Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marcy Fortnow, owner and CEO of Engaging Play, LLC., located in Chicago, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am the owner of Engaging Play, LLC, a team-building and training company that delivers workshops and programs through traditional training, active facilitation, and engaging play. I develop and deliver experiential learning programs for corporate groups, organizations, and boards, to raise their leadership level, improve teamwork, enable better communication and problem solving, and increase productivity.

It is my greatest joy to help business leaders and their teams work better together so they can get more done on time and on budget. My tool is play - because when people get together and have fun, connection, communication, collaboration, and building a positive and productive culture happens.

Tell us about yourself

Before beginning my entrepreneurial ventures, I worked in the business software world, training and development, change management, and implementation and consulting for domestic and European clients. I have a BS in Psychology and an MBA in Operations and Management Policy. I am a John Maxwell Leadership Trainer and a certified Disc consultant in Advanced Behavioral Analysis. I am also a certified a LEGO® Serious Play® facilitator, working with clients around alignment, innovation, and problem-solving.

I love what I do - and it is important work. When I was first out of business school (a long, long time ago), I joined an electronics manufacturer to help implement a new software system. I had a problem. I couldn’t get it going because no one was listening to me. One day, my boss sat me down and taught me a very important lesson that changed how I approach everything. Nothing gets done unless you can create a connection. For teams to make any progress, they need to connect to each other, to the project, and to you.

And that’s what I do now - I help teams find their connection, so they can communicate, collaborate, and function better together. I also know for a fact that when teams do not connect, they get caught in conflict, or worse, lethargy, and then nothing gets done.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I think I share this with many entrepreneurs - my biggest accomplishment is getting a business built and functioning with processes, focus, and goals while still staying creative and agile. I get to serve my clients, do what I love, and run a real income-producing business!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things you encounter as a business owner is keeping your mindset positive during times of contraction so you can create the growth you want in expansion.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Surround yourself with like-minded growth-oriented people. It takes a lot to be a business owner, and nobody gets you like others doing the same thing.
  2. Keep regular business hours - just because you work from home doesn’t mean you don’t need focus and structure to stay productive.
  3. Take risks - being visible and “out there” is scary and hard, but that’s what it takes!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I suggest people add a little play to everything they do, especially their gatherings. Any time you bring people together, you have an opportunity to create a fun, engaging, connecting event. To help anyone with that, I am happy to share my free gift: Meeting Jump Start Check-ins - 75 Questions that Every Meeting Host Should Have - just go here, and I’ll send it to you!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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