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Transitioning from small business partnership to solo career

Liz Marr has been a nutrition communications expert for 20 years. A registered dietician, she co-owned a boutique public relations and marketing firm specializing in food, nutrition and agriculture. In 2000, Marr and a partner, established what became a successful full-service agency providing public relations strategy and planning, media relations, influencer marketing, event planning and execution. The partnership last eight years. When asked if she was satisfied with what they accomplished in those eight years, Marr notes, “ Yes, it was successful, but PR agency business is stressful so it was a matter of how long we wanted to stay in that environment.” The two decided to dissolve the partnership. “It was a mutual decision, and we’re on good terms and are good friends, “ Marr relates. We chose to wind down the business to allow both of us to have more flexibility in our professional and personal lives.”

The steps to transition from a partnership to a solo career require strategic planning, something Marr seems to understand innately. “I started with planning. I worked through a strategy and longer range plan for creating a sustainable consulting niche. I created an LLC, I started publicizing the transition to professional connections, I registered a domain name for my business and for a blog, then built both sites.” When asked how to begin a solo transition, Marr advises: “Parallel processing: by winding down the previous business while working on a plan for a solo business. We created a transition plan with my business partner for both the income and expense sides of the business, including clients, employees, contractors, lease, office equipment and supplies.”

Marr lists her platforms as, “Word-of-mouth marketing by way of long-time professional networks. Extensive Web-based marketing: Web site, blog, Twitter, Linked-In. Also, volunteer leadership work over a long-time basis.”

Marr stays involved by, “blending my consulting work with part-time teaching at Front Range Community College, which is really a great balance. I stay involved through Web-based activities and volunteer leadership work. For example, I chair the Food and Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association and also serve on the Board of Trustees for the Society for Nutrition Education. Through food blogging: www.lizonfood.com, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, I find it easy to stay connected. But it’s still important to attend conferences. There is no real substitute for face time.”

Marr says the pros of working alone are: flexibility, creativity and control. The challenges are staying focused, learning to be a “jack-of-all-trades,” and having clients take you seriously.

For more information on Liz Marr’s consulting business, visit: http://www.lizmarr.com/

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