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MarkAlexander-Erber Pubboy

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established 1997; twelve employees; undisclosed turnover

Mark Alexander-Erber is passionate about things. Things like guns, fast cars, Harley-Davidsons, women and tattoos.

He is not, in short, your average millionaire businessman. Indeed, depending which reports you believe about his Pubboy empire, he may not be a millionaire any more. But even if he's not, his wild ride to

riches was certainly a colourful one.

Alexander-Erber's language is also colour-ful—tending to psychedelic.

By his own admission, 2007 (when he turned thirty-seven) was a horrible year. Everything that could go wrong did, including fire, flood, theft and divorce. No ordinary person could have coped with the things that happened to him in '07, he maintains: 'A normal businessman wouldn't have handled it, there's just no f****** way. They would have ended up in a ball in the corner, in the foetal position, sucking their thumb, on f****** medication.

'I got through because I believe I'm the truest essence of an entrepreneur.

And that's real. I don't give a f*** what anyone says, that's real. I'm real. You cut me, I bleed. Tell me something funny, I laugh. I see something sad, I cry. It's not a f****** show, this is me.

'People don't see that. They see what they want to see.'

I first met Alexander-Erber in his Padding- ton, Sydney, offices a couple of years ago, when Pubboy was on the rampage, with a chain of twenty-six hotels pouring their profits into its owner's denim pockets.

The walls of his lavish home—complete with pool table, motorcycles, pinball machines,

pub baron shrugs off the worst of times 11

super-sized stereo and silly-sized TV and computer screens—were covered with framed articles boasting of his business acumen and his inclusion in BRW's Young Rich List.

To describe him as media friendly would have been like calling Kevin Rudd slightly smug. It's fair to say that he lost a little of his enthusiasm for the press after his relationship with Amber Petty (bridesmaid to Princess Mary of Denmark) became public. A photo of the two at a Pubboy Christmas party, along with an assortment of bikies including Bandidos chief Rodney 'Hooks' Monk (who was later murdered), stirred a media frenzy very different from the kind he'd been used to.

Alexander-Erber gives his bald head a rueful shake and points out that he's never been a member of a bikie gang himself. 'People try and link me to that; it's a media-driven thing,' he says. As the thinking goes, 'I've got tattoos, a goatee and a bald head, and I ride Harleys, so I must be bad, or I must think bad. It's not like that at all. The Israeli ambassador to Australia is a very good friend of mine. He's a magnificent person, but if I hang around with him people don't suddenly say I'm pro-Israel.'

'On the other hand, I will say I would have some of the bikies I know over to my house

before I'd have half the bankers. They're a lot nicer people, and they're real.'

It's unlikely Alexander-Erber has had any of his recent clippings framed for his wall. Those news items carried headlines proclaiming that his empire had collapsed and he was $20 million in debt. It's a subject he'd rather not discuss in detail. But he will admit that at least some of his pubs are in the hands of receivers, reportedly appointed by ANZ Bank, which is said to be owed $10.5 million. 'In 2007, we had a series of events—fires

[the Lawson pub

It was biblical. At one in MudgeeL floods point I looked out the [which trashed three window expecting to see a of his Newcastle plague °f ^ste.} pubs] and robberies,' he says. 'It was biblical. At one point I looked out the window expecting to see a plague of locusts.

'Then my marriage broke down, which was tough. I had a series of things that forced me to restructure.

What I'd like to say is that all the reports that have come out about me have been absolute bull****. We haven't gone bust at all.

'I've restructured. I made a decision to work with the banks. We didn't go bust for $20 million; I'm working with administrators and receivers to restructure the group. Some will be sold to

pub baron shrugs off the worst of times 13

pay off the bank debt. I'm hoping to do some kind of deal to get some of the pubs back and keep moving forward and fixing up all creditors.'

To most people that sounds like an unmitigated nightmare, yet Alexander-Erber says he's 'so happy and so excited' about what's happened he can barely put his feelings into words. 'All this has made me refocus and look at my life and what I want. It gets to the point where you think: "How many cars do you want? How many flash houses do you want to live in?" I've always been spiritual, but I got lost along the way. Now I'm finding I've got time to sit and reflect on where I went wrong.'

What would tip some people into depression or worse is to him a valuable life lesson: 'I don't look at anything as going wrong; I look at it as an experience. I've definitely been let down by people who worked closely with me, and I take responsibility for that. I trusted them too much. I thought they knew what they were doing, and they didn't. It's been an amazing experience, and anyone who counts me out would be foolish.'

Alexander-Erber's eye is still on the future, but it's a calmer, saner future: 'The way I'm going to set things up is going to set me up for the rest of my life. I'm meeting some incredible, spiritual people who are supporting me. I'm excited about that. I'm very fortunate to be learning this lesson at an early age. And I'm certainly not on the bones of my arse.'

Although his flamboyant tattoos—'Live life your own way' covers his back—suggest he crawled up off the mean streets, Alexander-Erber grew up in Vaucluse and was schooled at Sydney Grammar and Cranbrook, where one of his classmates was James Packer.

However, he didn't enjoy 'the confines of school' and left halfway through Year 12 to attend catering college.

In 1985 he took a job at the Regent Hotel in George Street. He stayed there until 1997, when he bought his first pub, the Iron Duke. His Pubboy empire grew and grew until he hit millionaire status 'on paper' in 2003. But if that came as a surprise to some, for him it was merely the culmination of a lifetime of entrepreneurial effort. 'My whole life I was making money: washing cars at weekends, doing up cars, various things,' he says.

'From very early, I trained my mind with affir-mations and visualisations. When I was fifteen, I'd get up every morning saying: "I am a multimil-lionaire, I drive a Rolls and I live in a waterfront house." Although those things weren't in my life yet, I trained my mind to think like that and to believe that. Once you believe it, it manifests itself and it happens.'

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Источник: Nick Gardner. How. I made-.my first million. 26 self-made millionaires reveal the secrets to their success. 2010

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