How to Build a Successful Consulting Business After 20+ Years as an Employee with David Shriner-Cahn | Live with Bottleneck

On today’s Live with Bottleneck, our guest David Shriner-Cahn shares how you can still build your own business after being an employee for most of your career. Being part of the corporate world is not a limitation, but can even be an advantage for you in avoiding certain bottlenecks in your new business.

David Shriner-Cahn has been in the corporate world before starting his own business, TEND Strategic Partners in 2006. He also hosts the podcast Smashing the Plateau, where he discusses how solopreneurs can do meaningful work for maximum value. He also talks about how you can still build up your business despite a late-career job loss.

So if you are looking to leave your employee status and start building your own business, stay tuned and get the best advice you can get out there today.

Who is David-Shriner-Cahn?

After 28 years as a highly skilled employee, David Shriner-Cahn was told that his job was over.

“It was like a rude awakening about the world of work and what happens in careers. A month after I had received a great performance review and a big raise, my boss called me into his office and he says, “David, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, you’re doing a great job. The bad news is you don’t have a job here anymore.” I was totally blindsided by it.” – David Shriner-Cahn

As he was a trained engineer and not versed in business, he did not see the warning bells as the company was apparently on the downturn and was laying off employees. But in spite of the immediate trauma and fear, he knew that as his next step, he’d rather work for himself and have more control over his destiny.

Today, David is a thriving community builder, podcaster and speaker. He helps high-achieving professionals, who have had a late-career job loss, build their consulting or coaching business, so they can do what they love and get paid what they’re worth.

Starting All Over Again

Due to this experience, David could not help but think that it could happen again at any time. So as he went on to work for a different company and non-profits after that, he paid attention to not only his work, but also on the business side of things.

What he has observed is that it was not a rare occurrence, and it did not only happen in the corporate world. You could have 20+ years of experience and be the best worker in your team, and yet still be unceremoniously let go by the company or organization at a moment’s notice.

This was a major factor for him to consider starting his own business, despite his long career as an employee in the business world. Though he knew little about entrepreneurship at the time, he had built up a network and friends and colleagues who themselves have started their own business over the years.

And so in 2006, David started his own company, TEND strategic partners, and have not look back since.

Getting Fired and the Walk of Shame

David then talks about the perceived embarrassment and shame around job loss. In fact, he himself did not easily disclose this fact at first, because he thought it would affect his ability to start his business. There’s also the perceived notion that it can negatively affect one’s character and reputation.

It was only after a while that he felt comfortable sharing this information, and found that he was not alone in that regard as well.

“In fact, when I started my second podcast, “Going Solo” and you shared that story about the walk of shame, I discovered that many of the successful consultants that I had known for years started their business when they got fired, but they never talked about it.” – David Shriner-Cahn

In relation to that, he has also learned that according to statistics, those at the age of 50 and above are more likely have their jobs terminated, and it’s not often by choice. They are either the first to get laid off, or forced into early retirement by management. Which is a shame really, as these types of employees are often the ones who have a wealth of knowledge in their field, and could be tapped to develop the next generation of talents in the company.

But alas, that is not how the corporate and business world goes.

To hear more from David Shriner-Cahn and how to build a successful business after your corporate career, continue listening to this episode.


David Shriner-Cahn is the host of Smashing the Plateau. He started my business, TEND Strategic Partners, in 2006, following a long career as an employee. Beginning his professional life as a chemical engineer, he transitioned into the not-for-profit sector, where he was in leadership and management roles for many years.

Once he had his own business, David realized that he had much to learn about how to be a successful entrepreneur. He discovered that it can be lonely, too, and gained knowledge and support being around other entrepreneurs.

In 2014, David launched Smashing the Plateau to share the stories, experiences, and strategies of entrepreneurs that strive for long-term success. They have hundreds of episodes addressing a wide variety of topics and challenges faced every day by entrepreneurs.

In 2019, David added Going Solo to share strategies for highly-skilled professionals to build their own business following a late career job loss.

Connect with David Shriner-Cahn!


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Jaime Jay

About Jaime Jay

Meet Jaime Jay – a man who wears many hats, and wears them all admirably. He's a master connector, an entrepreneur extraordinaire, and a published author who knows how to get things done.

Before he found his way to the business world, Jaime served his country as a brave paratrooper in the U.S. Army. But that's just the beginning of his many accomplishments.

He's the founder of the renowned Bottleneck Distant Assistant Services firm, and his book "Quit Repeating Yourself" has become a must-read for entrepreneurs everywhere.

When he's not busy building his empire, you can find him on his beloved Harley Davidson, cruising through the countryside and taking in the invigorating effects of Uitwaaien – a Dutch practice that involves facing the wind to boost health and relieve stress.

He enjoys spending his free time outside building stuff with his wife, Nikita the dog and their two kittens (for now at least) Tommy and Tater.

He is ‘over-the-moon’ happily married to his wonderful wife Sara, his amazing daughter, Jessica, who is serving our country as a United States Army soldier. Jaime and Sara are the proud grand parents of two beautiful little girls.

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