Cheryl Porcelijn: “I really enjoyed making a business plan!”

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Cheryl Porcelijn

We have been doing NL News of the Week (formerly NL News of the Month) for many years. But in the seven years that LauraJenny has been doing this, she has never met anyone who is such an entrepreneur. In heart and soul, in her bones, in her soul: Cheryl Porcelijn has never worked as an employee. And that works well for her: “When I took a course on entrepreneurship at the Media College, I knew.”

Cheryl has been an entrepreneur since 2011. She was still in the middle of her MBO course at the Media College in Amsterdam and took a course on entrepreneurship. “I liked that so much! Making a budget, what are you going to call your company, how do you set up a business plan? I liked it so much that I then came up with my company. I was 19 years old.” She eventually started working alongside her studies and officially started her company Cprecision at the Chamber of Commerce in 2013. “It went so well that I had to justify where the extra money came from, so I decided to make it official.”

Nice portfolio

After her MBO she did not start a business and that was it. In The Hague she did a HBO Communication & Multimedia Design and there Cheryl blossomed even more. “HBO has given me a lot. At first I didn’t want to continue studying, because MBO was a mess, but I’m happy that I kept my company and started doing HBO. I already had a fairly complete portfolio during my propaedeutic year and even came second in the Top 5 portfolios of first-year students. By the way, I came second because they didn’t “want” me to win. I had too much experience. And you could “win” an internship at a large company. But because they were afraid that they couldn’t teach me anything anymore because of my previous experience, they gave the first place to someone else, haha! In the second year I ended up in the top 14 of hybrid student entrepreneurs.”

During her internship in the metropolis of London, she was not getting coffee: she was fully part of the team at the digital design agency Mindcorp. After all, she came with a lot of experience and was therefore allowed to visit customers, among other things. Ultimately, Cheryl graduated in 2016 and has always worked as a freelancer. “I am not made for employment. Sitting in the office from 9 to 5, traveling to work every day… I just continued with my business and from 2016 until now it was full-time. I still have customers from that time.”

Now that entrepreneurial spirit is very special, but even more special because Cheryl does not have parents with their own companies: “I am the only entrepreneur in the family. My father always tried to get me into a salaried job, because he worked at KLM where nice vacancies sometimes came up. But he also saw that this is it for me.” Although in Cheryl’s case, ‘this’ is recently not quite what it used to be. From 2011 to 2022 she created websites for companies. Now she’s doing something extra: something big.

Training for web designers

“Since 2022, I have developed my own training course for web designers. I also create sites on the side, but I now have people who take care of that work. I work with a phase system and I have used it so much in 13 years that I can outsource those phases. For example, now I have a project underway for which I have completed the design, then it goes to the builder and I have my hands free for a new project. At first it was quite difficult, letting go, but I notice that I also want to do other types of projects, more long-term.”

And she is busy with her training. It is called Web Design Mastery and is made up of that phase system (the Web Design Mastery Method). “It is a 1-on-1 course, an in-depth look at what you want to learn more about the profession of web design. You learn to work efficiently, complete projects on time and really the process of ensuring that you complete everything on time. Every web designer knows that people do not submit their texts on time, even though you do need them. That is, among other things, what you learn to manage. I do coach calls online and also organize group master classes. Twice a year there is an additional live day, an offline meeting on location in which students and non-students are welcome. The next one is in September.”

After so many years of web design, Cheryl was ready for something new. But how did she come up with the idea to create a training course? “I was asked about it. I also often saw web designers struggling to find the right clients. And I have also taken many courses myself. There was nothing specific for long-term web designers, just individual courses, which remained quite superficial. I would like to help people to be a web designer that companies can rely on. A thinker, someone who is skilled in technology.” Still, it sounds very busy, all those 1-on-1 meetings, and even training while your business continues…

My hours

However, Cheryl takes good care of herself. “I exercise 4 times a week and I plan everything around exercise: there are no appointments in between. I also want to eat quietly, because I do heavy kickboxing training. I also have my dog ​​Koda, so I prefer not to plan anything from 1 to 2 in the afternoon, because then I am outside with the dog. I keep it very strict during the week: those certain hours are my hours, the rest I am there. As an entrepreneur you are always on, I certainly notice that with that training, you often end up working in the evenings and on weekends. I also have a podcast. But I really like it, because my customers are quiet in the evenings and on weekends. These are the moments to write a newsletter or update social media. By the way, I don’t miss building sites: I did that for 13 years.”

The course started in July 2022 with four students and has only grown. Cheryl takes a very personal approach: she likes to work with projects of people’s work, there is a client portal with ebooks and extras, but it is especially intensive 1-on-1 to coach very specifically and let people learn where they are looking for. And here too she is a truly relaxed entrepreneur: “Such a training is a continuous process, you don’t complete it once and then it’s done. And yes, if something is not right, I will hear it and adjust it. But so far the training days have been sold out and things are going well. Not that I have always been so relaxed, especially at the beginning I was very afraid that I was not doing enough. And now I still sometimes have imposter syndrome that suddenly comes into play, but the third group of students will start in mid-February and I am especially proud of that. Plus, I still have many ambitions with this course.”

Photo: Joy vd Valk

Cheryl’s tips:

Podcast: The podcast for Web designers, that is Cheryl’s own podcast

Exciting podcasts: Bridgewater and Consumed

Book: Everything is figureoutable by Marie Forleo

Book: In Business by Aranka vd Voorden

Book: The Koopinfuus and the IT Girl by Chantal Schinkels

Book: Behavioral Design by Astrid Groenewegen (I also obtained my diploma from that last year – my basic diploma)

Book: The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz

Also read:

  • Product design lead Ira Bykova: “Changing jobs broadens your horizons
  • Anne Groos about UX Design: “Working from home is really my ultimate focus”
  • Lieve Lanoye: “As a team leader you should not be able to replace everyone”

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