I wouldn’t say it’s been a particularly easy journey over the past decade, since I left journalism and set up on my own. But nothing good ever comes easily.

I developed a stammer when I was aged six or so. I distinctly remember laughing about it with my older brother when it first came on, but as you might imagine having it definitely hampered my social and educational progress as a child and as a young adult, personally and professionally. Over the years my mum had tried all sorts of remedies – speech therapy, spiritual healers, and the like – none of it really worked.

It’s largely better now, having balanced itself out as I’ve got older. If you’re interested, it’s about the left and the right sides of the brain not working together properly. I used to literally not be able to start my run-up, to put one foot in front of the other, when I was practising rugby conversions. But try and imagine applying for work experience or jobs (before the days of the internet) when you had a crippling fear of picking up the telephone! Even now, aged 41, I still find standing up in front of a room of people, notably at networking events, pretty intimidating.

And still, like many of us (especially those who write for a living) I’d say I’m a fairly introspective person. In the past I’ve been prone to doubt and a lack of self-confidence. Part of the reason I’ve done so much sport is I’ve found physical exercise helps maintain my emotional balance and focus. Without it, I struggle to get anything done.

So at a time when identity, direction and purpose seem to be topical themes, rest assured that we all have our battles to overcome. Life’s not easy for anybody and you’re pretty lucky indeed if you haven’t had to grapple with these things at some point. However in my view it’s misguided to see yourself as defined by these issues. It’s the choices we make, how we deal with our problems, that says who you are.

That’s why I’m so proud about this rebrand. It’s been a challenging journey but this is the realisation of an ambition as well as a platform for the future. In the past decade I’ve lost very close family in tragic circumstances, I’ve single-handedly (supported by Charlotte) generated enough business to support a growing household – it’s been pressurised, and stressful. And to make it work I have intentionally put myself outside my comfort zone over and over again. We’ve moved a young family around the West Country, finding somewhere to settle which ticked as many possible boxes for the life I want us to lead, now and in the future. It might look like an easy life from the outside. But anyone who’s run their own business will know how hard it’s been.

In fact I want to pay doff my cap to all those people who live through this life of self-employment or running their own businesses – mostly we’re in the the ‘squeezed middle’, quietly getting on with things, working hard, contributing our bit to society and UK Plc, supporting our families while carrying around burdens of responsibility which are incomprehensible to many people.

So anyway, when I was devising this new brand I debated for ages with the concept over actions vs words. I’m very much a doer rather than a talker, even though I churn out words for a living and believe in the power of writing.

How to reconcile? Well, as my older editor used to say: “If in doubt, leave it out.” So I did! I focused instead on helping the unrepresented, effecting change, maybe upsetting the apple cart a bit. And I guess I want my organisation to represent businesses which walk the walk, as well as talking a good game. What Turn the Tables will do is accurately articulate and promote the positive actions of others, definitely not try to make things seem better than they are.

In general I can’t stand empty rhetoric or misplaced bluster, and there’s a major connotation in the PR industry with fluff, exploitation of clients lack of understanding of the media. We’re about offering something better, so this new brand is all about positive action from our clients and from us, a focus on results and on quality of service.

As an aside, this concept of positive action is really relevant from a professional perspective but it reaches out widely. I know I’m not alone in deploring the negativity and empty noisiness which tends to dominate our media landscape, especially at the moment. That’s probably why I’ve developed my agency as a business-to-business specialist – I’ve found there’s more scope for productive discussion in this space. And it’s worth remembering that, although it might seem otherwise, the echo chambers of social media are far from representative of the full spectrum of society.

Once I was obsessed with my life meaning something. Ironically, it’s now as the founder an agency which publicises for other businesses that I can make my mark on the world. Of course I want Turn the Tables to achieve something. We’re already making genuine change in the business world through our client work and I’d like to carry on developing a portfolio full of businesses which can turn the tables on the industry status quo, stir things up a bit and make the world a better place.

But at the same time I think a sense of gratitude, humility and perspective – in life and in business – is really healthy, not only physically but mentally and spiritually too. And doesn’t the world need a bit of that these days…

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Rupert and Charlotte Janisch launch Turn the Tables

A former journalist is marking a successful decade in business by launching a virtual agency, offering remote public relations to dynamic, innovative companies in the South West and beyond.

Since the summer of 2010, Rupert Janisch has provided independent PR support to a range of businesses in Bristol, the South West, the Midlands and around the UK.

Working alongside his wife Charlotte, the couple have established their own successful Bristol-based company, for the past four years working remotely and travelling when necessary from the family home in North Devon to meet clients.

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