Hello, dear friends and welcome to another version of Work It Wednesday. We're really excited about this week's feature, where we had the awesome opportunity of talking to passionate cook, traveler and blogger extraordinaire, Tien Can (@acornerkitchen). Take a peek into what he had to say..
1. Let’s start off with the basics, give us the deets on the life of Tien!
Hmm, let's see - where I should start? I came to Canada from Vietnam when I was 18 to pursue my post-secondary education in Finance. However, I had always been interested in cooking and nutrition ever since I was little. I started my food blog on the side as a way to showcase my passion for cooking. After graduating and working in one of Canada's leading financial firms, I decided to take my chances in food industry. So far, it's been great!
2. What sparked “A Corner Kitchen”? Tell us about your journey as a food blogger.
Aha good question! It went back to as early as 2008. I started to cook more as I became more independent living in Toronto. My roommates back then were my sister and her university friend, who happened to cook a lot, too. I can still remember having to digest my failures as a mental warning to not repeat the bad dishes again (haha!) I then shared my recipes or ones that I tested on Facebook notes and they were well received by a lot of my friends. A Corner Kitchen itself wasn't created until 2011 when I was told about blogging from my now best friend. For me, the name reminds me of how I started, from a corner kitchen in a basement. It also represents just any typical kitchen. I want everyone to know they can embrace their love for cooking anywhere, using what they have on hand. It doesn't have to be expensive or complicated to pursue this passion.
3. You've got your hands involved in a number of things (food blogger, Shop.com, etc.). How do you prioritize and balance your time?
Time management is definitely a weakness of mine that I am always trying to improve. When I started Shop.com, it was because I was looking for a way to create different income streams. My end goal has always been to create a steady and residual income to support further education should I decide to go back to school for culinary arts or nutrition studies. Just like many other entrepreneurs that started their first business, I went to work from 9-5, then set up my appointments with my clients for Shop.com and set out about half an hour a day to update my Instagram. I write my blog at weekends. The one reason why I picked to work with Shop.com is because it ties everything I do together, adding value to my blog and social media while providing a great way to earn a living helping other businesses around me.
4. Your Instagram feed is looking fly! Any tips for keeping it fresh and exciting?
Ah thank you! I learned a lot from @lipstickandmuffingirl. Always make sure the posts are related to your brand and you are engaging with your audience. Also bright photos are always attractive!
5. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I would like to stabilize my e-commerce business in the next five years and travel around the world to learn about different cuisines. I want to use my blog as a way to showcase different cultures and how food can tell more about history than wars ever will. I had the privilege to live and work in Brazil for three months after university. The amount of knowledge I gained was surreal in terms of culture and cuisine. I'd like to do it again in as many countries as possible.
6. Favourite food spot in Toronto?
This is tough! At this moment, I would have to say Hanmoto, but their sister locations, Oddseoul and Pinky's Ca Phe are hidden gems, too. You can call these "fusion done right!"
7. Favourite motivational quote and why?
"It's fun to do the impossible." If you are ever setting foot in entrepreneurship, you'll start to experience many negativities, most often being told that it wouldn't work, or it's not normal or possible to do this or that. This quote reminds me that as long as we aim for a better world and work hard, we CAN achieve the impossible!
8. You've got a pretty big network of bloggers and entrepreneurs! How do you foster these relationships?
This is a great question. For me, every network is the same. In order to be recognized as a member in a community, we have to bring our values to it and contribute to make it stronger. For the blogger community, I strive for collaborations and knowledge transfer. As part of a young entrepreneur group, I am constantly learning how to become a better leader and acquire more loyal customers from my mentors, and in turn share my experiences to help others do the same. For me, the key is to always empty my cup. I believe in karma.
9. How do you #workit every day?
I set up my days ahead of time so I don't get overwhelmed with tasks and appointments. An agenda is everyone's best friend when it comes to organizing your day.
Thank you, Tien, for taking the time to chat with us! Do you want to be featured on our next Work It Wednesday? Be sure to send us an email.