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Costa Vasili’s story is similar to the stories of many other young entrepreneurs. What sets him apart? Success. With the help of the EO Accelerator program for early-stage entrepreneurs, Costa is running a values-driven translation business that aims to make a difference in the world.
Costa Vasili is a son of migrant parents. His father, who was born in Cyprus, moved to Australia at 13 years old. It’s where he met Costa’s mother, who is also of Cypriot descent, and where Costa was born.
To ensure that Costa had the best chance of success in Australia, his parents spoke to him and his brother mostly in English rather than in Greek. The choice made it hard for Costa to communicate deeply with his Greek-speaking grandparents, but it did help him discover his entrepreneurial path.
During his university years, he was introduced to the language services industry. Costa soon launched his own translation company at just 20 years old, while still in university.
With no previous experience in owning or running a business and only limited work in the corporate world, he soon realized that the entrepreneur’s path has no roadmap or playbook. He relied mostly on himself to establish and grow his business—until, that is, he met up with EO Melbourne and the EO Accelerator program.
1 critical life lesson
“Your life and the business journey are a matter of micro-choices or decisions,” says Costa. He learned this from his philosophy class in university, which he considers a pivotal learning moment in his life. The facilitator gave a difficult and uncomfortable scenario, to which Costa responded. As he was probed deeper, he ended up saying,“I have no choice.” The facilitator corrected him, telling him that there is always a choice.
“I realized very clearly how powerful I am as an individual because, in every moment in my life, I have a choice. Whatever the case—make the decision, own the decision, own the outcome and own the consequence. I believe why I got into business is because it gave me the strongest ability to make my own choices in my life,” he adds.
Part of making choices is taking action and embracing accountability, which the EO Accelerator program also emphasized. “The thing that stops small businesses from growing quickly is their choice not to take action and not to execute. We all have strategies and ideas, but the difference between businesses that grow fast and those that grow slowly is the ability to execute and put things into place. Within 12 months of entering the EO Accelerator program, we doubled our revenue. For me, it shows that taking action has a huge impact on the success of your business,” he explains.
EO Accelerator helps startups and young organizations reach the US$1 million revenue mark through accountability and experience sharing. Learn more and apply today!
Now one of the younger members of EO Melbourne, Costa says, “I look up to so many people in the EO community who are doing incredibly well. Because I can speak to them at a peer-to-peer level, I’ve been able to develop an appreciation for what they do. I have seen how remarkable these people in the EO community are, based on what they’re doing with their lives and their businesses.”
2 key qualities of an entrepreneur
“You cannot give up in business. If you don’t build the mindset of perseverance before you start a business and while you’re starting an early-stage business, then it’s destined to fail.” When considering a skill business owners can learn, Costa says, “marketing and sales are key at the start of most businesses. You need to focus on driving sales at the start, and that begins with having a strong understanding of what your customers want and need, and then helping them understand that the solution you’re providing is the right one for them. You also have to know where your customers are hanging out so that you can market to them.”
3 essential components in translation and business
Costa’s translation company, EthnoLink, provides professional document translation services by certified translators to new migrants and travellers who wish to apply for visas, university admission or car rental services. The company also serves Australian businesses and government agencies in translating legal contracts, manuals and marketing materials.
Three key components to a successful translation include a clear source document, an understanding of the source document, and attention to detail. Costa explains further, saying, “First and foremost, we have to understand the meaning of the source text so that we can translate accurately into the target language. We can look at this in the context of business context: We must understand what our customers need to solve their problems.”
Costa goes on to explain that, “Clarity is key. The biggest reason why translation projects fail is because the source text is not clear, which leads to ambiguity. Likewise, in the business space, you need to be 100% clear in your communication with your team to ensure that they are acting on your direction and supporting your vision.”
Finally, attention to detail. “In translation, sometimes the slight nuance of a question or statement, if not translated accurately, can alter the entire meaning. In business, it can ensure reliable excellence in the service you provide.”
4 business values of EthnoLink
Costa’s company has four values: better every day; real relationships; openness and honesty; and customer service excellence. Costa explains, “The last one will always be part of our values. Even as our business and priorities may shift over the years, that one will always be there because without our customers, we don’t have a business.”
He has developed a team that is driven by these valuse and share his vision of helping to break down language barriers for individuals and businesses. They are focused on their customers, ensuring that they are acting in the best interests of the people they serve.
Not even 30 years old and a member of EO since 2018, Costa’s values are clearly steering him well.