10 Things I’ve Learned In My First Year In Business

As of a couple days ago, I am celebrating my first year in business! I started my branding and strategic design business for female entrepreneurs in the creative entrepreneurship space in October 2019 and I want to share my top 10 things I’ve learned in my first year in business with you.

The past year has been a whirlwind of ups and downs! Not only did I move across the country from Canada to Amsterdam to start this business, it also happened during a pandemic.

Below you’ll find my top 10 things I’ve learned in my first year in business and you can also watch this video as I talk you through it with more detail.


1. Invest in yourself

I started this business with a big investment! I got into graphic design without any professional experience, so I invested in a course from The Bucketlist Bombshells to improve my design skills and learn how to run a business. Let’s just say, it’s definitely paid itself back 10x more!

Ever since then, I’ve made it a point to myself that I should never shy on investing in things that will ultimately help me grow and scale faster.

2. Set boundaries

Boundaries are so important! I set boundaries around my working hours, my working style, my client expectations, the type of clients I work with and around all sorts of business processes. I make sure to communicate these boundaries clearly with my clients to ensure that I still make my personal life a priority.

3. Include your boundaries in your contract

This is a big one! Make sure all of the boundaries that you set in lesson number 2 are clearly communicated, stated on your contract and signed by both parties. You can never be too clear!

4. Niche down

When starting out, I didn’t have a niche and I don’t think you need to in the first couple months to a year of being in business. The beginning is all about figuring out what you want to do and how you want your life to look like. During this period, it’s fun to dabble in different industries, making it easier to understand which clients work best for and which don’t.

After a couple months of being in business, I niched down to serve female entrepreneurs in the creative digital space. It helps me stay focused or serve my target audience with more quality over quantity.

5.Stand by your values

In your first year of business, it’s hard to evaluate your value and you may be tempted to do some work for free.

If you’re just starting out, you can do some exchange of services for something of the same value, but never -I say never- work for free! As you gain more knowledge and skills, keep raising your prices to prevent undervaluing yourself and your entire industry. As you work with more and more clients, some may attempt to challenge your prices. Stick by your value, and never take less because there’s plenty of opportunity out there!

6. Work on your mindset

There are a lot of different mindset challenges when you’re first starting a business. Every entrepreneur struggles with different things at different stages of their business. Whether that be owning your value, self compassion, staying positive or any other mindset exercises, working on these shifts is what will set you apart from other struggling businesses.

7. Trust your gut

You have the power when you allow yourself to say no. I understand it’s hard to say no when you’re first starting out, but when you experience red flags from a client during the discovery call stage, don’t take them on just for the sake of it. Even if they seem like minor issues – it will save you SO MUCH emotional stress down the line. I learned the really hard way! Listen and trust your gut instincts when you know it’s not the right fit.

8. Be ready to make definite decisions

Decision paralysis is definitely common when first starting your business. There will be many many decisions to make and some of them may turn out tol be wrong decisions. The tip here is that any decision made (even the wrong ones), are better than no decision at all.

9. Done is better than perfect

This is a super important one! It’s so much better to get the job done and out the door rather than waiting for it to be perfect because at the end of the day you may never finish it. My corporate days have taught me the MVP (minimal viable product) method. Meaning, push and launch whatever you’re working on at it’s minimal viable stage and then perfect as you go.

Trust me, perfecting takes a long time – time you don’t always have when starting a business.

10. Keep taking inspired action and follow your curiosities

In 2019, I dedicated myself to live a year of creativity. I moved countries, started a business and started this YouTube channel. I followed whispers of curiosities that inspired me to try new things.

If you’re hearing those little curiosities and feel inspired to try something new, just do it! You never know where you might end up.

These are my 10 things I’ve learned in my first year in business! This by no means is an exhaustive list, but they are definitely the top ones.

Hey there!

I'm cheryl, the one behind this blog!

I'm a designer, brand expert, YouTuber, and avid traveler from Vancouver, Canada. 

I quit my fancy corporate 9-5 a couple of years ago, hopped onto a plane and started Made on Sundays along with my new mindful lifestyle in Amsterdam. 

Today I serve thousands of female entrepreneurs around the world, helping them clarify their brand story, design the brand of their dreams, and confidently show up to their soulmate clients.