Behind the Brand: The Sacrifices Made to Build a Successful Business
Christina Katsouri-Paxinos and Constantine Paxinos are co-directors of PAX Migration, a migration firm in Adelaide, SA. Christina originally had a successful career as a teacher and coordinator of English to international students at university. She became interested in migration law after hearing the difficulty her students faced obtaining visas to Australia. When she started PAX Migration in 2013, Constantine originally joined to help her start her business, but soon found himself more and more interested in legal work and decided to join his wife in becoming fully-fledged migration agents.
When they started the business, they knew they wanted to focus on their clients. They invested a lot into their website initially to ensure it looked great, and contained useful information for their users. “We started the business with our home office and shared office in the city,” Constantine says “Sharing our office space meant we didn't' have to spend a great deal of money on accommodation and other overheads.” This allowed them to deliver a first class office experience, while keeping their cost low. “Eventually we grew into a full time office space, but we still utilize the shared office space so that our overhead cost remain variable,” Constantine explains, “Our clients also appreciate it as it allows us to keep our fees down.”
Christina and Constantine will both admit that being a migration agent hasn't always been easy. “The biggest struggle is navigating the changing landscape of the industry... Keeping up with the law and policy changes is a challenge, but not a serious issue as that's our core business,” Constantine says, “But our industry is very much immersed in the political world, and the whims of politicians and policy makers can be hard to predict.” When Christina, Constantine, and their two young children were packing for a well deserved week-long family vacation in 2017, the Prime Minister announced major changes to the employer sponsored visa framework without any prior warning. “These changes would take effect that night and would have major impacts on anyone who held or was going to hold an employer sponsored visa,” Constantine explained, “Thankfully there were only two [clients] that needed immediate attention.” They were able to contact the clients and advise them on the best course of action. While on a plane traveling to Queensland, Constantine had to have their assistant migration agent prioritize their application and prepare them. “After many phone calls after we landed, finally the visa applications were lodged at 10pm that night!,” he says, “The next day I had to make some phone calls to provide advice to clients as to what the changes would mean going forward, and after that it was a pretty good holiday!” Christina and Constantine has sacrificed more than just a peaceful vacation. “In [this] business you never really know how it is all going to pan out,” Constantine says, “There is a level of uncertainty that you have to become accustomed to otherwise it becomes too stressful.” He admits that sometimes he misses the comfort of a regular paycheck, but would never think about doing anything else.
When Christina and Constantine learned they were one of the top three migration agents in Adelaide, SA for 2019 by Three Best Rated®, they were proud of themselves and each other. “It was our first award in the industry and we told all our family and friends,” Constantine laughs, “We are very proud of our listing on Three Best Rated®, and we know our recognition plays an important role in our clients selection.” They feel as though their hard work has been acknowledged and rewarded. They display their award proudly in their meeting room and on their website. “We invested heavily from the outset in ensuring our technical knowledge was the best in the industry. We also made sure our customer service experience was first class from day one... all our time went into our professional development and our clients,” says Constantine, “When we achieved our listing on Three Best Rated® it was definitely vindication for concentrating on the client first.”
Felix Carao still remembers the day he immigrated to Australia like it was yesterday. He had to work harder than he did back in his home country to succeed. “The only difference is that in Australia, your perseverance and sacrifice will bear fruit. You will reap what you sow,” Felix says. When he and his family arrived in Australia he had no one to turn to for advice. “I learned everything the hard way,” he says, “I migrated to Adelaide, South Australia on a provisional skilled visa with a nominated occupation of a Senior Manager or CEO.” He had a positive skills assessment from the Australian Institute of Management and tried to apply for senior management roles with an impressive 10-page resume with no results. “Little did I know that you need local experience in the role before any employer will even interview you,” Felix says, “My first jobs were as a pizza delivery driver and kitchen hand. I also worked as a taxi driver on the weekends just to make ends meet.”
The hardships Felix faced when he immigrated to Australia inspired him to become a migration agent in 2010. “I could share my first hand migration experiences for others to learn from,” he says, “In every service I offer, I try to assist and provide continuing advice to my clients even after their visas are granted. My motto is “We don't only get you to Australia, we help you find your way when you get here”.” He credits this personalized and open approach as the main reason AllSkills Recruitment and Migration Services is thriving.
Felix also worked hard to get his name known. When he first started his business he had no clients, no experience, and no income. “In order to get my name out there, I tried to attend all the social events of my local community, distributed my business cards and fliers,” Felix says. He even advertised in the local Filipino newspaper in Melbourne. “The hardest part of starting a new business is not knowing when you will get your next client,” he says. Felix had to fight every step of the way to become successful. He sacrifices time with his family to spend time with his clients so they feel as though they can trust Felix. “I treat [my clients and prospects] as if they were my family,” he says.
When Felix learned that Three Best Rated® named AllSkills as one of the top migration agents in Darwin, NT for 2019, he was surprised. “I know that there were a lot more migration agents... that were more experienced so being chosen as one of the three best rated is an honor,” he says. The buck doesn't stop there, however. Felix wants to continue to get better with every passing year. “Being listed also means that the public has acknowledged the hard work and the reputation that you have built throughout the years and it is your responsibility to maintain and uphold that trust that the public has bestowed you,” Felix says.
About PAX Migration
Christina Katsouri-Paxinos and Constantine Paxinos founded PAX Migration, a migration firm in Adelaide, SA, in 2013. Christina's interested in migration law after hearing the difficulty her students faced obtaining visas to Australia during her successful career as a teacher and coordinator of English to international students at university. Constantine originally joined to help her start her business, but soon found himself more and more interested in legal work and decided to join his wife in becoming fully-fledged migration agents. PAX Migration prides themselves on their client services and “client first” approach.
About AllSkills Recruitment and Migration Services
When Felix and his family migrated to Australia, he had no one to turn to for advice. He had to learn how to survive in this new country by himself. Felix decided to take his hardships he experienced and become a migration agent. At AllSkills Recruitment and Migration Services, an migration firm located in Darwin, NT, he provides a personalized and open approach to his clients. He prides himself on guiding and advising his clients even after they have obtained their visa.
Level 30, Westpac House, 91 King William Street
Adelaide, SA 5000
Phone: 08 7226 2225
AllSkills Recruitment & Migration Services PTY LTD
Shop 2, Air Raid Arcade
35 Cavenagh Street
Darwin, NT 0800
Phone: 0412 321 187
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