We talked to Deepika Bahri of Antraajaal about providing employment opportunities to women, and she had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Deepika Bahri: Covid was challenging for all of us initially, but we learned to deal with it by taking necessary precautions. We did not shut our operations even for a single day. We worked from home only for 10 days and resumed our regular routine thereafter. The only challenge was to manage home and office parallelly. The schools were off, so the kids were at home, and we had to manage both office and home. We maintained a healthy balance to do justice to both.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Antraajaal.
Deepika Bahri: I started my journey while I was quite young. I was quite enterprising since I was in school. I started to assist my tuition teacher when I was merely in class 12. The students were very fond of me as I was just one year older than them. I taught accounts, economics, and business studies. This helped me in starting my career officially as a school teacher, teaching classes 10, 11, and 12th when I was just 21. I got married in the same year and shifted to Jammu. However, my in-laws supported me to continue my graduation and then post-graduation and also pursue my career as a teacher. I joined Heritage School in Jammu, and then there was no looking back. I was blessed with a daughter when I was 24 and a son at the age of 25.
The journey continued smoothly, and soon I became the coordinator for classes 1 to 5. In the year 2013, we got posted to Chandigarh. I joined DPS as a vice principal. I also started making videos for MDC Based company for their youtube channel. Soon digital pulled me in. I was so fascinated that I quit my job and did a digital marketing course. Then I decided to start my own company by the name of Antraajaal. By this time, I had tasted success and was satisfied with the work I had done. Now was the time to relax and think ahead. Now was the time to give back to the world.
Antraajaal was started with the intention of providing employment opportunities to women. I started with content curation. I was a one (wo)man army and handled content for few agencies based in Chandigarh, Mohali, and Delhi. My work became popular, and I hardly got time. Then I decided to stop working for these agencies and start giving solutions directly to the consumers. When demand grew, I hired a girl from a famous institute and trained her. There was no looking back. Currently, I have 15 employees working with me.
My husband, Jagmeet Singh Bahri, joined the business in 2019. Now, we are looking after this venture together.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Deepika Bahri: Coronavirus brought a revolution in the digital marketing world. Before corona, we would insist people to adopt the new methods of advertising and forget about traditional marketing. Corona proved us correct, and our clients started shifting towards digital.
Some clients faced certain difficulties due to a shortage of labour or raw material. We stood by them, and we sailed through it gracefully. The only challenge that comes our way is Human Resource. Post-pandemic, people are not ready to come out of their comfort zone and work. We had to hire a few people because of the rising demand for digital marketing and branding.
“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Deepika Bahri: Of course, it was a testing time for all of us. In Fact, the whole world. When the pandemic started, we saw a drop in our business, but we decided to pay full salary to all our employees. One of the tough decisions that I remember was putting scanners on the computers of our employees. We could see and monitor their work, but at the same time, it was a check on their activities as well.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Deepika Bahri: Luckily, we don’t have any competitors. Nobody can offer the price and the work that we do. We are very transparent. We believe in building long term relations.
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