It took Ayesha some time to figure out which path she was supposed to go down. Health problems got in the way of her education, and – like many young professionals – she dabbled in various jobs before finding her purpose. Fatefully, she met her husband who also eventually became her business partner, and with a melding of their minds, SwishTag was born.
The early years
Although a very bright student, Ayesha hit a bump in the road when she became very sick. Despite repeated doctor visits and medication, she remained ill for more than six months, which affected both her education and confidence. This carried on into her second year of university, when she eventually made the decision to drop out and carve out an entirely new path for herself. From working with software to learning about content writing – not to mention penning a novel, creating a clothing brand and consulting – Ayesha tried it all.
“I attended dozens of seminars, read books and sought guidance from my professors. I started playing with startup ideas to gain real life lessons,” she says. “They all made me good money, but I felt a lack of a sense of purpose.”
“Keep looking, don’t settle”
Eventually, Ayesha found herself in the world of marketing – initially with social welfare organisations both within Pakistan and internationally. But she quickly realised “the best way to help mankind is to make them self-sufficient” by teaching her clients to work on projects with long-term impact.
At around the same time, Ayesha also met her now-husband, Hammaad Yousaf – a software engineer who shared her passion for marketing. With his support, she launched SwishTag in 2017 to help companies focus on Facebook and Instagram marketing solutions. Within 3 months of launch, SwishTag grew from two founders to 10 people – its bespoke solutions filling a gap in the local market.
As co-founders, Ayesha and Hammaad have found their purpose – both in business and with each other. Together they are certified trainers for the #SheMeansBusines program in Pakistan through which they train aspiring and current female entrepreneurs in the country. Beyond this, SwishTag promotes social responsibility, being an on-ground partner with Facebook to promote the Blood Donation feature within Pakistan’s healthcare industry.
“We are totally in love with every project we work on. Choosing marketing was the best decision I ever made because it helped me find a way to help businesses express themselves,” says Ayesha.
From strength to strength
Becoming Facebook Blueprint certified was a necessary step in Ayesha’s journey with SwishTag, as was both her and Hammaad’s work with Facebook to create a co-branded certification – the first of its kind in Pakistan. They heavily use Facebook and Instagram’s marketing tools to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) grow. Today, SwishTag is focused on working with more SMBs across the globe to help them make the digital transformation leap.
Ayesha’s journey is one with many twists and turns, but throughout it all she has followed the advice she regularly gives to other women in business:
“Rethink your power, redefine your potential. Constantly learning and trying will take you places, so be persistent in your efforts. You won’t find a great company built by amateurs in a day – every business has a struggle, and that’s what makes them appear as an inspiring success story.”