Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in human resources but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Vivian Chen, Founder and CEO of Rise, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is Rise (, an AI-powered job search platform and community designed to make job searching more efficient and enjoyable. We primarily cater to job seekers and career pivoters, mostly early and mid-career professionals, who are exploring opportunities in tech and other highly sought-after industries. No one talks about the job search experience as something they enjoy, and I've felt this myself. So when I started building Rise, I wanted it to be something that makes people feel uplifted (hence the name Rise) and welcomed. We like to compare our community to a warm, welcoming space reminiscent of an intimate dinner party. We see ourselves as the host, inviting each member inside not just to explore but to genuinely connect. Picture this: You're welcomed at the door and guided through a lively gathering where introductions feel personal and engaging. "Come on in, let me show you around. Here are some people you should meet, some opportunities to consider, and yes, even some snacks!" This approach contrasts sharply with the often impersonal nature of career sites, where one might feel alone navigating a difficult journey.

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Tell us about yourself

My journey into this space began because, quite frankly, the job search process sucked. I've been in the trenches, feeling the frustration and overwhelm of sorting through endless job postings and the monotony of manually applying to each one. As someone who made the leap from CPG to tech, I know firsthand what it's like to be underestimated and struggle with finding the right opportunities. That's why I created Rise—to make the job search less dreadful and more joyful. Every day, I'm motivated by the stories of people we've helped, the careers we've impacted, and the communities we've built. Knowing that we're making a real difference in people's lives keeps me going, even on the toughest days.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of the things I cherish most about being a business owner is the constant learning and growth. It's incredibly challenging but also incredibly rewarding. If you had asked me three years ago if I'd be an AI founder with a product that's been used by more than 3 million people, I'd probably laugh in disbelief. The fact that we've reached so many people and made a significant impact on their job search journeys is something I'm immensely proud of. It's surreal to think about how far we've come and how much we've achieved, and it fills me with a deep sense of accomplishment and gratitude.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Being a business owner means making tough decisions, often with no one else to share the burden. It's a lonely place to be sometimes, knowing that the final call rests on your shoulders. There are days when I have to make decisions that impact not just the business but also the people who depend on it—our team, our users, and our partners. It's a heavy responsibility, and it's not something I take lightly. But it's also what drives me to be more thoughtful every day.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. What you start might not be what you end up with. When you begin, you might have a clear vision, but be prepared for it to evolve. Have strong opinions but hold them loosely. Flexibility and adaptability are crucial as you learn more about your market and your customers.
  2. Be ready for tough times: Starting and running a business is always harder than you think it will be. There will be challenges and setbacks, but resilience and perseverance are key. Keep pushing through the tough times because they will come, but they will also pass.
  3. Don't wait: There's never a perfect time to start. If you wait for everything to be just right, you'll be waiting forever. Take the plunge, start now, and adjust as you go. The most important step is the first one, so don't hesitate—just do it.

You can connect with Vivian Chen:

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LinkedIn: /

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