When I grow up – which I estimate to be at some point in my 50s the end goal is to have a wonderful little wine shop in a gorgeous town in Kent. It won’t be huge but if I get the right place it will be big enough to have a couple of tables and chairs in the shop itself and a nice little yard at the back for about another six to eight people. Maybe a bit like my favourite Planet of the Grapes in Leadenhall Market (I’ve nicked their photo). I’ll spend my life travelling around, unearthing incredible wines which I will sell in my shop either for people to take away or have at the shop before or after a dinner.
The shop will be called Rex’s. It’s in honour of my best friend – he’s four legged but since getting him two years ago my life has fundamentally changed for the better and despite the fact he’s only three and we have years left ahead of us I reckon he’s already been the biggest positive impact on my adult life. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog it’s because of him that I am a calmer person, more reasoned and ultimately getting him made me realise I didn’t want to spend 10 hours a day in an office – and so I left. Not only that – Rex means ‘King’; the strongest, the most superior, most powerful – regal. And in my opinion it’s also actually just a great name for a cool little shop/bar. “Where are you off to tonight? Fancy Rex’s?” Yes. Exactly. I’m there.
So it comes to pass that I now need to set up my own company. I am more than delighted to be working with my first client in the wine industry – it really feels like my plans are working!! I have known them for some time; and love their ethos so it’s an incredible pleasure for me to take this on and help them. But of course to be paid I need to set up a company and choose a name. And I spent some considerable time debating that.
Because… although I left the corporate life to combine a career of comms and wine I have spent some time recently also wondering whether I could still help other industries. When I came back from Borneo I had an idea about helping relatively small companies with their employee value propositions; for the uninitiated this jargon phrase in effect means; ‘What offering should you give to retain and attract brilliant people?’ For one reason or another (see ‘how did I get here Part 1’) I was unable to do this. But there’s no reason why I still couldn’t – because I still do love doing comms – regardless of the industry.
And I have to be honest with myself. I am not a known person in ‘wine’. I am going to have to ‘sell sell sell’ to wine clients – something a little out of my comfort zone – but it’s going to be a necessity if I want this career – which I most definitely do. It’s a busy time for those British vineyards right now – harvest has happened and they’re on the lead up to Christmas sales. You could argue now would be the right time to charge right in and support; but the people I want to work with are small and are probably horrendously busy to spend an hour with me. I also can’t break any GDPR laws!! So in my head I feel that Jan / Feb is the best time to get out to that world.
So maybe for a little bit my bread and butter income has got to come from what I know best and that’s change and engagement. There are some terrific companies out there who literally farm you out work in this field that you just do at home. I have some terrific contacts still doing this for a living who need freelancers. If I can get some of the bread and butter in then I can relax a little and spend that extra time really investing on the wine side which is what I would love to do 100%.
I feel like I worry about what other people will think a bit. I made a big ‘hoo ha’ about leaving the corporate life to follow my passion for wine. That passion hasn’t changed in any way shape or form and I already have my first wine client – within just 4 months. But I accept that actually I may have to go outside the wine industry as well and actually I am ok with doing that (so why I am worried about what other people think is beyond me…)
So… whilst I would love to use ‘uncorking the finer things’ as my new company name it won’t really make sense to a SME (small medium sized company) outside of wine. So I’ve gone for ‘Rex Communication Services Limited’. I feel it’s good to honour the boy now and references to ‘the strongest and powerful’ is a good thing for comms.
Just want to make one thing clear though. I am still never working in a corporate office again.