While some women abandon their careers once they have children, this was not the case for Jing Zhao Cesarone, entrepreneur, wife, and mother of three. Cesarone is the CEO of Chinawise Business Consulting, a cross-cultural company that provides international trading advice for companies in Shanghai or Seattle looking to expand their business overseas.
Over the past 14 years, Cesarone has grown her company to a net-worth of one million dollars, thanks to an impressive client portfolio including International Engineering Consortium, Broadband Forum Asia, Wild Blueberry Association of North America, and China Central TV Station. When she's not jet-setting between the U.S. and China, Jing is at the helm of FISO Group, an educational alcove that helps Chinese students adjust to the American culture.
Photo Courtesy of Jing Zhao Cesarone
We met up with Jing to talk about everything from what motivated her to start Chinawise Business Consulting to how she maintains a work/life balance.
How did you get your idea for your business?
"My business idea came from my passion. I do what I love!"
What method of advertising do you use for your business?
"I advertise my business primarily through networking and word-of-mouth."
How do you get credibility and to what do you attribute your success?
"I earned my credibility by consistently delivering the results that I promised. I attribute my success to my dedication to excellence and hard work, as well as the unconditional support from my family and friends."
What do you look for in an employee?
"I first look at their inner drive—are they driven to accomplish what they need to do? Are they passionate about what they do? Are they dependable? Are they trustworthy?"
What made you choose Chicago to set up shop?
"I came to Chicago for graduate school and got married and started a family here. I love Chicago—it's the best city in the world!"
What's your favorite neighborhood in Chicago and why?
"Bucktown—I lived there for 14 years—because of the interesting people, restaurants, and shops on Damen and fun neighborhood activities."
How do you handle work life-balance?
"I prioritize my work and life and I set boundaries. I also delegate at work and home. And most important of all, I do take good care of myself, both physically and spiritually. I enjoy spending time with my kids and my husband, swimming, writing, and reading."
What are the goals for your company?
"To bridge U.S. and China in business, education, and culture exchange. I am dedicated to helping U.S. companies pave their ways to China, and vice versa for Chinese companies—I can build powerful connections that other people can’t see."
How is the business culture different in China compared to the U.S.?
"China is still more relationship-based, and it takes time to build trustworthy relationships which is critical to doing business in China. In the U.S. it’s more market-driven; nevertheless relationships also have their importance, too."
How do you develop key partnerships?
"I start by building a relationship with my key partners. I take the time to get to know them better and try to work with them for a while before we establish a formal partnership."
Statistics show that only 20 percent of start-ups succeed after the first two years. How did you deal with any struggles in the beginning, and what kept you moving forward?
"I allow myself to grieve over my failures but also learn from them. I have a strong sense of confidence that makes me invincible—even under the toughest situations. I always believe that I can prevail and succeed and I always do!"
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
"I would say follow their heart, do what you are passionate about, have confidence, and don’t be afraid."