“I got rejected multiple times and money was a big issue, now I represent multimillionaires” – Matthew Alexander
We at BoxHuman take time to celebrate humans who are inspiring, helping, and bringing light within the world. We do this in order to rebalance some of the negative messages we often hear, see, and receive on a daily basis. We met up with one of these amazing individuals…
Hi Matthew, it’s so good to meet you. Let’s get started! Can you please tell us a little bit about you and what you do?
I own a PR agency called Repp Media that specialises in Personal Publicity and Crisis Management. We enhance and protect the reputation of international talent within the mainstream media.
I like to think of it as creating fires (securing interviews and opportunities for clients in the media) and putting fires out (liaising with the press to minimise/eliminate reputation damage)
Wow, that sounds very exciting and interesting! What a great way to start this interview! So that we can find out a bit more about what you do, can you please tell us how and why you become a celebrity PR Agent- What inspired you to do this and why?
After university, where I had a short stint at PR, I was a cocktail pianist onboard ships. Along with this, I was in charge of promoting the entertainment onboard.
After a year I was given the opportunity to help with a music campaign at a reputable PR firm in Buckinghamshire. Not knowing much about PR, I was shown the ropes by a few industry professionals in the company…
After a year of enjoying the excitement of PR, I asked to be put on a few bigger accounts where I would be challenged. I stayed at the firm for nearly 5 years trying to learn and absorb all I could.
I started to realise that PR played such an integral part in our client’s lives and we were actually creating opportunities and exposure for people who had amazing talents and did amazing things.
This is what inspired me. I started freelancing in the evenings and weekends, doing odd pieces of coverage here and there for musicians and people within the entertainment industry. After six months of doing this, I had built up the confidence to take the leap of faith and start my own PR agency.
That’s very interesting! As with anything, especially when dealing with people’s reputations it can have its positives and negatives. Can you tell us about any hurdles or challenges you faced when setting up your PR firm and why you think this happened?
The first big issue I faced was money.
How was I going to make a sustainable income that could cover all my outgoings such as rent and bills? I only had £1000 to my name but I think the sudden realisation that I needed money gave me the motivation and push to succeed at all costs.
I was up every day in my ‘homemade’ office by 7.30 am and wouldn’t finish until 6 pm. I was very strict with myself, I gave myself two 15 minute breaks and 45 minutes for lunch. I cut back on going out, seeing friends, and buying things I didn’t need. I ended up having to sell a few things and maxed out my credit card to stay afloat as I refused to be defeated.
I was sending out emails to anyone and everyone who could potentially need a PR agent. I would send around 250 emails a day (that’s how much my email server would allow me at the time) and then follow up with them 3 days later.
There was an uncomfortable amount of rejection in the first two months, however, I knew I only needed one client to give me a chance. A risky move however when I landed that first client, I knew I could leverage it to gain others.
Learning about tax and corporation tax was never going to be fun. I made sure I was clued up enough to know the basics and then I hired an accountant to help me with the rest. It was money well spent! I also found that working face to face with clients you begin to learn how to manage certain personalities.
I have never had a client I didn’t truly believe in or didn’t like. It’s important for me to make sure I have as much faith in them as they do in me. Naturally, you don’t get it right every time.
I once represented a multimillionaire entrepreneur/investor type figure who wanted some coverage in the UK. A national tabloid wanted to do a video interview and my client agreed however due to the time difference my client forgot that the interview was going to be quite late in the evening. They answered the FaceTime call whilst on a night out and was surrounded by naked women and using various substances…
The following day the client asked for the video not to be published and thought sending me a 6-figure sum into my bank account would keep the video from being released into the public! I explained this isn’t how we do business and transferred to money back immediately.
The client took offense to this and threatened to send people to where I work (he had found my address) to chop off my hands and that I had made a huge mistake.
Luckily, after a few weeks of looking over my shoulder, we eventually made up however I learned a big lesson when dealing with such eccentric personalities!
“ It is an amazing feeling knowing you are helping someone become who they want to be” – Matthew Alexander
WOW! Just when we thought that it couldn’t get any more interesting! So what do you think people should learn or take from your story?
I threw myself into the deep end quite quickly, so I was learning lessons all the time. I think the big lesson I learned was that adopting a more aggressive business personality helped me secure clients and coverage.
I was taken much more seriously rather than being treated as ‘the new kid on the block’. The confidence I had in myself and my company was reflected in my work. I was lucky enough to have attended an after Oscars party in Beverly Hills in February and I learned so much by simply talking to people who had also adopted this mindset. You can’t afford to be shy or be afraid to fail, you just need to go out and own it.
It sounds very cliché to say this however having confidence in yourself and your own ability is extremely underrated. I surround myself with people who share my enthusiasm and have goals of their own. It’s extremely infectious. There is also no right way to do things, you can read and watch all the motivational content that is out there, however it will only help you so much.
Sit down, focus, and do it.
Very inspiring and some great advice! After a humble start to your PR career is there any particular moment or memory that stands out for you now that you have become successful and why?
There have been quite a few stand out moments.
My work has allowed me to travel the world to some extraordinary places, New York, Dubai, LA, Monaco however a standout moment for me was when I was flown from London to Australia first-class…. for a party.
This wasn’t any old party, a client had over 1000 people walk into their mansion and hosted one of the most spectacular events I had ever seen. I was given a chauffeur for the week and had a hotel room with panoramic sea views.
The food and drink were free, and I was taken care of every step of the way. I had done a lot of work for them in the past and this was their way of saying thank you.
PR does come with plenty of stresses however it does have some perks! In some way, I was just as fulfilled when I signed my first client. It was a testament to what hard work can achieve. I had proven to myself that I can do this and it can work.
What a great and inspiring business success story! So Matthew what would you say inspires you on a daily basis and why?
I find when you have a pool of clients who rely on you and depend on you for certain things the pressure can sometimes become overwhelming. However, it is an amazing feeling knowing you are helping someone become who they want to be.
Every day I feel lucky to be in the position that I am, then I realise that I have worked pretty hard to be here. That’s what inspires me. The fact that I know I can achieve it if I put my mind to it. (That wasn’t meant to sound as pretentious as it did!)
Thank you for sharing an insight into the world of celebrity PR Matthew, we appreciate it. ‘Without action, it will always be a dream’ (We got what you meant!).
Last but not least… A BoxHuman is an empowered individual. They will not be defined by society’s labels. They show the better qualities of humankind, such as strength, kindness, and inspiration. Can you please tell us what makes you a BoxHuman?
I think what makes me BoxHuman is partly my resilience, in my line of work you have to deal with rejection 90% of the time!
I also try to help anyone I can or need a bit of guidance, even if it’s just giving them the email of a journalist. “Being kind to one another costs nothing and realistically it takes less than 30 seconds of my time.”
It’s sometimes hard to see however it’s an exciting time in our world, we are creating innovative and groundbreaking technology, we have people standing up and challenging the status quo, we are witnessing more entrepreneurs than ever before. It’s amazing to be a part of and I would encourage anyone who has the same ambition to do it. You will be fine.
“Thank you Matthew”
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