I can’t believe I’ve been this lucky for this long!
For me, creating a business, building a team and caring for clients always felt like real privilege. It was also a massive responsibility with many moments – if not long periods – of self-doubt, insecurity, confusion, anxiety and downright fear.
There was plenty of all of that over the 27 years of running de Winter PR!  Most of us starting a business know what we want to achieve for it – and ourselves – and how we want to feel when we get home at night.

I now know that I’m not the only one who lost sight of all of that and gradually became overwhelmed by the pressures of keeping employees, clients and suppliers happy, delivering the work at the right time and quality, sending the invoice and paying the mortgage.

I was making a living but not making a life. Worse still, I didn’t feel I was making a difference.

There was negativity, frustration and a lack of fulfilment. I was spending too much time at night awake, anxious for no particular reason and starting each day feeling ill at ease. There was a feeling that there was something missing in life, something didn’t feel quite right.


Sound familiar? It’s certainly the shared experience of a number of agency and other business owners that I’ve been working with lately.



They too lost sight of their dream, lost touch with what inspired them to start their business in the first place, and lost their sense of personal and corporate direction.

their sense of excitement gave way to niggles, doubts, dissatisfaction and restlessness, a loss of confidence and even strained relationships.

despite the profit, reputation, the house, the car and the holidays, they didn’t feel fulfilled or ‘successful’.


That state of affairs has a real knock-on effect on the business. After all, when owners and leaders no longer have total clarity on their business and personal goals, what are their teams supposed to believe in or strive for?
Disengagement of that kind usually results in loss of morale, impaired performance, high staff turnover and reputational issues, all of which jeopardise the very sustainability of the business.

Hems De Winter

That was me….

I did something about it. I succeeded in swapping mediocrity for meaning and replacing disappointment with fulfillment.

With help, I transformed my small, parochial lifestyle PR business into a multi-award-winning agency with global clients, European representation, offices in three cities – and authentic, sustainable longevity. The agency is fast approaching its 30th anniversary.

Those were some of the outcomes of what we did. It’s how we went about achieving them that was the exciting and rewarding bit.