Raymond Cua is a Toronto full-time writer, blogger and content creator, and the founder & publisher of Travelling Foodie, exploring the world and highlighting culinary experiences as a way to enjoy destinations. He has travelled in over 25+ countries and more than half of the United States and Canadian provinces. As one of the best food and travel bloggers in Toronto, Raymond and his works have been featured on Travel + Leisure, Reader’s Digest, Global News, CTV News, and Philippine Daily Inquirer, as well as other online and print outlets.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I’m originally from the Philippines, where I was born and raised. My parents run a fast food business, and, growing up, we would travel almost every year for summer vacation. Since Asian culture generally revolves around food, it became normal for us to integrate food as part of our travels. The Travelling Foodie lifestyle has always been part of me because of this upbringing. I learned at a young age how culinary is an integral part of travel, and you can learn so much about a destination’s culture, history and surroundings just based on its food and drink scene.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I moved to Canada in 2006 for university and this made it easier for me to travel more. I was travelling about 3 times a year for vacation and eating out multiple times a week. I was sharing my travel and food adventures on my personal Facebook back in 2017 when Facebook was the best way to share with friends and family. During a US road trip with my siblings in 2014, I started sharing my experiences on Instagram @travellingfoodie. I realized that I’m seeing all these beautiful things and thought why not share them with more people who might be interested or inspired by them instead of just friends and family on Facebook. I studied computer science and had no background in marketing, journalism or social media when I started Travelling Foodie. Luckily, Instagram back then was community-based. There wasn’t an influencer industry. It was for people who simply wanted to share pictures they were passionate about. I was just sharing my usual food and travel content on Instagram, which was already normal for me to do because I was already doing it on Facebook and Yelp before. Then I noticed my Instagram started growing. Around that time, I also got really lucky and got featured on social media by a lot of big global media outlets like Travel + Leisure, BBC Travel and Huffington Post. Travelling Foodie has grown since then with a website and presence in all major platforms: Food Instagram, Travel Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok and Pinterest. In 2017, I left my corporate IT job to run Travelling Foodie full-time and have never looked back since then.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Make sure you are financially okay before doing your startup full-time. Try doing this on the side first to see if you’re up for all the challenges involved before taking the leap. Do not quit your job yet if you are in debt. When you first start, you won’t be making money right away until your business has grown or become established. Passion is the key during this stage! The only thing that will keep you going at this time is your passion and love for the work. When you’re not making money and don’t enjoy what you’re doing, it’s very easy to just give it up.