Porsches are sometimes called ‘bookend’ cars. You buy one at the first hint of disposable income coming your way and sell it when spouse, house and family come calling. Then a decade or two or three goes by. Just as you get a sense that life may be passing you by, you convince yourself that you’ve once again earned a Porsche. Maybe even a red one.
Now imagine a life where the Porsche obsession takes hold early, in the usual way, but then you get to indulge that passion all the time for a living. This is Phil Raby’s world.
Although Raby convincingly claims he never specifically planned his life this way, outwardly it sure looks like it. Discovering that his early, default career choice of marine electronics engineer simply wasn’t for him, he returned to art college to study photography and soon landed his first job at EOS, a photography magazine. There he was able to pursue his passion for photography, design, writing and eventually leading teams of people to produce top quality printed journals.
With a growing reputation and a body of work to which he could refer, there came a time when he knew an important personal milestone was within his grasp. He took the bold step of writing an unsolicited letter to the UK-based quarterly 911 and Porsche World with an offer to provide his services. Perhaps surprisingly, the publisher eventually wrote back with the offer of a job. Raby contributed a lot to building it into a mature, monthly publication with a robust and growing readership. He did this by routinely driving fast, fantastic cars and capturing them in artfully crafted words and pictures.
Phil was far from being done and felt that there was some creative instinct not yet satisfied. His response was to co-found, edit and publish Total 911 magazine which reflected not only his design sense for what a high end car magazine should look like, but also satisfied an entrepreneurial streak. After launching and growing it successfully, he sold Total 911 but continued to edit the magazine as it entered the digital age.
All the while he was nurturing a kernel of a new business. It turns out helping out friends buy and sell Porsches was a tidy little business as well, which ultimately became Philip Raby Porsche, a boutique, pre-owned Porsche dealership. He has not abandoned his core passion however — far from it — as he contributes a regular monthly column and other articles to GT Porsche magazine.
Most recently he has written a new book, Save Your Life, where he has tried to capture his ‘unplanned plan’ for work/life balance – or as he prefers to call it work/leisure balance. With the enviable life that Phil Raby has led so far, it’s advice we would all do well to heed.