My Story

Short Biography

Dirk Middeldorf was born in 1971 in Marburg an der Lahn and has lived in Cologne since 1996. He dropped out of his studies in 1998 to work as an online editor. In the next ten years he rises to the position of division manager and in 2009 decides to start his own business.

He founds a successful web agency, a renowned record label, goes on a short trip to the restaurant business in 2011 and learns what failure means.

From 2006 to 2010 he studied part-time at the RFH Cologne and gained a diploma in Media Economics.

In 2016 he will complete training as a Life Design Coach at Work Life Romance. Here one learns how to enable people to lead a fulfilling and successful (business) life by means of design thinking. He concentrates on accompanying people as they take the step into self-employment.

Throughout 2018, he trained as a Systemic Coach at the Institute for Applied Psychology (IfAP) under Prof. Dr. Manuel Tusch. With his competence as a coach and his ten years of experience as a founder, he finally founded Middeldorf Consulting to work as a start-up coach in start-up consulting.


Diploma in Media Economics – University of Applied Science, Cologne
Certified Systemic Coach – Institute for Applied Psychology, Cologne
Certified Life Design Coach – Work Life Romance, Cologne

Self-employed for ten years

I am Dirk Middeldorf, 47 years old and a start-up coach from Cologne. How I became that, I tell in my story.

At the end of 2009 I started my own business. The reason was not that I was unhappy or had a groundbreaking idea. Me and a friend had the idea to release a vinyl record. At that time I had worked as an agency manager in a Cologne company and had taken three weeks vacation at home in Cologne-Nippes. I used that time to get the record into the shops. I was completely unaware of how to do something like that, but I had a great pleasure getting up in the morning, sitting at my own desk and deciding for myself when, where and what I work.

Then some things came together. Within a few weeks, one record became the record label “200 Records” with a successful party series in Cologne’s Stadtgarten and an international deal with Cologne’s Kompakt Vertrieb. I took the courage to talk to my boss about the cancellation of my contract and we agreed that I would leave the company in autumn. Ten months later I was self-employed with a record label and an agency that created websites. Both companies still exist today.

Dirk Middeldorf
Your start-up coach Dirk Middeldorf not only has the necessary competence through his business studies and coaching training, but after ten years of self-employment with all ups and downs also the experience he needs to really advance your business.

Grandiosly failed

In 2011, however, we exaggerated a little. Our party series was really successful, so we thought about building something of our own: a music bistro. Our concept was obviously very convincing, because we got a lot of money from the gastronomy business to realize our ideas. To make a long story short, the whole thing didn’t go well for five months. I had failed and a lot of debts.

And then I got up again and went on

I didn’t want to go back to a permanent employment, so I decided to continue fighting as a self-employed and then I went uphill! I was able to further develop my web agency, the label and the parties and gradually work on putting my whole life back on solid ground.

I’ve learned an awful lot in ten years. I know how to do it and I know how not to do it. I have experienced everything myself. I know how to get out of failure and – more importantly – how not to fail in the first place.

In 2016 I began to think about how I could make my experiences accessible to others. I always felt the desire to help people get out of their permanent jobs and not make the mistakes I made.

So I became a coach …

The subject of “New Work” has fascinated me ever since. I look forward to social development very positively if the right course is set. Many professions in today’s information society can and should be made independent. I really suffer when my friends work 50, 60, 70 hours for others and are not paid well enough.

Of course, there are people who prefer to work on a permanent basis, and I respect that. But if you’ve read this far, you’re not one of those people 😉

In order to acquire the competence to help people become self-employed, I trained as a Life Design Coach at Work Life Romance in 2016. Life Design is a fascinating and extremely effective concept from Stanford University in the USA. In short, with Design Thinking. Life Design is very well suited to successfully shape the transition to self-employment, to develop better ideas and to minimize the risk of failure. Therefore Life Design plays a central role in my coaching.

… and founded Middeldorf Consulting

At the end of 2016 I founded the company Life Design Cologne. Life Design Cologne offered workshops and was primarily aimed at people who are thinking about self-employment but don’t know how to do it.

At the end of 2018 I renamed Life Design Cologne “Middeldorf Consulting” and since then I have concentrated on coaching. I want to make everything I have experienced and learned over the past twenty years (ten years of permanent employment, ten years of self-employment) accessible and usable for others.

I want to encourage others that when you act and make smart decisions, success is possible for everyone. And not on a path that others have mapped out for you – career – but on your own path.

From 1.10.2019 the sessions will take place in my new place of residence in Las Palmas.

You can find more information here.

Do what you want, do what you enjoy, do what you can. And you will have success.