The San Jose born Tim Cheung, notably known as @bayarea.foodies on socials, sat down with us and openly talked about how he managed to become one of the most well-known food influencers in the San Francisco area simply by leveraging his innate passion for food.
Tim started out food blogging on Instagram in early 2015. At that time there weren’t that many other food bloggers/influencers in the scene. His initial mission was to highlight and boost exposure for local mom-and-pop restaurants. Tim started out simply taking photos of restaurants and their most delicious food with his phone camera to soon realize that his social media followers loved his work. His audience rapidly grew, indeed. As time went on, he invested in this side business purchasing better equipment and learning how to take and edit professional-level photos.
Once he realized he could be doing this as a career, he dedicated all his time to his brand dropping out from Oregon State University to pursue full-time entrepreneurship. Soon after he started offering photography and consultation services to restaurants that he genuinely liked and from there, his business steadily grew through word of mouth and referrals. When we sat with Tim, we immediately realized how genuine and passionate he is about his whole career of his. Here some questions we asked him.
Despite the young age and a successful track record, what is the biggest lesson learned ?+
The biggest lesson about food blogging or any other career you want to pursue is that consistency is the key to any form of success. During my 5 years of being a food blogger, I noticed a lot of people around me eventually gave up, sooner or later, because they didn’t see the results they expected on social media. I learned that once you find a strategy for growth, you just need to be patient and keep at it in the long run. Always have a long term objective and never lose sight of it. Patience is very important. Even a tiny drop of water eventually will hollow a stone.
And what about your biggest success or turning point? That moment that you thought, for the first time, “Wow, this is happening!”.
Business-wise, my biggest success was getting my first big-named client for a consultation work in the food space. This allowed me to gain invaluable experience and rapidly kick-start my business. My biggest success in food blogging was when I first got viral on TikTok. It was just crazy. During that viral momentum, I received tens of millions of views on my videos and my brand got a lot of recognition almost overnight. That spark made me proud on one hand and even more determined to achieve more on the other. And the local recognition that followed even helped me get invited as a guest on radio shows, podcasts, and local events.
You are young and you have a life ahead of you but I’m sure you have a detailed plan and goals ready. What are your future ventures and goals on your map?
My main goal I try to stay laser-focused about is to continue building my Food Blogging brand, continue growing and scaling my consultation business, and to open a Boba shop. If you don’t know what Boba is, don’t worry, I get asked this all the time. Boba is most known as bubble tea or pearl tea, it originates from Taiwan and it’s a drink made of tea, milk, and cassava starch balls or pearls. It’s growing in popularity and I’d love to open one soon, A more far ahead goal is to open a full restaurant and start my own chain, with my brand name on it.
What would you recommend to a fellow young individual willing to pursue entrepreneurship?
The most important thing is to develop the mindset of an entrepreneur – knowing how to be proactive and how to create structure in the things you do. I worked closely with a successful entrepreneur in the beginning and that is how I learned how to do business and how to do my own sales. It is important to dream big, but it is even more important to know how to reach those goals in a timely and efficient way.