TBB Talks to … PJ Murray

PJ Murray is a businessman, entrepreneur and founder of the PJM Trust, a London-based charity which provides services to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

He is also the founder of Pride magazine, and worked closely with Channel U which later went on to propel the UK urban music scene to the mainstream. His memoir Self Made is a painfully honest and inspirational chronicle of his life from a juvenile teen to a mature and successful businessman.

Tell us who you are and what you do

I’m a family man, Black-British of Jamaican parents; a product of the Windrush era. I run a successful business called Insolvency and Law, and am the founder of the PJM Trust, a charity that I independently finance to support voluntary groups and individuals who provide services to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in London.

What inspired you to write your autobiography?

Writing my biography has been on my bucket list for the past 10 or more years. I want to share my life’s journey with others as I truly believe they can be inspired and uplifted by my story.

You describe your life up to this point as being eventful. In what way has this been?

My life from birth has been like a rollercoaster of ups and downs. It started with absent education, being a juvenile gangster, a teenage father at 14 and repeated incarceration. Then I became a successful salesman, financial services star performer and I was a millionaire by the age of 25 with an impressive property portfolio. I then lost it within a year. I went into media publishing and launched Pride magazine where we interviewed Oprah Winfrey and met, among others, the Hollywood actor Danny Glover.

In the book I talk about the impact of losing my mother when I was 27 and what it was like to have never really known my father. My life has been very dark at times. My daughter committed suicide, I somehow got caught up in a murder investigation, I dabbled in witchcraft but returned to my faith in God. I’ve also battled severe depression.

Professionally I’ve set up other businesses, one of which grossed £1.4 in less than a year. Some weren’t so successful and I fell on hard times and faced home repossession due to non-payment of my mortgage.

I’ve travelled the world, and lived in Hong Kong for a while. I also started my own charity, PJM Trust, funded entirely by me and I became a multi-millionaire again. So I haven’t led a conventional 9 to 5 life, but it’s certainly been colorful.

PJ Murray

What was the key turning point in your life, that allowed you to escape the cycle of criminality and incarceration?

A close friend of mine turned to me one day when we were in jail together and announced he was giving up on criminality, which he did. In fact, he went on to become a very successful actor. At the time, I didn’t understand why he wanted to go straight, but eventually I was inspired by people like him and others in our circle who turned their lives around. Besides, I was convinced criminality and incarceration would lead to mental illness, which is one of my greatest fears.

How have your life experiences shaped you?

For the better. They’ve made me a more grounded person with integrity, ambitious, industrious, determined, tolerant and appreciative.

You played an integral role in the development of two pioneering media projects one of which was Pride magazine. Tell us about them and how/why you got involved?

The idea for Pride came to me whilst on a boat one day in Jamaica. At the time, business was good and I was running another publication for the high-end hotel market in the UK. Without giving away too much of the story; prior to being in Jamaica I had a conversation with a few ladies in America who questioned why I wasn’t “doing anything for my community”. That led to some soul searching, and ultimately was the inspiration behind creating a magazine for black women.

My involvement in Channel U [later known as Channel AKA] is also an interesting one, and fueled the UK’s urban music scene into an independent force of substance, which eventually entered the mainstream. You’ll have to read the book to find out more about that story!

Looking back over your life, what are you proudest of?

That’s easy, my children. But professionally it’s my current business Insolvency & Law, which has been running for a decade now. Founding Pride is also a highlight.

What single piece of advice would you give to someone who is trying to meet their goals in life?

Be truthful to yourself, always take good counsel from others, have belief in what you are doing and remain steadfastly persistent through thick and thin times.

Who and/or what inspires you?

I am inspired by my children; providing for them and seeing their success.

What’s the main ‘take home message from Self Made?

Within reason, you can be who you want to be provided you are prepared to pay the price – sacrifice.

Self-Made by P J Murray is available on Amazon and from all major book retailers. Find out more and purchase it here.

Read TBB’s Out Of 100 review of Self Made here.


Latest articles

Related articles