Standout Sri Lankans Q&A:

Lalitha Epaarachchi ~ Health & Fitness Coach and Youtuber

1. Tell us about yourself and your Business?

I’m a father, Health and Fitness Youtuber (Alpha lee fitness) & Online coach ( weight loss,  Muscle building and health & fitness lifestyle coaching)

Over the last 3 years I’ve built the largest online health and fitness community in Sri Lanka with 26,000 followers on instagram @lalitha_epaarachchi and 62,000 subscribers on Youtube, my Youtube channel alone has had over 3 million views in  just over an year. I’m proud to say that I have successfully hoisted myself to the top of the space with zero paper qualifications.

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The way my business works:

What I found out through the initial stages of my work was that there were plenty of influencers who are willing to share their lifestyle, expose their bodies, promote products without considering its impact and provide subjective information convincingly enough to make a sale or push a brand. This is a very lucrative method to earn on the short term but on the long term, in a space where you are dealing with people’s health and fitness it’s a naive, shortsighted method.

Based on this understanding, over time, I fine tuned my approach to:

  1. Delivering accurate information that has scientific evidence. I do this both in Sinhalese (youtube) and english (instagram)

  2. Promote a balanced lifestyle which the majority in Sri lankan’s can afford, emulate, still be healthy and fit and importantly keep building on.

  3. Work long term with brands. This is mainly because I noticed that most influencers worked with brands for a few weeks and moved onto another brand. Brand hoping is lucrative but damages your credibility as a product influencer which means in the longterm brands will not be paying you as much due to a lack of conversions. Engagement is meaningless without conversions – Your audience to Their customers. The 2 best examples from my brand portfolio are zimantra leisure center battaramulla and protein.lk. Both have become top brands in their space.

  4. Build my own paid service (online coaching). This is a service where I build training & nutrition plans for my clients. This was important because I wanted to make sure that brands could not pressure me into promoting anything I don’t like or agree with. If my income is covered through my own sweat equity, I would not have any reason whatsoever to con my audience by promoting products that i don’t believe in.

  1. Why did you decide to start your own business and What keeps you motivated.

I started making content on youtube and facebook while I was working as a software engineer. 3 weeks after I had my son I was very unfairly treated by my employer at that time. In brief, my employer accused me of not working well enough. That experience made me understand that as long as I work for someone else I will never truly be happy or appreciated regardless of how well I worked for them.

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I’m not a believer in motivation. If you need to be motivated to follow your passion i don’t think it is your passion to begin with.

  1. As a Sri Lankan influencer, how would you like to influence other Sri Lankan’s, as well as all others around the world?

I can’t fix the world with the work I’m doing but I firmly believe that I can change the health and fitness space for the better. With my work and approach to my work I hope I can influence more people to bring our space back out from vanity & drugs. In other words, I want to show people you can be honest, ordinary, average looking, earn and live a happy, peaceful life.

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VLOG: Bloggers United Australia ~ Adelaide Event

VLOG: Adelaide Fashion Festival Events

Current ‘Miracle’ Products

For those of you who know me in real life or have been following my blog for a little while you will know about the joys of my skin and the ups and downs it goes through, I’m sure I’m not alone with this, we all have our struggles with skincare. Recently there have been a few products that have been my skins new best friends, so I really wanted to share them with you!

First up, we have good old tea tree oil, this one as shown below, is by Thursday Plantation and is readily available, I got mine from a local supermarket for under AU$10. I apply it to pimples both risen and under the skin and I’ve noticed over night results. I recently spent some spare time picking at my face (don’t judge…I thought there was something under there that needed to come out, but I was wrong) and I was left with a unpleasant open wound, I swear to myself everytime that I’m not going to pick at my face ever again but for some reason I haven’t been able to stick to this. Anyway, I applied a tiny bit of tea tree oil on it before going to bed and when I woke up it hadn’t taken away the wound completely but it definitely closed the wound a little, and made it less visible. Highly recommend keeping a bottle like this in the house at all times.

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Next up, we have this essence lotion by Clinique. I have a few different products on rotation that I put on my skin before bed, but I’ve noticed that when I use this one, I wake up with my skin feeling so smooth and it also helps those self inflicted open wounds I mentioned earlier. I purchased this particular one while on holiday in Singapore and I noticed that on the back it says that it’s formulated for Asian skin, so I’m interested to know how it works for those who don’t have Asian skin. Comment below if you’ve tried the non-Asian version!

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And last but not least we have; Scytera. So this product was actually sent to me to review, and when they contacted me they mentioned that they have a product for me to try that helps with the treatment of psoriasis, they didn’t know this but coincidentally enough I actually unfortunately do suffer from this condition on my scalp. So I jumped at the offer to try it, I’ve tried so many shampoos, oils etc and nothing has helped.

Firstly, I loved the message behind the product, on the information sheet, they mentioned the connection between such skin conditions and mental health issuse such as depression. Having psoriasis myself, I know the struggle, for me because it’s on my scalp I find that I can hide it by wearing my hair down. But for those people who have it on open areas, I can only imagine how frustrating and damaging it can be. So, Scytera consists of 2% coal tar which is known to be a dermatological treatment in small doses. The product is easy to use with its pump design and the foam that comes out is a pale yellow colour and really easy to apply. I spray a small amount onto my fingers and then massage it into my scalp, it has a slight medicinal scent but nothing major that I would be embarrassed to go out of the house. Just knowing how annoying it is to live with, it’s so nice to have a product that actually works! Thank you Scytera! For those of you interested in trying it out, it looks like it’s available at National Pharmacies.

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Thanks for reading, comment below with your current miracle products!

The Ultimate Gift: Materialistic or Experiential?

When it comes to giving a gift what comes to mind? We usually start thinking about what does the receiver like, what interests have they mentioned recently, what wouldn’t they want….there’s a massive list of questions that come to mind, and because we’re overwhelmed by our lack of answers to these questions we usually end up buying something useless or safe, like a pair of socks or a nice soap. I mean don’t get me wrong these gifts I’m sure would come in handy at some point, even if they get added to the re-gifting pile.

So then what would make an AMAZING gift? Well recently I’ve realised that a gift experience can have so much more meaning rather than just giving or receiving a material thing. I bet you’re thinking: but this will require even more thought and attention right? Well yes, but I’ve got some ideas for you…keep reading….

For my birthday this year my friends treated me to a trip to the Hashtag Meow Cat Cafe followed by dinner at Carmine and Co. This was such a sweet gift because it incoporated my love for cats and zeppole, plus I was able to share the experience with my friends.

Other gift experiences could include pampering vouchers, most people love a good massage, mani, pedi or facial. Taking someone special out for a picnic or to a restaurant. For those of you in Adelaide (or those visiting Adelaide) Mount Lofty House are offering some amazing experiences, see below:

·       Indulge in lunch or dinner at the award-winning, acclaimed Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant complete with a private, Sommelier-led tasting in the heritage cellars
·       A rose petal strewn cellar tour, candle-lit (proposal or anniversary dinner at HVR – with a view, see below)
·       Signature couples’ spa rituals in Stable Day Spa
·       Chocolates and Mount Lofty House sparkling on the balcony overlooking the Piccadilly Valley
·       All-inclusive picnic, set up in front of one of the roaring log fires inside Mount Lofty House
·       Gourmet picnic hampers designed to be shared in the botanic gardens directly below Mount Lofty House
·       Pick estate grown flowers throughout the sprawling gardens developed by South Australian icon Arthur Hardy to enjoy back in a private suite
·       Arrive at Mount Lofty House by helicopter, enjoy lunch or dinner at HVR and stay a night or two before departing in style with a vintage car
·       Taste the Adelaide Hills’ wine delights with a helicopter tour from the estate to prestigious wineries such as Shaw & Smith and Hahndorf Hill with a vintage car pickup to return to the mansion.

So now that you’re equipped with plenty of ideas for your next gifting occasion, I’m sure you’re going to be loved just that little bit more, if one of these experiences is being gifted (and it didn’t even have to take much thought on your end!). Happy gifting.

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How Breathing the Right Way can Change Your Life

Breathing. It is something that most of us do without really thinking about it. It keeps us alive (we know, stating the obvious) but have you ever thought about how breathing can assist us in certain situations?

In today’s fast paced and ever changing society it is no wonder that we can often find ourselves anxious, stressed and/or worried. We have all seen that scene in a movie where someone is stressing out and to try and calm down, they breathe into a paper bag. While this may help some people (there is actually method behind the seemingly mad action), there are other simple breathing techniques that can be used to create calmness within.

Those who practice yoga or other forms of meditation will recognise the use of breathing practices as a way to create internal calmness and relaxation. Bringing these techniques into your every day life or maybe just when you are feeling that anxiety/stress/worry come on, could make a huge difference to the way that you are feeling and how you cope with certain situations.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re anxious or stressed that we tend to take short shallow breaths from the upper chest? Instead try to concentrate your breathing all the way down into your abdomen. Deep and slow belly breathing is known for creating a sense of calm. Your body actually reacts to this slow type of breathing and responds more rationally. Gosh our body is clever!

Breathing is something we have the power to control and change. So if you find yourself becoming anxious, stress or worried, try using this ‘super’ power of yours and change the way you breathe. You might just find the ability to calm yourself down and tackle any situation head on.

I would love to hear how breathing has helped you in a stressful situation, so let me know at mayanthi@thegraciouslife.com.au

Originally published on Glam Adelaide

Throw That ‘Too Hard Basket’ Out and Start Achieving Your Goals

So that famous too hard basket, have you heard the saying? Well i reckon I hadn’t heard of it till I joined the workforce. And it’s made me think, why have we made it so easy to just throw something in the too hard basket, why should this be allowed, because really throwing something in the too hard basket actually means giving up or not doing something about something that needs doing.
I know for me I don’t really think about the too hard basket very often and I think there are 3 reasons for this:
1. I’m usually passionate about the things I think about doing so I’ll do whatever I can to not make it so hard to do.
2. I work on it slowly, do abit here and abit there so it doesn’t feel like I’m taking on a massive task all at once.
3. I don’t think of it as too hard. Our brains have so much power that the more we think something the more real it feels and the more we believe it.
So my lessons here are firstly if you really are passionate about doing something then take it on as a challenge, it’s not going to be easy but it doesn’t mean the idea needs to go in the too hard basket, it just needs a little TLC. Secondly, break your idea down into doable steps (Rome wasn’t built in a day..hey hey hey). And thirdly, I think this point is so important; don’t think of something as too hard, if you really want to do something, and it’s physically possible, then just put a little bit of time and work into it. Once you start working on it, it will become easier and easier!

Managing The Work/Life Balance with Abbey Cooke from She Means Business Events

‘GOOD stories get read, then get archived or used once, but more than likely they often get forgotten about…GREAT stories last a lifetime- any story, even an event, no matter how big or small should always take your guests on a journey’.

  1. What made you decide to start your own business?

I studied a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing and Human Resources at University for 4 years, and studied an Executive Certificate in Event Management.

I then established myself in the financial industry in a global role for 6 years, which is where I realised my passion and enthusiasm for event management.  I have managed complex logistical events spanning both the international and domestic market, across a variety of industries, which have showcased my superior event management skills and professional execution of events.

She Means Business Events (SMBE ~ officially launching in May 2017) was born from my desire to spend more time in South Australia, and my passion and love of bringing people together in the one space and creating memories!

 I have a keen eye for detail, complemented with perfectionism, which ensures a uniquely created SMBE event.  SMBE adds a modern and trendy spin on events for both our corporate and private clients which are flawlessly executed.

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Abbey Cooke, Owner/Director ~ She Means Business Events

2. What/Who inspires you in life and work?

I have to admit I find it very hard to answer this question.  Inspiration is stimulation for the human mind to learn, create, achieve, and to give. I believe that all great accomplishments are a result of motivation, encouragement and are spawned by inspiration.

So, what inspires me to be successful, and why am I inspired? For some time, I’ve been following inspiring leaders, entrepreneurs, and business movers-and-shakers, and I’m still awed and amazed at how much there is out in the world to be inspired by! I’m happy to say that I am now constantly inspired by men and women who are 100 steps ahead of me, doing what I long to, in the way I long to do it, with authenticity, clarity, grace and power.

I am fortunate enough that I have been inspired and mentored by some wonderful people both domestically and internationally, the most influential and inspiring motto coming from my Adelaide based mentor which SMBE currently lives by…

Bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like buggery!”

3. How do you find the work/life balance and your Top 3 tips for balancing life and work?

If you’ve been sitting at your desk reading about SMBE, daydreaming about the glamorous life of owning your own events company, it’s time to wake up! Starting up any business can be brutal in this socioeconomic climate and to be successful you have to face reality – hard work, long days (and nights), and a whole lot of coffee and networking!

It’s not all doom and gloom though, once you’ve taken the leap and decided to start! Here are a few of my tips for managing and maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

  • Step away from the email

At some point, almost everyone becomes addicted! For me, it started when I starting working for a global company. I wanted to be available 24/7 to my team who were located in multiple locations around the world.  My ‘new email’ alert would constantly sound throughout the day/night and my Inbox began to control my life. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine would confiscate my phone during our catch ups, that I truly realised that I was in fact an addict, and how much I was missing out on around me,

Would you believe that scientists have actually established a clear link between spending time on email and stress?  In other words, the more frequently we check our email, the more frazzled we feel!

  •  Just say ‘NO’!

In today’s fast-paced and caffeine-driven world, it seems like the need to say no is absent in most people. You can’t say no because you feel guilty, or people will judge you.

I understand your situation completely. Confession time? I used to say yes, all the time too because the thought of saying no literally crippled me.

Now, though, I regret the times when I failed to say no! Let’s face it saying yes to everyone is stressful, and it’s definitely not good for your mental, physical and spiritual health!

  •  Work smarter, not harder

There is a body of opinion that you should work more and sleep less. It often takes Margaret Thatcher as a role model: she only needed four hours sleep and look what she did to the country! These days they call it sleep hacking- training your mind and body to need less sleep. But that trend is all wrong!

Essentially, working smart means figuring out what your strengths are and building a network around you to build upon those, in order to reach goals in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

The more self-awareness you gain about your work strengths the more you find ways to work smarter, not harder and finally achieve the work /life balance you desire.

She Means Business Events

Tonic Skincare Review

A while ago I was sent a range of skincare products to try out, if you’ve read some of my previous beauty posts, you’ll know how I have struggled with my skin and the up’s and down’s (mostly downs) I’ve gone through with trying to make it better. When I was asked if I would like to try these products I said I would be happy to try them out because I am open to trying anything (well mostly anything).

I’ve been using these products for a couple of months now and I think it’s fair to say that I have been enjoying them and the results they have given my skin. So the products I am talking about are called Tonic, the range includes facial cleansers, exfoliants, moisturisers, night creams, eye creams, serums and more. With a name like Tonic, they are bound to be filled with some ‘good for you’ ingredients right? Yes! They sure are, some of their ingredients include avocado oil, bentonite, macadamia nut oil, witch hazel extract, rosehip oil, lactic acid, ribose and more. Also, all of their ingredients are certified organic and all products are made in Australia.

Since I’ve been using these products I have noticed a significant decrease in the amount of breakouts I get, they have honestly reduced to next to nothing, which is so amazing to me, I actually can’t believe it! In terms of using them on a daily basis, they are easy to use and apply, I use the facial cleanser and moisturiser every day and the exfoliant every couple days, I find the exfoliator quite rough so I mix a little in with the cleanser and then it feels comfortable on my skin. The only downfall for me is that the pump on my moisturiser feel apart, but it’s still useable and if the only problems with a product is the packaging, then it’s still a winner.

I highly recommend that you check out some products from Tonic, if you want to try them out first before buying, Essential Beauty offer facials where they use the Tonic products, so it’s a great opportunity to try the products plus have a nice pamper sesh!

Tonic Skincare

Essential Beauty