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For Sale By Owner

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This story appears in the January 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It wasn't until her two daughters were grown and out on their own that Diana Lautens started to notice how dependent her third offspring was. It was demanding most of her time and attention. Even though she had birthed, nurtured and groomed this one, much as she had the older two, she was starting to feel tied down and a bit resentful.

Finally, she put the kid up for "adoption," as she now calls it. Early in 1996, Lautens decided to sell Sunday Afternoon Gallery, her 15-year-old high-end art prints and custom framing business in Winnetka, Illinois. She had already shuttered the profitable branch location in nearby Lake Forest the previous fall because the effort it took to keep both locations running had become too much for her. Then, as the new year dawned and she could see her work schedule cramping her plans to help her daughter plan a June wedding, she realized, "I didn't want to lie on my deathbed some day thinking, `I wish I'd done the wedding instead of the framing,' " she recalls.

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