A Consultant’s Breakthrough: From Employee to Entrepreneur

Part of our Small Business Success Stories series

We sat down with small business owner Marisa Byrne of MPH Consulting Agency to learn how she achieved success pursuing her own path. She impressed us with her passionate perspective on balancing big-sky vision with the day-to-day grind of running her own company. 

headshot of consultant marisa bryne
Photo Credit Matt Spinetta

Leveraging Unique Expertise

I help companies take products from concept to commercialization and provide their go-to-market strategy. I was in corporate in the footwear and apparel industry for many years, but I always wanted my own brand. A lot of my clients are growing astronomically. They need to scale their business, and they can’t keep up with their organizational flow. That’s where I come in. This year, I decided to branch off on my own. 

Making the Leap to Independent Consulting

I couldn’t find a job description that encompassed everything I wanted to do. You get put into a box when you’re working for someone else. I wanted to color outside the lines.

I was giving advice to companies that weren’t where they wanted to be. I realized I was actually consulting for free. Several executives I worked with asked me, “Why don’t you just start your own consulting agency?” Over time, I realized they were right. It’s not that I didn’t feel fear, but ultimately, my gut was like, this is the right path, and I just went for it.

Her Tips for Small Business Success

1. Make Networking Work for You

When you’re working for yourself, it’s important to dive into companies and do the research. Having conversations leads to connections that open doors. When you’re working 70-hour weeks, it can be a grind. Networking is good for business, but it also reminds me that there are so many possibilities! There’s so much innovation going on. It’s really exciting to be a part of it. Networking keeps me going forward.

2. Use Mistakes as Lessons

As hard as it is, I learn more from my mistakes than from my successes. It’s how I get better at what I’m doing. I’m a very type-A personality. I haven’t made the same mistake twice! It’s always a question: How can I make this better? What are my weaknesses, and how do I turn those into strengths? Mistakes are just lessons that take you down different paths to where you’re supposed to end up. It’s all a stepping stone to ultimately achieving the biggest successes that you can.

3. Showcase Your Brand With a Website

I’m very proud that I built my website myself with the help of ZenBusiness. I really wanted to do this myself, I wanted my brand to have my viewpoint and my aesthetic. I didn’t want to outsource this particular thing. I wanted to learn how to do it.

I don’t code. I always focus on the output of what a system is going to bring to me. I don’t actually ever build the actual system. This was different for me. It was fun! It was challenging, but rewarding at the same time. So that was a big win for me. I’m proud of it. 

4. Master Your Priorities

I don’t think work-life balance is a thing. I don’t use that term. For me, it’s about prioritizing. We all have the exact same amount of time in the day. It’s about what you make time for. I need to be physically active for an hour a day, that’s how I stay mentally fit. I make that a priority. I also have two little kids.

I start my day with a list, based on what my priorities are, and I tackle it. That’s how I manage time. I also set boundaries. That doesn’t mean I don’t work crazy hours. Some people look at it as, oh, well, you’re always working. It’s just what I really love to do!  But I always make sure to prioritize taking care of myself and my family. 

5. Set Goals That Propel You Forward

Be clear on your intentions and what meaningful practice you’re going to bring to your business. That’s really what business is. It’s a constant practice. Setting goals and prioritizing how you’re going to get those goals accomplished. This is the perfect time to do it.

I think really big, and then I prioritize. I go after that blue sky and set up where I want to see myself. It’s important to use visualization and put it out into the universe. But the biggest part is breaking the vision down into specific steps. Starting small works, even if it’s just three actions. For each one, I give myself a specific timeline.

I have a three-year and a five-year plan. I’m excited to push the boundaries and work towards my goals. I try to be present where I’m at and practice gratitude, but I am very much looking down the road. 

6. Thrive in Entrepreneurship

The exciting thing about having your own business is realizing how much opportunity there is, and not just on a financial level. There’s limitless opportunity to learn, and there’s the incredible community. I love to meet other entrepreneurs who are taking the same risks and know the stakes involved. It’s exciting. Scary, and exciting!

How ZenBusiness Helped Her Create Her Company

I knew how to work in corporate, but didn’t know how to start an LLC and all the things that go into it, like banking and taxes. ZenBusiness Banking was super helpful. The whole process was simple. 

I wanted ZenBusiness to be the registered agent because following up on those tiny details is not something that I’m good at. Missing one notice would drive me bananas! 

I love having everything all in one place in one dashboard. It just makes it easy. It’s so much more efficient than logging in to a bunch of different systems. Having one place to go to to make sure I have all the boxes checked gives me confidence to focus on doing what I love.

You can find out more about Marisa’s Business, MPH Consulting, on her website.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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