo was determined to avoid the mistakes he made in his previous networking career. “I didn’t drag anyone over the finish line this time,” he says. “I just presented the company and the opportunity, giving as much information as necessary to help recruits make an informed decision. I looked for people I could work with for the next ten years, not the next ten months.”

Creating a System

To ensure success for his downline, Gharagozloo developed a system that was easy to duplicate, relying on technology instead of selling skills. He introduced prospects to the business via a three-way call to a pre-recorded message. Gharagozloo says the recorded message helped put potential recruits at ease.

“When you spend all your time talking about an opportunity, you get very good at it,” he says. “I can explain the business better than the president of the company, but if I do that, prospects will think, ‘I can see why Kosta is so successful, he is an excellent talker. I am not a good talker, I could never do that.’ You’ve lost them! With a pre-recorded message, they understand it is delivered by a professional. They think, ‘All Kosta did was patch me into a three-way call. I can do that all day long!’ ”

After listening to the message, Gharagozloo directs interested prospects to his web site. “Again, the person can see how easy it is to do and doesn’t get intimidated,” he says. “Anyone can do it. Once people believe in their own potential for success, the reality of success follows naturally.”

Gharagozloo saw immediate results with his new tactics. After just six months, he was earning more per month than he had ever made in a year.

“Most distributors make the mistake of giving too much information about the company right away,” he points out. “I was careful not to overwhelm potential recruits. You should only share enough to help the person make an informed decision to join. The key is making people understand that anyone can do this business.”

This time around, Gharagozloo wasn’t alone in his success. In just a few months’ time, eleven members of his downline were earning more than $10,000 a month each. Realizing that others in his group could earn great money vanquished any lingering misgivings Gharagozloo had about the networking profession.

“The system made the difference,” he says. “It has to be simple to follow and easy to duplicate.”

Adapt and Grow

Gharagozloo continued to grow his downline by expanding from Ottawa into Montreal and Toronto. At the age of thirty-one, he became the company’s youngest millionaire. As his company prepared to open offices overseas, Gharagozloo again took the networking opportunity to international audiences.

His first stop was Asia, where he established strong downlines in Korea, Singapore and Japan. He then went to Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines, and now has an organization that spans many countries. Everywhere he has traveled, he’s found people hungry for networking.

“Everyone around the world wants a better life and can be motivated to work hard if given the right tools and the right opportunity,” he says. “The ‘whys’ are the same for everyone. The difference is in the ‘hows’.”

For example, Gharagozloo quickly realized he would have to adjust his system to succeed in Asia. “Business there is based on a handshake,” he explains. “A three-way call won’t work. You must spend time together, build trust and gain respect before closing a deal.” Gharagozloo says that in North America, 80 percent of recruiting takes place via the telephone, but in Asia, 99 percent of new customers sign up in person.

In addition to cultural differences, Gharagozloo says his ability to adapt his program to suit the needs of individuals has been another key to his success. For example, one of the top earners in his organization is a single mother who came to him for the opportunity to work from home.

“When I met her, I was traveling all over the world,” he recalls. “But before I told her about my experience, I listened to her talk about herself. I learned that networking appealed to her because she could do it from home. If I had told her about all of the traveling I do, she would have never signed up. The few minutes I spent listening to her helped me adjust my approach and show her how this business could meet her needs. That small investment has paid off enormously.”

With the memories of his harrowing beginnings always fresh in his mind, giving others another chance at success is Gharagozloo’s prime motivator. Even with his wealth, he says, the dreams he has helped come true are his greatest achievement.

“The life I lead today is a dream life. If you read my story in a book, you would insist it was fiction. I am a refugee from a war zone. I started with less than nothing and almost ended up with nothing—not once, but twice. And here I am. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”