The Business ‘Growth Guy’ – Thisara Jayasinghe
By Mahika Panditha
Meet Thisara Jayasinghe, everyone. Thisara is a young entrepreneur and speaker that runs his own marketing agency called Buost. He also has some product-based companies such as Kytul Ceylon (started by his cousin and himself, to take Sri Lankan products to a global market).
He is also the youngest finalist for the Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards in 2017, as well as one of the youngest people to hold a consultancy position in a leading company in Sri Lanka thus far.
We had the chance to speak to Thisara about Buost and his work. He also commented: “My passion is working and I love what I do. I try to work as much as I can. Let’s say that I don’t work enough to my satisfaction today. The next day I will be working whilst thinking to myself that if I don’t, I’ll be a failure. I work until I can get rid of that guilt of skipping work for just one day.” Let’s dive right in.
How did Buost Asia come about?
We have been in the industry for over three years now. When we first started, the whole point was to spend some time showing my parents that I am being productive, because this is just after I decided to drop out from my university, since I wasn’t satisfied with the career options my degree would be providing.
As some sort of a blessing I was linked with one of the market leaders in the fashion industry here in Sri Lanka. I think that we did an amazing job “decorating their business” in a branding aspect, although we couldn’t yet call ourselves a full-grown marketing agency.
We never ran out of high profile clients. But this didn’t stop us from trying to learn the depth of what we had been doing and after months and years of research and experiences, we realised that we had been completely fooling ourselves with this whole “full grown” culture we had in our mind.
So imagine being 20 years old and thinking that you want to pivot in a different direction to attract more serious work ethics and you still have nothing to lose, then you risk everything.
We revamped the whole structure and started from acknowledging what we really are good at doing what we were doing, and left everything else behind which made us lose 60% of our revenue but it also helped us polish our knowledge and skills to the core.
Risking all that is how we got to work with four different regions with over nine different contracts and 20+ brands in six different industries. We have clients in the US, Singapore, UK, Australia, Brazil and we have specialised in mattress and printing industries.
All this work is shared and optimised between less than 10 people with amazing potential and work ethics. So I guess I could say that we are kinda nailing it as performance-based digital marketing.
So, what does Buost do?
We are a performance-based digital marketing agency, and we do a whole digital audit to see where our clients have placed themselves in the market and we come up with a better advertising solution to increase their sales, business, downloads, visits generally bringing businesses in an advanced scale.
My partner and I are working on the last stage of releasing our own product range, something like the Adobe Creative Suite, but this is for the people who run marketing related jobs to make their day-to-day processes easier and more transparent.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I schooled at Ananda College Colombo 10 and spent half of my time there either participating in events, or being the reason behind why the event was so “lit”. We continued this being “lit” part even after school and entertained so many people. But because of some bad organisational habits we carried back in the day, this whole journey ended catastrophically.
We were looking for ways to evolve and show our parents that we are doing ‘something’ with our lives instead of being normal. That is when we realised that we have been building brands (events) for a long time and managed to bring audiences to witness those events (by marketing) so why not implement the same strategies to corporate businesses.
What experiences do you think have helped you in your career so far?
I could say failing each day without being able to achieve what we dreamt of having yesterday but still managing to wake up in the morning and believe in tomorrow. I hate when people are negative about their lives.
I was raised to think that nothing is constant and there is always a chance of something failing. So if you are to worry about what would happen in the future before it happens, when it happens you would have gone through the same agony and sorrow twice.
So why not let both good and bad things surprise you while you justify your living each and every single living second.
In your opinion, how has Covid-19 changed the industry?
Yes so much, the people who weren’t aware of the potential of digital advertising realised how amazingly they could be targeted when they all were looking out for groceries.
Globally, I think that the digital literacy rate increased by 7% because people were forced to use this amazing technology and witness what sort of a time saviour digital platforms really are.
How have you dealt with the challenges that have come your way?
If/when I am stressed I take a notepad and I write down every single thing that I have to get done and within what exact time period, then I create the order according to how I feel it should be prioritised.
Instead of looking at the big picture and stressing myself to achieve what’s big, I work my way through the subtasks and I enjoy myself while I tick off each task. I repeat this with every single issue I have.
Any advice for fellow business owners during this time?
I think consistency would be the key to anything. People who start their businesses when they are in their twenties tend to give up in the middle (before they become 30 or something) because they worry about the stability of their living.
The stability wouldn’t come with having one income source. Stability wouldn’t come with losing their education thinking since it’s a huge deal to be a dropout. I still regret giving up on my degree. Stability wouldn’t come from getting married to a beautiful person.
Stability comes with how hard you justify your daily routine. When you have it stable, you will be doing just fine without giving up and if you had given up you would never have known how it would have been different if you hadn’t.
In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Season 2, Episode 15, Zuko says: “Never give up without a fight. The fight is not with the people who try so hard just like you do, the fight is between you and the version of yourself who would say, let’s give up and go back to being ordinary.”
Photos Viranga Perera