Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and nutrition but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jamie Raftery, Founder of Holistic Chef Academy - Life On Plants, located in Thalang, Phuket, Thailand.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Holistic Chef Academy is the parent company of 'Life On Plants'. Life On Plants Phuket is our plant-based meal program service providing signature and custom meal programs for our guests all over Phuket Island.

Our guests are a mix of people wanting to get healthier, reverse dis-ease, lose weight, or strengthen up for athletic performance. Life On Plants online is a meal prep membership that provides recipes, resources, and support for home cooks to transition to a healthier way of cooking and eating at home.

Tell us about yourself

Hi, my name is Jamie Raftery from Galway in the West of Ireland. I left school at 15 to become a chef. At 18, I immigrated and went on a worldwide culinary adventure. Currently, I'm living in Thailand, exploring this vast culinary Kingdom. I did my apprenticeships with Gordon Ramsay and Thomas Keller throughout my 20's. At the age of 33, I had burnout from overworking.

In 2015 traveled through Denmark and Thailand, exploring local cuisines. Throughout this time, I decided to leave behind my quest for Michelin Stars, and I started cooking for health and fulfillment. This was when The Holistic Chef was born - a new way of looking at food and life.

The last 7 years as a Holistic Chef have been an educational journey taking me on all sorts of fun and challenging adventures. As The Holistic Chef, my mantra became: Educate - Inspire - Empower.
Introducing more people to healthy food and making a positive impact in their lives is what motivates me every day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishments are the positive impact I make on my guest's life.
Either by providing healthy food, introducing new cooking techniques, or sharing a memorable experience.

Staying in business is also a great accomplishment! I approach the business world as a marathon - not a sprint. Opening a company in Thailand has also been a great accomplishment.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The uncertainty! You never know what is around the corner. I'm still learning to embrace this uncertainty.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. START - The best way to learn about business is to be in business. If you wait until you are ready, it may be too late.
  2. CONNECT - Meet other people in your sector. Network and connect. Do favors for other people and make introductions whenever you can. It's a small world; your reputation is important. Aim to build win-win relationships.
  3. PACE - It's a marathon, not a sprint. Look after your health, social life, friends, and family. It's too easy to work all day and every day on developing your business. Stepping away, taking time out, and pursuing your hobbies will give you good balance and stamina for running your business.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Invest in your team. Your team is everything. Finding and retaining the right team members will be key to your success. Oversee all finances for your business on a daily/weekly basis. Maintaining positive cash flow, managing your profit margins, and understanding how your company's financial health is performing are part of a solid foundation.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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