Paul Dillon: How to start your own firm with compassion

by | Jan 16, 2023

Paul Dillon has been consulting for 47 years and started his own consulting firm in 2006 after retiring from accounting. He’s of the belief that if you have your own expertise, even if you work for a company, you can go out and create your own firm and see what happens. 

His opinions on work into retirement stemmed from his own unique experience and those close to him and we had a good chat with him to pick his brain on how others can start their own firm – or any other business for that matter – with compassion. 

Check out the full video here:

Take a chance on your expertise and service your skills

Paul Dillon recommends taking a chance on your expertise, marketing your firm, and servicing whatever skills you have

Dillon notes that if you have expertise of any kind then, even if you still work for a company or are already retired, you can go out and form your own firm or business. It’s just about taking that chance on yourself, marketing your expertise to potential clients and seeing what happens. 

For him, starting his own firm was a natural transition for him in terms of his professional service. But it doesn’t just have to be a professional service. 

Dillon’s college roommate was a sports PR professional for CNN Broadcasting for a number of different places. He retired, but started his own podcast, Sports Across The Board. And it’s beginning to get some traction, proving Dillon’s perspective on what expertise really can do. 

“I think people don’t, many times, realize the experience that they have and to go out and try and see what happens. Now, as you know, you don’t know. I mean, it’s not guaranteed, but if you don’t want to sit around and play golf or cricket or whatever … this is a good thing to try. 

“And I would encourage people to think long and hard. People may say, “Well, I don’t have any expertise, I don’t know… Think about that. If you worked in a company for 40 years or wherever, or a number of companies, you have some skills.”

A professional obligation to pass those skills along

Dillon notes that it’s all about finding the right fit. But if you’ve been a leader of a firm or even a middle manager of a firm – whatever the case is – that you have some incredibly valuable skills. 

And he believes it’s a professional obligation to pass those skills along to the younger generations.

a professional obligation to pass those skills along to the younger generations.

You may want to contact an institution of higher education – whether that’s a four-year university, a two-year community college or a trade school – and create a course or class to pass along that expertise. You may want to do it by creating your own YouTube videos, or your own podcast. 

But if you can pass along that information in some sort of structured way in a clear learning environment, you’re giving back to the community in the best way. 

“I think you have an obligation as a professional to do that,” He notes, “You can [even] do it within your company. Good leaders are good teachers. I learned from some great teachers that I had, that I worked for. Wonderful people, wonderful gentlemen and ladies, and I learned a lot from them.”

“Younger people will keep you on your toes. And if you really want to master a subject, go teach it… I can’t be any more specific than that, because it depends upon the individual and their skills, to what they want. But it is a way of potentially creating some income in retirement.”

And it’s not just about doing your part to repair the world or potentially being paid for it, it’s about the psychological and spiritual rewards that you never thought you would receive. Of course, some people have to do it for the money, but instead of sitting around binge watching Netflix, look at all the needs this world has, go out and try to do what you can to help alleviate them. 

From his experience, he finds that if you do this without ever asking in return, it comes back to you, not a thousand times – but 10,000 times. And this can be essential to the success of your business. 

If you want to talk to Dillon about how to set up a firm or just want a bit of mentoring, contact him via email at – he’ll be more than happy to help. 

He also encourages our readers to check out Josh Sapin’s book Third Act, in which he was profiled. It’s a book about the third acts of people, and it may help spark some ideas for your own retirement. It features stories from Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, and a number of big-name celebrities (Dillon included!). 

If you’re looking for more inspiration on making money (or an impact) through retirement, explore our full collection of blog posts here to gain insight into all the ways the next chapter of your life can be enhanced.