120317_PeterIsland_036Originally from Sri Lanka, Tissa and Maithree Samaratunga and their young son Irusha moved to Michigan in order for Tissa to obtain his doctorate in computer engineering. “I’d come here believing that education was the key to success. Later I realized that it is only one aspect of success. As I was getting closer to graduation, I looked around and saw that people who’d gone ahead of me were not successful in the true sense of it. Some of them had big houses and big cars, but they were never home to enjoy them. They had to work hard life long in order to pay for them. That was not the way I wanted to live my life. My dream was to be financially free with enough money and time  to spend with my family and enjoy my life.”

Maithree had chosen to stay home with Irusha until he started school. “I wanted more than anything to be a full-time mom to spend time with our son,” she says. “But with one income, it was very difficult to survive.” Realizing she’d need to go back to work, she began taking classes in order to continue her accounting career in the States.

As college students, they were introduced to a business that they could build in their spare time. But they felt they had so little spare time, they didn’t take it seriously at the time. After Tissa finished his PhD and was working for a large telecommunications company as a research scientist, he took a more serious look at their part-time business. “I enjoyed my job, but financially, I was in the  kindergarten: I got up every day to fight traffic just to go to work for someone else,” he says now. “I was not at all in control of my life.” Later they moved to sunny  Texas as Tissa took up a faculty position in the computer science department of a major university in Texas. Tissa says “But, still our lifestyle did not change much.”

As their business began to grow, “Our lives changed completely,” says Tissa. Soon, they became very successful and financially independent  and started enjoyng their lives, as they dreamt, enjoying time together and  traveling around the world. Maithree says, “We already have vacationed in many fabulous locations in the US and foreign countries including “Switzerland, U.K. Italy, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Caribbean Islands, China, Japan, Australia, Mexico… which would have been beyond our imagination before.” Tissa says, “It is nice to be on vacation every day, just changing the location as we wish! We start every year by going to our annual vacation to the Hawaiian Islands”

Now living comfortably in the Dallas suburbs, both Maithree and Tissa also appreciate the fact that they have been able to travel back to their home in Sri Lanka as often as they want. “If we were stuck in regular jobs, we would not have the flexibility to visit our families as often,” says Tissa. “I love the time we have to spend together,” says Maithree. “After all, we got married to be able to spend time together.”

As the Samaratungas have achieved success in their business, they also give their time and energy to support worthwhile charities around the world. They are especially active supporting Easter Seals and the U.S. Dream Academy due to the programs these organizations have developed to meet the needs of children and returning veterans. Tissa and Maithree truly understand the value of helping others and have made it a priority in their lives.

Maithree also enjoys working with people who come to them for business advice. “We don’t just talk about helping people, we really do – whenever they need our help.” Tissa gets much satisfaction knowing that many of his friends are now involved in the business. “Because of our success, they have the confidence to start their own businesses, and be successful as we are,” he says.