How To Escape The 9 To 5 Grind – The Worst 12 Mistakes I Have Made

In today's world, you are constently demanded to give your best. And when you do so - and I suppose you do it all the time - there is a big chance that your best is just not enough at all. Even if it actually is, there will still be somebody who is not satisfied with what you have done. Because a boss e.g. cannot be satisfied with anything. Usually, that's a point when the idea of throwing it all aside starts coming in and you think about how to escape the 9-to-5 grind​.

When The Process Within Starts

When this happened to me, I first tried to ignore this feeling. Because having a job means having a "secure" income at the end of the month and everybody keeps telling you that this is the most desirable thing in the world to have. How could you ever dare to think about doing it differently?!

But with the time, I couldn't stand the itching inside of me and I admitted to myself that I needed a change in my life. What helped me a lot was that I came to experience that there isn't such a thing as a secure job. All of the institutes and companies I worked for acted the same - they would only use me as a means for their success in general and for the success of my supervisors in particular.

What Is A Job Anyway

What really made that situation worse was the numbers in my bank account.

There's a saying called something like this "There's still two weeks left of the month by the end of the money". Does this sound familiar to you somehow?

Realising that even another better paid job would finally not get me anywhere else, I found out the true meaning of the word job:
Just Over Broke.

So I decided to escape the 9-to-5 grind and design my life and the life of my family totally contrary to the traditional way. Little did I know that it would take me more time, effort and money than I thought it would.

Here's A List Of The 12 Worst Mistakes I've Made...

To seamlessly help you avoid the pitfalls I fell into and save you a lot of time, effort and money.

Mistake #1 - I Was Not Being Specific About My Niche

All I knew was I wanted to go online to make money. That was basically my whole concept of escaping the 9-to-5 grind. At that time, I didn't think about nailing it down to a tiny but lucrative sector in a specified area of interest - a niche.

I thought "making money online" would be that kind of niche.
So I stayed broad - and didn't get anywhere near to what I was aiming to achieve. In fact, I didn't know anything about marketing online, I just did what everybody seemed to be doing so successfully.

In the end, I gave up for a while and left the pitch.
The idea of making the transition from employee to entrepreneur online never left me though.

Why You Need Your Own Niche

Today, I have a clear view of where I am active in and what my specific niche is.

The concept of the niche is the only one that's going to get you towards your goals. You can't be everybody's darling and you can't be an expert in everything - that's contradictory in the term itself.

If you want other people to believe and trust you and consequently become your customers and clients, you must specify yourself in a specific niche and gain knowledge, experience and theirfore expertise most of your competitors don't have. And it's also the only way to stay in the game and make your stand on the pitch in long-term when you are being passionate about what you're doing online. This can only be done as long as you decide on your specific niche and go for it.

Otherwise, there's just no need to follow you because you would neither be authentic nor of any special value.

Mistake #2 - I Was Not Staying Focused And Getting Distracted By Shiny Objects

The concept of the niche has another great advantage laying within itself. As soon as you have chosen your niche you have also decided to stay focused on this particular topic.

As I had not done that in the first place, I turned out to be a vortex. Let there be a new shiny object that claimed to reveal the holy grail...and I was off occupied with it.

Their Price Tag Is Too High

Most of them didn't cost that much financially, but it summed up and in the end I truly paid a tremendous price tag. For I did not reach any of my goals and I can't ever get back the lifetime I've spent with those.

The weird thing about those shiny objects is that I never intended to be so fitful, it's actually against all of my nature. If it wasn't so, I wouldn't have been able to get a diploma degree in engineering.

Mistake #3 - I Joined Too Many Programmes

With the shiny objects also came the programmes.
What I mean by this is simply put network marketing systems I would call schemes nowadays.

In their basic intent I still like them - doing all you can in helping others you've recruited to succeed and getting a certain degree back from their success for doing this.

Offline, I got cheated upon every single time I joined an MLM or was wooed by others.
Online, there were too many stages to climb which cost 4-figures or even more.
And I'm not talking about the monthly fees for "qualifying" to be eligible to get paid commissions.

The Worst Thing About Such Programmes Or MLM's

Whatever way...if you don't succeed very quickly, your sponsors and the companies will leave you behind all alone.

But - in my opinion - the worst thing about all of them is something more refined most people will never see:
It's them to be in charge of all you do, it's their programmes and it's their assets. You're only going to fill up their data bases and won't get the email addresses as your property.

So whenever the owners decide to sell their companies or end their businesses you will be left alone with nothing in hand but the fixed costs of the recurring bills of your new lifestyle.

Mistake #4 - I Was Not Building My Own Email List

Now we've reached a point in our little retrospective that is vitally crucial for anybody's success online:
Building your own email list(s).

And I just did not do that. Because I didn't know that I should and how to do it.

What's The Whole Purpose Of Building Your Own Email List?

This is indeed pretty simple.

Let's suppose you're part of a so-called system or programme and you're progressing every month. The only thing you don't do is collecting the email addresses of the people you recruit for your "business". Now the company decides to vanish from the market place and is taking all of their data with them.

As you've probably relied on their data base where your recruits and their email addresses had been stored, you'll now look at an empty space - if any.
No-one left to contact for future selling to get paid commissions, no-one left to contact for future promotions of any other kind. Gone with the wind.
Same thing with you working all for yourself - no email list(s), no asset(s) to count on.

If you had been able to build your own email list(s) out of your recruits and prospects, you would have had a data base you own to continue to do business with on a way higher level than ground zero.

More to effectively built trust and your name burnt which had been connected to the system's or programme's name.

Would you dare giving those schemes a chance any longer? - I surely don't do that anymore.

Mistake #5 - I Was Not Building My Name As A Brand

As I did what I did I didn't build my name as a brand.

Because if you build your name as a brand, you continuously work on your name's reputation by delivering great content and providing effective help for others - even if they do not become your customers or clients.

It's your face you want them to keep in good memory so whenever your prospects have a problem to be solved they are more likely to turn to you to get their issues removed.

There Are At Least Two Major Advantages Of Doing So

I'd like to share some incredible advantages you're about to create for yourself if you take that to heart:

  1. People will get to know you as somebody who is highly trustworthy
    This is a good not to be underestimated at no time. It's the foundation for all of your activities online. You scratch that, you lose it all. Don't dare doing so.
  2. JV's will recognise you as somebody who is worth promoting
    Whenever you decide to get to the next level of your online business, you eventually need to create your own digital products. Once created, your products need to be sold. And one of the smartest ways you can sell them is through affiliates or so-called JV's. Since you've promoted their products in the first place, they're most likely willing to gladly reciprocate for you.

​A couple of years ago, I created my first digital product and launched it. Since I did not build my name as a brand, it was very hard for me to get JV's and sell my good product. Nobody would care.

I know you won't make the same mistake now.

Mistake #6 - I Was Replaceable Rather Than Exceptional

No personal brand - no value to the market.

Let Me Ask You A Question...

What would you like to wear more - a pair of shoes of a known brand like Adidas or Nike or a pair of some weird no-name "brand" from the crab table at No-Name's?

Pretty "difficult" answer, right?!

The same with yourself in online marketing - no matter which niche you're in.

You Won't Be Of Any Value At All To Your Potential Customers And Clients If You're Totally Replaceable

As you know, I didn't work on myself to becoming a brand, I only focused on the next possible gain. But that never worked out.

So I experienced the painful way what it means to be replaceable to 100%; no revenue, just long days and nights of hard work and years of suffering for my family.

The Good News Is...

You can always step unto the breaks, sit back and make an u-turn. People will recognise your different behaviour and with some time appreciate the value you add to their lives.

It's totally amazing to have the possibility at your very fingertips to start all over again.
If you feel you need to I highly recommend you do so now. You'll reap the fruits soon afterwards.

So start creating - or continue to do so - exceptional content in your niche and show off as an authentic person which you are.

Mistake #7 - I Wanted To Make Money Fast

Everybody who wants to escape 9-to-5 wants or needs to make money. This is a fact. Nobody could talk me into differently. It's the only reason for coming online and trying to establish the so-called laptop lifestyle for yourself and your family.

As always, there are a couple of ways to do so.

Concerning me, I not only had to make money online...
I had to make it fast to pay back my debts. But all it turned out to be was a devastating experience. I got into even more debts until the mark reached over $30k.

I Didn't Intent To Act Thus

Again, it's against all of my original nature to run after the next best gain. Nevertheless, it hit me anyway because I needed the money that badly.

So it wasn't till I sat back and took a serious brain break after all that I started to actually have a business rather than a dream.

To be able to live the laptop lifestyle and enjoy the 4-hour work week, you have to be willing to sacrifice and contribute an awful lot at first and you have to know how to. Maybe there are some lucky guys out there who marvelously accomplished earning 7-figures overnight and tell you their tale; I firmly urge you to focus on the longterm money which eventually will flood to your bank or PayPal account when staying honest.

Mistake #8 - I Wanted To Do It All By Myself

As I needed to save money, I decided to do as much by myself as I possibly could.
Pretty reasonable, right?!

Well, it turned out to be very time-consuming and distracting.

Experts Are Experts For A Reason

As you strive to become an expert in your niche, there're tons of experts out there who can help you with anything in your online endeavour. Just turn to Fiverr for example and hire some experienced folks for creating a logo or tutorial or whatever.
Chances are they perform way better than you ;).

Be smart, save (life) time

Mistake #9 - I Was Obsessed With Learning And Aspired To Be Perfect In Everything And Procrastinated Rather Than Making It Happen

Here I am, a German engineer. Precise, correct, thorough and perfecting everything that reaches my hands.

For doing online business, this wasn't helpful at all.

Nobody will ever see the things you're holding back and you aren't publishing because you feel there's something more to be adjusted and modified.

My Best Friend Keeps Telling Me...

"Veit, don't you dare wasting any more time. Get - it - out - there!"

He's "just" got the lowest scholar educational level - but he knows how to do business.

To get your point across - publish it!

Mistake #10 - I Did Not Set My Very Own Goals And Did Not Deliver Great Content

No matter if you're trapped by a shiny object, a programme or system (scheme) or if a trustworthy mentor is the reason for you setting fancy goals like everybody else does because they make you feel you aren't being focused or strong enough in your intention to succeed if you don't...

Stop Doing So!

I know...goals have to be low enough to be reachable but high enough to be stretching.

I would like to change your point of view drastically.

You Are Here For Playing Your Own Game

Maybe you really want that fancy Lamborghini, maybe you really love wearing trendy designer cloths, maybe you need the last cry of anything - that's fine with me.
As long as it truly is you. So...


  • Don't set goals of others.
  • Everything is eventually reachable with a successful online business.
    But as you need to be authentic to others, you first and foremost need to be authentic to yourself.


If you want to replace your very old and thrashed car by a decent but "normal" new one - than go for it and celebrate!
No need to feel awkward and small. If anybody wants to make you feel that way, then cut it off!
You're worth more.

As long as you reach your stretching personal goals, you are as successful as one could ever be!

Focus on delivering great and exceptional content on your blog and you'll be on your way to every goal imaginable.

Mistake #11 - I Actually Did Not Have The Right Mind-Set

Basically put, this is where it all boils down to - your mind-set.

I've never been lazy, I've probably done more than I could - at least I "invested" more than I should -, I've kept true to my dreams.

But it wasn't until I formated my hard disk and overwrote it with a new operating system so to say that I started to make real progress.

There's A Common German Idiom...

"Nichts kommt von nichts." - Nothing comes from nothing.
As simple as that; if you do not put in the right content, you aren't able to form something great out of it.

Here's What I Suggest

Take the time to read a good contributing book at least every month. If you can, read two or three or four books a month on the topic of your niche, of developing your personality or of how to do things online.

You'll be evolving your mind-set and devoloping your personality. As matter of fact, your content will get better and so the value you add will get better thus ultimately leading to your brand taking on higher levels.

Mistake #12 - I Did Not Make The Decision To Join With A Mentor

You can discover hidden marketing secrets only if you decide to join with a good and trustworthy mentor.

It is definitively going to save you time and money in the long run.
And it will pay back as soon as you do so.

Joining With A Mentor Doesn't Need To Be Expensive

Most of the marketers online will never ever consider joining with a mentor. They think they don't need to or they are satisfied with what they can accomplish all by themselves.
That's totally fine and there's nothing wrong with it.

Looking at it from the other side of the coin though will help you see that there's way more to reach and you could personally grow even more if you decide to invest in yourself.

I Am Glad I Finally Did - More Than Once

There came a time in my life when I got totally stuck in my business. I couldn't get any results because I really didn't know how to crack the "internet code".

So I decided to join with a mentor. Actually, I ended up having two. The both of them are outstanding personalities, well-known by now and very successful online, both of them have experienced huge debts and came back victoriously. With one of the two I could make friends and still appreciate their advice to this very day.

And I Went On The Third Mile

Because I still felt I needed more than this, I went searching for something I couldn't define back at that time.

Today, I know what I lacked and I fixed my issue.
I'm now part of an awesome community that is helping entrepreneurs to start their business from scratch or to get to the next level(s) if they already have.

My Heartfelt Advice For You

Be humble in your endeavour and be willing to learn from other people's mistakes and pitfalls. It's going to save you valuable lifetime and a fortune of money.

I hope this (kind of long ;)) post will help you with your personality and your business.

Since you've read all the way down to here, you've proven to be totally keen to "make it happen" and focused to eventually do so. I think this must be rewarded.

So I want to share one of my greatest resources with you.
You can check it out here for FREE.

I would feel privileged to help you.

Enjoy your life,
Veit H. Kölln
Founder of
Veit has a great passion for being a digital entrepreneur. That's why he named his blog Digital Passionist. He’s conquered many so-called failures and made them stepping stones for his business and personality. Now he’s helping others to establish their own brand and escape 9-to-5.
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