Samantha Kwok, Founder of JingJobs

Tell us about your business:

JingJobs was launched as a job platform for bilingual young graduates and Chinese returnees in Beijing and Shanghai, connecting them with opportunities at SMEs and Start Ups with a focus on foreign owned businesses. As a young university graduate from HK/Australia, China was a completely new environment for me. Whilst job hunting for myself in Beijing, I realized the issues with visibility of opportunities for young graduates in China. With a huge working population (and population in general), HR is a huge issue especially for SMEs who do not have the resources to attract and retain top talent. JingJobs was borne out of a personal struggle.

Aside from the platform, it has since developed into an "HR Butler" service, where we assist young professionals and jobseekers in their job-hunt with services such as LinkedIn Consultations, CV Consultations and Translations, Mock Interview Training. We focus on helping start ups and SMEs find and source great bilingual talent through our HR Butler service - a flexible, affordable way for start ups to have almost an in house HR team on demand.

When you first decided to start your own business, how did you define what your business would be?

I had dreams of running a tech start up, but I've come to realize the challenges that come with that fact that my educational background isn't in tech or coding, and I've since discovered my passion for HR, connecting people and helping other start ups.

What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?

Don't be afraid to try. Even if you fail, it will be the best learning experience you'll ever have.

What was the most difficult part of starting your business?

Figuring out Chinese business regulations (so different to HK!), planning a long-term vision and understanding what kind of sustainable business model a HR platform can have. Also, having being female and starting my business at 21 (in China), it was extremely challenging when trying to get relatively traditional Chinese businessmen to take me seriously.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business?

To always persevere; find mentors and don't be afraid to ask for help.

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting your business?

My social life! At 23, most of my friends enjoy after-work drinks etc. - being an entrepreneur means you do tend to focus 100% of your attention on your project and its hard to switch off. I've also postponed going back to university to do my masters in order to pursue my idea and see it through.

In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business?

Financial Responsibilities (look forward to many months of being broke or bootstrapping), Commitment (are you ready to give up 3+ years of your life and dedicating yourself to this vision?) and Support Networks (do you have the right support networks in place, or are you capable or developing them? Entrepreneurship can be an isolating process at times.