Payel Mukherjee, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Justwords, is an entrepreneur who is passionate about helping brands grow with the right content marketing strategies. In 2010, she founded Justwords, a Google-award-winning content marketing agency that caters to a business’ online content requirements. Her expertise lies in Content strategy, Content marketing, Digital marketing, and Data-driven storytelling. Payel wants to build a content brand that will become synonymous with content experiences – not just online, but offline too.
In this exclusive piece, Payel writes about how 2020 impacted her personally and professionally, how it made her re-evaluate her thinking and made her more resilient, about how her team and she ‘survived the storm’, and about her plans for 2021. Read on.
The year 2020 was drastic, life-changing and different. It was a year that hit everyone hard and dramatically changed the way we worked and lived.
People lost lives, loved ones, jobs, and in that way 2020 showed us what terrible times look like. It also forced us to re-evaluate the way we usually think, it taught us to appreciate what we have, it taught us to fight back and become more resilient. It reminded us that we need to be grateful for what we have, and made the human race understand it cannot take life for granted.
When you start a business, one of the core things you learn as an entrepreneur is how to fight every circumstance. For every problem that comes your way, you learn to devise a solution; adapt, innovate and emerge from that situation stronger. In a way that challenger mindset is what came in handy for me.
We made several changes in terms of our business practices last year and that should pay off this year. We want to develop more as a specialist agency and invest more in quality talent, who can understand our vision and grow with us: Payel Mukherjee
A stitch in time still saves nine
Justwords, the digital marketing agency that I founded in 2010, obviously was feeling the impact of Covid. There were clients pulling away or cutting down on engagement, businesses shutting shop, CEOs rethinking the way they could hunker down for the storm. Overall it was all gloom and fear and grey.
We knew we had to act quickly to protect the business, cash flow, and change the way we were doing business. We also knew we had to protect our teams, people who have worked with us for years since we knew the alarm bells had stressed out everyone.
In that way, the pandemic taught us that a stitch in time still saves nine. We knew we had to balance the performance of the business with the needs of our people. Biggest of all, we knew there was no option but to fight. We knew we had to stay strong, be patient and resilient and believe that things were going to get better.
Standing in 2021
I feel so grateful that we were able to shift gears and adapt to the changing needs of the business, that we were able to look at the larger vision of why we are doing this and remain unshaken. I feel so thankful that we survived the storm and so did our people. As a business, we emerged stronger, thankful, and definitely, definitely grateful to all those people, especially our clients, who helped us survive.
What did 2020 teach me?
2020 taught me the importance of being patient and understanding of other’s needs. I learnt, if you are fiercely determined about achieving a goal, you will achieve it whatever may be and when you look at the world with that perspective you tend to look at how every obstacle can be turned into an opportunity.
As a leader, it’s very important to know how to stabilise and sail through, since the whole team was dependent on you to make it right. Even in the worst months, not once did we think we had to downsize or shut shop. I learnt that while it was important, to be honest, and transparent with them about the situation, the best way to get everyone to do their best was to keep them positive.
2020 made me realise that I had to give back to society and that we, as a business, had to think more about that. It’s a plan that we want to put into action this year definitely and I feel really good about that: Payel Mukherjee
If there is constant worry in your mind about the doom, you will not be able to deliver your best. So we kept relaying the message from time to time that we would survive this together. And we did, thanks to everyone’s efforts.
Personally, 2020 taught me to be grateful about the people I had in my life – my family and friends, and the time I got to spend with them. I realised that we cannot take relationships for granted. I have such a wonderful set of family and friends and 2020 taught me to pause and reflect on those beautiful relations. I realised I needed to give my parents – on both sides – more time. Same for my friends.
At the same time, there were so many people hurting everywhere which had me thinking about how we could help them. My husband and I tried to do our own bit by contributing to different NGOs that were doing great work but that was so little we felt – like a drop in the ocean.
2020 made me realise that I had to give back to society and that we, as a business, had to think more about that. It’s a plan that we want to put into action this year definitely and I feel really good about that.
Looking ahead into 2021
As an entrepreneur, I look at 2021 with positivity and hope and a lot of more gratefulness for what I do. I had survived tough times when we had started, I knew that endurance pays off. So this time I was better prepared. I want to remember this and walk into the future, feeling sure and confident that I can beat all odds.
We made several changes in terms of our business practices last year and that should pay off this year. We want to develop more as a specialist agency and invest more in quality talent, who can understand our vision and grow with us.
Change can be messy and almost brutal, but my new-found philosophy is to look at the beautiful things that come out of it. That is what I want to embrace in 2021 – look at the beautiful and good things in life and be a more mindful business leader and person.