Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andreas Diehl, Founder of AD GmbH, located in Cologne, Germany.

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

The #DNO consults companies on their way to self-organised work culture, innovation, and digital operating/business models.

Tell us about yourself

When I founded my first company in 2000 after successfully completing my business studies, mobile phones still had 2-line text displays, the Crazy Frog was whizzing across German TV screens, and Google was a startup. My partners and I were able to build a profitable company with over 50 employees and decided to sell it to a competitor in 2006. The sale of my first company was followed by a startup bankruptcy, the establishment of a digital agency, and finally, in 2013, a solo career as a consultant and coach.

Do you have daily rituals for work / wellness / fitness / mindfulness?

I engage in forest runs and stretching sessions for about 30 minutes, approximately 4-5 times a week. Additionally, I treat myself to spa visits 1-2 times a week.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I consider my greatest accomplishment to be giving organisations the courage to step into unknown territory and successfully develop their own digital strategy.

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

Sometimes it's very lonely, especially if you do not have a co-founder. You need a lot of grit and perseverance. You have to make a lot of decisions and deal with the consequences. There is no one to blame but yourself.

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

  1. Have enough savings to cover your living expenses for the next 12 months.
  2. Have a clear reason why you want to be an entrepreneur. "Not having a boss anymore" is not a good reason, and neither is "becoming rich and famous." Which doesn't mean you should not pursue the latest as a goal. Find something you are really passionate about and make sure there is also an opportunity in the market.
  3. As a first-time entrepreneur, seek a coach who runs his own business. Preferably a coach who has some experience in your industry and business model.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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