All about Julia Chanteray
If you’re thinking about getting some business advice from me, Julia Chanteray, or working with me as your business coach, you probably want to know some more about me.
Julia Chanteray – business geek
I’ve been running businesses in one shape or another since I was 24. I’m 56 now, so I’ve been around the block a few times to find out what works and what doesn’t. I’ve run all kinds of businesses, from setting up social enterprises, running a web hosting company, and a management training agency. In 2001, I moved from Edinburgh to Brighton and set up the Joy of Business.
People describe me as a business geek, and I’m always reading and learning about management and business. I find it fascinating. And I love being able to pass on what I’ve learnt to my clients.
I’m equally at home looking at the financial side of the business, challenging my clients by setting targets for improving gross margin, and answering odd questions about the treatment of VATable expenses. But I also like to put more money into my clients business bank accounts by supporting clients to get their marketing right.
My specialist subjects
I’m an all-around business advisor, so I don’t have a particular sector that I specialise in. Which keeps things interesting when you’ve been doing this for 20+years, as I get all kinds of clients selling fascinating things. I do have a few specialist areas I love working on, especially helping people with productising over at Adventures in Products.
I’m a big fan of what small businesses can achieve through online marketing and spend a lot of time keeping myself up to date with this. So, I can advise clients on how to use this to bring in more business.
I’ve become known for giving strategic advice about shares in small businesses, and I regularly give talks about the right pricing strategies for small businesses, based on my book, Sweetspot Pricing. Most of my clients want to become more effective and productive, so I do a lot of work on personal productivity and automating business processes.
Julia Chanteray – author
As well as obsessively reading business books, I’ve written two myself. The first Tales of Everyday Business Folk is a long short story about Katherine, who accidentally sets up a business when she gets made redundant. The second is Sweetspot Pricing, a guide to setting the right price for small businesses.
I write regularly on my award-winning blog, and I am always looking for quality blogs and magazines to publish my writing. I’m well known for my business stories, the tips, ideas and little stories I send out each week by email. You can get this exclusive content which I don’t publish on the blog here.
Julia Chanteray – TV, radio and public speaking
I used to do a lot of training and facilitating, but don’t do this as much anymore. I regularly get asked to speak on business issues on TV (here’s me on Channel 4 News talking about tax policy) and I’ve been featured on Radio 4. No money in that, but it’s always fun.
I also speak at business conferences, in Brighton and across the UK. Here’s me at the Life.Time.Value conference in 2017. Here’s how to book me to speak at your business conference.
Julia Chanteray – my backstory
Here’s a brief synopsis of my life so far.
Born in Birmingham, went to school, read obsessively from an early age. Did double maths, physics and chemistry at A-level with some crazy idea that I would be a civil engineer. Although I still love modernist architecture and cool bridges, I changed my mind. Went to Essex University to study Politics and then Sociology under the false idea that this would help me to understand how the world works.
Moved to Edinburgh in 1988 and worked for Edinburgh District Council, which I hated, but I loved Edinburgh and ended up getting a much better job working on a large-scale regeneration project in Craigmillar. This was where I started my MBA and first learnt about setting up businesses, kind of by accident, as a way of creating jobs in a very deprived community.
I then got poached by a (then) friend to work in the private sector to be Operations Director at a fast-growing web hosting company. That was an extreme learning curve in how to grow a company at a crazy unsustainable rate in the middle of the dot-com boom in 1999. I gave a talk on this many years later, and the lessons I learnt along the way. You can hear the ups and downs of this a little more here. Starts at 5.33.
That all ended up with a failed IPO and the company, which had been valued at 48m, being sold for a pound. Which was a shame as I owned 10%, so lost 4.8m. Still working on making that back.
Meanwhile, I met the love of my life, and we ran away to travel the world. We came back, and I did some freelancing and consultancy, and then I moved to Brighton.
I set up a management training company, which did quite well, but it wasn’t the work I wanted to be doing.
In the meantime, people kept asking me for help with their small businesses, which I enjoyed far more than training managers in bigger companies. I changed the business name to the Joy of Business and haven’t looked back since. I’ll probably still be doing this for another 20 years; it’s the best job in the world.
Why this is the best job in the world
I love doing this. Why?
I love it because the world of business is fascinating. There are so many facets to it, so many things to try out, levers to pull, and all the bits are interconnected. And there’s so much to learn; there’s always a new approach or a new tactic to test out. I love the feeling of thinking hard about a client’s problems and working out the best way forward.
And, of course, I love the feeling that I can help people to make a successful business. I get a real thrill out of seeing an old client and finding out the impact of applying the strategy we put together.
This happened to me recently when I ran into a client from 10 years ago. He’d just paid off his mortgage and was still doing the “new” service I’d suggested to bring in all that time ago. He’d made a decent living, supported his family while the kids were growing up, and he’d worked with lots of clients who loved what he does.
I believe that everyone is entitled to make good money (there’s certainly enough in the world to go around) and enjoy the process of building a business. That’s why my unofficial strapline is:
Helping people to make more money and have more fun
Julia Chanteray – the other bits of my life
But what do you do the rest of the time, when you’re not being a business geek?
Well, I live in Brighton and cycle up the big hill (Elm Grove) on my electric bike. I cook for friends, and they seem to enjoy my Indian and Thai food.
In my spare time, I go right up Elm Grove to the top of my allotment, which keeps my stress levels down. I read a lot of fiction, usually with two or three novels on the go at the same time as a business book and drink some beer, normally a tasty dark ale or stout if you’re buying. I go to gigs and wonder if I’m the oldest person there, but usually, see someone who’s probably older than me.
Exploring the country in my campervan is one of my favourite retreats, which entails lots of trips with the same person I met in 1999. We do a lot of hill walking and outdoor stuff, usually interspersed with a spa day at a fancy hotel. I’m working on building in more trips and becoming more location independent with my business, but that’s a slow work in progress.
I do pro bono work with the Green Party, including chairing the party wide Holistic Review and helping with fundraising.