Helping to make Australian dreams come true
Sometimes your work turns into a calling that not only changes your life, but also the lives of those you work with. Registered Migration Agent and co-partner of OnBoard Study & Migration, Zuzana Baitosova knows first hand what it's like to navigate the complex and often emotional roller coaster of the immigration process.
Zuzana travelled from her homeland of Slovakia to study in Australia in 2009 with the intention of staying a year but now, more than a decade later, she’s grateful to be able to call Sydney her second home.
Her experience as an international student led to work in the field of immigration and what started as a temp role in administration, soon developed into a permanent position processing visa applications after her employers recognised Zuzana was “a good fit” for their team. Despite the deadline stresses, the constantly changing legislation and responsibilities of providing legal guidance to her clients, Zuzana realised helping people with their migration journey was also dynamic and hugely rewarding work. “When you can give new clients the good news that they can stay in Australia longer or they have been granted permanent residency, this is a big step in realising their future.”
Over the years Zuzana has worked on hundreds of visa applications, consulting with a number of clients to help turn their Australian dream into a reality. “I like that my job has some kind of purpose. It’s different when you work for some big corporation where you are one piece in a big machine and don’t always see the end results.”
While helping to change her clients’ lives for the better is still at the core of what she does, after seven years of doing that within an immigration firm, Zuzana felt she wanted more flexibility in her own life. “You work really long hours and it can get very stressful. I got to the stage I was dreaming about clients and couldn’t sleep. I was checking emails all weekend and became burned out very quickly, so needed to find some balance between doing the job you love in helping people but also looking after yourself by living your life too.”
Now working independently, as a small business owner and co-partner of OnBoard Study & Migration,
Zuzana said it has been an interesting journey so far, especially more recently in the face of the pandemic which hit her industry quite hard. While she appreciated all the positives that come with running your own business, like the freedom to manage her own time and make decisions without someone looking over her shoulder — not having the safety net of a regular salary and the impact of an unpredictable landscape can be testing for a small business operator.
While waiting out the tumultuous landscape of COVID-19, Zuzana has put the time to good use by broadening her skills in small business landscape. In the process of doing that she discovered Kathie Heyman’s Business Masterclass right about the time she was feeling at a crossroad. “Should I continue or find something else. Get another corporate job. That was where my mind was.” She said Kathie’s Masterclass really helped her, especially hearing stories from other people going through the same thing.
“Knowing that you’re not alone and that there are so many other women and business owners all having the same struggles.” She said Kathie helped her to rekindle her values and purpose, “why I’m doing what I’m doing.”
“Sometimes you can forget that when you find yourself in a stressful situation.”
While Zuzana has an MBA (Master of Business Administration), she said she really benefited from practical advice about things like social media marketing, the latest online tools out there, and which books gave the best insights into various subjects. “Kathie was a source of knowledge and practical tips for running a small business. Sometimes when you work for yourself you don’t have people to brainstorm with or bounce ideas off. The network of women and professionals from the masterclass offered great insights. It has been very helpful for me.”
While the international border closures have been hard for Zuzana’s business, she is hoping the possibility of visa extensions for those already here in a professional capacity, particularly those people working in specific industries like health and the community sector, will present more options and opportunities for her and her clients into the future. “It’s really one day at time at the moment. A lot of people aren’t having the best time so it’s important to keep encouraging one another.”
For more information about OnBoard Study & Migration visit www.onboardmigration.com