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Conversations with An Tran

Today we’d like to introduce you to An Tran.

An, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
At 16, I decided to leave my home country in Vietnam and come to the US on my own accord to pursue my dreams to study in America. This was my first time ever leaving my country. I attended Towson University, graduated with honors, and then started my career as a CPA working for international and local CPA firms in the DMV area for more than six years providing independent consulting/bookkeeping and tax services for local small business owners as well as helping individuals with retirement planning. I have had many opportunities to travel in my work and try a variety of foods from many restaurants. Being a foodie, I am usually the one who picks the food choice in my teams as they trust my opinion on food and further encouraged me to become a food critic.

I started my food blog back in November 2019 as a hobby to capture my travel and experience with food locally and wherever I travel as well as the dishes, I have made. As my followers grow, I started getting more invitations from restaurants and brands. I love trying out new food/products and post the reviews on my blog as well as help local businesses and brands to promote their products/restaurants online. Food blogging is also another way for me to demonstrate my creative side outside my regular analytical work.

In relation to the food blogging, I also partnered with brands, restaurants, other influencers, and online businesses to run giveaways to help them with online presence as well as provide any tax/accounting advice for their businesses.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
During the pandemic, many businesses were struggling. It was tough not being able to come to restaurants to dine in, but I tried to order take out as well as cook and decorate to post more to generate more contents for my blog.

Regarding the giveaways, from the beginning people were not aware of how the giveaway works; therefore, I had to take more time to educate and establish credibility with the online community by growing my online presence as a food influencer with more than 12k followers prior to the start of the giveaway. Furthermore, I have consistently accumulated data from each giveaway to provide statistics on the real results so that I can demonstrate and reach out to more sponsors for each giveaway.

As I started my tax/accounting business during the pandemic, most of my clients came from referrals. This business is built based on trust, and it is essential to go out and meet clients in person before people let me handle their finances. Thanks to technology, I was able to consult clients virtually via Zoom or MS Team or phone calls. Recently I started meeting clients in person recently on a limited basis. Usually when I meet my tax/accounting clients in person, I pick somewhere closer to them and explore food after these meetings.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a food/lifestyle blogger at chubbycheekeats. By day, I’m a CPA or a “financial detective” (as I usually call myself ).

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Keep pushing and moving forward. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” As my team has encountered a lot of obstacles along the way, we found creative ways to work through them. We did not give up on the mission and have consistently promoted local businesses during the pandemic and run the giveaways to provide the funds in need for people who are struggling worldwide, and help online bloggers and influencers grow their following accounts as well as small business owners manage their finances.

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An Tran

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